Capturing Creativity: An Insightful Journey with Portrait Photographer Siria Ferrer

Meet Siria, a passionate and dedicated portrait and fashion photographer based in Cardiff, Wales. With a strong background in fine arts and a deep-rooted desire to support emerging artists, Siria’s journey in the photography industry has been marked by resilience, creativity, and a commitment to staying true to her vision. From collaborating with musicians like Mali Haf and Mari Mathias to co-founding VAINE Magazine during the pandemic, Siria’s work not only captures captivating images but also contributes to the flourishing creative community in Cardiff and beyond. Join us as we delve into Siria’s experiences, challenges, and inspiring insights on navigating the photography scene and nurturing a thriving career in the arts.

What motivated you to start Siria Ferrer Photography and how has your vision evolved since its inception? 

I’ve always known that I wanted to dedicate myself to helping others. It’s just part of who I am, I suppose. 

Growing up, my parents always encouraged me to explore my creativity and follow my path in the arts. Both of them are self-employed, so I’ve always been close to the idea of being my own boss. Honestly, I can’t imagine doing things any other way. 

When I realised I wanted to pursue a career in photography, I envisioned myself working as a fashion photographer – that was the dream. But as I progressed in my photography journey, I discovered my true passion: collaborating with other artists to enhance their creative careers. 

Getting commissions marked the point where I realised I could actually make a living from photography. When you see something you’ve long envisioned becoming a reality, it boosts your confidence and drives you to keep growing. 

My determination has helped me reach my goals and brought me to where I am today. My vision has evolved into a more realistic perspective. Initially, I romanticised the idea of my dream job – being a famous fashion photographer, travelling the world, and so on. And while those aspirations are still there, they’ve shifted. I still want to travel and be recognised for my talent, but above all, I want to find happiness in what I do and stay true to my values. I don’t need to be in the spotlight to feel fulfilled. In fact, I feel fulfilled right now, knowing that I still have much to learn, improve, and achieve.

As a photographer based in Cardiff, United Kingdom, how does your environment influence your creative process and the subjects you choose to photograph? 

Cardiff serves as the perfect canvas for my artistic journey. Despite its size, it pulsates with creativity, particularly in music, surpassing even the vibrant scenes I encountered in Spain. 

The supportive feeling of the creative industry here fuels my motivation, as I feel valued for my work and can very easily connect with fellow artists in this close-knit community. Striving to support Welsh-language musicians and artists, such as Mari Mathias and Mali Haf, and MOBO musicians like Adjua, among others, further enriches my experience, and is an example of the cultural diversity that permeates the city. 

However, freelance photography, much like other creative pursuits, can feel isolating at times. Cardiff is a particularly rainy city – it was named the wettest city in the UK in 2021(which is quite something!) and while I relish the solitude of rainy days spent working from home, I recognise the importance of changing scenery to invigorate my creative process. 

Cafes and public spaces, like Chapter Arts Centre – my go-to meeting headquarters – offer an inspiring backdrop for my work. Surrounded by fellow artists, I am filled with inspiration, sparking new ideas and forging connections. Ffotogallery, a small yet impactful gallery where I occasionally work, has also proven fruitful in fostering creativity and expanding my network. 

In essence, Cardiff has provided me with the ideal environment for both creative and professional growth, nurturing my passion and shaping my artistic vision. 

Img. 1: Jerono Turgo @jeronoturgo 

Img. 2: Mari Mathias @marimathiasmusic_ 

Img. 3: Mali Haf @malihahahaf

What have been some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced in establishing and growing your photography business? 

Establishing myself as a freelance photographer has been a challenging journey, marked by self-doubt and negative thoughts. In today’s competitive world, exacerbated by social media, comparisons are inevitable, adding to the pressure I place on myself. Perfectionism has often hindered my progress, as has the struggle for financial independence, which left me feeling like a burden to those who supported me, pushing me to apply for jobs I didn’t truly want. 

Navigating through these challenges isn’t easy. Societal expectations and self-imposed limitations often threaten to derail one’s aspirations. Before moving to the UK from Valencia, Spain, where I hoped to find photography opportunities after completing my MA, I found myself stuck. The creative sector in Spain felt exclusive and overly competitive, leading to dwindling hopes of a photography career. 

However, relocating to Wales proved transformative. While initially daunting, I gradually gained confidence in presenting myself as a freelance photographer and directing models in English. With growing confidence, attracting new clients and marketing myself became more natural. 

Ultimately, the biggest challenge I’ve faced in my career has been battling my inner demons, overcoming self-doubt, and addressing insecurities. Yet, with each hurdle overcome, I’ve grown stronger and more resilient. 

How do you approach collaborations with other creatives to create compelling images that help them stand out? 

I thoroughly enjoy collaborating with fellow creatives, which is one reason why I’ve specialised in creative portrait and fashion photography. While my main clientele consists of musicians, I also work closely with a diverse range of artists, including authors, painters, and actors. Their familiarity with being in front of cameras and unique styles make my job easier, as I draw inspiration from their individuality to add my personal touch. 

Each project presents a fresh canvas to explore ideas and bring them to life collaboratively. From understanding their brief to creating mood boards; planning locations and outfits, teamwork is integral to the process. I utilise my own styles and techniques to make unique images tailored to each client’s vision. 

In this profession, teamwork is paramount. While technical skills are important, the ability to work effectively with others is equally crucial. Embracing teamwork allows ideas to flourish and helps elevate the quality of our work. 

BTS photos from one of my latest photoshoots with the cellist Samantha Drees taken by Sion Dawson, at Fonmon Castle. @scello12 @siondawson @fonmoncastle

You mentioned being the creative director of VAINE MAGAZINE. Can you tell us more about this role and how it complements your work as a photographer? 

VAINE emerged from the frustration and sense of undervaluation shared by emerging artists, including ourselves. Co-founded during the pandemic with my partner, Dom Thomas, we identified the necessity for a platform dedicated to supporting and showcasing the work of early-career creatives. Drawing from our personal experiences of feeling undervalued by publications, and fortified by my partner’s journalistic and literary background alongside my own design skills and fine arts expertise, we embarked on creating a space devoted to celebrating emerging art. 

In my role as creative director, I undertake a diverse range of responsibilities. From managing a team of volunteers to crafting pages, layouts, and illustrations, I am intricately involved in all aspects of VAINE’s operations. Moreover, I oversee social media and marketing initiatives to enhance the platform’s visibility and success. This journey as the Creative Director of VAINE Magazine has honed my problem-solving abilities, adeptness at meeting tight deadlines, and organisational skills, all of which I now apply to my freelance photography work. 

VAINE has afforded me the opportunity to engage in what I love most: assisting other emerging artists in showcasing their work. Featuring another photographer’s work has been a longstanding goal of mine since the project’s inception, with aspirations for a full editorial section in the future. 

Furthermore, VAINE has consistently served as a nexus for art and literature, fostering a community of creatives from whom I continually learn and draw inspiration. 

Photo of Dom and I, at the Ffotogallery PhotoBook and Magazines fair, April 2023.

What do you think sets your photography style apart from others in the industry? 

Coming from a fine arts background, I approach photography not as a technical endeavour, but as a form of creative expression. For me, photography transcends being a mere tool – it is an art form through which I convey my perspective of the world to others. 

I relish in experimentation, constantly seeking new approaches to photographing subjects. In my mind, the essence of ‘photography’, derived from its Latin roots meaning ‘painting with light’, underscores my creative process. Thus, I continually explore innovative ways to utilise light, transforming it to produce diverse effects. 

Lockdown profoundly influenced my photographic journey, providing ample opportunity for experimentation during periods of confinement. Engaging in activities such as manipulating objects, experimenting with light effects, and even featuring myself as a subject in front of the lens, has enabled me to develop and define my unique style, which I now apply to my portrait photography. 

Irene, June 2023. 

How do you balance your creative vision with the needs and expectations of your clients? 

Balancing my creative vision with the needs and expectations of my clients is a crucial aspect of my approach to photography. Firstly, I ensure open communication with clients to understand their objectives, preferences, and any specific requirements they may have. By listening attentively to their ideas and feedback, I gain valuable insights into their vision for the project. 

Every project is different, some are more creative than others, but I always try to bring a little bit of myself to every project. While staying true to my artistic style and vision, I remain flexible and adaptable, incorporating client input to tailor my approach accordingly. I strive to find a harmonious blend between my creative instincts and the desires of my clients, aiming to exceed their expectations while producing work that aligns with my artistic ethos. By fostering a collaborative atmosphere, I ensure that both my vision and the client’s objectives are respected, resulting in a final product that satisfies both parties.

Can you share a particularly memorable or rewarding project you’ve worked on and what made it stand out to you? 

Last year’s collaboration with Da-Ti Clothing on ‘The Discarded’ stands out as a milestone project for me. It was my first major editorial venture, surpassing all expectations. ‘The Discarded’ is set to feature in an upcoming issue of VAINE Magazine, centred around the theme of Discarded Ideas, providing a platform for repurposing old works into new creations. 

Led by local Welsh brand Da-Ti, the project involved a talented team of creatives, including stylist Yousra Esladig, MUA Anisa Yusuf, and jewellery brand Ambar Collections by Eugenia Marin. Models Adjua and Gillie, local musicians from Cardiff, contributed their talent, while fashion promotion students Poppy Grace and Shannon Chloe provided invaluable assistance. 

More than just a fashion editorial, ‘The Discarded’ aims to spark a dialogue about sustainability in fashion. It explores the intersection of fashion and environmental consciousness, advocating for a more sustainable approach to clothing consumption. By revitalising discarded garments, the project highlights the transformative power of creativity in addressing environmental challenges within the fashion industry. 

This project enabled me to forge new connections within the industry by collaborating with established creatives, and it also led to opportunities with new clients. It significantly raised my profile within the Cardiff scene. 

Full Team Credits: 

Photography and Creative Direction: @siriaferrerphoto_ 

Styling: Yousra Esladig @styled_by_yousra 

Wardrobe: @daticlothing 

Jewellery: @ambarcollections_ 

MakeUp: Anisa Yusuf @beaut.yymua

Models: Gillie & Adjua @gilliemusic @adjuasings_ 

Studio Assistants: Shannon Chloe @shannonchl0e & Poppy Grace @poppygrace6 

Location: The Sustainable Studio @thesustainable.studio 

What advice would you give to aspiring photographers who are looking to establish themselves in the industry, especially in terms of overcoming challenges and staying true to their creative vision? 

Navigating the photography scene as an aspiring photographer can be tough, but it’s all about keeping things in perspective. Sure, the journey isn’t always smooth sailing, but watching yourself grow and conquer challenges along the way is very rewarding. 

So, for those of you just starting out, my advice is to take your time honing your skills and building up an attractive portfolio. No need to rush; there’s plenty of time for that. Experiment with different techniques and styles, and don’t stress about finding your own unique style right away. It’ll come naturally as you go. 

Remain receptive to both paid and unpaid opportunities, but establish boundaries and recognise your worth as a professional. Many of us have undertaken unpaid projects to enrich our portfolios—I still do for personal endeavours or projects likely to attract future clients. Do it for yourself, not because others refuse to pay for your work. 

Let your niche reveal itself as you explore the diverse world of photography. Sometimes, what you’re passionate about might surprise you. Networking is key, so don’t be shy about putting yourself out there and connecting with other creatives. Own that photographer title, even if it’s not your full-time job yet. It’s easy to doubt yourself, but if you don’t value your own work, who will? Manifest it and you’ll get there! 

Stick to your creative vision and values. Don’t take on projects that don’t align with what you stand for, even if you’re desperate for work. And please, stop comparing yourself to others. Focus on your own journey—it’s unique to you. If others can succeed, why can’t you? 

Keep on learning every day, from yourself and from others, and don’t let negative thoughts dominate you. You’ve got this! 

Discover my work on: https://siriaferrerphoto.myportfolio.com/ 

Follow me on SM: 

IG & Threads: @siriaferrerphoto_

TikTok: @siriaferrerphoto 

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sifersai/


Siria Ferrer, born in Ibiza in 1995, is a portrait and fashion photographer based in Cardiff, Wales. Amid the pandemic, she diligently developed her portfolio, gaining recognition in publications such as Iconic Artist Magazine, HORIZONT Magazine, Mob Journal, Young in Focus, and others. Also in 2020, she co-founded VAINE Magazine with her partner, aiming to celebrate and showcase emerging art and literature. 

Based in Cardiff since 2021, freelance photographer Siria focuses on progressing creatives’ careers through her professional photography. Collaborating with musicians like Mali Haf, Mari Mathias, Josh Hicks, Otto Aday, and most recently with The Mysterines, she contributed stills to the BBC documentary ‘Foxy Music’ (2023) for New Voices of Wales. Beyond the music scene, she’s partnered with authors, painters, and various local and international brands, including Boutique De Nana, Da-Ti Clothing, and Ámbar Collections. 

by Harness Editor

Harness believes that freedom of expression equals female empowerment. The truth? We’re a badass authentic community of fierce women, and we exist to help your voice be heard. Harness is here to be your safe haven. A place to shed the competition, the insecurities. This is a place to rise by lifting others. This is who we are.


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