First published March 23, 2023
Just days after Mother’s Day, we’re excited to celebrate the work of this awesome creative Mama. Mirlah (pronounced Merla) is a Derbyshire-based photographer and ‘full time snack dispenser’! We love the joyful, easy way she captures people on their special days, and that energy is evident here, too. This chat is relaxed, warm and full of wisdom. Find out all the creative avenues she explored before rediscovering photography during the pandemic, how she’s working on being more present and rejecting a ‘negative mindset’, and her plans as she approaches her ‘busiest wedding season yet’. Get this gal a chocolate digestive…. she’s smashing it.
Mirlah, what’s your creative occupation?
I’m a creative wedding & lifestyle photographer based in Derbyshire, but I will travel for love. Less creative, but I’m also a full time snack dispenser for my two curly-haired babes!
Where have you been?
Location-wise I’ve always been a Derbyshire gal. I lived in Derby for years, (moved away briefly to Lincoln for uni) and settled in the Peak District. Our happy place!
Work wise… oh where to begin? I’ve had a side hustle since the day I left uni in 2010. Never quite satisfied with the creativity ‘proper jobs’ gave me, I started saying ‘yes’ to new opportunities in design, copywriting and marketing, and things snowballed from there. I’ve been the boss of my own creative design company, run a wedding stationery business and sold on Not on The High Street, and freelanced for various marketing agencies. I was always worried about being a jack of all trades in my 20’s but, looking back, everything has got me to where I am today.
Wherever I’m going, I’m not taking imposter syndrome with me… she’s not invited. MIRLAH ON THE FUTURE
Where are you now?
Photography has always played a part in my creative roles but it truly got a hold of me during the pandemic where I dusted off my proper camera and took it more seriously. I started photographing families and newborns, but when a good friend asked me to shoot her wedding it really took off. Having been in the industry for years; my stationery business, freelance blogging, and event managing a busy wedding venue, it just made perfect sense. I love seeing a wedding day through my lens, the love and the happiness is just incredible.
I left my ‘proper job’ in the summer of 2022 and I can proudly say that I’m a full-time creative wedding photographer now. Working for myself is the most freeing, rewarding thing ever and I’m so glad I took that leap. Sure, I wake up at 5am sometimes with new ideas occupying my brain and never truly switch off, but it’s all for me and my family. The sense of purpose and achievement is amazing and to be able to do this, and be flexible around family life, is incredible.
Where are you going?
Ooof big question. Right now, I’m about to start my busiest wedding season yet and I’m so excited to spend the day with the couples that have trusted me to capture it. I’ve just launched my brand-new website, complete with new branding, and I’m working on making the process from enquiry through to after the wedding day the best it can be. For me, my job is much more than taking the photos, I want to be the one to help and give advice along the way. I pinch myself daily that I’m here doing all of this. I’ve got some goals in mind; some monetary, some more personal, but all I know is wherever I’m going, I’m not taking imposter syndrome with me… she’s not invited.
And hopefully a holiday, that would be nice.
Finally, what’s occupying your thoughts today?
We’re dangerously low on chocolate digestives… just kidding. You know what, I’m really working hard on being present and taking the time to focus on the small daily wins. Life for us as a family had been incredibly tough recently and it’s all too easy to get swept up by a negative mindset. I’m working hard on acknowledging those feelings and giving them space but also feeling gratitude for small things. Sounds ‘woo woo’ I’m sure, but it’s really making a difference.