Now more than ever do we recognize the power of photography to transport us to all the places we dream of, and photographer Renee Rae’s work does just that. From the beaches of her homeland in Australia, to the Saharan desert and all of the beautiful design, architecture and nature in between, Renee’s minimalist aesthetic and appreciation for natural elements lends to an Instagram feed that we love to follow. We chatted with Renee who gave us insight into her foray into freelance photography, how she aims to travel a bit lighter, where she is dreaming of traveling post-pandemic and more.
Tell us a little bit about your journey to becoming a full-time photographer?
I’ve always had a passion for taking photos. I worked for creative small businesses in other areas and photography had always been a side project for me. A little over a year ago now I decided to take the leap into my freelance photography career. My partner and I saved for a couple of years so we could begin the journey with a few months of travel through Europe and North Africa (a great way to start right?) Since then, there’s been a lot of highs and lows and a lot of figuring it out along the way but it’s exciting all the same and I’m looking forward to seeing where it takes me.
What do you love most about what you do?
I love that no day is the same—every day involves new and testing elements and I love having the freedom to mix up my schedule.
Describe a defining career moment along the way.
Earlier this year I had the pleasure of photographing the four incredibly beautiful Silent Living properties in Portugal.
“I’m conscious of trying to minimize my waste when travelling—buying less packaged foods and more market produce, carrying my reusable water bottle and coffee cup and also staying in accommodations or hotels with sustainable initiatives in place.”
Favorite place in the world to shoot.
I probably haven’t discovered it yet… but I loved shooting in Morocco. From the souks to the Sahara Desert and back. It was something entirely new for me and an incredible experience.
Knowing that travel is a big part of the job, how do you make an effort to travel lighter and more sustainably?
When flying, I always make an effort to pack lighter and travel only with carry-on luggage. I also try to fly direct where possible and once I’m in a destination, I walk as much as possible! I’m conscious of trying to minimize my waste when travelling—buying less packaged foods and more market produce, carrying my reusable water bottle and coffee cup and also staying in accommodations or hotels with sustainable initiatives in place.
What has travel taught you?
Travel has taught me mindfulness and patience.
Go-to road trip album or playlist.
I usually let @timdavereed do the road trip playlist curating, but currently, I love listening to Caamp, Leon Bridges and Lord Huron.
When are you most creative?
I think I’m most creative when exploring a new place… and always after coffee!
Tell us a little bit about your creative process.
I’m often researching locations and spaces and I simply try to utilise the morning and late afternoon light to achieve an honest aesthetic.
Who and what inspires you?
I find inspiration in natural textures and elements and I’m drawn to this when shooting interiors or outdoors. I love shooting still, quiet scenes in whatever environment I’m in. I’m lucky to share a love of travel and photography with my partner (@timdavereed)—he’s constantly inspiring me to keep chasing this dream. I’m extremely thankful for it.
Favourite Instagram accounts to follow.
“I find inspiration in natural textures and elements and I’m drawn to this when shooting interiors or outdoors. I love shooting still, quiet scenes in whatever environment I’m in.”
How do you embrace slower living?
In the current climate, I think we’ve all been forced to embrace slower living and for me, that involves focusing on home life and enjoying the little moments in every day. I’m lucky to be surrounded by nature where I live, so I’m always trying to soak that up as much as possible.
I love a slow morning and my daily ritual of making and enjoying my morning coffee at home.
Describe your perfect Sunday.
Making and enjoying a coffee first thing, followed by a walk, swim or surf and freshly squeezed juice.
Your hometown’s best kept secret.
Our abundance of nature. The Tweed Coast has white sand beaches as far as the eye can see and magic sunset views in all directions—from here to Byron Bay and over the beautiful Mount Warning in the world-heritage-listed Wollumbin National Park.
Where are you dreaming of travelling when the world opens up again?
Right now, I’m looking forward to exploring more of beautiful Australia. I’m also dreaming of visiting New Zealand and Japan some day!
What advice would you give to aspiring travel photographers?
Photograph the things that resonate with you and have confidence in putting your work out into the world!
Philosophy to live by.
Wake up early. Drink coffee. Work hard. Be ambitious. Do what you love. Love what you do.
You might also like:
Interior designer Vianca Soleil tells us about life on Puro Island, an untouched paradise characterized by white sand, palm trees and wild mangroves where she is building beach home and future eco-resort.
Entrepreneur Tess Robinson shares her entrepreneurial journey building one of Australia's leading creative studios and discusses the importance of finding your "why".
Founder and creative director Magali Pascal reflects on her Parisian roots, life in Bali and why it's important that her namesake label is rooted in sustainability and empowers the local community.