Top photographer snaps up export business with help from Invest Northern Ireland

Donal Doherty Photography in Londonderry has been assisted by Invest Northern Ireland to win business abroad by means of an innovative website.

Lifestyle photographer Donal Doherty, who formed the small business in 2010, turned to Invest NI for help to harness the internet to develop an eyecatching brand and market his expert services, particularly in terms of wedding, lifestyle and portrait photography in markets outside Northern Ireland such as Great Britain, the Republic of Ireland and the US.

As a result of this focus and with assistance from Invest NI’s North West Regional Office in Derry, he’s experienced a 50 per cent growth in business since the website went ‘live’ at the end of September. It’s even produced commissions to cover weddings in places such as Sorrento, Cyprus and Spain.

Assistance for the photography business was announced by Des Gartland, Manager of Invest NI’s North West Regional Office, during a visit to the company’s studio in the Waterside. He was briefed about the company’s growth by Donal Doherty.

Mr Gartland, welcoming the achievements of the company in markets outside Northern Ireland, said: “Our assistance for Donal Doherty Photography is an excellent example of our strategic focus on helping smaller companies to win business abroad by harnessing the latest web technology.

“The company approached us with a compelling business plan that demonstrated a strong commitment to faster growth through sales outside Northern Ireland.

“The support is in line with our strategic commitment to assist smaller businesses in the North West that demonstrate entrepreneurial and a commitment to innovation particularly for markets outside Northern Ireland.”

Mr Doherty said: “Invest NI’s support for the development of what is a very innovative website has been invaluable. I would not have been able to afford to create the site without the funding that Invest NI provided to enable me to commission a top designer with the expertise and knowledge that was a perfect fit for my business.

“The website, created by Melissa Love, is an outstanding success and has led to a significant increase in my business. October, for instance, was my best month since the launch of the company in 2010 and saw commissions grow three fold.

“The technology has enabled me to actively tap into a new opportunity provided by ex-pats in US and Britain wishing to marry in Derry and other parts of Northern Ireland. It has given me a really strong presence in the market and a very attractive brand. Above all, the site shows the high quality of the photography and the service that the company provides,” he added.

In addition to Mr Doherty, the business provides employment for three people currently on a part time basis.