Hi Sarah, can you tell us about yourself and what inspired you to set up your business?
Hello, I’m Sarah, I have run a small business called Pictorial Photography in Berwick for 9 years now. I specialise in portraiture and photograph family groups in natural locations. I also do professional business head shots for ambitious and creative individuals and I style themed backdrops for children’s photo sessions in the studio.
I had wanted to be a photographer since the age of 14 after starting a beginners photography course at the local community centre, simply for ‘something to do’ as a bored teen in a small town. I soon became hooked on the magic of the darkroom and enjoyed photographing architectural details and dilapidated buildings. I furthered my studies at college with a graphic design and print background and went on to contemporary photographic practice at university. It was actually long after graduation that I discovered portraiture was where my passion really lay.
After studying I worked at Northumbria University Design School as an Apple Mac and photography demonstrator for 4 years. I helped students to realise their design and fashion ideas in the studio and demonstrated how to use specialist software to produce their work. After maternity leave I started to grow tired of the commute and wanted to spend time in a more creatively rewarding position that could work around having my own family. Employment in the creative sector is rare in a small town so starting Pictorial Photography seemed like a natural step.
What tips would you give other women who are thinking about setting up their own business?
Surround yourself with positive people. I am part of a very positive group of female photographers, which started on Facebook. We support each other with advice, ideas and encouragement. If there is a photography event or conference, we often meet up and go together – this is great as some of us might not go by ourselves, having the company of other female photographers is a real plus.
I’d also say not to be scared to ask for help – you can’t do everything. For example, recruiting a professional copy writer to help with editing the text on my website saved a lot of time and enabled me to get across what I wanted to say in a much clearer way than I could have on my own.
We love your website and your studio looks fabulous – what are the benefits of the internet for your business?
Thank you! A lot of time has been spent in making my website easy to use and informative so that customers have a positive experience right from the start.
The internet also helps me run the business much more efficiently. I use tools like Eventbrite for managing online bookings, Paypal for taking payments and Mailchimp for creating and sending out newsletters. Sharing what is happening on social media is a great free way to keep in touch with my customers.
What are your future plans for Pictorial Photography?
Alongside what I already do, I have started to create online articles to help customers. I want to use the website to share lots of helpful tips, features and free resources. Currently I am writing an article on ‘How to prepare your skin for a headshot session when you’ve only got one week to go’. This will make sure people get the most benefit out of their photography session. Providing more stuff online is something I’m passionate about and is an area I want to grow the business into.
Photographs by Rachel of RJM Photography.
Name of interviewee: Sarah Jamieson
Business name: Pictorial Photography
Business type: Lifestyle Photographer
Location: Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland