About 7 months ago, I got a LinkedIn message from Sharon, who wanted to see if I needed any help with photography for the launch of my new business Nyina.
Sharon is a commercial food and product photographer. Based in the heart of Belfast, Sharon photographs food and product for local businesses throughout Northern Ireland, Ireland and the UK.
From the first meeting to today, I can honestly say I’ve never worked with someone so passionate about what they do. Her creativity, personality and general drive is something I’m in awe of! We have so much fun working together and we have created some amazing content for my businesses!
A little bit about Sharon and her business Sharon Cosgrove Photography (SCP)…
- Give a little background about yourself and e.g. where you’re from, where you live, any other jobs etc.
I grew up in a little coastal town called Larne then moved to Belfast in 2004 where I began my career as a photographer. I started out as a trainee portrait photographer with Venture New Generation Portraits on the Lisburn Road. Here I spent 6 years training and honing my craft until I left to become a product photographer with Argento Jewellery. All the while I had a burning desire to shoot food which is exactly how I spent most of my spare time! This desire eventually turned into a business and I began to shoot food for clients.
2. How long you’ve had the business, offering etc.
The business was born through my love for shooting food, I wanted to do it for other people who also shared my passion. That was back in 2018 although I have been photographing food for most of my professional life. Working with foodies and the enjoyment and enthusiasm on a food shoot is hard to beat! This is definitely what I am supposed to be doing, most of the time it doesn’t even feel like work.
3.What has been your biggest high?
There have been a few highs for me so far along the way. The most recent ones would have to be seeing my images 12 meters high on a 96 sheet billboard in the heart of Belfast city centre – such a great feeling! I also recently had an image chosen to win an online food photography competition, the judge being the one and only David Loftus (Jamie Oliver’s food photographer) whose work and life I greatly admire. To have him message me to say I had won has been a big highlight and boost for me.
4. What has been your lowest point with the business?
I don’t like to call anything a low point but more of a learning curve! This whole adventure has been amazing and scary as I’m sure anyone who has started their own business will understand. I try to turn low points or negative days into something I can learn from and challenge myself to put a positive spin on it.
5. Who do you think are your biggest supporters?
All of my family and friends have been incredibly supportive but I’d have to give a special shout out to my husband as he is the one I come home to after a tough day or a particularly hard ‘learning curve’. Any little blips and he’s there to lift me up, dust me off and send me back out! Support when running your own business is crucial and I have made great use of the support networks out there in Belfast for women like me. Finding your tribe in whatever walk of life your own is vital, you don’t realise how much you need them until you need them.
6. Where do you see the SCP brand going?
I would love to see the brand become a household name in the world of food photography! To have a cookbook published of my work and to explore food culture and the lifestyle aspect of food in a more editorial perspective.
7. Do you believe it is important to collaborate and why?
Absolutely! I love to collaborate with other passionate and creative folks and bring together different skills and techniques. It’s a wonderful way of experimenting and everyone gets something out of it.
8. Who would be your ultimate collaboration?
My ultimate collaboration would have to be on a cookbook – I’m itching to shoot one plus it would be so much fun! So, any recipe writers out there do get in touch!
9. Any advice to other women in your position as a creator or who want to be entrepreneurs themselves?
Don’t wait – if you have an idea then set the wheels in motion! I know it’s scary but at the very least, write down your ideas and tell someone, show someone, get it out there. Amazing things will happen but you have to make a start.
“Fear is temporary, regret is forever”