1- Hello Ismail, can you please tell us a bit about you?
My name is Ismail Sirdah and I’m a passionate enthusiast of all things photography. I run my own studio, Ismail Sirdah Photography, and I try to give back to the community whenever I can by teaching in my photography school.
2- What are your focus areas and why?
I focus on anything that lets my artistic side shine through. Over the years I’ve made a conscious effort to diversify and I’m now regularly using my photography for retail, weddings, and travel. I enjoy the challenge of balancing many different styles because each has their own definition of what defines a well-taken photo.
3- How do you describe your journey in a few words?
I started from the bottom and worked my way up from assistant to the owner and now teacher.
4- Where do you think your work is making an impact?
I think I’m having the most impact on my teaching. While I enjoy photography in my business and I love to see the smiles on customers’ faces when they see my work, I think the biggest impact I can have is training the next generation of photographers. You never know where they may end up of how they will use the skills I teach them. I could very well be training the next war reporter or National Geographic cover photographer.
5- What the one photography tip that you think can help photographers in the early stage of launching their businesses?
I would say newer photographers should take their camera with them wherever they go and constantly take pictures. Even if the subject isn’t something that interests them, photography is a skill that develops through use so they can learn a great deal about composition and staging just by snapping quick pictures in their day to day life. Plus you never know who will be interested in your more random pictures. It could be a good tool for developing business.
6- Tell us about your book, and how it can help photographers?
Well, I’ve spent a great deal of time on my travel photography and exploring the world around me, so I’ve put together a book called “Ismail Sirdah: 10 Underrated Photography Destinations” in which I’ve put together some of my favorite destinations from the past few years. There are actually a few destinations that some people might find surprising.
7- Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
I’d like to continue with my world travels and possibly find a more regular avenue for my travel photography. Right now the bulk of my income is from retail or travel photography because these are common, every-day types of events. Travel on the other hand often requires a bit of effort to find someone in need of high-quality images from a particular destination. My goal is to have the travel side of my work become a larger part of my income.
8- What can you tell young photographers who are pursuing their business dreams?
Practice, practice, practice. You have to think of photography like any other skill and constantly try to improve. A flashy camera can only get you so far if you don’t have the skill to match. You’ve got to take thousands of pictures and really invest in learning your tools.
9- What are you most excited about at the moment?
I’m really excited about some of the latest developments in technology that are having an effect on my photography. If you consider how clear images are becoming with just a phone camera, put that in comparison with what an image can look like using professional quality tools. It’s now possible to take high-quality low-light nature photographs from extreme distances without disturbing the subject. It’s truly remarkable.
10- The last word or final thoughts?
Be sure to check out my book on Amazon if you’re interested in traveling for your work. Many of the destinations are worth a visit even if you don’t plan to take any pictures.