Women in business: Alison Thomas, Diamond Light Photography

By Growth & Skills Hub - 27th February 2020

In the lead up to International Womens Day we spoke to some inspirational businesswomen here in Cornwall. What a wealth and talent and passion we have in the County!

1. Tell us a little about yourself and your business.

Diamond Light Photography was set up 6 years ago when I moved back to Cornwall after a job as a studio manager in London. Previous to that I was a photographer on cruise ships and had a great time travelling the world with my camera. Running my own business has been a great way to combine all I have learnt from my degree and working in various parts of the industry. I enjoy being creative making digital backgrounds to use in my portraiture to make them unique and I specialise in newborn baby photography.

2. If you were to turn back time and give yourself one piece of advice before you started your business what would it be?

Be patient and keep at it! It takes time to build up a business and to get your name known. I think most businesses fail because people give up too quickly. Most sole business owners I speak to tell of the nagging doubts that creep in every now and again- whenever this happens for me I remind myself that Marks and Spencer’s started as a market stall!

3. Who is the most important woman in your life and how have they influenced you?

I’m sure this is the standard answer but it’s my mother- she has encouraged me to do whatever makes me happy in life, which includes travelling and photography. She is very artistic but was forced to study science in order to get a “proper job” and so she gave me the opportunities she never got.

4. What is your proudest achievement in business so far?

I always feel a sense of achievement when a client sends me a photo of my work hung in pride of place on their wall. The aim of my business to provide memories that can be cherished forever and so its very rewarding when the work is loved. More specifically my work has been published three times in national magazines.

5. Have you had to face any struggles in business and how have you overcome them?

My biggest struggle is juggling my 20-month-old son with my business. As soon as he is asleep in the evening I get my computer out to start my working day! I’ve adapted my business to work around looking after my son, which includes starting to create digital backgrounds to sell online to other photographers for an extra income stream.

6. This year, the theme for International Women’s Day is #EachforEqual, championing the individual actions we can all take to challenge stereotypes, broaden perceptions and celebrate women’s achievements. What does equality mean to you and what can we all do to forge a gender equal workplace?

Having to stop my business for 9 months maternity leave has meant my business has lacked the attention it needs to continue growing. Being self employed means that there is no option to share maternity leave with your partner and so I would encourage everyone to write to their MP in order to change this.

It takes time to build up a business and to get your name known. I think most businesses fail because people give up too quickly.

- Alison Thomas, Diamond Light Photography
Woman on a tablet illustration