“It feels like a community knowing you’re not the only one dealing with the trials and tribulations of running a small business.”
Our next Creative Business feature is the ever so lovely, personal branding and family photographer, Deepa Rodrigues. I first got to know Deepa in an online business community and soon felt a connection with both her documentary photography style (the way she captures families in such a natural way is just wonderful!) and her calm and caring nature. We’ve yet to meet offline (one day we must rectify this, Deepa) and there’s still a lot I want to know about her story, so I can’t wait to find out more about the talented woman behind the business…
What does creativity mean to you?
To me, creativity is about having the courage to be who you are.
Have you always been creative?
Actually no, I’ve never even thought of myself as a creative person. I’ve always enjoyed following steps, like recipes which is why I preferred the sciences to arts at school.
What first got you interested in your field?
It wasn’t until I bought my first DSLR after we got married and started teaching myself how to use it did I discover my love for photography. I became obsessed with learning as much as I could about photography and practicing whenever I had the chance.
Why did you decide to start your own business?
Wanting to work for me and be accountable to me. Having the freedom to set my own hours and the flexibility that comes with that freedom.
What is your favourite thing about your work?
Meeting new people. Through my personal branding work, I have met some lovely small business owners who’ve now become friends. It feels like a community knowing you’re not the only one dealing with the trials and tribulations of running a small business. I love meeting and getting to know my family photography clients too, seeing the personality of the children grow and change with every shoot.
What is a ‘reality’ of your work that other people don’t realise?
Everything that goes on around the photoshoot, the prep beforehand. The editing after the shoot, and everything in between. The actual running the business side of things has a lot more to it than meets the eye.
How do you handle creative ‘blocks’ in work?
I find getting outside always helps, more so recently I’ve been out in the garden trying to grow my own veg. Or just switching off and taking a break from it. Having a 2-year-old means I don’t have the luxury of focusing on work while she’s at home, which is a blessing as when I’m with her, I’m not thinking/stressing about work.
Do you have any other creative interests?
I’ve recently started gardening, which sounds strange but up until recently, our garden was just a patch of grass used to dry the washing in. We’ve now made it into space we can relax in, and enjoy being out more. I’ve always loved a bit of DIY and have a few projects lined up (mosaic table, redecorating a few rooms in the house) which I hope to get to this year. I also love to bake when I get the chance.
What one thing would you say to someone dreaming of starting their own creative business?
70% of your time will be focused on the business side of things, be prepared for this. Also, have confidence in your ability, you’ve started the business for a reason don’t lose sight of that. It’s very easy to get bogged down in the day to day working on your business, you can forget why you started in the first place.
I love that Deepa never considered herself creative until picking up a DSLR camera… it just goes to show, creativity is so often about finding the right ‘thing’ for you. I hear so many people say ‘oh, I’m not creative at all!’ but I think the truth is actually that they just haven’t experienced or found the right form of creativity for them, yet.
Time for Deepa’s self-portrait. I love this image for two reasons. One, I’m very grateful for the effort Deepa put in to it (I know it takes time to create these self-portraits). Two, I think it’s a great reflection of Deepa’s personality and life – and many mothers come to that. Those little hands, the baking tools, and, whether she intended it to represent this or not, the superhero mask (all mum’s are superheroes, right?!).
P.S. Don’t forget to sign up to my email list (and select business, or business and lifestyle) to receive the ‘Creative Business Edit’ which includes further insight from Creative Business features, as well as guest experts giving tips on the other side of creative business.