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Lauren Bath is Australia’s first professional Instagrammer

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For those who love to travel, snap pictures and are obsessed with social media, Lauren Bath has your dream job. As Australia’s first professional Instagrammer, Lauren has travelled all over Australia and the world, taking photos of camels on Cable Beach, foxes in Japan’s Zao Fox Village and the exquisite landscapes of the Middle East.

But her journey involved a big risk in the beginning, as Lauren quit her job as a talented chef to pursue her passion for photography, social media and travel (read more about her story here).

As part of our brand new series spotlighting Aussie Instagrammers, we spoke to Lauren and asked her about her life as a travelling photographer and social media expert.

You were a chef by trade before you became Australia’s first professional Instagrammer. Can you tell us a little more about that and what led you to changing fields?

‘It’s a bit of a long story but I’ll give you the short version. I was a chef by trade working on the Gold Coast when I got my first iPhone and stumbled onto Instagram. I had no idea what the app was about but soon realised I had to take photos and I did so on my iPhone originally. As an early adopter and a very enthusiastic user I started to grow followers almost immediately and soon purchased my first DSLR camera to see if I could continue to grow as a photographer.

‘Within a year I had close to 200,000 followers on Instagram, from August 2011 when I started to the end of 2012. I was in the right place at the right time for growth as the platform was exploding that year and my account was very engaged and my photography was improving. I was starting to get small opportunities including a couple of travel invitations in Australia and I started to think about where this could all get me. I had some great contacts in tourism through Instagram and eventually reached out to Jesse Desjardins, the head of social media for Tourism Australia for advice.

‘After a particularly difficult New Year’s Eve at work, I decided that I was going to take a risk and quit my job. My plan was to keep improving my photography and to say yes to every opportunity that came my way. That soon changed into chasing opportunities and eventually I discovered a love of business and marketing. I wanted to do three things when I quit my job and I even wrote them down… 1) Photography 2) Travel and 3) Social Media. Now I have my own company that hires people to work on campaigns, I will have my first employee by the end of the year and I sell a full suite of social media services including campaign management, education and consultancy.

‘I quit my job on the second January, 2013, and haven’t looked back. I’m generally booked out at least six to twelve months in advance and I have the best clients. I am in love with business and more so with the business of travel. I love to inspire and I still love my photography too.’

Where have you travelled since changing professions?

‘I travel a LOT! I am generally travelling three weeks out of a month and sometimes more. I do a lot of domestic work in Australia and have had the chance to see parts of my country that many people never see. Other highlights include seeing the Northern Lights in Finnish Lapland, swimming with wild dolphins in Kaikoura, New Zealand, exploring Alberta, Canada (my favourite place in the world), and finally discovering the Middle East with work in Dubai and Oman. I’ve also started skiing thanks to my work and have followed my passions and interests all the way’.

Are you a self-taught photographer or did you study the field before joining Instagram?

‘I’m a self taught photographer THROUGH using Instagram! I was learning photography with my best friend Garry Norris who also happened to be my boss at work. Now he has a huge Instagram account too and regularly travels with me’.

When do you decide to snap a photo, is there a lot of planning involved?

‘Absolutely not. My philosophy towards my photography is to capture a destination as a visitor might experience it. I shoot a variety of content and subject matter and never ever pre-plan. I shoot to whatever weather conditions there are and whatever season it is. To me that’s the joy of travel, spontaneity’.

When you’re working on a campaign, do you get a lot of say in how you want to present the images?

‘I have full creative control in the images that I take and I communicate with new clients pre-campaign to make sure they are comfortable with me, the medium I use for marketing, and my beliefs in social media as an asset. I provide a free workshop to every new client on how they can get the most out of Instagram too and turn down work that isn’t a fit for my personal brand’.

You’re living the life many of us want to live! Can you give us any tips on following in your footsteps?

‘The first thing that people need to realise is that this work is really hard. Most people just see the travel and cool experiences and think that I have the best life ever when the truth is that most days I am barely keeping my head above water, work wise. I am definitely a success story in this space but I have made a lot of sacrifices to get to where I am.

‘The next piece of advice I have is to not rush it and to get into this with the best intentions. I think you genuinely need to love travel, photography and social media to do this job well and it’s very transparent when you’re just doing things to get what you want.

‘Finally, my best tip is to just be a good person. Help others, build relationships and respect everyone, clients and your peers alike’.

With so many amazing photos, Lauren Bath is definitely on our Instagram must-follow list. Follow her on Instagram here, on Facebook here, and check out Lauren’s website here.

Is everybody ready to say “Awwwwwwww”? This is a New Zealand Fur Seal and I love him! Of course I also have a funny story about this photo! Firstly we approached him and were a safe distance away taking photos. All of a sudden he decided to come closer and waddled over to us, of course we’re not going to back away because photography. Lol. After some time passed we edged a little closer and finally Jewels decided to lie down and try to get a seal selfie. Lol. Needless to say we got in trouble from the awesome volunteers that watch over the wild colony. That was a lesson to me to be respectful even when animals are in the wild, difficult when seals are so inquisitive and friendly but important for them. @christchurchnz #canterburynz

A photo posted by Lauren Bath (@laurenepbath) on

Kia Ora, greetings from New Zealand. I’m in Canterbury on an adventure of a lifetime to promote the lesser known coastal and wildlife areas of my favorite region. (Yes I say that about all the regions ;)) We’ve come straight in from Christchurch to Kaikoura for whale watching, dolphin swimming and seal spotting plus a huge instameet this afternoon. I can’t wait to share all my adventures, but first here’s a quick aerial I snapped on the way over. It really is THAT easy to find amazing shots in Canterbury. @ChristchurchNZ #CanterburyNZ

A photo posted by Lauren Bath (@laurenepbath) on

If you go to Townsville promise me that you’ll eat at Rambutan! It’s a “glam-packers” resort and the food is served pool side. We ate there twice and didn’t regret it! I rarely post food photos but this was too colorful and delish to resist! @TownsvilleNorthQueensland #TownsvilleShines

A photo posted by Lauren Bath (@laurenepbath) on

More green, more Schönbrunn! I know, I know. This is such a classic “Instagram” shot but I’ve never shot it and it’s cool for a reason you guys. Lol. I’ve never seen hedges so tall, like never! This was easily three times as tall as me and I am not short. I’ve nearly posted all my favorite Vienna shots which means I can soon start to show off Innsbruck. @VisitAustria #MyAustria #VisitAustria

A photo posted by Lauren Bath (@laurenepbath) on

So the most “Broome” thing to do in Broome is a camel ride on cable beach at sunset. If you time your trip right you even get these low tides as you ride. I mean the ride is the same but how pretty does it look with a reflection? @WesternAustralia #ThisIsWA

A photo posted by Lauren Bath (@laurenepbath) on

So I’m back in Australia and I’ve just heard the news that @tasmania has been named the 4th best region to visit in the WORLD! And by @lonelyplanet no less! I’ve been to Tassie half a dozen times this past 18 months and this still remains my favorite moment – photographing the stars in Narawntapu National Park. (Tasmania has the cleanest air in the world!) Go Tassie, I couldn’t be more proud! #discovertasmania #bestintravel

A photo posted by Lauren Bath (@laurenepbath) on

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Lauren P. Bath Instagram
Lauren P. Bath Instagram
Lauren P. Bath Instagram

About the author

Rachel Oakley is an Aussie writer based in NYC with an obsession for the creepy, cool and quirky side of life. She’ll remind you she’s a vegan every chance she gets. Her IG is filled with doggo pics: @patty_pottymouth

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