Lush beach settings, impossibly blue-green waters and magical all-girl surf sessions in exotic surf locations all over the world. Meet Cait Miers, the woman behind the lense (and screen) of @caitmiersphotography. At 24, she has released a book, a swimwear line, has a 100,000+ strong following on Instagram and recently shot the Roxy Pro in the Gold Coast in Spain, where she lived and worked alongside the likes of Stephanie Gilmore and Kelia Moniz. Here she chats to Salty Editor Caitlin Creeper about how to stand your ground in your industry, how she defines success and the importance of being active on social media as a young creative.
A big theme in your book Washed Elegance, was to show people that women can surf without having to embody the ‘tomboy’ tropes – you can surf and still embrace your femininity and elegance. As you put it, the book is an insight into the growing femininity and grace in women’s surf culture. Why is this an important thing for you to communicate?
It sure was! I think from personal experience I got tied up in a bit of that [tomboy trope]. And when I started to grow up a bit and learnt to embrace my feminine side I kinda of had a lightbulb moment and thought this is exactly what women have been push and pulling with for years in the surf industry! I thought it was necessary to kinda project this thinking out there!
How do you think a surf session with mostly women differs from a surf session with mostly men?
Most the guys I surf with are super mellow so for my experience it’s not that different! But I think there’s always something special about a bunch of girls going for a surf. It turns heads. It’s uplifting. There’s a lot of hooting and encouraging each other, basically a bundle of laughs haha!
“The Roxy Pro was such a rad experience. Seeing how everything works behind the scenes to living in house with the girls, I got to make a really special connection with each of them.”
What does a typical shoot day look like for you, from start to finish?
Usually it’s a super early start to catch the sunrise (best time of day to shoot!). And then wherever we are we shoot the looks and have a lot of fun with it! It’s funny because whenever I shoot I get really lost in that moment, like I only think about that, then at the end I’m like ‘oh wow now back to the reality of life!’ I don’t like looking at the photos straight away, as it’s too close. So I just take it easy that afternoon/night then get to the edits the next day!
You recently shot the ROXY pro in the Gold Coast and France. How was that experience? How were the girls?
The Roxy Pro was such a rad experience. Seeing how everything works behind the scenes to living in house with the girls, I got to make a really special connection with each of them. Each day is something new, and if the surfs good we head out and I’ll shoot them, otherwise it’s down the street for a coffee and a look at the shops! Shooting the pro in France was insanely fun and by the end of it I really didn’t want to leave!
How do you back yourself and stand your ground in the industry?
I’m getting better at it! I started young, I was freelancing and working for big clients from the age of 19, so I did get pushed around a little bit. I’m now 24 and I definitely know where I stand and know what I’m capable of and what my work is worth. I’ve learnt a lot along the way and i still have so much growth and learning to do!
How do you keep yourself inspired on the days where inspiration is harder to find?
Yeah I definitely have those days where I feel like I can’t produce anything exciting. I find inspiration by looking through magazines and websites of my favourite photographers. Or switching off all together and going surfing or doing something completely different often means I can come back with a fresh head and new ideas!
“I know myself and the way I shoot and edit and sometimes that conflicts with how people think I should do things, but I think the biggest risk is just backing myself and knowing myself and doing it the only way I know how!”
How do you define success?
By getting up each morning and doing what you love. Wanting to go to work. And I do 🙂
What is the biggest risk you have taken in your career to date?
Good question! I’d say doing things ‘my way.’ I know myself and the way I shoot and edit and sometimes that conflicts with how people think I should do things, but I think the biggest risk is just backing myself and knowing myself and doing it the only way I know how! I also think I’ve taken a lot of chances going on trips with people I’ve never met, and just putting myself out there and looking back sometimes I’m like, did i really do that? They were risks I’ve taken, but they’ve all payed off!
The best advice you’ve ever received?
I know it’s cliche but honestly, follow your dreams. I decided to chase my dreams at 18 when I dropped out of a Sport science degree and followed photography. There was a burning desire inside me to fulfil my vision, and I have, and it’s only the beginning!
The best advice you can give for young creatives?
Work hard, network, be active on social media, do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life!
All pictures by Cait Miers