Monday, July 4, 2022

Interview with Tommy Blake & Laurene Blake, Photographers and Pure Photo N.I’s Founders

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1- Hello Tommy and Laurene, can you please tell us a bit about yourselves?
We are a husband and wife team of photographers based just outside of Belfast in Northern Ireland.

2- What are your focus areas and why?
We mainly photograph weddings, engagement sessions and family portraits. We love the unique atmosphere at weddings. We are both very sociable people so we love getting to spend quality time with our clients. In most cases we shoot their engagement session, then their wedding and then many of our clients come back to us later to photograph their children. We both love photography but the most enjoyable part of what we do is the relationships we have made with our clients

3- Tommy, how do you describe “Pure Photo N.I” in few words?
When we set up the business we chose the name Pure Photo N.I because we really wanted a brand that was synonymous with what we do. We believe that photography should be about capturing real moments. That’s why we work in a mainly documentary style capturing real emotion, that’s really important to us. We also prefer a more natural style of editing our images, while every photograph we provide to our clients goes through an editing process, our aim is to provide natural & realistic photography, not over the top photos of people on fake backgrounds etc.

4- Laurene, where do you think you are making an impact?
When we first started the business most of our work came from advertising both online and in magazines and newspapers. For the last couple of years though the vast majority of our bookings have come from referrals from our previous clients. Our brand is now recognised and known locally, which for us is great recognition of the work we have done.

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5- Can you tell us more about your new projects?
We have one very important project that we have been working on now for several months, we aren’t just ready to share the details just yet though. When we officially launch we will be sure to let you know.

6- Where do you see “Pure Photo N.I” in the next 5 years?
We are already established now in Northern Ireland as the go to choice for people looking for wedding photographers. Long term we want to build on that by shooting weddings further afield in Europe and the States. We already have a few bookings for destination weddings and that is something we absolutely want to build on.

7- Laurene, what were some of the biggest challenges you encountered while working on “Pure Photo N.I”?
Building any business is difficult, especially a photography business, as competition is so fierce. Even though Northern Ireland is a small country we have some exceptionally gifted photographers. We realised straight away that to be successful we had to offer something different. At first we found marketing especially online difficult, it took us time to realise the importance of putting ourselves in front of where our potential clients would be.

8- Tommy, what can you tell young people who are pursuing their dreams?
Don’t listen to the so called experts!
When we first started every photographer we spoke to said forget it, the business is too saturated, there isn’t enough work to go around. You have to do wedding fairs, online advertising is a waste of time, you always have to take this photo, brides like this, grooms like that, weddings are too stressful. All of it we found was nonsense, what may have been the case for them was never the case for us. I am a firm believer that in order to run a successful photography business you need to be really passionate about what you photograph. Shoot what you love, if you do that no amount of negativity from anyone else will hold you back. Always do your own thing.

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9. What are you most excited about at the moment?
Our kids. We have two young daughters, both have started to get really interested in photography and have shown a real aptitude for it. It’s not something we have purposely gone out to encourage but we are delighted that they want to be a part of something we love.

10. The last word or final thoughts?
We have loads of weddings coming up that we can’t wait to photograph. Long term it would be amazing if our kids kept up their interest in photography and we could eventually one day pass the business on to them.

To know more about Tommy and Laurene and their work visit:

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Noelle Elia
Noelle Elia
is a Financial analyst at PSPC. Graduated from Telfer School of Management, Finance/Accounting with interest to Entrepreneurship and New Media.
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