Elephas Creative


CD Design…


One of the cooler illustration projects we did in the late fall was the winter concert poster series for Boston Choral Ensemble.  They really let us push and do some really cool design.

One other component of the job was the CD design, which has the same look/feel as the poster series.

If you didn’t get a chance to see some of our posters, click here:



Move Over Bacon…

Yeah technology is great and all that, but the speed at which it is moving can be just too much.  Back when I started assisting, it was common for the photographer to still be shooting with the same Hasselblad he/she started their professional career with.  Try to do that with a piece of equipment these days and it’s just a laugh.  If we get 12-18 months out of a camera we are doing pretty good… But I guess that’s just the way it is now-a-days.
Anyway… Saw this the other day (not the Sizzalean ad) and was pretty blown away.  It took a while to fully commit to a 4k back end, but it looks like its going to be time to toss the computers and upgrade yet again.

Behold, 10k.

Valentine’s Day…

Happy Valentines Day from Elephas Creative!


From the Vault: Weekend Tip #2 – Hitch-in’s OK…

Another post from the Vault.  Originally posted Feb 7th 2009, Greg gives a tip for building a photography portfolio.


Back seat of a Bell 206 flying search and rescue in Alaska, 1999Tip number two… Don’t be afraid to hitch hike!

I have always been fascinated with aviation, and still get excited whenever I get a chance to set foot in a helicopter or airplane.  Even flying commercially still makes me happy.  Maybe its because its one of the few places on the planet where I can totally relax.  It has to do (I think) with the fact that I am forced to just sit in one place.  We are flying to Argentina on Monday, and I am so looking forward to the 14 hours or so I will spend in the plane.  Seriously!  People think I’m nuts…

Anyway… Here’s the tip.   When your starting out, building a portfolio from the air is inherently problematic as it is a catch-22.  You cant get jobs with out an aerial portfolio, and you cant get an aerial portfolio without getting up in a helicopter or airplane.  And frankly, who has an extra $1200.00 per hour to hire a Bell 206 to fly you around the ball park in order to get some cool air to ground shots?

So here’s the trick:  Hitchhike!


Flying with “Wild Bill” into a gold mine in Alaska


Years ago, when I started thinking about shooting photographs for a living, I set out on a 30 day expedition through British Columbia and Alaska.  It was my first time to the state, and was fantastic.  Because Alaska is so vast, the only realy way to get around and see the country is by air.  So…. I would drive along and find small airports.  I would camp there that night, or crash in my truck in order to be awake and ready at the crack of dawn.  I would then get my cameras ready, and wait.


When someone would drive up and start prepping an airplane or helicopter, I would walk over, explain who I was and what I was doing (namely looking to tag along and shoot pictures,) and then beg them to let me ride along.  More times than not, I would be told to grab my stuff and jump in.

On that trip I flew on search and rescue missions looking for a lost pilot in a Jet Ranger, flew with engineers to fix a power station in a Eurocopter AS350, and flew with a crazy bush pilot named “Wild Bill” in his SC.7 Skyvan to deliver supplies into the largest gold find (at the time) in the state.


SC.7 Skyvan being loaded with mining supplies

So if you have a desire to hang on the skid of a helicopter shooting photos, you might want to give a start by using your thumb.  Good luck!

For more info on shooting aerial photos, check out the PAPA or Professional Aerial Photographers Assc.

Logo + Web for CBKearney…


When we start in on a website, its important to understand just exactly what it is the thing is supposed to do.  Time and time again, it seems that folks have a hard time wrapping their head around this, but its pretty straight forward.

When it really comes down to it, a website is either going to: 1) Communicate a message, or 2) Sell something.

For communicating a message, the simple and elegant solution is the WordPress platform.  If you aim is eCommerce, than there really is no better alternative than Shopify.




Back in 2009, we did a calling card website for friend and long time collaborator Chris Kearney of CB Kearney Fine Woodworking.  After four years it was time for a re-skin, so we had at it.




Elephas Creative gave Chris a new clean logo and a simple and easy to navigate 3 page calling card style WordPress website.  The site has a modern blog where he can easily log on and make infinite changes.  The site uses full frame photography that Greg shot at their shop in Lawrence which can be updated on the fly.  Chris can also edit all the web copy on his own in his password protected custom back-end dashboard.

If you have thought about refreshing your tired old website, or perhaps have a new venture that needs a web presence.   Feel free to reach out and give us a call.




Swan Boats Goes Live…!


After two months of hard work we are proud to launch the new website for the Boston Swan Boats.

We wanted it to be simple, playful, colorful, and embody the spirit of the Swan Boats, and I think it’s just that.  The site is built on top of the WordPress platform and is very easy for the owners to administrate.  With a couple of simple clicks, they can add, edit, or remove any content they wish.  The site is responsive and works great across all platforms.


Our designers did an amazing job with the design, and we are beyond pleased with how it turned out.  Now we just need some nice weather so we can start shooting some great photography!

Feel free to take a look:  www.swanboats.com








Well we got hammered…  It was a bunch of hard work digging out from the blizzard, but it sure was fun!  Getting into the studio this AM was a bit exciting with 6′ drifts on either side of the entrance.  It would be fun to bitch, but 30hrs of snow was pretty awesome.


If your holed up here in NE at home, perhaps it’s a good time to start thinking of having us start that new web project you have been wanting to do?  New year, fresh clean snow, maybe time for a new logo and website???



Shopify Site for Stene Aviation…

Stene Long BW

Working in design and wanting to share the work via social media can some times be at odds.  We are often right in the middle of super-cool projects, but can’t share any of the work as it has not been released to the public yet by the client or launched on the web.

Late this fall, Elephas Creative was engaged by Stene Aviation of Polson MT to design and build a full service eCommerce website, and this has been one of those projects.

We have had our heads down over the past five weeks on the project and today finally moved into the development stage which is pretty cool. (stay tuned for the launch when we can share!)

Stene wanted a progressive site that took advantage off all the cutting edge eCommerce functionality, which meant only one choice in our opinion – Shopify.

There certainly are a bunch of options out there, and the consumer can easily find themselves sitting at the bottom of the mountain looking up at a confusing group of options:  Wix, BigCommerce, Magento, Squarespace, Volusion, Yahoo Small Business, X-Cart, PinnacleCart, AmericCommerce, Corecommerce, Big Cartel, 3Dcart, holy crap… makes you want to puke right?


There are many reasons we stand behind Shopify, and if you are interested in an eCommerce site, we will gladly spend the time convincing you why, but in short, if you are serious about having a robust, well supported eCommerce website, we will do our best to make a solid case for Shopify.

It is important to disclose that Elephas Creative participates in the Shopify Partnership Program and does receive compensation for the promotion of their service.  That said, most of the larger and more serious eCommerce platforms have these programs and our decision to use Shopify was not driven by financial incentives.  We would still stand behind the choice regardless of the partnership.


The most common issue we are seeing these days is the consumers notion that building an eCommerce website is just plain easy.  I think a lot of this comes from the heavy advertising that Wix and Square are doing with alluring notions that for just $16.00 per month, you will have the freedom to hop on the web and build yourself a kick ass eStore.  “Can’t I just sign up and use one of their free templates???”



More times than not, any website job that comes in over the transom here at Elephas first starts with some kind of story about how the customer first tried to build their own WordPress or Square Space site. They go on to tell the story about how they signed up for a particular service and fuddled about with the back end, but in the end, just couldn’t get it right.



I suppose in some ways this is great for us since they are now sitting and talking about having a website built, but the reality is that the customer has already started the process off having been soured by a bad web experience and can have a hard time digesting the actual time (translation cost) involved with building a simple, solid, well thought out website.


As with anything in life, nothing worth doing is easy, and unfortunately having a solid end product translates into talented people working long hours.  Fact is, creating a good website is not an easy task.

Elephas Crative is interested in quality. If you are at beginning a web project, whether eCommerce or not, feel free to give us a shout.  We would like a shot at proving our worth.


New Mascot in Prep for 2015…


Found a super-cool antique elephant on eBay.  Came just in time for the new year.  We are excited to see where Elephas heads in 2015.


Dinner at the Cornerstop…


Web jobs are funny sometimes. Since they can take 2-3 months from beginning to end, you really get to know your clients and in some ways, become part of their family.

In the fall, Elephas had the privilege of designing/develpoing a new website for The Cornerstop Eatery in Hingham.  To celebrate the holiday, last night we escaped out of the studio and headed over for a cozy dinner.  (a bit of superfluous plugging here, but….) Amazing chicken! And the 7% IPA didn’t hurt either.

Thanks Ron and Rudy for the hospitality. Restaurant was packed and we were happy to see so many smiles. Congrats!



From The Vault: Holiday Promo 2010

Although lame excuses have gotten in the way of a 2014 holiday film, Greg Hren Photography is known for it’s fun (and sometimes strange) holiday films…

From the vault, here is the 2010 holiday film.


Soup to Nuts: Photography Through Design…


Already having created the Izuly brand, this holiday week we are in the studio shooting product shots for Izuly Jewelery’s Spring catalog.


Unlike most firms, Elephas has the internal ability handle every step of a clients artistic needs.


From concepting a name, to bringing life to that identity, to leveraging the identity, shooting the photography, designing and building it’s website, and then the design and management of it’s printed collateral material.  Elephas can handle it.








From the Video Vault: Vol 16 Aerials w/ Blue Hill Helicopters

In this past Wednesday’s Elephas post we shared some legacy content about aerial photography…  On Saturdays we try to share past video work we have done, and this “Behind the Scenes” film is a great follow-up.  Enjoy!

Originally posted March 14th, 2011

From the Vault: Aerials Over Boston…

Fall in New England is traditionally a time where Greg does a lot of aerial photography.  The temps are still nice, and the color on the landscape really starts to pop.  Except for the occasional specific image request, the “beauty” shots are gone until the leaves return in the spring.

In thinking about the conclusion of this years season as well as the next, I thought it fun to revisit a post from the vault.

Originally posted April 23rd, 2012.


Well it’s spring again here in Boston, and this usually means the aerial season has begun.  Last Thursday we launched for a late afternoon photo flight over the City of Boston.  If you are familiar with the blog, you will know that it involves some kind of air vehicle, you will have a damn hard time keeping us out of it. As usual, we flew with Blue Hill Helicopters out of Norwood Airport.  Because the shoot was a fairly simple shoot (just photography and no cinema work) and I did not need to have the client along, I chose to fly the Schweizer 300C.  This is a small two place piston driven helicopter with a great safety record.  Besides being a nice platform for aerial work, the operational cost is very reasonable compared to something like a Bell Jet Ranger, or a Europcopter A Star which is very attractive to clients.  It’s a great way to provide aerial work without breaking the budget.


The photo mission took us inbound on the “Quarry” route, around the city counter clock-wise, and then out on the “Fenway” route(click here to see a cool map of the Boston helicopter routes) Landmarks on the list included the harbor, Fenway Park, the Zakim Bridge, and the Charles River skyline. Boston Logan was landing on Rwy 4, which made it a bit tricky as we had to stay under 300′ for a bunch of the shooting.  (In a nutshell this means that we had to fly under the commercial airliners that were landing.) In the end, we spent about 45 min on station and got some great images.


27 Years & Still Kicking…


We had a design meeting this AM with a new client. Half way thru the meeting we got into color choices for a print piece and out she came…

She was new in 1987, but after 27 years the old girl was still kicking ass. God bless Pantone!

For most artists and designers, the word Pantone conjurers happy memories of the dusty days and one’s transition from beginner to self-realized professional.


If you are unfamiliar, the Pantone Matching System (or PMS for short) is a rainbow of colors who’s purpose is to dispel any ambiguity in a conversation on color.  A finger on a chip represents confirmation of color and removes any uncertainty on how something will look when printed.  In short, (and as long as the printer has his shit together) the use of the PMS chart moves the responsibility from the hands of the designer into those of the clients, and protects all on the design/print journey.


There are newer versions kicking around the studio of course, but nothing beats the memory of our vintage 87′. Think she’ll stay in the Elephas conference room for while longer…


Info Graphics for Cubist


Since our launch at the beginning of the year, we have been had the privilege of doing some pretty creative work in the BioPharma space and are really proud of the work we are turning out.


In October, Elephas Creative was approached by Cubist and asked to create a new set of info-graphics to be used in conjunction with the rise of resistant Gram-Negative bacteria in the U.S.

Drug resistant super-bugs are a huge deal and we are certainly thrilled play even the most miniscule part in helping with the message.

These info-graphics will be used in an on going series to help illustrate information and data.  Stay tuned for more in the suite.


From The Vault: Weekend Tip For Location Photography – #6 The Polarizer

Continuing the Elephas tradition of digging into the Greg Hren Photography blog, here is a cool tip for making great images.  To see the other tips, click here:

Originally posted March 7, 2009 by Creative Director Greg Hren


Some of you may or may not know this little trick… but if you don’t, it is a must have for your camera bag.

The circular polarizer is one of my FAVORITE filters of all time.  I will let Wikipedia explain it better, but in a nutshell, it basically increases the contrast between the sky and the clouds.



Below are a couple of images that I made whilst traveling through Iowa this past summer.  For each of these images I used the circular polarizer.  Even in the case of the image with the crop duster (with no clouds) the filter darkened and saturated the sky.  I did this as I wanted  to play a deep blue sky against the bright yellow fuselage.

I tweaked the saturation very slightly in post, but for the most part, the images are out of the camera.

The effect is very cool, and worth the space in your bag!  Give it a try!

Good luck-


New Website for the Swan Boats…


If you sitting in Duluth or Albuquerque today and you hear the word “Swanboat,” you might finding yourself saying huh???  But if you live here in New England, you know exactly what it means.

Starting in 1870 with a row boat concession, the Swan Boats came to life after creator Robert Paget combined the new popularity of the bicycle with the inspiration from the opera Lohengrin where the Knight gallantly rescues the damsel by riding a swan across a lake.


Today, almost 150 years later the Swan Boats continue as a family operation, and believe it or not, still has a Paget at the helm.

Famed for their appearance in Make Way For Ducklings, the The Boston Swan Boats have become a cultural icon, and is a place where memories and nostalgia converge and are passed from parent to child, and from generation to generation.

Elephas Creative and Greg Hren Photography have had a close connection with the Swan Boats, most recently working with famed intern “Swordfish Kyle,” (son of current Operations Manager Lyn Paget.)

He gets all red in the face when we post this pic, but we cant resist showing one of our favorite photos…  (Sorry Kyle) but here he is livin it up while interning in the studio on a Scrubology fashion shoot.


Lyn Paget’s son Kyle while working as a fashion shoot intern

Anyway… The current Swan Boat website is pretty old, and although it basically conveys their communication message, it falls short in many areas.

For this reason, The Swan Boats has contracted Elephas Creative to not only re-design the website, but help think thru the new mission of the site, re-brand their visual identity, and design a more modern, concise, and clean website.



Current Swan Boat website

We started on the project in earnest this week, and have been busy concepting, developing the sitemap and designing wire-frames.  Stay tuned for the new visual identity.  Its definitely a project we are very excited about!


Managing the Message…


Having a “blog” on your website is all the rage.  Everyone is telling you how important it is…  Make sure you post!  Did you Tweet today?  Don’t forget about Facebook!!!

The fact of the matter is sometimes a little help is nice.  More and more Elephas Creative is not only building customers websites, but assisting them with some, or even all of their social media content creation.

A nice example of this is with City Fresh Foods in Dorchester, Ma.

This morning, we got an urgent request to add three news articles to their “Be Healthy” page.  In short order, we were able to create some simple artwork, and populate their blog with three important messages.

From a simple job like this, to a full scale communication project, Elephas has the design, photography, programming, and copyrighting capability in house to execute a client’s message.




BioPharma Ad


Last week Cubist, a global leader in the fight against antibiotic resistant superbugs approached Elephas Creative to concept, write, and design an advertisement for a new employment campaign.  The project was short notice and had a super rush 4 day deadline.

Having a long history working in the biopharma sector, this ad was right up our alley but the turn-around time was going to be a challenge.


It was all hands on deck starting Friday afternoon, and by Monday PM, we delivered 5 fully formed ads including photography, copyrighting, and design.  Tues the ads were approved, delivered to press by Wednesday, and used in print for the first time in the Boston Sunday Globe.

It was a mad dash, but a ton of fun. Thanks to Cubist for letting us run with the project!