Sara Dalrymple switched a decade long career in corporate banking for personal branding photography. Here she shares what it’s like at home, how she balances her home and work life and how she makes space to recharge.
Who are you?
Hello! I’m Sara Dalrymple, a London headshot photographer and personal branding photographer helping camera shy business owners attract more dream clients through personality-filled photos.
Where do you live and with whom?
I live in Leytonstone, East London with my husband Dave and 2 boys Joe and Max (6 and 3) all of whom run me ragged on a daily basis with their incredible amounts of energy!
What’s your home-life like?
Bonkers, but brilliant! Living in a house of (hyper)active boys there’s never a dull moment. I’m learning a lot about ALL THE SPORTS and the boundless energy of boys. And stand up wees. Every day’s a school day!
How does your home make you feel?
I’m not going to lie, it’s chaos and I sometimes wish I had one of the clean and tidy houses I see on Instagram all the time, but it’s a happy home and that’s all that matters to me. And when the boys are all out and it’s just me and my laptop, I LOVE it!
What’s your business and how did you come up with the idea?
I’m a headshot and personal branding photographer, helping creative businesses build strong visual identities so that they connect with more of their dream clients. I became a photographer when I hit 30 and realised that the decade I’d spent in banking climbing the corporate ladder hadn’t set my world on fire. I wanted to combine my love of photography with meeting people and now I feel so lucky that I do just that! I had seen WAY too many stuffy, corporate headshots on the internet and coupled with that, I kept meeting people at networking events who told me they didn’t have any photos of themselves they actually liked to promote themselves and their businesses with, so I decided to change that! If you have a business online, promoting it is so much easier to do when you photos that you are happy to use, otherwise you are stuck hiding behind your brand which isn’t the way to build meaningful connections on the internet – we all wait to see the person behind the business!
What’s the best and worst thing about working for yourself?
The best thing: don’t make me pick just one!! Absolute freedom, being financially independent and in a way that feels authentic to me / on my own terms, helping people find their confidence, meeting so many inspiring women, doing it for ourselves, working anywhere… The worst thing: easy: tax returns and tech!! I’m hopeless at both.
What is one of your most recent wins?
Writing my online course for people photographers! Can’t wait to launch it in the Autumn 🙂 This year I’ve also started mentoring other photographers, to save them from making some of the costly mistakes I did early on in my business, and I’m absolutely loving doing that alongside my headshot work!
And one of your most recent challenges?
Constant tech issues. I miss IT support!
How do you balance your work-life and your home-life and everything else?
Took me a while to get into my groove with this, but I feel like I’ve got a good balance now. Working from home meant to start with that I couldn’t separate the domestic chores from my to do list that well, but now I’m militant about routine, making lists, and working somewhere else at least 2 days per week. And now that I don’t shoot as many weddings, weekends are for family time, non negotiable! It’s hard when you run your own business to switch off, but one of my main drivers in changing my career was to have a more flexible life, so I remind myself of that every time I’m tempted to work late into the evening.
What kinds of activities do you do to recharge and what’s the effect for you?
Bikram yoga – I crave heat, especially in the winter months plus it’s so great at emptying my mind. Also massages for pure relaxation – I try to have one a month! I also love getting out and meeting people. I’m the kind of person who goes a bit crazy if I’m on my own for too long, so I do like to have at least one night a week where I see a friend! Networking events are also is amazing and there are so many brilliant ones in London – we’re so lucky here!
What is the importance of creating opportunity for me-time?
MEGA important. Because I work at home, it’s super important for me to have time out of the house too, so I’m quite big on this. As above I try to get out of the house even if it’s just for a short walk round the block!
What are the triggers you recognise as a signal you need to make some time and space for yourself?
I start getting really ratty when I get overwhelmed and it’s almost always because I’ve taken on too much and haven’t left space for me. As soon as I reinstate a bit of me time, I’m like a new woman again! A nice, calm one!
Share the love: Are there any self-care activities you’ve loved the sound of, but haven’t yet included in your own life?
LOADS! My husband has just done a meditation course and he’s right into it now so I’m desperate to give that a go. I’d also love to go on a yoga retreat!
If you could deliver one piece of advice to an overwhelmed mum, what would it be?
Finding a community of like minded people to lean on has been mega for me. Since I’ve put myself out there more I’ve met SO many amazing people and someone has always been through what you’re going through, so don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it!
You can find Sara over on Instagram as @saradalrymplephotography