I came across Erin Beck quite early on in my own photography journey. I recall how much her work spoke to me, her editing style was right up my street, deep, dark monochromes and vibrant matte colours, I can still spot her work a mile off in a sea of others. Erin also has a natural talent for capturing raw emotion, the connections between families, siblings, mothers and their children, her subjects are clearly so at ease with her. Since discovering Erin’s work, I’m now happy to say that she’s my friend (all be it an online one!). She’s generous, passionate, creative and I think that clearly shows in her work, a little of her heart and soul is put into each and every image.
What makes you pick up the camera when you don't feel like it?
I go through bouts of wanting to photograph everything and then days when it's the last thing I want to do - being able to constantly feel creative is difficult, I'm a 'me time' person and I like moments to myself I find the easiest way is to take some time for myself to look at photographs, maybe ones I've taken or look through some of my favourite artist's work, I can't help but then want to make my own magic or get myself into a depressive state about how mine don't look like theirs... ;-)
What gear do you use?
I am a Nikon girl and I don't think I'll ever change! - I currently have a D600 and shoot with my 50mm f1.4 nearly ALL of the time.
How do you balance photographing clients for business, but also not lose your original passion of photographing your own family or what you love the most?
I'll often get back from a shoot and want to dive right into editing and then have a day off midweek - that's when I find it best to take a break and remember to photograph for me too - Though having said that sometimes I want to replace all the photographs in my home a little too often when I do that!
How you found your style?
This is a hard question because I think I can recognise a photographer's style usually by the way they've edited their photographs, sometimes I'll notice that more so than the type of photograph they've taken. I do generally photograph similar poses with different families and I have found a style of editing that I like and that I'm currently using for all my edits, I think once you've found something you're happy with it's easy to just keep that going and that's what makes your images recognisable. I'll often have people message me asking how I get that 'rich matte look' - I'm a lover of matte finishes!
What is the #1 item on your photography wish list?
I reviewed the Nikon D750 for Photography Monthly Magazine and I DID NOT want to send it back, I actually kept it a little longer than I should have already but when it's time to upgrade (and I've saved) I'd love that camera.
Favourite time to shoot?
Early evening without a doubt - It's just easier, there's so much to think about with my camera settings without the constant changes in sunlight or finding shade during the day, I'm not just saying this because it makes my job easier, pictures look far nicer that time of day too. Promise promise.
Who is your favourite photographer, living or dead?
I really enjoyed studying the work of Richard Billingham at college and found his true life images of his life particularly profound. I follow and am inspired by so many photographers at present and for very different reasons, I really appreciate different styles of photography that don't necessarily mirror my own style of work.
If you had all the money in the world, what would you do?
I have already thought of this - I'd buy my home and have a studio at the bottom of my garden, a field of wildflowers, an orange grove, can I have a lake? Maybe some mountains nearby? Oh and I'd buy that D750.
My ideal clients are ones that let go, that don't care about acting silly with their kids, that's when you capture real moments of happiness.
Are you a creative person...have you always been creative...what inspires your creativity?
Yes, I have always been creative - who didn't watch Art Attack and then dive into the cupboard for loo roll tubes! - Seriously though, I really enjoyed art as a child and through my teen years I think creative types are generally good at the same things, it's the creative eye!
What is your biggest strength as a photographer?
I like to think I'm a good with wee ones, sometimes I'll photograph children and they'll take a while to come round, there's usually a trick whether it's pretending to plant acorns or having sword fights with grass that makes them feel more relaxed but I generally don't worry too much about the behaviour of children when I meet them...
Your biggest weakness?
Mince pies. Oh you mean photography wise? - Ok definitely finding time, I receive emails to my phone and it's hard to not read them when I'm spending time with my family or be half way around the supermarket with my children and need to take a call, that's not always easy with a 1 year old who wants to eat the bananas NOW - I'm a Mummy first and foremost and photography occasionally suffers - Once the littlest is at school though I know I'll be able to have proper working hours, that makes me very happy!
Erin Beck was interviewed by Charlotte Kitchenside.