Ten years ago Lauren Bath first discovered Instagram, and within three years her captivating travel photography saw her established as a professional Instagrammer. But she didn’t just settle into her comfortable niche of travelling and taking pretty pictures. Lauren was determined to build on the success and to diversify her activities. And then she became a mother. [Article courtesy of Olympus]

‘To be honest, I knew when I made the decision to have a baby that my life would change drastically,’ she said. ‘At the time I was away working for at least 3 weeks out of the month, and my business wasn’t scalable. It relied solely on my exchange of time for money. I made the decision to move away from travel photography while I adjusted to motherhood, which turned out to be fortuitous timing with the pandemic. I have dusted my camera off a bit over the past 15 months or so, and I’ve also enjoyed taking the pressure off myself and solely shooting for pleasure and not work.’

A dedicated Olympus shooter since her early Instagram days, Lauren’s been keeping her camera bag well stocked. ‘I got my hands on the E-M1 Mark III last year and have the full range of M.Zuiko f/2.8 pro lenses,’ she said. ‘I also love the 300mm f/4 and the 12-100 f/4. And I’ve got a handful of primes. I’m very spoiled with my gear.’

Asked which body and lens combo she found herself using most frequently, she responded ‘Definitely the E-M1 Mark III and the 40-150 f/2.8. It’s such an amazing lens – and always challenges me creatively. I’ve never loved wide angle lenses; my style is much more suited to telephoto.’

It’s not uncommon for accomplished photographers like Lauren to have a special fascination with particular subject areas. ‘I’d definitely say that my favourite subject is, and probably always will be, wildlife. It’s the one thing I never tire of photographing. Whether it’s a kangaroo in Australia, birds, or African animals on safari – endless interest from me! I think because it’s always a challenge to shoot something unique when it comes to wildlife, and because animals are so unpredictable. It’s never boring!’

While she’s swung her career focus – at least to some extent – away from Instagram, Lauren’s latest ventures are still very much about social media. ‘I’ve spent the better part of my career teaching business to creative people in the travel industry, a very niche market,’ she said. ‘What I teach now is broader in the sense that any business can come and learn from my business partners and I – but it’s still super relevant to photographers, creative businesses and even travel businesses.’

One of the great challenges for photographers in an era of ubiquitous social media is finding their own unique vision. ‘Social media is 100% responsible for the rise of the “popular image”,’ said Lauren. ‘As a photographer I’m of two minds about it – on the one side, anything that gets a person off their ass and out in nature being creative is a great thing. Yes, even if the shot has been done 500 million times. 

‘On the other side, and especially when I’m working and on a schedule, it’s annoying when people are standing shoulder to shoulder to take the exact same shot. When I approach a commonly shot scene I’m always trying to put my spin on it, and would encourage others to do the same. Get high, get low, use the foreground, add a person, use a drone or an underwater housing. It’s fun to experiment!’

‘My desire is to create something original that I can feel proud of,’ Lauren adds. ‘There’s no feeling of pride when I copy a shot that another photographer has thought of. This is why I so rarely research the locations I shoot in. I like to go in blind without preconceived ideas of how to shoot the scene.’

‘Give value to your audience! Share great, valuable content. Engage with the community, it’s not just about you. Be consistent to build trust and rapport. Basically it’s all about the three C’s – Content, Conversation and Consistency.’