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Natalie snaps up a career capturing moments

Having enjoyed photography since childhood, Natalie Lorenz picked up a camera after finishing school and started taking photos while deciding what to do with her life.

“I would take photos of the bands I loved at their live concerts. When my work got noticed by a music magazine started giving me free tickets to gigs in exchange for my photos,” said Natalie.

“So, I fell into being a freelance concert photographer, and got to see great bands for free and eventually ended up photographing weddings also.”

Unfortunately, Natalie’s health suffered, and she needed to take time out to focus on herself and get better.

“I was hospitalised hundreds of times and just over 10 years, and as a diabetic, I ended up in a coma. Then a year ago, I got put on an insulin pump, and my health improved.”

“As I got healthier, I got a lot more clarity and grounded myself to a point where I decided ‘hey, it's time to level up,’ so I decided to go back to what I love and study photography,” she explained.

Natalie was nervous about enrolling in the Diploma of Photography and Digital Imaging (CUA50920), thanks to her misplaced belief that she wasn’t good at studying.

“Initially, I was thinking ‘I don't know how to do this’ and ‘I can't do this’, but as the course progressed, I pleasantly proved myself very wrong,” Natalie said.

She chose to study with TAFE Queensland because the course content offered training across multiple disciplines of photography from industry-standard facilities using the latest equipment.

“The studios at TAFE Queensland have top-of-the-range lighting, tripods, cameras, lenses, and other equipment, and we had all our needs were met. There were enough studios for everyone, and it is a nice, clean and comfortable environment to study in.”

The professional and specialist photography and imaging skills Natalie learnt saw her manipulate and use lighting techniques, edit images using computers and produce digital art to build and develop a body of creative work.

She also mastered the art of film photography, learning to process rolls of film into images in the TAFE studio’s dark room. She’s so passionate about film, she’s even set up her own darkroom at her home.

“Looking at my photos from before study versus now, I’m like, ‘oh, wow - I learned so much’, and I’m so proud of the quality of my work. By learning about digital retouching, I have a deeper understanding of what’s involved in the industry and have a lot more respect for everyone in it.”

Along with access to industry-standard facilities and equipment, Natalie credits her teachers, all professional photographers, for giving her the skills she has now.

“They gave me a lot of guidance. They did not make me feel stupid for asking, and they were passionate about what they do and focused on helping and encouraging their students.”

After witnessing the joy her teachers got out of giving people the tools and skills to be able to create art, Natalie decided she wanted to become a teacher.

“The teachers are really down to earth and accessible, and when we discussed potential career pathways, they told me I’d be really good in a teaching role because I helped all my fellow students during the course.”

Natalie’s studies culminated in her being awarded Graduate of the Year in the graduating class of 2022, giving her supreme confidence that she’s found her profession and a determination to share her skills with others.

“When I finished my diploma last year, I cried because I was leaving. This is my home, and I didn't want to leave. I finally belonged and found my people. Which is an incredible feeling for someone who's felt like an outsider for a long time.”

That strong feeling and a desire to become a teacher has seen Natalie enrol in a Diploma of Graphic Design (CUA50720) to round out her skills.

“I love this place, and I love learning. TAFE taught me how to communicate through photos; I capture moments and create art when I take pictures. I want a career in helping students and seeing them light up when they’re given the tools and skills to be able to do the same,” concluded Natalie.