Beth Carroll

Photography BA (Hons)

Beth knew that university was for her but didn’t know what her future would hold. After discovering her passion for photography and finding out that she could get the university experience without having to move to a new area, she thrived on her degree course and embraced the experience and the key technical skills she would need for her chosen industry. Nowadays, Beth is a Photographer for major brand Gymshark. 

“I always wanted to go to university, but I couldn’t decide what subject to study. I felt an insane amount of pressure to pick the right subject and spent so long researching different courses to go for. Instead, I decided to take a year out to wait and see what my passion was, and that’s how I ended up choosing photography.

I was anxious about moving away, so I looked into commuting to a local university as that suited me best. During my first year, my studies took place at home due to Covid, but myself and my classmates arranged online meetups and quiz nights to get to know one another, as our tutors felt it was really important that we still had some kind of typical university experience.

All throughout my time at BCU, we were encouraged to find work and keep testing outside of university, which helped me gain experience and technical skills.

My course prepared me to understand different photography software and working alongside freelancers and models to take control in a shoot setting. I was also able to specialise in fashion photography, so I got to learn what works best for stylists as well as ecommerce settings too. Nowadays, I'm working at Gymshark as a Junior Photographer in a permanent position. From the moment I left BCU, I was in the interview process for Gymshark and my tutor was ensuring that I nailed each stage. Within just a few months of graduating, I was in my full-time position at Gymshark and I have loved working in such a big and welcoming team.

A typical day for me can vary depending on what season we are in. However, an average day will focus on ecommerce, usually shooting a rail of items across the day for the website and making a package of details, front, back and side imagery. There is space to also be creative with the shots in the full-length imagery, and we also work on key looks or campaigns across the day.

Being in the job interview process pre-graduation was one of my proudest achievements to date as it made me realise that I am good at what I do and have the skills for such a large company to want me on their team. Since joining Gymshark, I have also been able to work on some big projects that are due to come out soon, and work with some influencers and athletes too.

The main challenge I have faced in my career so far has been believing in myself, trusting my gut and my skills. I was so familiar with seeing myself as a student that I had imposter syndrome in the industry at first. I thought my skills weren't as valued, but I had to learn to own my work and be in charge of what I am doing. The more I have learned in this job, the more I have taken ownership and pride in what I am doing.

In the future, I am hoping to keep working in the fashion industry and work my way up. I love the idea of being able to still create work of my own for brands and magazines as a freelancer just as much as working for a company like Gymshark. I get excited by who I could potentially be shooting for next, as well as where my work might end up.

My advice to anyone considering studying Photography at BCU would be to just go for it and enjoy it whilst you can. I wouldn't put too much pressure on yourself and if you get stuck, really utilise the skills of your lecturers, because that is what they are there for. Criticism might not be great, but it is the only way you can learn, so you have to just bite the bullet and listen to their advice.

Also, don't change who you are when you enter the industry after graduating, because that will just make it uncomfortable for you. There's always anxiety in a new job, but if you communicate well and have these discussions from the start about how you are feeling, you can get the guidance you need, or the actions put in place.

To me, I AM BCU means taking ownership for your work. You made it and worked hard for it, so at the end of the day, it is your own. BCU played a huge part in my journey and helped me to shape my work and my own personality.”