When you think about hiring a photographer to capture a special or personal moment, you want someone who can not only make your moment look beautiful, but have you feeling comfortable in the process. Meeting Diana and Alex from SerendipiDi Photography, it’s clear that they are the perfect team to put you at ease during a photography shoot; warm, friendly and with an eye for finding those serendipitous moments that life is all about. From their decision to go all in on their photography business this year, working together as a team, and the advice they have for aspiring freelance photographers, Diana and Alex shared it all right here with Desk Life Project.
How is your business going at the moment?
We started the business in February this year, and so far it’s going well! Our focus is currently on building the portfolio and spreading the word about what we do.
What is your background in photography, and how did you both end up starting the business?
I’ve always loved photography. Since I was a little girl, I used to take my mum’s camera and do photo shoots for my cousins. However, I never thought about taking it to the next level, and just did it for the fun of it.
Around 5 years ago, my business and life partner Alex gave me what is by far my most exciting Christmas present so far: my first reflex camera. I started studying, practising, gaining more confidence using the camera, and slowly I started doing photo shoots with friends and family until I felt I was ready to work with people I have never met before.
What do you love most about what you do?
For me it’s simply the camera. I feel I have superpowers when I use it. I can capture so many nice moments between couples, families and friends, I think that’s what I like the most. When I get back home and see the images on the screen, the expressions, the love in people’s eyes or even just a funny moment that I captured.
Also, whenever I’m using my camera in a photo shoot it feels like the rest of the world just disappears. I only get this feeling through photography, and I absolutely love it.
Is it easy to find clients, and how do you market your services?
Finding new customers is always a challenge and requires time and perseverance. We know who our target audience is; we want to work with people that also love capturing moments for their families. Our ideal customer is someone who really values how much an image means for them in the future.
We also feel London is an amazing place to start off our project and get to work with so many different people, with unique backgrounds and stories. For us, London is a city where people come to discover who they are. Most of the people we’ve met and worked with came here and are now enjoying the London life either for a while or permanently. So with SerendipiDi we just want to give them something they can remember about their time in London.
It’s also very important for us to work locally with the different startups and women in East London and E17. We believe in supporting other people like us that are starting their business, and for me (Diana) it is extremely important to support my fellow female colleagues in their entrepreneurship adventure.
At the moment most of the customers we have come from recommendations from previous clients, which can only be a good sign that we are doing a good job!
What struggles have you had when starting your business?
Starting SerendipiDi represented a big step for us, in the sense that we had to leave our doubts and fears to one side and believe in ourselves to make it work, and be aware that it would not happen overnight.
The next challenge is the moment when I send the final photos to the clients. I used to get so anxious at this point that I would drive Alex crazy. This is something I had to learn to manage (I am getting better at it) but I still get butterflies in my stomach until I hear that the clients are happy.
Also, like any entrepreneur, we faced the challenge of setting prices for each photo shoot. We wanted to have a competitive price, something that everyone could afford to pay and also a price that values the work that we are doing. There are a lot of hours put into a photo shoot and editing! We still face this challenge today, as it’s not easy to set the right price for both the clients and our business, however we feel we’re managing this well so far.
On a personal level, this project brings the challenge of being able to clearly separate what is business and what isn’t. It’s very easy to get sucked in and just talk about business all day, forgetting that we also have a life to live together.
We’re continually learning to manage this and now set clear rules: when we’re not working we don’t talk about the business. So basically no talking about business when we’re watching Game of Thrones!
Do you enjoy being in business together, and does the partnership come naturally?
Both in our personal and business relationship, I’m the creative one whilst Alex is more organized, structured and acts as the execution side of things. Naturally, this has been passed on to our business, in the sense that I’m currently the lead photographer, whilst Alex is in charge of the operations and legal aspects of the business, such as client contracts, branding, website development, social media, etc.
One of the key reasons we decided to launch SerendipiDi was that we knew that together we are a very strong team, as we complement each other with our individual strengths and skills. In any business, this is essential for a partnership to work, and we feel very fortunate to know we can count on each other.
We are really excited and enjoy working together to make SerendipiDi grow.
What advice do you have for anyone hoping to become a freelance photographer?
First, identify what type of photography you want to do, and within that type, what your style would be. For example, maybe your interests are more focused on nature or wildlife.
Once you have clarity on that, get better at it: understand the technical aspects of the camera you have, take photography lessons, read many of the resources available out there to understand what you need to know to achieve what you want. I personally think watching YouTube videos of fellow photographers can be super useful! I also have a Pinterest board with lots of inspiration for what I would love to do.
But most importantly, be ready to use your best people skills at all times. You need to convey confidence and a feeling that people want to have a photo shoot with you. Make it an experience for them.