Meet Tegan Smith, the amazing fashion and lifestyle photographer who creates gorgeous and colourful photos with a modern aesthetic. Her portofolio tends towards absolute simplicity, letting her beautiful work take centre stage. Based in Cape Town, South Africa, Tegan created her instagram page (@tegansmithphotogrpahy) as a way of showcasing her elegant images to an open community for all things fashion and lifestyle. We asked Tegan to share a little about her career, her love for photography, and how she balances it all:
Tell us a little bit about you?
I am a Cape Town based fashion & lifestyle photographer. I photograph online content for brands, bloggers and celebrities as well as capture events such as product launches & fashion events. My style is feminine and authentic ( I do not over edit) and I opt to pose my subjects in a way that features their best attributes rather than resort to photoshop editing. I love photographing women in a powerful way and capturing real moments that tell a story. When I’m not photographing fashion, I’m driving on the open road to find new locations to photograph cars — I have a huge passion for cars and enjoy photographing them.
What was the inspiration behind becoming a Fashion & Event Photographer and creating Tegan Smith Photography?
I wanted to capture fashion that tells a story, not just capture a model posing. For me, fashion is about the lifestyle you are selling and the story you are telling – not only about the product. Alongside that, I aim to capture women in a powerful manner – this is VERY important for me !
What are some of your daily inspirations, challenges and rewards as a photographer/ instagram influencer?
Inspirations: I am inspired by everything around me — the city I live in, the places I travel to on a weekend away. I am inspired by the beauty around me, from bright autumn leaves on my afternoon runs, to a secret location I find when driving to a meeting. The people I spend time with inspire me most – my friends, family and most of all my clients — these people inspire me to be my best and inspire others.
Challenges: Switching off — many people think they can contact you at any time and demand answers immediately — my biggest challenge is switching off and allowing myself to respond to whatsapps within working hours and rather be present and in the moment with family and friends. With practice, I am slowly improving…
Rewards: It is rewarding to receive happy messages from clients! Working for myself it is extremely rewarding to be able to go for a run along the beach front in the morning, or grab a coffee at any time. The most rewarding thing for me is when I am on a shoot with a new client or someone who has never been in front of the camera before … they are usually self conscious but when I show them a photo off the back of my camera, a huge smile appears and they cannot belief the beauty they see in themselves — I LOVE that! Most people say ..”wow that doesn’t even look like me!” …and I respond “…this is a raw photo off the back of my camera, this is YOU, you are beautiful”.
What do you find is the hardest challenge balancing your work and personal life?
I like to please everyone, so I battle to say no to certain shoots because of family matters and vice versa. It all comes with practice and being able to divide your time carefully. I do try to reach a compromise between family and clients so that I can balance both. It is a constant battle for me but I think I’m doing better as the years go by.
What is your self-care philosophy?
Take a moment to enjoy time alone – a quiet coffee somewhere, read a book, get away from signal AND your phone for a day. Eat as healthy as you can and sleep well. Thank your body for waking up every day and take time to relax in the evenings.
Take us through an average day in the life, the first thing you do in the morning through to the last thing you do at night.
First, I make a cup of coffee and upload my first instagram photo for the day (usually a recent shoot I’ve been dying to share). If I’m not shooting first thing in the morning, I’ll go for a run in Kalk Bay and grab a green juice from Dalebrook Cafe. Then I’ll get home shower and started on my admin and editing. I usually shoot in the afternoons so at some point in the day I’ll prep my equipment for my shoot and leave an hour before to make sure I’m on time and ready to shoot ! My clients know I’m ALWAYS early… After my shoot I’ll get home, load my images, send off the contact sheet to my client and carry on with admin and editing until about 5/6pm where I’ll start dinner (with a glass of wine in hand) OR go for a run if I haven’t gone in the morning. After dinner, I’ll settle down to watch my favourite series with my husband and make sure I’m ready for the following days shoots before closing my laptop and going to bed.
What does your perfect day in Cape Town look like? (if you want you could also include your ideal day somewhere else too – hehe we would love to know)?
Cape Town — A non working day would be a nice run on a sunny morning followed by wine tasting at my favourite farm (Steenberg or Eagles Nest)A working day in CT would be a beautiful sunrise shoot with a client and then all other shoots and meetings running perfectly on time — I hate things not running on time so any day that runs perfectly is my ideal day!A perfect day out of town would be cell phone free, wine tasting in Robertson or Calitzdorp with family and friends. These are my favourite getaways and I love exploring small towns and boutique wine farms.
Where are your three favorite destinations to travel to alone/with family/friends? Do you have any trips planned?
Robertson, Opsoek on Route 62, PE — all because they involve my favourite things (mentioned above).Yes, I always have a small trip planned, we’re going to Opsoek in July (and hoping for some snow). Opsoek is a tiny town outside Ladismith where we have a little cabin that we visit when we want to get away from our cell phones. There is just something so beautiful about the quietness of the Karoo landscape.
You take stunning photos. What 3 tips could you share with our readers who want to learn photography?
1. START! People always tell me they want to start photography, what must they do… I always say “Just start?!”. Even while searching for photographic courses, have your camera out and start taking photos! Practise makes perfect and you’ll learn so much by simply starting!
2. Buy a start up kit – there are some well priced cameras on the market that come as a kit – with a lens, SD card and everything you need to begin your passion! I also tell people that you don’t always have to buy brand new – equipment is expensive – while you’re starting out it may be easier on the budget to buy second hand items from a trusted camera store.
3. Study. Studying photography is not 100% necessary with youtube etc BUT it does teach you important skills and has made a huge impact on the way I photograph and run my business today! For example, I did a year of film photography when I first started studying and this taught me to set up my scene and take my first photo as if it were my last. My clients love how quickly it takes me to get my lighting correct and “get the shot” — this all stems from my first year of photography when I was a student and film was expensive ! I learned to take a photo properly the first time and not snap away and waste time and film.
What is your philosophy when it comes to food?
Eat clean and healthy but treat yourself every now and then, you deserve it! I live on green juices and lemon/cayenne pepper/honey shots. I also love eating delicious meals so I run every second day in order to balance the foodie in me (lol)
What does health beauty and fitness mean to you?
It means making the right choices as often as possible, having a happy body and understanding that you’re not perfect but you’re trying to be as great as you can be. It’s also important to appreciate your body and be mentally healthy, not only physically healthy.
Must have beauty products?
Hey Gorgeous Happily Ever After SerumHey Gorgeous Eye Cream (which I use on my whole face)Hey Gorgeous Neck and Bust Cream (which I use on my whole body)A good face mask (my favourite is Hey Gorgeous Activated Charcoal)
Something you can’t live without?
WINE!…and my husband and kitty… and my camera to capture all those mentioned above …
What is next for you?
By popular demand… workshops and eBooks! Watch this space! Hopefully some international travel (Dubai and UK) for photoshoots.
Sweet or Savoury? Savory
Hot or cold? Hot
Lips or Eyes? Lips
Smoothie or Juice? Juice
Yoga or Pilates? Yoga
Coffee or Tea? Coffee (unless it’s a chai latte)