Jayden Bethea is a toddler on a mission. At an impressively young age of five, Jayden has already discovered and developed an impressive passion for fashion photography. Following in the footsteps of his mother, Selah B. Marie Bethea, Jayden is showing that creating great photography is within the reach of anyone who has a passion to create and a willingness to experiment. Armed with his trusty Nikon D5300, 18-55mm lens, and the support of his energetic mom, Jayden is creating work at a quality far beyond his years.
Back in December 2016, Selah was conducting a fashion shoot in Charlotte, North Carolina and had Jayden on set who was watching the entire process with curiosity and intrigue. Inspired by his interest, Selah had the idea to give the then three-year-old Jayden one of her backup cameras and let him try on his own. To her surprise and delight, Jayden took to photography with an impressive ferocity and immediately started creating surprisingly good photos. Impressed by her son's aptitude for wielding a camera, she decided to let Jayden continue shooting and to start letting him conduct his own shoots.
With Selah's help in selecting model and location, Jayden shows up to each shoot eager to create amazing photos. He is even learning to manage his camera settings on his own. Composition and framing, though, is where Jayden's passion currently lies. He loves to capture creatively interesting frames that match and even exceed the creative direction of work by far more experienced photographers. Jayden is a five year old on a mission to create amazing fashion photography.
Jayden's hand in the process doesn't end once he takes the photo though. He is also heavily involved in the postproduction process of every image he takes where he sits with his mother at the computer making selections and instructing her exactly what he wants her to do to each image when the photo is edited and retouched. It's only a matter of time, however, until Jayden is old enough to fully take control of this part of the process and will be working his images completely from start to finish.
Jayden isn't your ordinary five year old, and he likely won't be your ordinary pre-teen or teenager a few years down the road. Jayden is proving that there is no real excuse why you can't be out working on creating better images every day. Becoming a better photographer doesn't take thousands of dollars of gear or access to expensive education. While those things certainly can be helpful, the key to great photography is that optimistic desire to create great photos which is something Jayden has in abundance. If you don't, you better go find it because it is holding all the keys to becoming the photographer you dream of being.
If you would like to keep up with Jayden's work and progress going forward you can find him on Instagram as @lilvisual and can find his mom at @visualnarrator. Jayden is definitely worth a follow as he is an amazing example of what can be accomplished with nothing more than an abundance of curiosity and a desire to create. Time will only tell just how impressive his work will become as he gets older. By the time he is 20 he will have as much experience as pros halfway through their careers.
Images used with permission of Selah B. Marie Bethea.