In 1863, when Cameron was 48 years old, her daughter gave her a camera as a present, thereby starting her career as a photographer.Within a year, Cameron became a member of the Photographic Societies of London and Scotland.Adeline de l'Etang was the daughter of Chevalier Ambrose Pierre Antoine de l'Etang, who had been a page of Marie Antoinette as well as an officer in the Garde du Corps of King Louis XVI.
At the time, photography was a labour-intensive art that also was highly dependent upon crucial timing.
Sometimes Cameron was obsessive about her new occupation, with subjects sitting for countless exposures in the blinding light as she laboriously coated, exposed, and processed each wet plate.
This led some of her contemporaries to complain and even ridicule the work, but her friends and family were supportive, and she was one of the most prolific and advanced amateurs of her time.
Her enthusiasm for her craft meant that her children and others sometimes tired of her endless photographing, but it also left us with some of the best of records of her children and of the many notable figures of the time who visited her.
She remained a member of the Photographic Society, London, until her death.