Case study

Photographer — Sarah Brookes

Sarah uses her love of the natural world in her photography. Her understanding of the seasons helps to select the best landscapes and locations for photoshoots

Why did you start your own business?

Having graduated from the University of Leeds in 2011 with a 2:1 zoology degree, I began to apply for roles in wildlife conservation organisations as well as environmental institutions.

Unfortunately, many of these roles required a Master's degree, were voluntary or were internships where the first three to six months would be unpaid.

Being in no financial position to take on such roles, I took a job within financial services. I continued there until, in February 2015, I decided to leave my job and launch Sarah Brookes Photography.

How relevant is your degree to your job?

Zoology is hugely relevant in my photography business. I use my love of the natural world as a marketing strategy.

I also use my understanding of the seasons and the impact this has on the landscape to select the locations that I choose for photoshoots.

What are your main work activities?

I offer a selection of photography services including family portraits/newborn sessions, weddings and boudoir and product photography for businesses.

As well as this I attend a selection of networking events in my local area. At the moment, I'm planning to organise a bridal workshop to give tips to engaged couples on how to organise their dream wedding.

How has your role developed and what are your career ambitions?

My role as a business owner is constantly developing; from being the creative director and planning photoshoots and ensuring that my website is relevant, to being a business developer, which requires hours developing web presence, networking and managing finances.

My career ambition is to become a renowned wedding photographer where my ideal client is drawn to the unique way in which I shoot weddings.

What do you enjoy about your job?

I enjoy the creative aspect of my job, which is actually photographing clients and their special moments. I love working with people who appreciate photography and who are willing to plan some fun shoots.

I also enjoy working with other creative individuals within the wedding industry, as we can share experiences and tips.

What are the most challenging parts of your job?

I would say building the website and trying to improve search engine optimisation (SEO). This is not my area of expertise and it has been hard to find the right people to help me do this.

Any words of advice for someone who wants to get into this job?

If you want to set up your own photography business, I would say carefully consider what kind of business you would like to have and what kind of brand you want to develop.

Make sure that this is the right time to start. It can be disheartening to start something only for life to get in the way.

I would also advise collating what it is you are drawn to in terms of photography style. This really helps you stay true to your craft as time goes on.

Lots of quality training is also important. I complete most of mine with Aspire Photography Training and I'm a member of their bespoke-training course.

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