Bet Bettencourt [@betttencourt]: from photographing sneakers, to superstars

Bet Bettencourt [@betttencourt]: from photographing sneakers, to superstars

A series of fortunate events, including a mate getting her to bypass the DICE waiting list and a security guard not noticing the camera in the back of her pants, led Bet Bettencourt’s “fan” photography to be noticed by Tems herself.

Today, she has abandoned her 9-5 fintech job. She entirely dedicates herself to her art, traveling from New Orleans to Jamaica and photographing artists and celebrities, from Maya Jama to Kendrick Lamar, in their most glamorous and mundane moments. 

Bet’s photography radiates warmth and genuineness – her subjects feel like lifelong friends whose photos we’ll smile at with nostalgia for years to come. 

In an exclusive interview with GUAP, the Hackney-born creative opens up about her photography journey, her advice for young people trying to make it in the industry, and her hopes for the future.

GUAP: How did your love for photography come to be?

BET: I got my first DSLR when I was 18 because I was, and still am a huge sneakerhead, and I wanted to take cool photos of my shoes. And then I started taking it on holiday with my friends, and I guess I became the photographer for the group. But the pandemic truly propelled me to take photography more seriously. 

GUAP: How did you transition from photography being a hobby into a career?

BET: In 2021, I tried to get tickets to see Tems, but they were sold out. My friend at DICE told me someone returned a pair, so I managed to go. It was the perfect venue to take photos because there were no barriers so that you could get close to the artist. Still, I knew they confiscated cameras, so I put mine on the back of my pants. The security guard even searched my waistband, but luckily she didn’t see it! The day after, I posted some photos on Instagram and got a bunch of likes, which was cool because I didn’t have any followers. But I didn’t know that a friend of mine knew one of the managers and sent it to them. And then they messaged me and were like, ‘If you’re free, do you wanna come to this event and take more photos.’ At that event, I finessed my way backstage, and then, out of all the photographers, Tems ended up posting my photo on Instagram. What happened had already exceeded my expectations. Six months later, her stylist messages me out of nowhere and asks me if I want to photograph her birthday. Since then, we’ve been working together non-stop! Ultimately, it was a mix of luck, talent, and being at the right place and time.

GUAP: What advice would you give young photographers trying to make it in the industry?

BET: I know it sounds a bit girl boss-y, but take photos as much as possible. The images I took one year ago compared to the ones I take today are so different – I’m continually improving. It’s a skill you constantly need to develop. And keep promoting your work even if you’re not getting high engagement. Especially as women, we’re socialized not to be vocally proud of our work, but the main thing is that you should want to get your work in front of the eyes of the people who matter.

GUAP: What’s the dream job for the future?

BET: If I had to pick one, I’d love to photograph an album cover.

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