My photography journey began eight years ago when I first picked up a camera and took a black and white film course at Middle Tennessee State University. This class changed everything for me. What started as a small interest and a way to meet my elective hours quickly became a passion, and I ultimately graduated with a minor in photography.
I loved learning how a camera actually works, being critiqued by my professors and other photographers, and developing my point of view. After my classes, I continued to practice, and seek opportunities to grow and broaden my skills. I always had my camera in my hand, looking to capture the moment.
In 2010, with the encouraging nudge of friends and family and after discovering that maybe, just maybe, I might be good at this, I started my own business: Emily Lester Photography. It was one of the greatest decisions of my life, and I have never looked back!
I often feel like I live a double life in Chattanooga, Tennessee. By day, I am an elementary school counselor, and by evening and weekend, I am a wedding and portrait photographer. This hectic schedule keeps me pretty busy as you can imagine! But photography is my passion, and so it doesn’t really feel like work much at all.
While I love helping people celebrate life events, being outside with my camera is where I feel most alive. Whether I am capturing the first light of dawn over the mountains or kayakers quickly gliding through the river, I find the greatest joy in nature and in our interactions with it. And so with my love of mountain biking, kayaking, hiking, and backpacking combined with my passion for photography, it seems only natural that I hone my skills through adventure photography.
When I think about the opportunity that lies before me with HagePhoto, I’m almost giddy. Ok. A lot giddy. Life is about seizing opportunities and taking chances. I know that’s what Matt & Agnes must believe since they are allowing me to join their team for the summer. Through this internship, I hope to learn … a lot. I hope to learn about how I can incorporate this kind of work into my already existing business, how to grow and expand a successful photography business, and how to better capture the world around us. But it’s not just about the business. Meeting new people and developing relationships through unique experiences is something I treasure, and perhaps will be the most valuable take-away from the summer.
I’m stoked to experience the untamed beauty of Alaska for the first time, and, most importantly, I am thrilled to learn from and work with the Hages. Here’s to the once-in-a-lifetime adventures that lie ahead!