Story by Bridget Sjoberg | Staff Writer, Video by Emma Whitaker | Broadcast Reporter
As a university composed of primarily 18-to-22-year-old students, Baylor has a community interested in social media, particularly through the use of photography.
The Baylor University Instagram account recently reached 100,000 followers, and often reposts photos taken by students at the university. A student with a particular interest in photography is Southlake sophomore Katy Smith, who said she appreciates how Baylor has attracted a population looking to pursue photography or showcase their photos via social media.
“I’ve met so many other photographers at Baylor,” Smith said. “There’s such a community of us here and I look up to so many of them. I’m also friends with some of them, and it’s been so much fun to see each other improve in their skills.”
Smith has been drawn to photography from a young age and has recently enjoyed pursuing portrait shots and photographing people.
“I’ve been interested in photography ever since I was little, and I remember always wanting to take my dad’s camera and take pictures,” Smith said. “It wasn’t until I was in middle school that I saved up my money for an entire year and bought a Canon T3, which wasn’t the best camera but I still loved it. I started to take portraits my senior year of high school and continue to improve my skills, so I bought a Canon 80D. I’ve come so far from those first portraits and in the past two years, I’ve reached a place where I’m really proud of the work that I’m putting out and giving to clients.”
Smith particularly enjoys taking portrait shots to show people in their best light and capture them during important moments in their life.
“I love to photograph people and capture their best traits, especially when they take their senior portraits because it’s such an important picture that they will have with them for the rest of their lives,” Smith said.
Smith believes social media has been beneficial in promoting her photography, along with her website katysmithphotography.com.
“Instagram really allows me to showcase my skills to all of my followers,” Smith said. “It’s where I get the majority of my clients since they check out my work and then go to my website that is connected on my Instagram. Every time I have another client I post it on my Instagram and each time it grows my business a little bit more.”
Smith sees photography as a unique art form and encourages students interested in photography to find on ways to continue improving.
“It’s easy just to pick up a camera and shoot your subject, but a good photographer knows how the light is going to affect the subject, what settings to use for each shot and how to bring out the best of your photo in post-production,” Smith said. “It’s easy to get stuck in your photography if you think that your photos are perfect, so a good way to see if you’ve improved is to look back at the photos you took six months ago and compare it to what you’re taking now.”
San Clemente, Calif., sophomore Claire Griffin also appreciates photography but prefers candid and cultural shots to portraits when she takes photos.
“My favorite subjects to photograph are either travel photography like architecture and culture or people in their natural element,” Griffin said. “I’m not as interested in preplanned photoshoots, but love capturing people’s raw emotions.”
Griffin has also loved photography from a young age, and appreciates Baylor’s fostering of a community interested in showcasing photos as well.
“I have always been interested in photography — I asked for a small Nikon point-and-shoot camera for Christmas one year when I was around 8 or 9, and I got it and absolutely loved it,” Griffin said. “I’m a studio art major and am surrounded by so many amazing creative people here at Baylor.”
Griffin enjoys showcasing her photographs though Instagram, as well as on her website, clairejanephotography.com. She sees photography as an art form that requires practice and dedication.
“It takes a certain eye and you have to be in the right place at the right time. You can’t sit in a studio and make something perfect — photography to me is capturing real life and not creating a dream life. It makes me see the beauty in the simple things,” Griffin said. “There’s some controversy over social media with photographers because it allows for so many people to be able to showcase their work for free, but as a beginning photographer I love Instagram and view it as an art form since you can create a feed and a feeling to your account.”
Griffin encourages students interested in photography to pursue taking photos of what they are naturally drawn towards.
“I think so many people think you have to have a fancy camera and studio to make it happen but all you really need is a phone and to just start clicking,” Griffin said. “You’ll eventually start to notice what your eye is and then you can start to zone in on specifically perfecting your photos in whatever area you thrive in the most.”