Don’t we get all cranky every morning to leave our precious, most comfortable bed? Come sunrise, the snooze button is our hero, and the bed our nest. Aren’t we all afraid of leaving our comforts behind? Be it the bed or our monotonous lives? But not Lauren Bath , comfortable is not for her.
“At age 28 I was working in a job as a Chef and I loved it. I had great friends and hobbies, I was fit and healthy.” says Lauren. Perfect, right? Or is it? “But I was bored stupid” Wait. What?! Loving your job is the best thing. Making it your passion is awesome, but getting too comfortable was not Lauren’s style, and so she decided to do something about it and found the remedy in travel photography. Now she’s got the bug and looks like she has been bitten for life!
Lauren is an Australian based travel photographer, thanks to her early success on popular photo-sharing site Instagram. She has been working full time in this role for four years and has been involved in over 200 travel based campaigns.
Connecting for the #IamLivingit series, Team Livingit got in touch with Australia’s first professional instagrammer , with stories on how she got to where she is today, her love for photography and her passion for adventure.
Livingit: What first drew you to photography—and how did you discover it?
Lauren Bath: I started becoming interested in photography in late 2011 after downloading Instagram. I originally used my mobile phone to take photos but soon wanted a camera to improve. Since then my photography has gone from strength to strength and I continue to learn and improve.
Livingit: From being a chef to a full-time photographer, how has the journey been?
Lauren Bath: I was an early adopter of Instagram and only started to use the app as a hobby. Due to good timing and good images and engagement, I grew my account to upwards of 200,000 followers when I was still working as a chef. It was at this stage that I decided to quit my job and see if I could find opportunities in the tourism industry.
Livingit: What cameras and lighting gear did you start with and what are you currently using?
Lauren Bath: I started using Nikon and my first camera was a D7000. I soon upgraded to the D600 and D810 before realizing I needed something lighter and switching to the mirrorless Olympus system. Now my main camera is an OM-D E-M1 Mark II.
Livingit: How do you best describe your current style of photography?
Lauren Bath: I’m a travel photographer so my photography is very broad. I love landscapes but also shoot underwater, people, wildlife and food.
Livingit: Which photographers influenced you, and how did they influence your thinking, photographing, and career path?
Lauren Bath: To be honest, I didn’t know much about other photographers when I was learning and the people that I look up to now are usually the guys that have great business sense, like Colby Brown.
Livingit: If there was one thing you would want us to know about you, what would it be?
Lauren Bath: That I work incredibly hard. Most people assume that I just got lucky but I have done an insane amount of work to get to where I am.
Livingit: How you feel when people say, “The camera is just a tool; it’s the photographer who matters.”
Lauren Bath: I think that is a true statement as many exceptional photographers can achieve incredible shots with basic gear but having better gear will certainly improve your photography once you’re confident in the creative side of things.
Livingit: When you go in one of your travels, what all you take with you? Why?
Lauren Bath: I take a full kit of professional camera gear with spare equipment too. I also take a tripod, editing equipment (laptop, hard drives) and appropriate clothing for the conditions I’ll be shooting in.
Livingit: Among the gadgets that you own, is there something that you wish you hadn’t bought? Why?
Lauren Bath: Not really. It all comes in handy eventually. Probably my most expensive accessory that I don’t use is a macro lens but I hold onto it in case I ever find the time to play.
Livingit: What kind of tools do you use for post processing? Explain your work flow?
Lauren Bath: I use Photoshop. I always have a folder on my desktop of the images I want to edit and I work on them individually in photoshop. I spend very little time editing and once the work is done the shots get synced to Dropbox for retrieval on my phone for later uploading.
Livingit: What is the one thing you wish you knew when you started taking photos?
Lauren Bath: Nothing really. I think that everything happens for a reason.
Livingit: Locations and weather conditions seem to be a crucial aspect to a successful picture. How do you handle these unpredictable factors?
Lauren Bath: I am the queen of shooting in challenging conditions and get very little good light shoots. I just work with what I have and I never pre-plan or check the weather.
Livingit: Colour vs. Black and White. Why one over the other, and is the photography process different?
L auren Bath: I like colour because I work in tourism and I want to portray the destination as it looks.
Livingit: If you were allowed to showcase just one photograph from your entire collection, which one would it be and why?
Lauren Bath: My image “Wild Horses” because it is the perfect example of right place/ right time and correct use of settings and equipment. I could never replicate this shot.
Livingit: What was one experience you have had, and you will never forget during a photography adventure?
Lauren Bath: I’ve had so many incredible moments in my photography career so it’s hard to pick just one. Working in tourism means that I have access to experiences that many others don’t, I get to see the best of the best. Recently I visited Switzerland and my host decided to give me the entire Piz Gloria building to myself for the night, right up the top of Schilthorn. The building was used in a James Bond movie and I slept in a caretakers apartment by myself in the Swiss Alps. That is definitely a money can’t buy experience.
Livingit: What advice do you have for budding photographers?
Lauren Bath: Shoot regularly. You won’t get better if you don’t practice as much as you can. I’d also love to add that I teach a conference that teaches people how to do what I do and it’s here !
If you want to get out of your comfort zone too and live it, read the story of Abhishek Deopurkar: Connecting with Nature through Landscape photography
Lauren shows us that Instagram is not just another social media addiction after all, inspiration enough to get you out of bed and send the snooze button for a toss. Don’t get your immunity too high, that bug is coming your way, and once you get it, it’s not going away…..!