How I Got Started in Photography


A question I get asked more than any other is how I got into photography, often coming about as people learn that despite working as a photographer, I studied for an undergrad degree in psychology and then a master’s degree in social research. This question however often leads to quite a long story that people probably immediately regret asking, but for those that are interested, here it is.


Well, short answer, I have always been interested in photography, but just maybe just not always openly demonstrated it.


A Bevan family car wash

My passion for photography started young. My grandfather was a keen hobbyist photographer and regularly took family photos on his trusted SLR, (which I now own and cherish). The photography bug was also passed on to my parents, who churned through rolls of 35mm film on every holiday or grand day out. I would always want to emulate my parents to join in the fun, and I was given cheap disposable cameras to play around with. Shooting frame after frame of poorly exposed photos of my pets, family, days out to the zoo, and holiday snaps are my earliest memories of falling in love with photography.


In my teenage years I moved into the digital era and progressed to taking a lot of questionable Myspace bedroom self-portraits (selfies, before there were selfies). However, the less said about this chapter of my photographic life the better.


In university I rarely went without a cheap black Pentax point-and-shoot, that over the three years accumulated thousands of photos of life playing out around me, photos with friends, BBQs in the park and blurred photos of nights out. These shots were my main creative outlet, and not only do I love those photos, even more, I loved taking them.

My first attempts at travel photography

When I finished university, I decided to go travelling around Europe on an Interrail pass, I was pretty penniless, so for this I decided to buy a small, practical and affordable (by camera standards) Fujifilm superzoom bridge-camera. There was limited choice at this time, long before the days of amazing iPhone and Pixel cameras and mirrorless wonders. This zoom camera, whilst not providing the most stunning image quality, gave me for the first time full manual control over my images and the feel of something closer to proper photography than ever before. This, if there is any moment, is the moment you could say I was hooked on photography.


For those that know me, they will know that I am quite introverted, and idea of offering up something personal for judgement terrified me (and still does). However, when I came home, I wanted somewhere to share those images, I set up a fairly under the radar Tumblr account. The images I started posting began getting a positive response, so I posted more and more. Looking back on these images now is pretty embarrassing as they are far from my finest work, but they gave me the confidence I needed in getting my photos out there.


Practicing in stormy Brighton

I started working alongside my studies to save up to buy myself my first enthusiast Canon DSLR (Canon 600D, or Rebel Ti for those stateside) camera. Living in Brighton, (definitely one of the UK’s most photogenic cities), and with my new camera, this was the tipping point, once I started shooting with this camera, I just didn’t really stop, and just within a few months I had accumulated gigabytes of images. This coincided with the summer of the London Olympics and was lucky enough to get tickets for a few events, which I of course took my camera along to, and probably spent more of my time watching events through my camera viewfinder.


After mass-purges of thousands of images, probably only a few decent photos remain, but I learned so much from just going out and doing. But this is how I really learned everything I know, through trial and error. I get asked a lot what I think the best lesson for a new photographer is, and I think this is one of the most important things any photographer can do, just pick up a camera and shoot.


So, I was still studying for my master’s degree, and I never really saw photography as a career at this stage, nothing I was producing resembled anything close to what I aspired to. When I finished my degree, I moved to London, and had a whole new city to photograph, and more importantly, a wealth of more inspiring people to work with.


My first ever event job at the Arcelormittal Orbit

I immediately threw myself in at the deep end and took every single freelance photography job I could find. I got a few jobs working as a social media photographer for different clients from products to portraits. From here things grew quickly and I started working with several larger clients, I started shooting weddings, I moved into shooting more fashion photography, which is where my passion is.


And now several years later, I have worked with some amazing companies and brands, worked on both sides of the Atlantic, and shot some amazing people. This is my story so far, I hope there is a lot more room to grow in my career, and I am always searching for bigger and better things to shoot, and excited to see what the future has in store.

© GARETH BEVAN PHOTOGRAPHY
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