We recently chatted with Alex Sheridan about his career as a phographer and how he got started working in such a creative industry.
How did you first get into photography?
I got into photography through skateboarding and shooting photos of my friends skating. I got a camera with the intention of shooting HD videos of skating but quickly became more interested in the stills side. Over time my interests expanded into shooting fashion and portraits. From there I started test shooting with new faces for some of the model agencies here in Dublin to build up a portfolio for myself. Over time I started getting recognised for my work which led to some small commissions and features.
Can you describe a typical work day?
Pretty cliche, but every workday is different. Some days are spent in a studio shooting for 8 hours, others are spent running from location to location in town for various shoots and meetings, but a lot are spent at the computer editing, retouching and emailing.
What motivates you?
Creating new work. Every time I get booked for a job or organise a personal shoot I get to create something new, which is incredibly exciting and motivating.
How do you integrate social media into your career as a photographer?
Social media is extremely important to any photographer trying to market their work, it has a huge possible reach and costs nothing apart from your time. Instagram is my favourite, I mainly use it to share finished work and behind the scenes photos from shoots. I also use Facebook and recently I’ve started using Snapchat a small bit.
What has been your biggest career achievement to date?
I’ve had a few small achievements since starting my freelance career, from getting to shoot with well-known brands and subjects, to an outdoor solo exhibition in Dublin city centre in 2014. But a more recent achievement was signing with Distinct Model Management, which was nice because they were the first agency to give me a model to shoot with when I was starting out. I’m delighted to now be represented by a creative agency with so much passion for what they do. I can’t wait to see what the coming months hold.
Have you any advice for people thinking of entering the industry?
I would say assist and shoot a lot. You don’t necessarily need to go to college to be a photographer, you can learn so much from online resources and assisting a photographer. I tried going the college route for photography, but realised pretty quickly that it wasn’t what I wanted to do so left the course and got started on my freelance career, and have never regretted the choice. I think on the job experience is more important than a degree in this field.
Is there anyone that influenced you to take this career path?
Nobody ever really influenced me to choose photography as a career, it happened organically. Shortly after I first started taking photos I realised this might be something I would like to do as a job in the future.
Where do you hope to see yourself / your business in 5 years?
I don’t really know, five years is a long time and a lot can change in a short space of time. But ideally, in five years time I would like to be shooting campaigns for major brands around the world, maybe based out of London or New York.
What is your pet peeve about working in the industry?
A lot of the time work tends to come in cycles, which can be frustrating, as you could be flat out busy with six shoots in one week and then have nothing booked the next week, but that's part of being freelance.
What do you do to relax and unwind after a long days work?
If the weather allows I try to go skating. But I also love watching a good TV series like Peaky Blinders or The Sopranos, or going out with friends.
You can contact Alex or view some of his amazing work at his website www.alexsheridan.com