Tell us a little bit about yourself
I am the owner of Ismail Sirdah Photography and a long-time expert with various types of photography styles ranging from simple portraits to wedding and event images. I started when I was very young with nothing but an SLR camera. In case you never heard of that particular tool before, it is arguably the lowest-quality camera in the market. Nevertheless, it showed me the world of photography that I instantly fell in love with.
Nowadays, I am mostly focused on growing my brand as Ismail Sirdah Photography continues to battle its competitors and I gather more repeated clients. Also, I have recently started doing some retail photography combined with a lot of travel-based shots. Doing so has really helped me find new ways to challenge my creativity and come up with something new.
What made you decide to go back to school and what are your majoring in?
I wanted to go back because I reached a point in my career where I could not gain any additional knowledge absent actual education. In other words, I have been doing this for so long that I already know most of what you can self-teach yourself. Unfortunately, that meant that I needed to find other venues where I will be able to unlock more potential and thrive further. After taking a few casual courses over the past month, I realized that my interest in classroom-based learning is something that drives me. So, the next logical step was to dedicate myself to this venture full-time and just go back to college.
The major that I chose to pursue was in fine arts. It is fairly broad as far as the actual courses I get to take. Nevertheless, most of the required learning is going to revolve around things like photography, history of art, contemporary resources, and so on. The reason why I chose it was due to my passion for artistic expression and the fact that I never actually got a chance to learn about incredible artists who lived before me. Now, I will have an opportunity to look at their work almost every day.
What benefits are you seeing already from your courses?
Actually, a lot! Just over the past few weeks, I have been learning some basics about photography that have come in handy during my sessions. Although I knew about most of them in theory, I never realized how important it is to keep the foundations present whenever you are working with a client. I also got to learn a lot of valuable lessons about the history of this profession. Doing so is helping make me a well-rounded professional who understands important developments that led to my job being what it is today. Lastly, being back in college is teaching me a lot of important transferable skills. This is because I have had to re-teach myself how to achieve the incredibly high level of efficiency and productiveness once more. I am back at constant multi-tasking and non-stop work to finish everything that I start.
What are your favorite courses so far?
Art History and Contemporary Resources would probably take the top two spots. The reason why is that both of these courses talk about concepts that I really never had a chance to learn in-depth. Now, I am able to fill those voids and be even more competent to work with my clients as well as represent this industry in a positive light.
How do you find time for school and time to manage running your photography business?
As I mentioned, I have been multitasking much more than ever before. There are days where I am simultaneously editing some client’s photos and completing an online quiz or homework. I also went back to planning every hour of every day to help stay on track with all of my agendas and ensure that I do not forget to do anything.
Do you think you will continue your education after obtaining your current degree?
I am not sure. At the moment, my goal is to complete my current degree plan and see where that takes me. I still have a business to run which makes it a lot harder to make a complete shift and go back to school for another degree. Regardless, however, if I see a lot of important benefits to getting more education, I will definitely weigh that against staying in my current setting where I work with my clients and rely on my brand. Either way, I will continue to push myself even further and gain more knowledge as I go.
Anything else you want to share with our readers?
I would like to invite them to look into pursuing more education. If you are on track to graduate soon, you may feel like leaving school is the best thing that will ever happen to you. In reality, however, there is no better time to get another degree and look into graduate studies than when you are young. Trying to do so later in life will be much harder as you will have additional responsibilities that you have to juggle. So, consider taking another year or two to become even more knowledgeable about your field!