Photography a business for local 14-year-old
What started out as a hobby for Austin Bear, a Hanover 14-year-old, has turned into a business venture.
“I got a small point-and-shoot camera for Christmas two years ago,” said Austin.
The gift sparked an interest in photography, and he began taking photos of many subjects. An early one was a dead leaf encrusted in ice, lying in a drainage ditch.
It wasn’t long before he began eyeing his father’s more advanced camera.
“I saw how much more stuff my dad’s DSLR (digital single lens reflex) could do; better color, control of light and quality of pictures,” he said.
His dad, Andrew Bear, who has been taking pictures since before he was Austin's age, was happy to teach him.
“By showing Austin, it reinforced my learning. He took right to it,” said Andrew.
Together, father and son decided that if they sold some prints, they could earn enough money to buy new equipment.
Austin’s new camera, a Nikon D3000, isn’t cheap.
“We started ‘A & A Bear Photography’ about a year and a half ago,” said Austin.
They now specialize in photographing family events, reunions and weddings.
They recently completed a senior high school photo shoot at Screw Auger Falls. The pair offer to travel to photograph clients and/or pets in their natural surroundings. “Austin and I have a unique approach,” said Andrew. “We team up and do a double shoot. One of us takes the picture while the subject is looking at the other camera.”
They’ve had a favorable response to this type of shoot. After the photos are taken, they process them on a computer.
A slide show is then created and set to music, of the client’s choosing. The client chooses photos for printing.
“We just want to make enough [money] to support our experiences and have some father-and-son time,” said Andrew.
Although they specialize in events, the Bears still shoot other subjects as well.
They sometimes go out for the weekend to see what they can find.
“We always have a camera with us wherever we go,” said Austin.
They are always on the lookout for moose or loons at Howard Pond. After a bad storm, they were able to get shots of some of the destruction.
Some shoots are more challenging and eventful than others.
“We were taking pictures of a waterfall at Dunn’s Falls and we heard a big bang. We looked up to see rocks falling down from a cliff nearby.” said Austin. “Big rocks,” added Andrew.
Austin also shoots a lot of closeup photos of flowers, mushrooms and other subjects that are easily accessible for him.
Austin shoots in manual, controlling the light and exposure.
“There’s little done to the post process files,” said Andrew.
Last fall Austin won an online photo contest with a photo entitled “Fall Canopy.” His was chosen by “peer” photographers from among several hundred entries (To see the photo, go to www.bethelcitizen.com under this story).
Austin, who has been home schooled until this year, is a freshman at Telstar High School.
He is taking honors classes and is adjusting to public school. He is making friends and has joined the yearbook committee, where he will put his talent to use photographing glimpses of school life.
For more information on the Bears, visit their website at www.aandabearphotography.com.