The 2005 Aiken High School graduate was studying engineering at Clemson University when trips to Costa Rica and Italy ignited his interest in photography.
The photos that changed his career path were of native life in Costa Rica.
"I focus on what I'd like to see," he said.
He said his father advised against changing from engineering to photography.
"I wasn't satisfied with that," he said. "I thought I'd go for it and give this a try."
So he enrolled at the University of South Carolina Aiken.
He was hired by Easy Street magazine to shoot the USPA Gold Cup Polo competition last May in Aiken, which resulted in a display at the Sweet Cow Creamery on Laurens Street.
"It got me thinking that I could make something out of this job," Mr. Austin said.
He was a photographer for state Sen. Tommy Moore's South Carolina gubernatorial campaign last year.
In December Mr. Austin held his first show during an Aiken after-hours event, exhibiting photos from his trip to Costa Rica.
Next year, he said, he will transfer to the University of South Carolina in Columbia to study visual communications so he can incorporate multimedia into his work.
"I feel that I can use photography as a main source of income and maybe get to travel," Mr. Austin said. "My goal is to not really give up."
Inquiries about Mr. Austin's work can be e-mailed to BigCountry1286@bellsouth.net.
Reach Julia Sellers at (803) 648-1395, ext. 106 or firstname.lastname@example.org.