A born creative, Brooke Duley spent some time in the corporate world before returning to her passion and launching Sandpiper Photography. A move from the UK to the Sunshine Coast followed, and she now combines stunning scenery, sunshine and photography to provide families with beautiful images that they can cherish forever.
The passion: What inspired you to set up your business?
I think it was the yearning to be creative again.
I’ve always had a love for the creative arts. I grew up drawing and it was a pastime that I always returned to. When I edit my photos, I’m using a Wacom tablet and a pen, and actually drawing and painting over my photographs as I edit them. I love to add colours and light and shadows, just as you would in a drawing or painting.
Though I studied creative arts at university, I only worked for a few years in a creative job (video production) before ending up in a corporate job. After many years in an office, I really wanted to get back to doing something creative. I think if you are a creative person, you always have that yearning to be in the creative industries, in whatever form that may be.
The launch: How did you start out in the beginning?
As I’d previously worked in video, a lot of the concepts crossed over into photography. The main one being lighting. I had a really great boss in video who taught me a lot about lighting. I also had to hold the reflector a lot and as mundane as that sounds, it really teaches you to see light. When I decided to leave the corporate world, already having photography as a hobby, it seemed like a natural path to follow. Now I’ve ended up living on the Sunshine Coast and it’s a great place to build my business. Not only do we have local families wanting their photos taken in this beautiful area, a lot of holiday makers see their visit as an opportunity to get family photographs done too.
The innovation: What was the biggest breakthrough for you with your business?
It’s all little steps that you keep building upon over time. I was previously located in the UK and when I was starting out, I came second place in the newcomer category at the newborn photography show. This let me know I was heading in the right direction. As I built up my client base, getting customer referrals was another sign for me that things were going well. Last year I was a finalist in the maternity category of the RISE awards, which has some very tough international competition so I was really happy with that.