Case Study

Sois Belle Photography


Case Study - Sois Belle Photography


In conversation with Dolores Diamonde

My name is Dolores Diomande and I’m the owner of Sois Belle Photography. Before I started my own business, I was working as a landlord advisor and I have been for the last 10 years; I do this alongside my business. Sois Belle Photography moving forward is more my passion, and I’m looking to bring that into a different direction.


I’ve been a legal adviser for 10 years, but I chose to start something myself alongside. As I’m sure you can imagine, doing something for 10 years can be a bit exhausting. I found that I’m quite a creative person and I love taking pictures, so I decided to throw that into my own photography company. Initially I started doing newborns, which was quite challenging at first, but I have now moved onto doing wedding photography.

The journey

I started in April 2019, and it started off quite well. I started off doing newborn photography at home, and then from newborn photography, where the people placed an order for the pictures to have the 2-to-3 hour shoot, and afterwards they would order their pictures. From the pictures, I would then create a canvas for the family, and they could have it in a plain resin canvas or a glitter canvas.

So, that was going quite well. Then there was a bit of time where I had a break due to Covid, but since Covid has now come to an end, I feel things have now picked back up, and luckily I’ve now been able to move onto wedding photography and moving the business into a new direction.

The growth curve

I’d say the growth curve has been OK. Initially, I started and I had quite a bit of business with the newborn photography and the canvases I was doing. Then there was a dip because of Covid, so I had at least 12 months of nothing really happening, the odd order here and there. In the last 6 to 10 months, things seem to have picked up with everyone going back outside. It has also given me an opportunity – now I can actually go outside myself – I’ve then decided to go onto wedding photography, which after being cooped up for almost 3 years like everybody else, it’s nice to go on location.

Instead of doing newborn photography in the comfort of my own home, I can go on location with the couple. A lot of the weddings, even if it is just a civil service or a lavish outdoor ceremony, I get to experience that with them. So, the business has gone from doing newborns at home, to having a bit of a break, to now going back up and having quite a few orders, and I’m doing wedding photography. I’m quite proud of the direction I’m going in.


The biggest challenge for me has been consistency. Being a mother of two, I jumped from having a 6 year old to starting again with a newborn. That has been quite challenging, because I’m quite ambitious and I like to stay creative, but having a baby meant I had to take a step back, and I found that especially with social media, the minute you take a couple of weeks or a month out, the minute you log back in, it’s almost like you are starting again from scratch.

The people who used to comment every day and follow you, that constant interaction, whereas you would get 300 to 400 views that day on your Instagram story, you’ve logged back in after a month and 2 people have viewed it. So, for me it’s very important to be consistent. If you don’t have the consistency, you’re constantly fighting this uphill battle with a rucksack, and it’s as if someone keeps adding rocks to it – you’re never reaching that peak goal you want to reach.

So, I’ve got myself into a routine where in the mornings before everyone wakes up, I do an hour on Instagram, and when everyone’s been fed and in bed, I do an hour to two hours. It’s about having that engagement, and I find that even if I’m not posting but I’m engaged, people are still there, they know my business is still available, I’m liking stuff, I’m commenting, and it’s not such a struggle when I take a week or two weeks out because somebody’s teething or has been off with a cold, the struggle is not so bad. I’d definitely say that for anyone is starting a business, especially as we’re in this social media, you have to stay consistent with what you’re doing.


I’m proud of my business because it started off because I had a fear of losing my job and being made redundant. So, I turned that fear into a passion, because we work every day – if you have a normal job, it might be something you love, it might be something you like. But it’s almost like you work just to work, whereas now I am doing something I enjoy and I work because I want to work, and that’s what makes me proud – that I’ve ventured out of ‘I need to climb the corporate ladder’.

I’ve been in the job for 10 years and the salary’s amazing, but at the end of it, there was nothing else. Whereas with this, it allows me to be creative and allows me to explore things in my own mind. That’s what makes me proud – I discovered a new me – not this corporate me that has to ‘be in this company’ – the me that brings out a better version of me.

My favourite aspect of photography is freedom. I’m pretty much free to do what I want, shoot what I want. If today I decide that I want to sit in the garden and take pictures of a load of birds, I do. If I decide that I want to drag my husband to Richmond Park and take pictures of deer, I do. It’s opened up a whole world for me where I can be independent. I know I have the fallback of my career if I want, but I also have a different part, so for me it’s given me freedom to do what I want to do.

The future

The future for Sois Belle Photography is continuing to shoot weddings. I am hoping in the next couple of years to do weddings and videography. It would make sense for couples booking you for photography, if you can offer the full package. I know it would have made my life easier when I got married – it would have given me a lot less headache in the end. I would like to offer that as a whole, so maybe bring somebody else on if I’m able to, and they would do the video side, or possibly it is something else I need to learn. I love taking a picture, but the editing is amazing.

I always look a picture and I don’t know if I got the shot, but I sit down and edit and I have this album. I’d love to do the same with video. If I have someone who shoots the video and they know how to edit and they maybe teach me, I’d love to have that experience as well. In the future, Sois Belle Photography would move on to offering a better package, we’d offer the bridal couple both pictures and video, and you never know, we may be able to offer a bit more – make it a whole big thing where we start doing events. That would be my ultimate goal, I’d say.


Be patient, nothing happens overnight. Plan. I probably have about 11 business plans and I’m working on a twelfth. Costs as well – we’re all in different situations, but if you can minimise your costs and maybe start with a portion of what you want to do, I think that should be taken into consideration. But go for it! I think everyone who has an idea and thinks OK, I want to start something, go for it, because as you get older you realise there’s so many people who are self-employed.

It appears to me that the self-employed people seem to be happier. Plan ahead, take your time, and even if you start and you fail, it doesn’t mean it’s the end – you could fail and then have a rethink or pivot the idea. You could pivot the idea and create something that was much better than your original idea, so never give up.

Using 1st Formations

I formed my company with 1st Formations because one of my friends has started his own business around the same time of me. He came up with this idea and he was getting investors, etc. I approached him and said I need a registered office, as I was starting off doing newborns from home. I needed a registered office for my website. He said “I’m using 1st Formations.”

I looked at so many and there are so many other companies offering registered addresses where you can get your post and do other bits for you, but this one, after it was recommended, stands out even when you do your research. They have pretty much 5 stars, you go on and it’s easy to communicate. I think I’ve had to call up a few times and each time my queries have been dealt with. For me, 1st Formations is the best option out there if you are starting a business.

The company formation process

I just went online and went onto the website. I went through a questionnaire, you fill out your details and the company’s details, but other than that it’s pretty straightforward. Within 5 to 10 minutes, everything was pretty much set up. And then, on an annual basis, you carry on re-registering. I’ve been happy for the service so far, so I have done for the last 4 years.

1st Formations today

1st Formations has helped a lot of my business. Not only do I have a registered address that I don’t need to worry about; I have my important mail sent to me directly, I have a Service Address. For my clients, if anyone wants to send anything, I know 1st Formations will be in the middle of that. I’ve used 1st Formations for coming up to 4 years this year, and I say their service is 5 stars. You can’t go wrong. And also, they always send you reminders. I was reminded last week that I do have taxes to do.


Everything was just really straightforward, they were really helpful, and there was always somebody available if you needed to speak to them.

Natalie Opara, Opretty View customer story