Ismail Sirdah

Ismail Sirdah started his first business when he was twenty years old. Since then, this entrepreneur, photographer, and has become well known in Miami for his creative approach to a wide range of photography types. His studio, Ismail Sirdah Photography has become one of the most popular in the niches of wedding, travel and retail photography.

Sirdah picked up the art of photography from his mentor. He was a curious assistant and often experimented with new equipment whenever he got the chance. His first camera was a humble SLR model, but that didn’t keep him from trying various settings, angles, and lighting techniques. In 2012, Sirdah established Ismail Sirdah Photography. In addition to a booming photography business, Ismail Sirdah founded his own photography school, which has helped numerous young photographers start their own businesses.

Here’s what Ismail has to say about his journey to becoming a sought-after photographer:


What was your best/favorite subject in school?                                                                                                             

I was never very good at in-the-box thinking, probably because I had a hard time submitting to authority. I think that my best subject was usually art, but that was just because I was too interested in the material to get into trouble with the teacher.


What was your first job?                                                                                                                                                 

 I didn’t start at the top and started my business after working as a photographer’s assistant. Learning from someone one with much more experience than I had taught me humility. Then I had to make my own mistakes.


Where and how did you first get into the industry you currently work in?                                                                 

I currently focus most of my attention on my photography business. My love of experimentation led directly to my career as a photographer because I loved how different elements could be rearranged to make something new and different every time.


How have those jobs prepared you for what you do now?                                                                             

Watching my mentor showed me the fundamentals of owning a business. I learned how to build relationships with clientele and use opportunities to network. People don’t want to work with you if you’re not warm and personable. Much of my business came from referrals in the beginning, and it still does.


Describe the best day of work you’ve ever had.                                                                                                         

The other day, I had a photo shoot with a fascinating older couple who wanted me to take pictures of their land and gardens. The photos are going to be in a book about Miami. The woman told me amazing stories about the diverse culture in Miami. All great photographs have a story, and the photographs I took that day are in settings with a lot of unique back story.


How do you keep yourself motivated?                                                                                                                            

I stay motivated by seeing each day as new. That way, the old mistakes and failures can’t impede my new day. It gives me a fresh start every twenty-four hours. That allows me to feel hopeful, excited, and ready to work hard and give life my best.


What kind of business ideas excite you most?                                                                                                              

I am excited by abstract ideas that become evident in my photographs. I don’t like surface-level photography. The best pictures are taken when their subjects have genuine expression.


Have you ever tried any unorthodox techniques to attract attention to your business?                                           

I only want positive attention for my businesses, so I conduct myself professionally. There are lots of photographers, but few that will behave with integrity.


What personal achievement are you most proud of?                                                                                                   

I am very proud that my photographs have been featured in various places in Miami during events. I never thought that I would open a school of photography. But I am so happy to share my expertise with others. I am very proud of myself for branching out and following my passions.


What wisdom would you have liked to share with yourself when you first started out?                                             

I would have liked to tell myself to be proud of the qualities that make me unique. I would tell an aspiring photographer that they are their brand. People like you more when you are yourself, and your behavior can either attract clients to you or make them run from you. I would remind my younger self of that so that he could bypass a lot of worry about being a cookie cutter individual.

[custom_author= Adrian Rubin]