This has to be one of the hottest gigs anyone has ever won in the new age of social media. Saratoga’s Lauren Breedlove beat out 12,500 other contestants with her vibrant photographs to earn a month-long job photographing the sun!
The contest was sponsored by Days Inn, which also awarded Breedlove a $10,000 stipend plus Wyndham Rewards status for life plus free travel around the sunniest parts of the United States this August. Hence, Breedlove is now a “Suntern.”
Saratoga.com reached out to Breedlove, a graduate of Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High School who attended St. Michael’s College in Burlington VT., for an interview about this amazing gig.
It’s no mistake that Breedlove won, judging from her fabulous Instagram account which she has painstakingly populated with gorgeous and well-crafted photos from exotic places around the world. Here’s what this talented social media maven and photographer had to say:
Where do you call home now?
When I’m not traveling, my home base is back in the Saratoga area where I work remotely and spend time with family and friends in between trips! I frequent the coffee shops with my laptop, and enjoy hanging around and exploring such a fun hometown during my travel down time.
What did you have to do to secure the Sunternship?
I applied for the Days Inn by Wyndham Sunternship along with more than 12,500 other aspiring photographers from across the country, and was fortunate to have stood out to the Days Inn team! When I saw the job online, I basically deemed it my spirit animal as it described everything I’m about.
I submitted one of my favorite outdoor photos and described why I felt I’d be the best fit for the position. Days Inn was looking for someone bright and creative, and after a few rounds of video interviews and fun “sun-screening” exercises to gauge my personality and talents, I was selected and quickly hit the road!
What are you be shooting for Days Inn?
As the first-ever Days Inn Suntern, I’m capturing photos of the sun in some of America’s sunniest cities, like San Diego, Calif, San Antonio, TX, Bonita Springs, Fla. and more! The sun-inspired photos will be featured on the DaysInn.com website, its social media channels and on the walls of select Days Inn hotels.
What were your interests growing up?
Growing up I was into anything and everything creative. Acting, dance, art, and photography, writing stories …you name it. Oh, and pizza, that too.
How did you become an avid photographer?
I’m a self-taught photographer, and it really just started as a fun, creative outlet whenever I would go on vacation or travel. I never really considered it could be a thing until I started receiving more and more positive feedback about “having an eye” for photography.
I would come home for a weekend to hike and explore the Adirondacks as an escape from the city, and would photograph as much as possible while adventuring in the mountains. When I bought a real “big girl camera”, a DSLR, I learned how to use it through trial and error—playing around with it, shooting as much as possible.
What kind of work goes into your Instagram account?
A lot of work goes into my Instagram account! I’m constantly taking photos when I travel (and sometimes when I’m not!). I get in unnatural positions to get the right angle. I try to think of witty captions, and I’m that person looking ridiculous trying to get the right shot. I love shooting a scene as my interpretation of a place, and creating something people can relate to, or somewhere they can place themselves.
I try to post once a day and keep up with Instagram Stories, sharing some behind the scenes shots. While the world of social media can tend to portray all places/things/events as super glamorous, I try to keep it real on the regular with my captions. I want people to know the raw, true nuggets about a place, or what I went through to take that photo, or that I did, in fact, eat gelato twice that day—essential facts.
Traveling isn’t always glamorous, pretty, or magical. But when it is… Oh, man, chills. I hope my photography on Instagram inspires people to chase those chills, to spark an interest in travel, keep an open mind, and be realistic about it all.
What other jobs have you had?
I actually used to teach preschool when I lived in NYC full-time! I also ran my own etsy.com shop, creating and selling custom made children’s picture frames for a handful of years. I took writing classes while living in the city, and did photography for fun until I took the leap to change careers.
What does the Sunternship opportunity mean to you?
It’s an awesome opportunity to do a job I love, and gain exposure in a competitive industry. I’ve worked really hard the past four years, since changing careers, and it feels great to have been chosen for the Sunternship. I know there’s a lot of talent out there, so the fact that I stood out means a lot to me.
I’m an adventure-seeker, sun-chaser, and enjoy seizing every moment of every day – all of those attributes aligned perfectly with the Days Inn Sunternship. Through my photography, I hope to be able to inspire others to get up and go, take that spontaneous trip and experience everything this world has to offer.