What made you become a full time photographer?
Photography is something I have always been fascinated with and passionate about; from a young age I remember family holidays with disposable cameras. Even though at the end of the holiday you’d have to come home, I always remember that excitement of getting rolls of film developed and re-living the holiday all over again. In fact, each trip I go on now, I always make sure I have a disposable or polaroid camera – there is something so lovely about having a physical copy of an image that you can hold and keep forever. It was around the age of 14 when I got into digital photography, my secondary school was starting up a new Photography course and I jumped at the opportunity (mainly because it sounded like fun). I absolutely loved the course, I found it was a way I could really express myself and experiment with different styles. I then continued to study Photography as an A Level where I learnt a lot about the technical side, spending many hours in the darkroom. More recently, I graduated from BA Photography at the University of the Arts London where I really noticed the value of networking and understanding the industry. It was at University where I really saw it for an opportunity to become a career. The year I graduated, I worked hard through the summer and winter months, generating a large portfolio that would showcase my work. Although it was and still is long hours and hard work, it never really feels like work when you’re doing something you love!
Have you always dreamt of running your own business?
I’ve always been very driven and fully involved in whatever I am doing, and I think the passion for having my own business stems from this. In any business, you definitely have to be self motivated and wanting more than whats in front of you to progress to the next level. I think that’s the exciting part – you never know what’s going to happen or what might change. It’s important to keep doors open, don’t be too quick to close opportunities that might lead to something amazing in the future.
What do you love about what you do?
The people. I absolutely love the inspirational and self-driven people I get to meet -it amazes me on a weekly basis how many incredible people there are out there. I’m very lucky that I get to work in the creative industry with incredible bloggers, influencers, brands and content creators. Creativity is so important to me, I like to feel like I achieve something everyday, and a lot of the time this comes from the creative side of me. One of my favourite feelings is at the end of a shoot when you know you’ve got the shots you’ve been wanting to achieve and it’s been two of you that have achieved it – you’ve worked together to get it.
What are your tips for keeping your health and fitness together with such a busy schedule?
I think its about finding what’s right for you. Not one workout routine is going to suit everyone. I’ve done a lot of different routines, regimes and forms of exercise and I think the main thing for me is scheduling workouts every week. I find that if I don’t schedule in at the beginning of the week, I don’t end up exercising because other things become more important. Another really important aspect for me is making sure it’s fun, I hate the feeling of not wanting to workout – I get way more mentally and physically from a workout if I actually want to do it and I know I will enjoy it. One of the main ways of achieving this is working out with friends – schedule in workouts with different friends each week (plus its a great excuse to go for brunch after!).
Any new adventures this year?
I have spent the first few months of 2018 travelling and working around Australia, it has been the most amazing trip. Not only because i’ve visited places i’ve been wanting to see for a long time but also I think its so important to not get too stuck in your ways – you learn a lot when you take yourself out of your daily routine and comfort zone. I have a few trips planned this year – one of which is Mexico that I am super excited about!
What can we look to see from Lydia Collins in the future?
I have a few personal photography projects i’d like to achieve this year. I think it’s important when you are lucky enough to have a job that is your hobby, to not just make it about work. I’d also love to continue to travel and work – I absolutely love London and being able to work there, but exploring new places is an absolute passion of mine and I feel I learn a lot creatively when I travel. I also will be updating my blog on my website on a weekly basis – it’s all about the BTS of photo shoots and different photoshoot locations around the world.
What is your biggest piece of advice to other young professionals, especially women, looking to start their own business?
Enjoy it. You need to enjoy and love the process of experimenting, taking risks and what comes with starting up a business. It’s a lot of work and long hours, but if you enjoy it, it never feels as hard as you think. I think another factor that I’ve found is to keep doors open – you never know what is going to come along – some of my best jobs and amazing people i’ve met have been through opportunities that i’ve nearly turned away.
Words by: Lydia Collins @lydiaxcollins
Photo by: Lydia Collins www.lydiacollins.com