How I became a surf photographer is probably not the typical surf photographer tale you usually read about. Unlike many others in the industry, I did not grow up near the ocean or even know how to surf. In fact, I was raised in the serene countryside of France and didn’t develop a passion for surfing until my late teenage years.
Despite living far from the ocean, I started being obsessed with surfing in highschool. I eagerly devoured every surfing magazine I could get my hands on and would pin surf images to my walls. My dream was to someday live by the sea. One day, while reading an article in a surf magazine, I stumbled upon a surf photographer who was getting paid to travel the world and shoot campaigns for big brands like Rip Curl. I was blown away – I had never even considered that such a dream job existed! Although, I had never held a camera before, so the idea of becoming a surf photographer did not even cross my mind.
After graduating high school, I knew I wanted to pursue a career that involved the ocean. With this in mind, I decided to study marine biology. After completing my undergraduate degree, I was eager to continue learning and growing in this field. I applied for a master’s program in marine biology, excited for the opportunity to expand my knowledge and experience. As part of my program, I was required to complete an internship abroad during the first semester. With a deep desire to learn how to surf and immerse myself in a new culture, I set my sights on Australia. Following some research, I found an internship at Griffith University on the Gold Coast – a small lab specializing in coastal environments.
In 2017, I flew to Australia to begin my internship and this is where my love for surfing truly blossomed. I spent my days learning about marine environments and catching waves on the southern beaches of the Gold Coast. I couldn’t get enough of the perfect right point breaks and crystal clear water. As I prepared for a road trip along the east coast of Australia, I decided to invest in a camera. I bought a pretty cheap DSLR camera and a 70-300mm lens. I wanted to capture every moment of this incredible journey and preserve memories that would last a lifetime.I took my first steps as a photographer in 2018, capturing the stunning landscapes of Australia through my lens.
As a passionate surfer, I knew that I wanted to channel my love for the sport into something more. I quickly discovered my passion for surf photography and began honing my craft. I had the chance to live close to some of the world’s best surf breaks, which was really inspiring. Every day, I headed out to some of my favorite spots to shoot, including Snapper Rocks, Kirra, and Dbah. These world-class surf breaks provided the perfect backdrop for my photography, and I soon began to develop my own unique style.
As I continued to pursue my passion for surf photography, I also had the opportunity to connect with other like-minded individuals. I met a group of talented surf and water photographers on the Gold Coast, and it was incredible to have a community of creatives to share my passion with. My internship in Australia came to an end but I knew I wasn’t ready to leave. I decided to take a gap year and stay one more year in Australia to chase my dream. The goal was to pursue my love for surfing and surf photography. I worked as a waitress at night to support myself. But during the day, I was truly living the dream : surfing and taking photos every single day.
I saved up all my tips from waitressing and booked a solo trip to Hawaii at the end of 2018. My dream was to photograph the Vans Triple Crown surf event on the North Shore of Oahu. It was a life-changing experience. The energy in Hawaii was electrifying, and I felt more inspired than ever before. The month I spent on the north shore of Oahu was the highlight of my life so far. Every day, I woke up for sunrise and stayed on the beach capturing the magic of the waves until sunset. It was just me, my camera, and my surfboard, living my passion to the fullest. I connected with as many people in the surf industry as I could and made some friends.
This is when I knew I wanted to make a career out of surf photography. It was truly the moment I told myself : “Wow this is it. This is what I want to do with my life!”. Returning to Australia, I was filled with a sense of purpose.
“This is when knew that I wanted to turn my passion for surf photography into a profession”
I moved to Noosa in 2019 for the end of my gap year, where I was introduced to the longboarding world. I made the most out of my gap year to learn about marketing, communication, sales and I worked tirelessly to build my photography website. Slowly, I started booking some small photography gigs. But my gap year was coming to an end, and I had to return to France to complete my master’s degree. I invested in a water housing for my camera and then flew to Moorea, French Polynesia for my master’s thesis. Though I loved studying marine biology, I knew that my heart was set on pursuing a career in surf photography.
Following the graduation of my master in September 2020, I dove headfirst into my passion and started working full-time as a photographer. Since that moment, I’ve dedicated myself to perfecting my craft and capturing the beauty of surfing in new and exciting ways. I started investing little by little in new camera gear – check out this article if you want to learn more about all my camera gear. Last year, I also started shooting videos and I now enjoy shooting both surfing videos and photos.
Looking back on my surf photography journey, I am grateful for the experiences that led me to where I am today. From my initial desire to work with the ocean, to learning how to surf and capturing moments with my camera, each step has played a vital role in shaping who I am and how I became a surf photographer.