If traveling the world and photographing incredible destinations sounds too good to be true, then you haven't met Lauren Bath. We introduced you to her a few days ago when we showed you her spectacular photos of camel trains on Australia's Cable Beach. In the short three and a half years since she's been on Instagram, the chef turned photographer has been flown all around the world. As part of different jobs, tourism boards have asked Bath to highlight fun or unique experiences in their city or country. So far, she's watched baby turtles hatch in Queensland, ridden on a helicopter over the Rocky Mountains in Alberta, and she's gone skiing in a shopping mall in Dubai. (Currently she's in Japan on behalf of Flight Centre Australia. You can check out her beautiful new images of Japan's fox village on Instagram. )
We were so curious about her Instagram career that we asked Bath to tell us how she first got started. Read that interview, below.
Do you have any training in photography or are you completely self-taught?
I am a self-taught photographer, aside from a couple of private lessons that I had for specific purposes before my first commercial photography jobs. Since I learned photography after being involved in Instagram, I upgraded from shooting on an iPhone to using a DSLR camera. I equate this to learning how to drive an automatic first and then learning how to use the gears.
I also had an amazing community to draw upon. When I made the switch, I had 5,000 Instagram followers already and plenty of people to answer my constant questions on photography. I also purchased my camera on the same day as my best friend, another Instagrammer, after I got him hooked on the platform, too. Since we were learning at the same time, we talked a lot about photography at work (back when I was still a chef).
I now teach beginner photography when I have the spare time. I'm good at this because of the way I've learned and because I am still a relatively new photographer myself with just three and a half years experience under my belt.
Who are some of your clients?
I started on this career path in January 2013 within the Australian tourism industry. Believe it or not Australia has the biggest social media following of any tourism board and their use of social media paved the way for me to move into the industry. Our head of social media, Jesse Desjardins, offered me good advice, over the years, and helped me to get my foot in the door in the early days.
So my first clients were all state and regional tourism boards in Australia (as well as Tourism Australia itself) and I continue to have an ongoing and flourishing relationship with all of them. When I start to plan my strategy for an upcoming year, it is the Australian State Tourism Organizations (STO) that I reach out to first.
Through speaking at events I've also made some amazing international relationships and I work overseas as both an influencer and a project manager. Some of my international clients include Travel Alberta (Canada), Tourism Quebec (Canada), Visit Finland, Dubai Tourism, and Tourism Fiji.
I've also worked with travel brands including Flight Centre Australia and Intrepid. I have upcoming work with both of them to show some incredible destinations.
What are some of the countries you've visited?
For work, I have been to Fiji (twice), Canada (four times), Finland (twice), New Zealand (twice), Japan (with Flight Centre Australia), France and Spain (with Flight Centre Australia) and Dubai. When I'm not traveling for work, I travel for pleasure, both domestically and internationally. Other favorite spots include Zimbabwe, Indonesia and Thailand.
What overall feeling do you try and capture?
My philosophy towards digital influencing, within the tourism industry, is to capture the destination through a series of images rather than one or two “hero shots.” I use a combination of landscape photography, nature and animal photography, portraiture and detail shots to capture a feeling, a glimpse of the destination.
I use my captioning to talk about the place with funny stories and anecdotes thrown in and I also share the content across different platforms in new and different ways. For example, a gallery of favorites on Facebook, a Steller story with behind-the-scenes shots and camera settings, some accurately geo-tagged “discoveries” on Trover and a hero shot or two on Google+.
I genuinely love to travel, and love to share that passion online, so I hope that the overall feeling I give out is wanderlust, travel inspiration and discovery.
For those Instagram photographers who want to travel like you, can you give them some tips?
Don't get into Instagram just because you want a job like mine. Get into Instagram if you have a genuine interest for the platform and a passion to share and be a part of an amazing community. If you put the time in without expecting a reward you will probably find that a reward will come to you. The Instagrammers that I work with, which hire through my own company, respect those photographers who have a true passion for travel and photography that they've been able to turn that passion into a career.