Livestock Interview with Photographer Lincoln Barbour


Lincoln Barbour is a commercial photographer who has shot for some of the biggest names in architecture and design. His work has appeared in Elle Décor, Dwell, Martha Stewart Living and more. Livestock sat down with the Virginia-based photographer to find out how he approaches photography, why he shoots what he shoots, and the one key to taking magazine worthy photos for Airbnb.

What originally led you to a career in photography?

My Mom and Dad had a wedding and portrait studio when I was kid and some of my earliest memories are from being in their studio and darkroom. I loved being around it and always wanted to be a photographer. It wasn’t until high school that I really learned how to take pictures. I had a great high school teacher that saw things in my work and was very encouraging. After a decade of working as a barista and then a web designer, I met an architectural photographer named Philip Beaurline and left my well paying tech job to become his studio manager / assistant. It was a great time and I was able to learn the ins and outs of commercial photography. I was very green, but after 2 years, I set out on my own and never looked backed. I just hit my 14th year of business. Pretty proud of that.

Professionally, you aim to capture the essence of what you shoot. How has that influenced your personal photography?

It’s actually goes the other way. When I shoot personally, I try to just capture moments. I never set anything up and it’s very organic. I like shooting what looks interesting to me. My personal work had a big influence on my professional work. Sure, a lot more production goes into my shoots, but I always strive to make the shoot as simple as possible. My lighting is simple, my approach is natural, and I make images that feel real.

Can you tell us about one of your favorite shoots or subjects to shoot and why? What would be your dream project?

This is a tough question because I like to shoot everything for different reasons. I like shooting architecture because it’s like working out a puzzle and you have to be very technical in your execution. I love shooting food because I’m a huge foodie and love to eat. If I wasn’t a photographer, I’d probably be a chef or run a sandwich food truck. Shooting people is a challenge because you have to evoke a feeling from another person and then capture it quickly while being technical accurate. Photography is just fun and I really love shooting it all.

I think my dream project would be to do a shoot that was funny. All my work is very literal, but I have a very perverse sense of humor. I would love to do something where I shoot it straight, but the subject material is just a little weird. Like a Zombie Foodie series or a Martha Stewart makeover of the Death Star.

If you could pass along one tip for the layperson shooting their space to make it magazine worthy or Airbnb gold, what would it be?

If there’s one thing I couldn’t live without on a shoot, it would be my tripod. So, shoot on a tripod. A tripod will force you to think about your composition. You’ll be able to set your camera in one spot and then style the room to look good for the shot. Plus, a tripod will give you stability during long exposures (which happen a lot in interiors or dusk shots).

To learn more about Lincoln and see more of his work, please visit his website.