One Photographer’s Secret: Having the Courage to Follow a Personal Passion

Ed Mulholland, boxing photographer

Ed Mulholland knows how to take a punch. The New Jersey-based sports photographer has been fascinated with boxing since childhood, and he credits this life-long passion as a major contributor to his success as a photographer of the sport.

“I’m in a lucky spot where I truly love what I am doing,” he said during an interview with me recently.

But it didn’t start out this way. Muholland, like most people, found himself in the opposite situation — working for a salary, ignoring his passion.

“I was doing a suit-and-tie job, and not completely thrilled with it,” he said.

With a degree in economics from Rutgers University, he found himself managing a healthcare company. It wasn’t until his brother took him to a fight, camera in tow, that his life changed. The images he shot from his seats were good enough to attract the attention of at least one major boxing website – and his career as a photographer was born.

Today, as a contract photographer for HBO Sports and ESPN, he travels all over the world shooting the sport he loves. Life is good.

I like Ed’s story because he’s truly passionate about what he’s shooting. He’s successful because he’s a legitimate expert in the sport, and things just come naturally. Having an instinctive “feel” for the game, its timing, and characteristics of the fighters cannot be faked, and puts him at an advantage over other photographers.

If there is one simple bit of advice that I give to photographers over and over that is worth repeating again, here, right now, in this blog post – it’s that they should shoot what they love. Get into a niche that’s important to you, and get deep into it.

Ed is living proof that you can make a financially and personally rewarding career out of following your passions.

I went to Ed’s house in New Jersey a few weeks ago. We sat down on his couch and talked about his business, how he got started, and how his passion for both boxing and UFC helps him to regularly capture the most difficult shot in the sport – the elusive “fist-on-face” moment that happens in a fraction of a second.

(Also, I highly recommend following Ed on Twitter, at @Muls96.)

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  1. Shawn M. Knox at 8:54 pm

    Great interview by Grover on this one. Since I find myself in a very similar career situation to Ed’s early days and also love shooting sports this one really resonates with me and provides hope and inspiration to keep shooting and press onward. Thanks Grover and Ed.

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