Teresa Freitas is a Portuguese photographer whose Instagram feed features imaginative subjects and a wonderland of colors, all while revealing her love for flowers and the ocean. We recently caught up with Teresa to learn more about her career, inspirations, and creative process.
Your Instagram bio is short and sweet: “From Lisbon, by the sea.” How have your experiences in Lisbon influenced you as an individual and as a creative?
Lisbon has an amazing light, like no other city I know. Light is my biggest influence in photography, as it all starts by recognizing the type of natural light I like to work with. My signature look comes through best on days that have the same weather conditions. And if you scroll down my feed, it’s easy to understand why the sea is so important as well. Living next to the water, my style couldn’t help but be shaped by it.
When did you know that you wanted to build your professional life around photography?
I started taking photos more seriously in college, but I wasn’t sure there would be a place for me in the world of photography. It wasn’t until after I finished my master’s degree in design in 2016 that I realized I could become part of that world. I started to look for a more natural definition of my style and, in turn, people started noticing. Photography feels easy — it’s not a hard day’s work if I’ve been shooting all day, so choosing to be a photographer wasn’t a tough choice.
Your photos feature dreamy pastel colors and natural subjects like flowers, fields, and water. What does your photographic process look like, from choosing a subject to post-production?
Photographing and editing are a matter of choices. We curate moments, people, and places throughout our day. I either look for specific subjects (colorful buildings, beaches with stairs, light blue skies with Magritte-esque clouds), or I build the scene around the subject I feel like shooting.
In one of your most creative projects, you filmed ocean waves and then framed the videos to make them look like a Pantone color chip. You’ve also experimented with composition, stop-motion, and reflections, among many other things. How do you come up with such original ideas?
It’s very difficult to pinpoint a clear source of inspiration or the process of how my ideas come to be. I usually sit down, open the notes app on my phone and stop to think. I start writing what comes to mind. It’s easier if I’m imagining a specific subject (a flower, a dress, the sky, the clouds). We pour our life experiences and knowledge into our thoughts, and I just wait for something interesting to come out of that mix. I still have about 100 ideas written down that haven’t been checked off my list yet.
What is your favorite place to take photos in Portugal?
Alentejo is definitely my favorite place in Portugal, both the coastline and countryside. It visibly changes throughout each season, and I love capturing the coastline during the summer and the countryside during the spring.
How do nature and travel inspire your photography?
Everyone can understand how we get inspired by new places and experiences. There’s nothing like it. But the comfort we experience in familiar and favorite locations also eases the photographic process. We know what to look for.
Nature, well, she just makes it easy.
How would you describe your photographic style?
Imagination meets aesthetics.
Finally, what advice would you give to budding creatives?
Never stop searching for your voice, even after you think you’ve found it.