We had the good fortune of connecting with Edward McGrath and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Edward, what habits do you feel play an important role in your life?
Consistency, persistency and integrity are the three things I really believe in when it comes to business. I feel in todays world that all three are key to building a business and maintaining professional relationships.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
A lot of how I view my business and art has to do with giving back. A few years ago I had a meeting with an accomplished business man about a possible business idea and venture. He asked me how this business idea was going to benefit others. He stated that anything you do in business should in someway benefit others. I never forgot that, and have definitely done my best to use my talents and resources to benefit others.
Another gentleman I met at the first event I ever photographed told me he admired my drive, and to be sure to never lose sight of my love for it. “Do it because you love it and the money will come.” That is something I have never forgotten and so far it has proven to be true.
I think the thing I am excited about the most is that I have never lost my love or interest in creating my art. In fact the more I learn, the more I want to learn more. I use a lot of lighting in my photography work. Being able to use light to create my art has helped to take my art and photography to new heights. I have in the last couple of years started putting together workshops for people wanting to learn. Most of the creative shoots I have put together have been used to help other’s in need of learning to participate. I get excited watching others get excited when they learn something new.
Recently I have started focusing on mentoring and helping other learn the basics of photography. There are things I feel that many new photographers just do not know. It’s amazing watching people have aha moments. We have started getting more and more people asking for help.
One of the things that I can’t stand in the photography world is gatekeeping. I see it all the time in photography and other creative groups. People will ask for help, and then get blasted or ridiculed. Yes Google Exist, and yes there are learning tools out there. Most people do not wish to bother others for help and so when they break down and do ask for help getting ridiculed prevents them from asking further questions. I’d really like to change that with those I help. I feel like showing people how to find answers is the way to go.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I would definitely take them to the Fort Pickens Civil War fort on Pensacola Beach. That place is just beautiful for an adventure as well as photography purposes.
We have a really cool Navy museum here that has a very size-able amount of airplanes on display. There are parts where you can get into actual cockpits of retired planes.
We also have the Gulfarium which is an aquatic adventure park. They do a lot with helping in the rehabilitation efforts of injured sea turtles and other aquatic creatures. The dolphin shows are a lot of fun.
We have several beautiful state parks around as well that are nice to visit.
Entertainment here is pretty broad. We’re very fortunate that many of our clients are entertainment professionals. I would definitely do my best to get them to the Northwest Florida Symphony for some beautiful symphony music. We also have an outstanding Ballet company here called Ballet Pensacola. There’s also some fantastic theatre here. Emerald Coast Theatre in Miramar has some fantastic plays and music events that is put on there.
Music is something that there is no shortage of here. Club L.A. In Destin has some of the best musical acts in the land come through.
Food is something that I feel has something for everyone. Downtown Pensacola has a place called Global Grill. Global Grill is a very nice upscale tapa’s restaurant. If you’ve ever wanted to experience a place where food is art then this is the place for you. Barbecue has a few different places. I actually cook a lot of my own barbecue, but if I had to choose I’d have to choose one of my favorites- Jim and Nicks in Destin. If pizza is what you’d like we have a really great place in Pensacola called the Tuscan Oven which is a brick oven pizzeria. we also have Rodizio Grill in Pensacola which is an upscale all you can eat Brazilian steakhouse. Seafood here has a wide variety to choose from, and really way too many to choose from. The local groups on Facebook have some great recommendations for what you’re looking for. If you like oyster’s though I would suggest Peg Leg Pete’s on Pensacola Beach. The Oysters Rockefeller will knock your socks off.
If you really want an experience that will definitely be a night to remember I’d try to get us to Improbable Cause Mystery Theatre. Here you can get a great meal as well as a show. Eat a meal, and solve a murder- This is an absolute fun time and never a dull moment! We spend quite a bit of time with the cast and crew, and know you’d have a blast too.
Last thing I think that would be really fun to do would be to go hang out on the beach at night. It’s a great place to catch up, and relax.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I literally cannot list all of the people who have been instrumental in everything that has lead to this point, but the three mentioned below have been supportive and definitely made an impact that has catapulted me to this point.
There are definitely a long list of people that have been instrumental and have helped me to grow as a person, but I will tell you about the following three.
I would say there are a couple of people in particular that have really helped us to move forward and grow to where we are today. A good friend of mine Shad Pipes was very instrumental in helping me acquire the tools I needed in my business and growth as an artist. Without his help, support, and guidance I know I definitely would not be as far along today as I am. Several years ago he helped me acquire my dream camera setup. It absolutely changed not just my art, but my life. I will forever be grateful for his help and support.
A few years ago I was fortunate to get the opportunity to learn and be get mentored by one of the best wedding photographer’s in the region. Gary Alves took the time to mentor teach me a lot of aspects of wedding photography that I would have never learned on my own. He is someone to this day that I will always be thankful for.
Finally my wife. I met my wife through photography. At the time she was working to build her own media company called 850 Music & Entertainment. She started off originally as a blog for her friends in cover bands and it grew from there. She has gotten to shoot some amazing shows and work with some amazing people. Once we met we developed an initial working relationship that eventually grew into a relationship that has lead us to marriage.
My wife and I work our business as a team and she has been very instrumental in helping me stay level headed and focused. Together we feel like we can conquer any mountain. Working as a team we have been able to land some great clients and are always working to create more opportunities for ourselves and others. As a team we have been able to grow our company into one that we’re very proud of. We have gained some great clients and a very happy life together. To put it all in words would just be impossible to do. I am thankful for her everyday.
Featured Photo: David Reiling Digital Imagery All other photos by me.