WHILE schools were shut during lockdown, one schoolboy invested his time into building his own photography business.

Toby Godfree from Bexhill, set up his own website to showcase his photography and has since gone on to sell his work across the world.

The 15-year-old started by producing a calendar with his photographs for his friends and family, which he shared on Facebook.

He was inundated with requests for copies and demand for his work has continued to grow.

The Argus: ArundelArundel

Copies of Toby’s 2021 calendars, which feature images of Brighton, Hastings and Bexhill, have been sold across the world.

Retailers including Sainsburys, Co-op and The Post Office are also stocking the calendar.

Toby said his success has taken him “completely by surprise.”

He told the Argus, “I started setting it up gradually. I was motivated to take pictures but I wasn’t very motivated to start selling.

“I decided to do a virtual market and set up a website off the back of that and today it’s really popular.

“It’s gone through every continent in the world, I’ve sent work to Canada, America, Australia and New Zealand.

The Argus: Sinnock Square, HastingsSinnock Square, Hastings

“It’s lovely, especially in the time we’re living in.”

The keen photographer now produces calendars, posters and even face-masks featuring photographs of Sussex landscapes.

Toby said he is “lucky” to live in Sussex, where there are so many areas of natural beauty to photograph.

He said: “I love to photograph landscapes, especially sunrises and sunsets.

“The fishing boats in Hastings Old Town, I go there quite regularly because I can take some great photos there.”

In spite of the demands of his business Toby, who attends Bexhill Academy, has managed to balance his photography with studying for his GCSES.

He said: “At weekends I do most of the work towards my website and business, but it does get quite crazy.

“As we head towards Christmas I think it could get quite busy, based upon the orders I’ve had coming in before.

“I think people might start panicking that they haven’t bought any presents.

“But my friends at school are really pleased for me and a few of them have started trying photography because they are so amazed at how well it’s doing and people have said that I am an inspiration to them.”

While he may still be a teenager, Toby has big plans to grow his business in the future.

He said: “When I’m older I want to continue running my photography and printing business.

“When we can start getting back to normality, I would like to start doing events and I want to start photographing weddings.

“My uncle is getting married next year, if he can still do so, and I’m going to be the photographer at that wedding, so that might be a good stepping stone to get it going.”

Toby also shared a few words of advice for anyone who wants to try their hand at photography.

He said:“Just take a picture on your phone and that moment that you have captured, you aren’t going to be able to repeat that ever again.

“I’d just say pick up a camera, go out for a walk and just take some pictures.

“You can’t be bad at it, you can only grow and you can’t really fail.

“It’s really charming and just a nice thing to do.

“I get such a boost when I take a photo of something I haven’t really tried before, like a portrait, so I think everyone should give it a go.”

Toby’s work is available to buy in stores across Sussex, as well as online.

To view his photography visit https://www.tobygphotography.co.uk/ or on Instagram at tobygphotographyofficial.