Beth Mann: Early Bird Photography

Beth Mann edits pictures in her office on a non-shooting day. (Staff Photo by Tiayana Ford)


Beth Mann still remembers what each of the photos looks like from the family photo album. Her dad used to glue tons of little photo corners onto the page and caption every photo  with a felt tip.

Beth Mann enjoys testing out her lenses in her studio. (Staff Photo by Tiayana Ford)

“I still remember remember what each of those pages look like because of what they showed me. Photographs were a vehicle for his love. They are for me too,” Mann said.

Mann is originally from New Jersey, but in 2011 she became the owner and photographer for Early Bird Photography in Durham.

“I became a photographer to use my passion and positivity to help others share more love, community and moments together,” said Mann.

Mann believes that photography emotionally places you in the moment. She came up with the name Early Bird Photography because she is a morning person. It also means to convey energy, reliability and cheerfulness.

Around the community Mann is best known as “Durham’s  most cheerful photographer.” She likes to capture the natural moments in Durham.

When she edits her photos she uses 90 percent Adobe Lightroom and 10 percent Adobe Photoshop.

Mann does weddings, mitzvahs, individual and family photo shoots. Mann had a photoshoot last week and she has an upcoming photoshoot on Friday at the fashionSPARK Fashion Show in Raleigh.

Mann has been shooting for ArtsNowNC for about five years. The showcase allows artists to connect with one another. From arts organizations to showcasing visual and performing arts, ArtsNowNC covers what’s happening in the Triangle area.

Mann shoots with two Nikons. She enjoys using is the 70-200, which is for adjusting and the 24-70 for range. She takes both studio and environmental photos. She educates herself on taking better pictures by taking classes. She also learns from several photographers who are her mentors. Mann says it’s important to surround yourself with other photographers as mentors because as a photographer you want to grow and the first step into growing is seeking critiques from others.

Mann is inspired by Sally Mann, popular in the ’70s, who was best known for her black and white photographs and large format. Sally Mann would take pictures of her children then later on she would capture landscapes. Her  photos became controversial because her children were naked. Eventually people began viewing her pictures as forms of art. They called it the “pure vision of childhood.” Another photographer Mann was inspired by is Christian Lewis. He has more of a moderate eye.

One thing that shocked Mann about the photography industry is the amount of work that goes with being an entrepreneur behind the scenes. You are not only capturing moments of people, but you are also your own accountant, photographer, and boss. Mann says that if she had to do it all over again she would still choose photography as a career.

“Photography is self-learning. This will not be my last career. I wouldn’t trade it for the world, but I definitely plan to have a few more careers in the near future.”