Interviews

How Taeona Caldbeck redefines creativity beyond equipment and achieves professional-level work

Post by
Marisa Young
How Taeona Caldbeck redefines creativity beyond equipment and achieves professional-level work

Taeona Caldbeck from  Little Jean Studios is a highly motivated photographer based in Washington. Despite working from a simple home studio, her exceptional skills deliver results that are comparable to a commercial space. Her polished visuals are a testament to the fact that professional-quality work is not always the result of expensive equipment, but rather the creator's skillset. Taeona is well-known for her resourcefulness, and she can ingeniously transform any photoshoot fails into studio-quality masterpieces in no time through her impressive editing skills.

Like many photographers during the pandemic Taeona made the move from photographing people to products out of necessity. She quickly found a natural passion for the subject matter with her signature bold and polished aesthetic producing stunning results. Complementing her luxe style, Taeona has a beautiful ability to convey texture and play with ingredients which elevates her content to the next level.

Joining Creatively Squared for the inspiration and sense of community, Taeona quickly forged an identity as a creator and has become a valuable inspiration to the community herself. Her repeat projects for our customers like Nexxus and Love, Beauty & Planet is a testament to the consistently flawless assets she delivers and the professionalism she practices.

Keep scrolling down to hear from Taeona and be inspired by her work so far, including some of Taeona’s epic before and afters that have left us and the community in complete awe of her editing abilities.

Let’s meet Taeona!

I’ve been interested in photography ever since I was little, but more on the portrait side. I started to dabble in commercial photography at the beginning of 2020 during lockdown and wanted to continue taking pictures and started to learn how to photograph products. When I’m not taking pictures, I enjoy spending time with my family and exploring the PNW. I also enjoy creative writing.

When I first started, I worked with smaller businesses and focused on flatlays, but over time I’ve found that I prefer highly retouched studio shots. I enjoy the editing process the most and often create my backgrounds and sometimes my props through Photoshop.

I think my photos are generally sleek, bold, & minimalist.

Taeona’s recent work for Love, Beauty & Planet highlight her love for colour, complementary props and texture play in her signature minimalist style. Source: Creatively Squared

Journey with Creatively Squared

I started to watch lots of reels on Instagram to learn tips and tricks to improve my photography, and I started to see reels by Creatively Squared. When I learnt about the community aspect of it, I wanted to join.

Some examples of Taeona’s before and after images for Nexxus showcasing her incredible Photoshop editing skills. These transformations have been popular shares on Instagram and TikTok. Source: Creatively Squared in collaboration with Little Jean Studios

I’ve really enjoyed working on the Nexxus projects. I love working with companies that want a very Photoshopped look. My favourite one so far has been the Ultralight Smooth project. I love the vibrant blue colours and the way the ingredients contrasted with them.

Taeona impressed us with one of early projects for Nexxus using selected ingredients - Taeona has continued to deliver stunning assets for the brand. Source: Creatively Squared

Tools of the trade

I use a Nikon D780, Godox lights, various different brands of stands, Photoshop, and Lightroom. All of my shoots are done in my home studio.

When it comes to product photoshoots, I love using ingredients and flowers as props. They are a fun way to add colour to an image! I prefer to shoot in my studio because that way I can control the environment and lighting.

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Taeona’s creative process

My creative process would depend on the project and/or client. The briefs are usually pretty specific so that actually makes shoots easier. I always use a checklist, but if there are a lot of images required, I will also make a quick sketch of my ideas to ensure that the images will be unique enough to post side by side on Instagram.

I normally work alone, but I recently started working on projects with my husband who is a cinematographer. He mainly works on video projects, but he sometimes helps me set up my lights or helps me hold things in the right place for a shot.

When it comes to entering my creative zone, I must admit, I’m someone who tends to get anxious leading up to shoots, and I don’t get into my creative zone until I jump headfirst into a project. Then my brain switches to autopilot!

More of Taeona’s bold and colourful work for Love, Beauty & Planet. Source: Creatively Squared

Finding inspiration

I love these creators every time I look for inspiration: @clarajonesphoto, @stopmotiondarcy, @lishcreative, @loveday.social, @amandacampeanu, @anetalauradotcom, and @cindy_clauds.

Top creative tip

Practice practice practice! The best photographers had to start somewhere too. No one starts out making perfect photos, so set realistic goals when trying to improve. Choose one technique or skill to work on at a time, and when you get better at it, pick another. Don’t stop learning!

Also this one is a little random but focuses on editing: If you add color to your picture with the paintbrush, you need to add noise to that layer to avoid banding. Banding looks like faint streaks or lines and is usually more visible after export. A lot of times banding is noticeable when a photographer fills in the background with solid color, but it’s such an easy fix. I wish more photographers knew this trick!!

What’s next for Taeona?

While I love Photoshop, my goal this year is to work on getting my in-camera shots more refined to cut down a little on my editing process.

Taeona is a huge advocate for practicing your skills and trying new things through personal projects. This shoot was a breakout success when we featured Taeona on Instagram - click here to see the full reel. Source: Creatively Squared in collaboration with Little Jean Studios

Thank you Taeona for sharing your journey so far with us. We have loved following along with you as a creator and appreciate the amazing contributions you have made to our community. Keep up with Taeona by visiting her Instagram @littlejeanstudios and say hi to her in our community space.

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