Australia’s First Professional Instagrammer Shares Her Photography Tips

Influencer and travel photographer Lauren Bath, on how she converted her passion for photography into a fulfilling and exciting career

Australia’s First Professional Instagrammer Shares Her Photography Tips

Earlier this week, as everyone celebrated World Photography Day by posting their best shots on Instagram and Facebook, we had a Q&A with Lauren Bath (you know, Australia’s first professional Instagrammer…the one with those travel lust inducing photos) to discuss everything from being an influencer to the best apps and software for editing photos to the the best places to photograph, around the world!

Here’s the Q&A:

Being a chef first with a good Instagram following and then a full-time travel photographer and Instagram influencer with absolutely stunning photos, what’s the difference in your approach to photographing food etc. prior to quitting your job as opposed to photographing landscapes or people etc. now?

To be honest I really didn’t photograph food that much in the beginning, Instagram and photography was my escape from hospitality after my love for that industry started to wane. I can say that my early passion for Instagram was easily comparable for my early passion for food. It’s like I spent 15 years pouring my heart and soul into my previous profession only to become disillusioned with my career over time. The harder I worked the less I achieved. Now, with a career in photography and my own business, the harder I work the more ahead I get.

In both careers though I’ve definitely had a strong work ethic and love for what I do, combined with an equal affinity for the creative and business side of things.

How important is it to have the right camera or phone to be a good photographer? Is it possible to take good photos without breaking the bank?

To take good photos you don’t need to break the bank at all. I actually started my journey on an iPhone 4 and used to take photos that I loved. It was almost like learning how to compose a shot without having to worry about the technical aspects at the same time.

As a professional though, it is super important to have the right equipment. At the end of the day a solid understanding of the theory of photography and the right gear will improve your photography through the roof.

To take good photos you don’t need to break the bank at all. I actually started my journey on an iPhone 4 and used to take photos that I loved.

Which camera are you currently using? What’s your camera:phone ratio when taking pictures?

I’m actually an Olympus ambassador, as of the start of this year. I’m shooting on their fairly new OM-D E- M1 Mark II with a full suite of pro lenses. Since I travel a lot the biggest thing I love about the Olympus system is that it’s a mirror-less micro four thirds system and super lightweight!

I take a lot of my behind the scenes snaps on my phone so honestly it probably is a 50/50 split but 100% of what I post on Instagram would be off the camera, the BTS stuff ends up on my stories and on Facebook.

What apps/software/gadgets do you swear by for your photography?

I’ve always maintained that a professional photographer should use professional editing software, so I subscribe to the Adobe Creative Cloud Suite and mainly use Photoshop. On my phone I love ‘Snapseed’ for a final polish.

As for gadgets, memory cards and backup devices are hugely important, and I’ve just gotten my hands on the new Western Digital My Passport Wireless SSD. It does one touch back-ups straight from an SD card, which means I don’t have to plug in the laptop and drag out the hard drives to back up my photos every day.

Apart from that I love Gitzo tripods, Lee filters, F-stop camera bags, and I’m a total Apple girl for phone, tablets and laptops.

I’ve always maintained that a professional photographer should use professional editing software, so I subscribe to the Adobe Creative Cloud Suite and mainly use Photoshop. On my phone I love ‘Snapseed’ for a final polish.

What’s an easy mistake to avoid while photographing something? Especially when it’s going to be used on Instagram.

Avoid getting too caught up in what will give you the most likes. I see so many photographers these days that are just a mirror image of every other popular account on Instagram and it makes me so sad.

Just do you! Develop your own style and trust your own instincts. It takes time but it’s worth it in the long run. Don’t validate yourself by your social media.

As an early adopter of Instagram, as the app has become more mainstream the past few years, what advice would give someone just about to start using social media as a platform for their business?

Don’t take short cuts, don’t expect instant results and remember that social media is about community and not just advertising to people. I always tell my clients to think of it as an opportunity to talk WITH your audience, rather than TO them.

Also, don’t cheat. I think a lot of people get too caught up in the app and find themselves googling “how to get more followers on Instagram.” This will lead you down a rabbit hole of dodgy websites that will ruin your account and your reputation if you subscribe to them. All things worth doing are worth doing right.

Don’t validate yourself by your social media…Also, don’t cheat. I think a lot of people get too caught up in the app and find themselves googling “how to get more followers on Instagram.”

You’ve previously talked about the importance of editing your photos. Is there any particular picture(s) that you didn’t need to edit at all, before posting to Instagram? If yes, what was so different or special about it?

Well I’m shooting RAW files so straight out of camera the images look really flat. I’m not a big editor but I do know the importance of adjusting my contrast, colours and shadows/ highlights to bring the image back to how the scene looked at the time. I never add or subtract anything, and I don’t shoot composites so my editing probably only takes a few minutes per shot but they are important minutes.

Is there a particular place (in Australia or around the world) or setting that you love to photograph the most?

There’s so many, OMG! In Australia I’d have to say The Kimberley, Uluru and Tasmania rate really highly, but I literally love every place I go so you can’t go wrong in Australia. I love shooting Canada, I love Zimbabwe (where my partner is from) and I’m a new fan of Tonga as I’m here right now photographing the humpback whales. It’s all good!

Sneha Khale
With a background in Psychology and Criminology, Sneha has spent the past several years working in the travel and tech industries. As a writer and editor, she's most interested in developing content which is at the intersection of pop culture, gender, and contemporary lifestyle. "Don't let your 'to do' list get longer than your Netflix 'to watch' queue," is her philosophy for 2018.

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