MOST Year 10 students have enough to think about with starting GCSEs and getting homework in on time, but one Cwmbran schoolgirl has found time to start a business and scoop first prize in a national photography competition.

Tiegan Neary, who attends Llantarnam School, won this year’s NME Photo Awards aged just 14 after working up experience photographing bands as far afield as Somerset, London and Liverpool.

Her winning photo earned her a Nikon 1 J3 Camera worth £580 for winning the Under 18s category and £500 of Nikon accessories for the Grand Prix overall prize, as well as work experience in the NME offices.

Miss Neary said: “I've been interested in photography for around four years. I started off doing the usual things with a basic camera - flowers, animals and landscapes etc. However, that all changed when I attended a gig by The Subways about three years ago. I took my camera and realised I'd caught some decent shots considering it was a £50 camera.

“I was encouraged by my dad to practise and just before Christmas 2011 he bought me a proper DSLR camera - but a second hand model. In the January I managed to get my first press pass to a gig. From there it snowballed - within a few months I'd photographed at the likes of Metronomy and Azealia Banks at the NME Awards Tour and the MOBO Awards Tours. In the past two years I've photographed approximately 300 bands, from small gigs of 10 people in the audience through to many thousands watching at festivals.

“When I took the winning photo of [Newport and Bridgend based] band When We Were Wolves at Clwb Ifor Bach I realised straight away that it was a good one - I posted it that night as a "teaser" to the rest of that night's photographs on my Facebook Page and my Flickr account - the reaction was instantaneous.

“When I received the email telling me I'd actually won I was over the moon and called my dad and sent him the email - it was only when he read the email that he noticed I'd not only won my age group but I'd also been chosen as the Grand Prix winner.”

She travelled to London with her father at the end of last month to receive her prizes at The Print Space Gallery.