On the up · 6 September 2018

Lina + Tom Ltd: 10 years of business started from a Facebook “poke” for this couple

The couple are wedding photographers
This co-founding couple have been lucky enough to keep up with the heavily saturated market of wedding photographers. Lina?+ Tom Ltd have provided UK and destination wedding and event photography for thousands of newly-weds.

As part of our “In love with my co-founder” series, we caught up with Lina to find out what it’s like working working a 12-hour day with her husband.

How did you both meet?

Tom and I met via Facebook in 2007. We had no connections, I purely ‘poked’ him because I found him attractive! After chatting online for a while we met for dinner and the rest is history!

What inspired you to start a business together?

When we met, I was in my tenth year of working in theatre and was currently working in artist management whilst freelance producing in London. Tom was a graphic designer and jobbing photographer in Cambridge without the confidence to go for the photography career full time.
When I saw his natural talent in some family wedding photography the agent in me persuading him to start shooting weddings, with me being business support.
Having a keen interest in photography it didn’t take long for Tom to teach me the skills to shoot alongside him and almost ten years later we are both award-winning photographers in our own right as well as a company.

What specific roles do you both have?

I manage the business in all areas: finance, marketing, client booking and liaison, travel planning, album design and I also have a side interest in public speaking as a brand and ideal client expert.
Tom is in charge of all design, IT and website, kit maintenance and he usually does more of the editing.

How do you separate work from your personal life?

With great difficulty! Our business a major part of our life together so it is never entirely separate and I do struggle with ‘not working guilt.’ We go on multiple trips away each year as that is only when we truly relax.

Do you have any rules to leave work at work?

Again, this is very hard when it is in the attic of your house, but a general rule is that once dinner is ready, work is done and we come down from the attic for the day. We do work mostly 12+ hour days though.

What are your individual strengths?

I have an MA in Arts Management from Greenwich University Business School and having run my own company previously all my business management skills keep us going day to day, as well as having strong people skills. Photographically I am a portrait specialist.

Tom is self-taught when it comes to building all our pcs and designing/managing our IT systems and website, and his graphic design skills are excellent.

As a photographer he was self-taught from his teens, starting with shooting planes at Duxford IWM, and is still one of the most technical photographers I have ever met. He is particularly strong at creating the wow ‘hero’ images for couples at weddings.

What’s been your biggest business achievement to date?

The wedding photography market is currently highly saturated, so we consider it a great achievement to be heading into our tenth year with another full diary shooting 40-50 weddings a year amongst other events, and charging a decent and liveable rate for it where so many others are thinking they can’t.

What is the hardest part of working together?

We spend a huge amount of time together, all day every day bar the odd exercise class or bike ride, so naturally sometimes we irritate each other!

What is the best part of running a business together?

Always being accountable to each other only, going through our successes together and never having to wait for someone else to step up if they aren’t as invested. It’s also great to pick our own time off together too, and as our work allows us to travel the world, it’s great to do it together.

What celebrity couple are you most like?

Well if we talk ‘duo’ rather than romantic couple…. Lina is naturally more customer facing and talkative, Tom is very quiet, which has earned him the nickname ‘photo ninja’ on a number of occasions, so therefore we’re like Penn and Teller. One does all the talking, but it takes both to create the magic.

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Carly Hacon is a reporter for Business Advice. She has a BA in journalism from Kingston University, and has previously worked as a features editor for a local newspaper.

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