Ladue Lead

Lu Looks for the Perfect Shot

A model poses for sophomore photographer Sunny Lu.

A model poses for sophomore photographer Sunny Lu.

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






On May 28, 2016, Sunny Lu’s photography Instagram account, @sunnywithacamera, posted its first picture; a shot of trees and a blue sky. Since then, Lu, a sophomore, has posted 231 times, amassed 446 followers, and even gets paid for some of her shoots. Unlike her inaugural image, most of her posts are portraits, as she seldom takes other types of pictures. “Sometimes it’s boring to just always shoot faces so it’s fun to mess around with fashion or editorial photography, but I feel that taking pictures of objects and just buildings and stuff, that’s really boring and pointless, so I try to refrain from doing that. I just really like having human subjects because that’s the most interesting for me,” she said.

Lu, who regularly graces the Instagram feeds of scores of students at our school, has not been a photographer for that long. According to her, she’s been doing “proper photography, like, with a camera, [since] probably around the beginning of freshman year actually, or… maybe a little before that.” However, she’s been taking pictures for more than twice as long as that. “I’ve been taking photos with my phone since I got a phone, which was in seventh grade.” Lu said. She recalls getting into the art form by chance, as she just realized over time that she enjoyed taking pictures and she was “pretty good at it,” after which she decided that she “should use an actual camera.”

Throughout our interview, Lu’s warm, outgoing personality was hard to miss. Her raucous laughs and frequent sarcastic comments lightened the mood, while she toned those traits down for the more serious questions that I asked. While I was a bit nervous as it was one of my first long interviews, Lu’s air of tranquility emanated during the whole of our conversation and made me feel like I was just having a casual conversation with a friend. She clearly does not fit the mold of the quiet, introverted shutterbug that many believe photographers to be.

When tasked with citing her influences, Lu has a lot to say, declaiming, “Pretty much anyone. A lot of Instagram photographers since that’s where I started, by seeing other people’s work… I really like Mango Street Lab, they have really cool stylistic shots.” Despite this, she doesn’t have a single person whose style has most influenced her own. “There’s a ton of great people on Instagram, but no one in particular inspired me. It’s just… all of it in general kind of just combines and I’m using the tools that I have and my own aesthetic vision, like that becomes whatever my work looks like. I don’t want my work to look like a replica of someone else’s; I want it to be my own.” Nonetheless, when challenged to pick her favorite, she gives in and praises fashion and portrait photographer Irving Penn’s work.

One of the things that sets Lu apart from so many of the other high school photographers on social media is that she offers her services to the public; anyone can send her a direct message and possibly get a shoot. Although she is only a student, her work has been applauded by her peers and those she has shot with. One of Lu’s closest friends and debate partner, fellow sophomore Cassie Beisheim, had nothing but good things to say about her experience shooting with Lu. “I think Sunny is really able to make the people she shoots have a good time, but still take it seriously and get professional work done, which was wack because I’ve never had professional photos taken of me.” Beisheim said. Another acquaintance and sophomore, Matt Shareshian, echoed Beisheim’s words. “It was good; I’m not sure how typical it was, but it was nice, some pretty spicy pictures came from it. It was cool.” Both Beisheim and Shareshian said they would shoot with Lu again if given the chance. “I would, since I had a good time and I think that the pictures she took were great and definitely something I had never had happen before.” said Beisheim, reaffirming her adulation of the aspiring photographer.

Notwithstanding all of this acclaim, Lu doesn’t see herself pursuing photography as a career, although she doesn’t think she’ll ever stop taking photos. “Photography is a fundamental part of 21st century life. I can’t see myself getting away from it because as long as it exists, I’ll always want to participate in it and actively do it because it’s there. If it wasn’t there, I wouldn’t have gone into it, you know?”

Leave a Comment

Comments are closed.

Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • Lu Looks for the Perfect Shot

    Features

    Sophomore writes screenplay

  • Lu Looks for the Perfect Shot

    Features

    Prom Photos

  • Lu Looks for the Perfect Shot

    Features

    Raising the Bar: Ladue’s UNICEF Club Continues to Grow

  • Lu Looks for the Perfect Shot

    Features

    191 Days and Counting

  • Lu Looks for the Perfect Shot

    Features

    Ladue sophomore builds record player

  • Features

    Ladue Senior Jams Out

  • Lu Looks for the Perfect Shot

    Features

    A Jungle in the Classroom

  • Lu Looks for the Perfect Shot

    Features

    Behind the Scenes of the Ladue Film Festival

  • Lu Looks for the Perfect Shot

    Features

    Pep Rally Prepares Student Body for “Coaches vs. Cancer” Game

  • Lu Looks for the Perfect Shot

    Features

    From Simple Interest to Full-Length Novel

The student news center for Ladue High School
Lu Looks for the Perfect Shot