Text by I Love Limerick correspondent Sarah Coghlan, interview by Niamh Higgins.
Eva Birdthistle is a portrait photographer in Limerick, and admirably passionate about capturing beautiful images. Eva captures everything, from couture sessions, kids and family photographs, pets, maternity and headshots, to performing arts, and food and interiors.
Eva’s passion is the couture sessions for women, and her photos are breath-taking. It’s 3 hours long, and includes a pre-consultation, a wardrobe guide, hair and makeup session, a photoshoot with at least 3 wardrobe changes, and a portrait reveal, where you can see your images fully edited and ready to bring home. She uses natural light when taking the shots for the couture session, there aren’t any artificial lights, unlike her other photographs, when she uses the studio lights. Boudoir Couture is also a part of the Couture Sessions, and is all about empowering women, and making them feel fantastic. As Eva says herself, “Capturing a smile, a personality or a moment in time is what I’m all about! I want every woman I photograph to see how beautiful they truly are!”
The studio sessions are for family, children, communion and confirmation, headshots, maternity and pets photography. The headshots cover both actor and model headshots which show character, and business headshots which are open and professional, reflecting the industry you’re in, rather than your personality. Eva pays particular attention to the eyes when she’s doing headshots, as “there’s very little else that you’re showing in a headshot, so you have to show as much emotion in the eyes as possible. You see personality. You see so much of their character”. They’re available for both men and women.
Eva also works with the networking group TWB (The Women’s Business), doing headshots for women.
Her maternity shots are very intimate, she likes to draw on the “connection between mum and bump”. She says herself it’s quite a contrast to family photographs, “because obviously the family pictures are very chaotic to say the least, it’s lovely to capture that very quiet moment [of the mother with her bump], the calm before the storm”.
For performing arts shooting, Eva has covered shows at King John’s Castle, and the Bloodworth Circus for the Clown Noir tour.
On her YouTube channel, she has examples of her videos of studio sessions she’s done, such as couture sessions and photography for Communions, and performing arts shooting, like Clown Noir and a fire show.
Above: A Cabaret Couture Session for one of her clients, Cara.
Eva wasn’t always a photographer. She was doing marketing for a technology company for a few years, but it was very time-consuming, so she gave it up to be there for her daughter as much as possible while she was going through secondary school. “It was the perfect opportunity,” Eva explains. “I had an absolute passion for photography, I was already taking portraits of people, so I decided, why not make a business out of it?” Eva proceeded to find photographers’ work she loved, and did courses with them. She found international photographers whose work she was really passionate about, she took their style and what it taught her, and developed it into her own style. She admits that her own style is still developing, and always will be for the rest of her life. “That’s what clients are paying for, they’re paying for my expertise, what I’ve learnt, but also my own creativity and my own stamp on things”.
Eva volunteers with Rape Crisis Midwest, and has had some of her friends helping out also with their coffee mornings. She also does shoots for Breast Cancer Awareness. She gives women recovering from cancer a free make-over, and their story is told. It’s not promotional work, Eva wants to “treat somebody who definitely needs to be treated”. She has given vouchers away to other charities also in the past.
Other charity work Eva has done is with her daughter Shona (who is also her assistant), for Limerick SPCA, who is passionate about animals, and the reason she started doing pet photography. At the end of last summer, Eva donated the first prize for a dog show at the Limerick racecourse, which was a shoot and canvas worth €350.
From February 2 to the 7, Eva and Shona will be photographing 4 pets a day to help raise funds for Limerick SPCA and Limerick Feral Cats. 100% of the “Donate What You Can” session fee goes towards the charities.
Eva is very passionate about charity work, and is eager to give back to her community. Eva’s grandmother lost her husband and eldest daughter at Spanish Point in Clare when Eva’s mother was three. Her grandmother had no money, had 4 kids at the time and was pregnant with her fifth, and had just suffered two traumatic losses. The people of Limerick gathered together money for the poor woman, she opened a business with the funds, and ran it for the next 50 years. Eva’s aunt emphasised to her how important it is to help her community after that, and as she is a counseller and working for people, that’s her way of saying thank you, and giving back what she can.
Visit Eva’s studio which is located in Limerick City on 2nd Floor, 15 Thomas Street, Limerick, or contact her at 086 3817677.
Check out Eva Birdthistle on her website here.