Fashion, Fashion Plus

A Behind the Scenes Look at Shooting Beautiful Travel Photos



Let me start by disclosing that this is somewhat of an 18A post. I drop a few swears and give some tips that are geared towards adults. No nudity or violence or anything like that but if you’re not into cheeky adult humour this might not be the post for you 😉

So this is kind of a How To in reverse. I meet women all the time that compliment my travel photos. They tell me they want to do the same BUT they feel uncomfortable in front of a camera, or they are shy, or even genuinely scared a little.

Well girls. I feel you on that. I swear to the travel gods even though I’ve been a model for many moons now I still feel nervous every single time I step in front of the camera.

So you might wonder, how do I make a career out of doing this? Well the truth is that I’m ridiculously realistic about taking photos, especially when in comes to these renegade, travel fashion photos I’m becoming known for lately.

Anyone who takes photos will tell you there is always prep work. It’s a delicate mixture of practice, planning and capturing a moment that make a photo fantastic. In fact, I’m happy to say that I’ve been doing this style of “renegade” modelling long enough now that my affilates trust me to take their products on the road while I travel and produce quality images for them.

I Want to Tell You The Truth

It’s not always easy. Most professional shoots require a team of AT LEAST five including model, photographer, wardrobe stylist, make-up artist and hair stylist. On a large scale production there can be as many as 20 people planning, styling, directing and preparing photos.

In the past I’ve had anywhere from 2-4 people working on my hair, make-up and nails alone on a commerical set.

When we shoot “renegade” I usually take on all those roles. I style the looks, hair and make-up. I scout the locations and plan the layout of the images. Also, when I’m working with a beginner photographer I even take on the role of director of photography to give them some perspective into the “look” we are after.

I Know This Seems Intimidating But Don’t Stress It Girl! 

Up until now everything I’ve said is kind of serious and sounds like work and – it is. If you want to work with brands you do have to offer a level of professionalism. However, a renegade photo shoot is the exact kind of environment that can produce a lot of fun, goofy and freeing moments.

My Last Trip in July is the Perfect Example

As some of you know I went on a two week road trip to Italy this summer. Though this adventure was conceived based on my sheer enthusiasm to see as much as Europe as possible while living in France, it had a dual purpose. I was given 4 pieces of convertible clothing by my Affiliate and love brand Diane Kroe (You may remember my What to Wear in Italy Curvy Girl? post a few months back). The goal was to take only those pieces, turn them into as many outfits as possible and photograph them along the way. The photos would then be turned into the a new travel capsule wardrobe that will be feature on! Cool Right?! 

So this is exactly what we did. We set out with 4 pieces that converted into approximately 11 different outfits, a camera and a loose itinerary and the results were fantastic!

How is This a How To Tegan?! 

Imma tell you right now!! :p

Like every job, there is a certian level of professionalism that is required but it’s so important to know when to let things roll off and when to take a light hearted approach.

As nervous as you may be taking photos publically in the middle of a tourist zone it is a GREAT way to face your fear head on – And I know you’re advertous because after all you are a traveler!

So whether you’re shooting for yourself, an affiliate or even just want great shots for instagram here are a few of the random wacky things that can happen behind the scenes and how to tackle them head on in a fun, light hearted way – which typically result in the best photos! 

Most of the Time It’s Better to Shoot Early

One of my favourite things about holidays is sleeping in and waking up to the sun on my face. However, if you’re trying to shoot beautiful photos without a massive tourist crowd the likelihood of accomplishing that task seriously diminishes if you wait until the afternoon. Sorry my love, but you need to get up early. Like crack of dawn early. You will get the photos you want and get to see the sunrise. Which is worth it!


Solution: LOL this could be considered questionable and  definatly only recomended for legal adults but hey we are talking about vacations here! Honestly when I have to wake up really early to shoot I celebrate with a breakfast mimosa (or beer—ya that’s right) and maybe an afternoon nape. It’s kind of a holiday reward system. If you have to do something work related you might as well get some kind of perk afterward!

Sometimes You’re up Against the Elements

Let me tell you…it’s not always the easiest to walk out of wavy water all elegant and sexy. Actually it’s pretty tricky! In your mind you’re chanting over and over “I am light. I am free. Weeeee!” and then you sink into some sand. That happens.


Solution: Practice makes perfect with this one. You might have to stay a bit longer and repeat a few shots but it’s worth it – I mean everyone loves a photo over looking the Sea right? So keep at it until you get that money shot!

You Might Sneak Around

I’ve learned my lesson from that time I shocked my va jay jay on a electric fence (another story for another time!) so I’m a pretty serious goody goody when it comes to this kind of stuff. I just hate going where I’m not allowed (which is why I should just be allowed everywhere! lol) but every now and then I’ll find a little spot – where it’s not soooo bad if I just run in – take a couple snaps and run out. I’m not saying you should do this…but I don’t know how wrong it is there is no signs, doors, or rope…You know?


Solution: If you see a big sign saying DO NOT ENTER…maybe you shouldn’t….otherwise if nothing is around maybe you can go in but use caution and good judgement and defiantly don’t be loud, rude or disrespectful. In the few times I’ve been in questionable places and people saw me – they were totally okay with it becuase I was polite. 

Occasionally you Get Sunburned

Now this is an unspoken modeling rule. You don’t get sunburned. It’s always your responsibility to have proper sunscreen. However, when shoot in hot climates it’s really easy to just not realize you’ve gotten burnt, until it’s too late.

painBest Advice: Well first of all – be better at this then me… but also use a higher protection then what you’re used to using. If you burn really easily take breaks out of the sun and maybe incorporate a wide brim hat?! Every fashionista LOVES a wide brim hat.

The “Fuck it” Factor

Sometimes wandering around beautiful places trying to take beautiful photos can be WAY more stressful then it sounds. As a natural reaction to this I often have what I like to call a “fuck it” point. This is the point where I just stop caring about whos staring at me and start acting like a goofball crazy girl. I know this isn’t exactly professional…but it makes me feel better and as a result I become more relaxed and shoot better.


Solution: For anyone who is kind of an intro-extrovert (like a little bit of both) the “fuck it” factor is your saviour man. Seriously just say fuck it and you’ll be amazed at how your still images transform in to fluid and free ones. ps. Sorry for all the fuck its!

Be Ready to Change in Public

As a model or as the main subject of any photograph really…just be ready for a wardrobe malfunction, shift or change. It just happens. That’s the name of the game and sometimes you have to deal with it publically. 


Solution: NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS THIS IS WHAT YOU DO. Laugh it off, fix the issue and look like you have every right to be taking you shirt of in public in the middle of one of the fanciest parts of Italy….When you handle a wardrobe fail with confidenice no one will even give you a sideways glance. 

Be Prepared to Scout Locations

For great photos location scouting is a BIG part of the puzzle. Sometimes you get lucky and just find a perfect place but generally I always designate an entire day to checking out a city and finding the right spots to shoot in. Now this doesn’t always sync up with the holiday side of your trip. Things happen, like hangovers or in my case heat stroke – but you must power through. Location is a huge part of making an image beautiful and it’s good to know what your options are.


Solution: If you feel like shit on the day of your location scouting or even shooting – you must carry on my friend. If you’re only in a city for a limited time and want to produce some quality images this is the only way. Return to the “fuck it” factor when you feel like crap.  Taking some no pressure, funny random photos can help release pent up stress – and can make for some awesome behind the scenes footage 😉 😉 😉

Sometimes You Have to Hide That You Feel Like Garbage

This is Model lessons 101 right here! lol We don’t always have perfect trip. We don’t always feel 100% and that can effect what we get done. Even more so if you’re on a semi-work holiday with a limited time to accomplish certain goals.


Solution: Whenever I’m not feeling well while shooting, I take selfies of myself quickly with a simple straight face. Surprisingly enough that can show how much of the ickyness is actually physically displayed on your face and gives you an idea of where you’re at mentally – which is a good thing to know if you want to — not be so obvious about it —

External Factors can Effect your Flow

Let’s say you’re out in your favourite European city. Today you’re feeling more like exploring then shooting but shoot you must. Let’s also say you didn’t know how many clowns or street performers said city had and let’s say these performers came right out of left field and freaked you out when you weren’t even feeling like shooting anyway. Let’s just say that. What do you?


Solution: Your ability to acknowledge that you’re not into it, make your way through the day and produce good results is what will make you a professional in the long run. Also, as a good traveler whether or not you like buskers (which I actually dooooo) when people you don’t see coming get into your zone – for whatever reason – just try to go with the flow. At the end of the day everyone has got their hustle and you are actually both in the field of entertainment is some ways. 

Finally – Here is the number 1 thing to keep in mind while you’re shooting photos


It doesn’t matter if you’re a professional model or not. On average a models takes should be about 40% useable – What does that mean? It means you need to take A LOT of photographs. Especially at first so that you get comfortable and have a lot of material to evaluate afterward. 


Solution: The truth is yeah, Sometimes you’re gonna feel awkward as.ass.But the more you work at it your own flow will blossom. This is the sweet spot you want – because all of a sudden every image will be a great image. Eventually you’ll need to take less shots and those weird derp pictures will make you laugh instead of cringe. 

This is What I Want You to Know

 I want all my shy travel ladies to know that it takes work to make a photo look effortless BUT the biggest work to be done is actually in you mind and being. All the technical aspects come with time and practice. The biggest step is to get out there in front of anything and capture yourself in the moment. If you don’t like the photo erase it and do another one. Again and again and again until you sart to transform and feel more comfortable. Yes, it might be work – but it’s not impossible and any woman can take a wonderful stunning photo. 

I also want you to know the professionals (like myself) take shitty photos too! Of course! Everyone who steps infront of a camera takes them! However, those bad images don’t hold me back and these days they even inspire me to share with you!

Finally, I wanted to give you all a funny behind the scenes at some of the challenges you can face. At the end of this trip I actually walked away with some incredible shots for the upcoming lookbook – BUT you’ll have to wait a another week or so for the good stuff! LOL

In the meantime here’s a sneak peak and some of the final images. The look book will be live in about a week or so and I’ll be sure to let you all know about it!

Click this image to visit the website my Affilate partner and travel fashion stylist Diane Kroe



    1. Michelle

      Love this article! Relate so much!

      11 . Oct . 2016
      • Tegan

        I’m glad! Sometimes you gotta be real. That’s totally okay and awesome 🙂

        19 . Jan . 2017
    2. Loren

      Girl you are absolutely amazing and inspiring! xo Loren //

      13 . Oct . 2016
      • Tegan

        Aw THANK YOU SO MUCH Loren! <3 <3 <3

        19 . Jan . 2017
    3. Ricky S

      I think that the majority of Americans totally underestimate just how vital sleep actually is. Our bodies depend on a restful sleep cycle in order to rejuvenate our cells, grow muscle, and repair damaged tissue – along with so many other processes. Plus, anyone that has at any point suffered through a night of low-quality sleep knows exactly how challenging it can be to wake up in the morning, get a move on with your day, and be able to focus on the tasks you need to focus on. While I was doing research for a recent piece, I found that the CDC has put out studies proving that 1 in 3 adults don’t sleep anywhere near as well as they need to. It is ridiculous what we do to ourselves when we don’t get enough quality sleep.

      07 . Feb . 2017

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