Capturing that perfect image takes time, patience, and practice. Photographer Éadaoin Curtin talks about pursuing her passion. And shows how you can do the same.
We worked with Éadaoin during the GirlCrew Hootenanny to celebrate the app launch in Dublin, and we were blown away. The images really capture the fun, colour, and warmth of the event. But my favourite part is that they also seemed to capture the energy and spirit of each individual.
After the madness of the Hootenanny calmed down, we sat down with Éadaoin for a catch-up. The perfect chance to talk all things photography, and get the inside track on this profession. In the first part of this series we’ll delve into Éadaoin’s background. But stay tuned for parts two and three; when we also get her top tips for being a better photographer, as well as how images can help build your business and personal brand. But for now, lets get to know the woman behind the camera.
So, Éadaoin, lets start at the beginning – how did you get into professional photography?
Photography always just been a part of me, I think. I shot my first wedding at 9 years old (my uncle’s wedding, left the lens cap on, entire roll of film, disaster!) But I’ve always just loved taking photographs – of people. As part of my design degree I studied photography modules every year and that’s where I learned to explore it a bit more.
I started to take it more seriously in 2011 and like a lot of people, began shooting local gigs in the likes of Fibbers and at festivals. I learned so much about craft and passion from watching musicians. And also the fundamentals of what it means to work to get the shot you want. It grew organically from there – people liked my work; asked me to shoot their band, their family photos, their wedding, their portrait, their headshot. My skills and confidence in my work grew in quite a natural way, as has Firechild Photography, my business.
There have been days when I wondered why I can’t just get a ‘proper’ job, but it’s not a choice for me anymore – I feel like everything I’ve done in my life has led me to this point.
If you could only pick one, what was the best shoot you’ve ever worked on?
In terms of enjoying the shoot, honestly, when I’m working I’m with my clients one hundred percent and the excitement of seeing the whole thing unfold in front of me is just such a big part of that. I’m constantly striving to find the best way to capture the people in front of me – you don’t have to be a movie star to look amazing. I truly believe a lot of it is about the relationship you have with the photographer.
That said, over the summer I shot a surprise proposal at Dublin Castle with a Canadian couple. It was incredibly nerve wracking and so exciting. And probably the absolute best way to spend a Monday morning at work, ever! [This shoot] is also a serious favourite; we kept the vibe very much lifestyle but also had the opportunity to glam it up and get creative, and that’s where the technical thrill comes in, getting the shot I have in my head onto the camera and letting the client see it there and then on the shoot, it really builds the excitement and the energy.
It can be cut-throat, any advice for those looking to make the jump from amateur to professional photography?
The timing is always an issue, is there ever really a ‘right’ time to do anything important in life? You can definitely give yourself the best possible start though. When I started Firechild Photography first I was working as a teacher at the same time and divided my time as best I could. I built the business up to a point where it just made sense to make the move.
For those of you considering it; have a plan and when you do move, put everything you’ve got into it. Work your ass off, give generously to people who respect your time. Guard yourself and your time fiercely from those who don’t. You’ll learn quickly who they are. Strive to grow, and to inspire yourself and others to do the same – and make the sacrifices it takes to do so. Get out there and talk to as many people as possible. Be honest and work with integrity.
We’re going to put you on the spot again, who is your favourite photographer? And why?
Toughest question for last! I have so many, it’s hard to chose! It’s a weird one, but I don’t usually want to, or think I could, emulate the work of the photographers I love. I suppose I’d like to think that I could draw inspiration from different elements within their work, or aspire to at least!
There are different things I admire about different photographers; for example it could be the humour and deeply true to life work of a street photographer – e.g. Bruce Gilden or the way Ian Weldon brings that philosophy to his wedding photography just kills me.
Then there are other photographers I love for their use of colour and light, e.g. Steve McCurry and Irish wedding photographer Amy French are just incredible artists. Then there are the likes of Anne Simone and Gertrude Käsebier.
I just get this gut wrench when I see their work – deeply intimate and thoughtful portraits that seem to see deeper into the person than you think could be possible in a photograph.
Huge thanks to Éadaoin for giving her insights on the world of professional photography, and for creating this guide to help you create authentic images. Next week she’ll be giving us her top tips on how to be a better photographer. In the meantime, if you’ve any guidance on making we’d love to hear from you. What’s your advice for someone looking to make the leap from amateur to professional? And if you’re looking to connect with others on the same journey, make sure you check out our entrepreneurs group.