How Elayne's early interest in photography developed into a flourishing commercial career

Post by
Ruth Stephensen
How Elayne's early interest in photography developed into a flourishing commercial career

After cramming into the darkroom at school to develop film, Elayne Barre knew she wanted to become a photographer. Since then, the digital evolution has seen negatives giving way to SD cards, but Elayne's passion for taking photos hasn't waned.

Elayne is a photographer that celebrates clean lines and the art of visual storytelling. The Devon-based snapper began her career focused on interiors and has since transitioned to product photography. Elayne's polished aesthetic and eye for detail translates beautifully to a wide range of subject matters.

Elayne Barre flashing a wide smile wearing a black top

The art of photography isn't just a professional pursuit for Elayne. Whenever she can find the time to step outside her studio, she indulges her personal love for landscape photography in different locations around the world.

We chatted with Elayne to learn about her creative journey and find out how she beats the dreaded creative block. Read about her creative process and sources of inspiration below.

My Creative Journey

I started learning photography at school and it's been a passion that has stuck with me ever since. Back then I was just about the only one interested in learning photography—which was good seeing as only a couple of people could fit into our tiny darkroom at school!

When I was traveling after I graduated, I would rent a darkroom if I could find one on my journey and it became clear to me that was all I wanted to do.

Wooden bridge surrounded by a wide lake, green scenery and tall mountains
Elayne's landscape photography
Red theater with white colored windows, a theater sign featuring the title of the movie showing and a glimpse of the sky above

I initially started out in interiors photography, which I still enjoy from time to time. But my current love is for product photography.

My favourite thing to photograph (right now) might be bottles, specifically wine bottles. They have a beautiful curve to them and be it lifestyle or studio set ups, photographing them is a lot of fun.

I would describe my personal aesthetic as bright, bold, and maximalist.

Partnering with Creatively Squared

I just luckily happened to come across Creatively Squared after I moved out of the city (London) to set up my little studio. I was trying to find clients that would look past that I wasn’t next door to their offices to drop products off in, which was a huge concern to begin with. I was super lucky and found the right platform to partner with.

I was challenged by a few projects at the start of lockdown because there was nowhere I could purchase props or even get them delivered. I managed to get some spray paint and went out into the sparse garden that was nowhere near spring and made do with what I could find. I actually loved this project and was so pleased with the results!

Maison de Grand Esprit Burgogne bottle placed on top of a small blue-green box and set against a backdrop of four big blue-green leaves
Creative wine photos produced for Creatively Squared
Maison de Grand Esprit Burgogne bottle set against a backdrop of clouds like effect and light blue sky

Tools of the trade

I have my studio set up in an old barn conversion. The equipment I use there is a Canon 5Dsr, Manfrotto camera stand, Elinchrom lights, and a crazy amount of clamps, blu tack, and masking tape! My latest purchase is a rotating table which I am excited to use.

When it comes to my favourite props, I love working with flowers and foliage.

Studio set full of photography equipments such as cameras, studio umbrella, effects and a white screen in the middle
Elayne's photography studio in Maidenhead, UK


Finding Inspiration

To get into the creative zone I take a plunge into Pinterest, Instagram, or listen to Skillshare tutorials or podcasts.

I'm focusing on improving my Photoshop skills this year and I am particularly loving the Skillshare classes by Alan Ayoubi. I watch a lot of Skillshare classes to get inspiration and creative support. It's especially helpful when working on your own as it feels like you are in a team in some small way.

Variety of Elemis products scattered over a light beige table with dried aesthetic wheat grass
A personal project by Elayne

One of my favourite podcasts to listen to is The Moth, I find the short story format calming and inspirational. In the past, I have listened to Photography-focused podcasts, but I found they were more distracting and stole my attention away from my work!

When I'm scrolling Instagram for creative inspiration, I'll check out some of my favourite hashtags to follow such as #cosmeticsphotography and #beveragephotography to see what people are sharing and keep up-to-date with new trends.

All of these tactics usually help me avoid a creative block, but failing that I will take my dog for a walk to clear my head instead.

Brown french bulldog sleeping on Elayne's arms and legs
Elayne's French Bulldog Peanut as a puppy

Top Creative Tips

My top tips for creating fabulous content are to just go the extra mile and have confidence in your abilities.

When lighting curved products I recommend using softboxes with really stretched tight diffusers, I find rectangular shapes work best for tall bottles. Some people like to light products one light at a time and as for me, I need to see the whole picture to know how things work together.

Five Suave products formed as star, each product is set next to its flavors such as grapefruit, honey and milk, coconut, rose petals, aloe vera
Elayne's work for Creatively Squared client Suave
Suave Pink Grapefruit set against slices of grapfruits and splashes of water

Follow along with Elayne's photography journey at @elaynebarre and admire her beautiful portfolio at her website

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