Zenfolio is essential to my business and a joy to use!

- Tiree Dawson

Get 20% off your site

About Tiree

Bio

Based in the beautiful English Lake District, Tiree photographs around 80 weddings each year and produces images for more than 40 commercial clients. With an academic background in art history, she has a deep understanding of the rules of composition, colour and texture, and of when and how they can be broken. She aims to capture graceful and beautifully composed images that tell the story of the subject as it unfolds, without interrupting it. 

Interview

1. Where is your home base? 

The English Lake District 

2. What is your photography genre/specialty? 

Wedding, commercial and fine art

3. What is your most memorable image and why?

There are many of my photos that are very special to me, but if I had to pick one, it would be a personal one rather than a professional one. I tried to set up a family portrait of the four of us when we were on the beach in Spain in February. I propped my camera on a wall and had 10 seconds to get us all assembled. The kids were running around laughing so I gave up and just kissed my husband instead. It’s a very happy accident of an image and I love it.

4. Why did you become a photographer? What drives you to capture images and has this changed over time?

I bought my first decent camera when I was pregnant with my eldest child… purely with the intention of documenting our growing family. I still love to do that, but now photography has become so much more—a career, a passion and a complete way of thinking. I photograph a lot of diverse subjects, but there is one thread that unites them: they are things that people love. It might be their children, their partner, their business, their products, or their handiwork—whatever it is, I am documenting it because it is important. Somewhere along the line, at least one person has poured their passion, determination, energy and resilience into making that thing in front of my camera what it is at that very moment. That responsibility is all the drive I need. 

5. Do you have any personal rituals to help you get ready for a shoot? 

Religiously preparing all my memory cards and batteries—I am a complete swot when it comes to this! I also like to go for a run in the hills before a big job, to clear my head and wake myself up.

6. What are the top 5 things you can’t live without while on a shoot?

I always have two bodies (currently both Canon 5d Mk3) and my g-to lenses are 50mm 1.2, 70-200mm f2.8 and my 100mm f2.8 macro. Depending on the job though, I’d probably sacrifice one of those for my reflector or a good quality cereal bar.

7. How do you regain your inspiration if you hit a creative rut?

I wrote an article on this for Zenfolio.  

8. Who or what has been the biggest influence on your journey as a photographer? 

As much as I love to follow the work of other photographers, I generally find my inspiration comes from a wider field—paintings, films, shop window displays—all sorts of places. Every day I find at least 10 minutes to scroll through Pinterest and Instagram to gather new ideas for compositions, poses and new projects.

9. If you could share just one tip with aspiring photographers, what would it be?

Shoot a large volume of work. It’s important to just keep taking photos. I think of it like keeping fit—if you stop for even just for a few days you start to lose your edge. I’ve shot a huge volume of weddings over the past few years, so many that some people think I’m mad, but it has been an amazing learning curve.

10. What are the top three Zenfolio features essential to helping you run your business? 

The ability to create and easily update a stylish online storefront for my business, the client proofing galleries (especially the Favorites feature, which is great for creating albums with clients) and the e-commerce element. I also love the blog feature as it’s so quick, easy to use, and looks great. 

11. If you could second shoot with any photographer (dead or alive) who would it be and why?

I am pretty much in love with Fer Juaristi, but Two Mann would also be up there as I love their style. It’s very different to mine, so I think I could learn a huge amount. 

12. How has the photography world changed since you turned pro?

 I think it’s easier than ever for someone to set themselves up as a pro and have a convincing online presence. I always make sure my potential clients are aware of this and encourage them to put in the effort to make sure anyone they are considering is everything they claim they are! 

13. What one piece of software besides Zenfolio do you consider to be vital in your workflow?

Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom are essential for my editing, but for business admin it would be 17hats.