Ismail Sirdah is the founder and owner of Ismail Sirdah Photography, a photography business based in Miami, Florida. Sirdah founded the company in 2012, after honing his photography skills for years as a photographer’s assistant. In addition to his photography company, Sirdah owns a school of photography and shares is expertise at IsmailSirdahPhotography.com.
Ismail Sirdah’s first experience with photography was practicing with his SLR camera as a photographer’s assistant. Every time he got a chance he would experiment with lighting and backdrops. He then branched out and started working on his own.
Professional photography came naturally to Ismail Sirdah, and he enjoyed trying new techniques and trends. Today, he is one of the most popular photographers in the retail, wedding, and travel photography niches. His love of using classic angles and lighting helps him create timeless photographs. Currently, Sirdah specializes in portrait photography.
What do you (or your business) do?
I take photographs of people, mostly. Sometimes I also take photographs of places, or even live events. The mission behind my photography is usually to help my subjects market themselves. I have specialized in marketing for years, so I know the kinds of images that work well in ad campaigns. So while what I do might seem simple on the surface — taking portraits — really I am taking pictures that tell a story, and help with branding.
How long have you been in business?
I’ve been working in my photography business for almost six years now.
Are there any unique challenges in your industry?
Yes, the photography industry has a few unique challenges. One is that the technology is constantly evolving. In a way, that is also a blessing, because it means that we photographers have many options and the tools we use to keep on getting sharper and easier to manipulate. But it is extremely challenging to stay on top of the changes. I have just started dipping my toes into digital photography effects. A part of me is also fascinated and curious about it, but another part of me feels completely overwhelmed.
Do you have any particular challenges that you personally address?
Personally, my biggest challenge is that I now distribute my time between my studio, the photography school, and my blog. When I first started my photography business, people wondered if I’d just do it as a side job or devote myself to it. From an outside perspective, I can see how it would have seemed that I was just daydreaming. But I knew that I wanted to follow my passion for photography, so I did it. That meant I had to really re-structure my life and the way that I approached my skill set. I’m always learning something new, and it’s been almost seven years! I still have a hard time delegating work and not trying to do it all on my own.
Is your industry growing, shrinking or remaining the same?
My industry is growing. This is especially true of the niche that I specialize in, which is taking pictures of people with a service to sell. I photograph many clients and products for marketing purposes. That wasn’t really as large of a market 10 years ago. Now, with the rise of the internet, we’re seeing more and more people try to figure out self-promotion. Marketing requires great images, and that is what I offer.
How does technology impact your company?
One of the biggest ways that I see tech coming into my company on a daily basis is related to photo editing software. This is one area where I am constantly learning so that I can stay ahead of the curve. Another facet of technology is related to the camera that I choose to use. Right now, one of the biggest questions I face is whether to stick with film for portraits or to transition to digital photography.
Have you ever been to Miami?
Yes, I love Miami and its atmosphere.
What part of Miami?
Some friends of mine have a place in Coconut Grove, so I have spent a lot of time there.
Did you visit any particular locations including restaurants?
I love spending time at the beach, and South Beach is always a fun time. If I am in the mood for something a little more low key, I’ll head out to Key Biscayne and Bill Baggs State Park. As far as restaurants go, one of the best meals I’ve ever had in Miami was at Le Bouchon.
Would you come back?
Yes, I would love to visit again in the near future.
Was it a business or pleasure trip?
Mostly, I visit Miami for pleasure. I visit old friends, spend time at the beach, eat out and see live music. Occasionally, I’ll sneak some work into the mix. I might take photographs of a client I am working with, especially if they live in that area. I enjoy my work, so it doesn’t detract from the trip.
Where do you see yourself or business in 5 years?
In five years, I hope to be more focused on marketing my services to entrepreneurs. This is a growing niche, and I find its expansion to be exciting.