First, let's start with a miniature introduction...
I'm Claudia (cloud-ee-uh), and though I originate from Bristol, with an Italian heritage and nationality, I now reside in and shoot from a little town along the coast in Cornwall.
My background is a mix of Photography and Digital Marketing with Social Media Specialisation (sounds fancy, I would simply make your social platforms pop and your reach organically climb).
Before the pandemic hit I was heavily working with a variety of businesses and Influencers, helping their reach to organically grow on Instagram. I was also shooting for a variety of travel & tourism brands as a Content Creator, and travelling the globe at every available opportunity. The two careers married together perfectly as both could be carried out remotely.
Unfortunately, the moment my own Instagram was finally taking off and speeding into wonderful press trips and collaborations, the pandemic of 2020 hit. The Digital Marketing clients I had naturally panicked and put a hold on their spending, and travel was of course suspended - and who knew for how long, or what effect this would all have on the economy.
After completely losing both sides to my business, I definitely had a Netflix and Slump few months. Three months in fact, before I started to internally panic and wonder what was to come. To keep myself occupied I began to genuinely (though randomly) find a love for skincare. I have always struggled with very oily/combo skin, and somehow I realised that I should probably pay more attention to my skincare routine instead of the types of makeup I was using - start with the problem itself, right?! And so my research began, and I entirely revamped my very basic, very awful skincare routine.
Whilst I was going through this skincare epiphany, and my bank balance, I had a lightbulb moment. I have a camera. I know how to use it. I know how to edit. Why don't I shoot some of my new, aesthetically pleasing skincare items and see if it flourishes into something.
I had never considered Product Photography before, in fact I wasn't even entirely aware that it was a career. Of course I knew that somebody had to be taking photos for websites, magazines, social media etc., I just had no idea about that world.
I set to work, and began to shoot every day, every week, every month... endlessly practicing. I had no professional gear, other than my Samsung NX300 'bridge' camera. I was utilising sheets of white and pink paper as backdrops, my living room coffee table, and natural light from my large patio doors.
From there I naturally learned that I needed to upgrade my backdrops, acquire a cheap professional lighting set-up (I was shooting through early spring, and in England our daylight consists of on/off rain), and a few helpful props.
I started to incorporate a few leftover tiles/slabs from my parent's shed as backdrops, along with a glass cooking dish from my own kitchen for some water/pool-side shots. Flowers also began to make an appearance, and very minute props such as soap trays.
With these little upgrades, and becoming somewhat confident in my abilities, I began to reach out to fairly new and smaller brands to offer my services on a free collaborative basis. This way I could continue to practice, gain experience from working with real brands, and also receive some invaluable testimonials.
These are a selection of the very first collaborative images I ever created! For The Pink Clay Mask, The Somerset Toiletry Company, AnnLi'Co, and Perl Cosmetics (left to right).
Thankfully these brands agreed to trust me with their products, we made the trade off, and they very kindly provided me with some wonderful testimonials that helped start my career.
It's now three years (and 14 days) later, and I am regularly creating beautiful content for amazing brands around the globe. Photography has always been a passion of mine, from a very young age of 11/10, and to think that I'm fortunate enough to be behind the lens as my growing career... what a dream come true. Here's to many many more shoots with incredible brands!