The young and vibrant Cailin Tobias is one of the not-so-new talented eyes in the photography industry at the moment and if you have been fortunate to come across his work then you surely understand the volume and significance of his gifted eye.

He hails from Rooderpoort in the West of Johannesburg where his urge for camerawork was indubitably learnt.  I sat down with the lens man to discuss his journey, the ups and downs of the industry and his dreams and aspirations.

Alright Cailin let’s get right straight into it; can we discuss your thought process before a photoshoot.

In terms of photo shoots, I firstly consider the brand, what their main focus is and what the brand represents. A model would bring character, bringing life to the product. Locations are a big factor, which integrates both the clothing and model. When looking at my photography everything has to complement each other, from the colors, the brand and model and to the location.

Do you remember your first interaction with the love of your life, the camera?

My dad owned a camera, so there was always one around to take pictures whenever I wanted to. There was never a time when I decided that ok right, now I am going to take pictures, I just found myself doing it naturally. When I studied Multimedia at UJ (University of Johannesburg), photography was one of the modules, where we were given practical assignments. In the process of doing the assignments, I happened to find myself invested, obviously it was a challenge to me at that time, but I taught myself how to use a camera and I went on to a bigger perspective, where I could be more creative with the camera. The people around me had a big impact, because with all shoots and assignments, I always had good subjects and people motivating me to take it further. I would bunk classes with my friends and we would go shoot, finding cool locations on campus, which lead to me starting CT Photography in 2010(Laughs).

Cape Town

Studying photography had big impact on me with regards to perfecting my skill. It made me understand the creativeness that comes with photography as well as the theory. From studying photography in Cape Town, my quality of pictures increased immensely, because they taught us everything to take into consideration when taking a good quality photograph. When you take a picture, there always has to be a story behind it, something I did not understand at the time, I learnt a better way of doing it; I perfected ways of capturing exactly what I saw at that given moment in time. Everyone has their own way of doing it and I am happy to say I have found my way of doing it. Now, I am just exploring in both my studio and location shoots.

…And your journey with multimedia? Are you doing it on the side now or you are only focused on your photography work at the moment?

Multimedia is my main focus currently, which includes photography. I am a Multimedia Specialist at Transnet and the MD of a multimedia company. After studying in Cape Town, I moved back to Johannesburg for a new adventure, working at Transnet. Many opportunities came my way, which enabled me to take my career further, both in CT Photography and a Multimedia company with my best friend.

In your work as a professional photographer, which campaign or shoot would you say was your most remarkable?

Ford South Africa was the biggest project that I worked on, reason being that Ford is a well-established company globally. There were only 3 photographers in South Africa used for the campaign, which included me. Ford gave us a car for a week to work with and we submit a mood board based on the theme for the shoot. We took pictures of the latest Mustang and a few other Ford models. We worked on the project with Ford for about a month and it is undeniably one of the biggest platforms that I have been fortunate to work on. I have also shot for a lot of local and international clothing brands. Every experience has been a remarkable experience, both good and bad.

Who would you say is your biggest influence right now?

I regard my brother Rory Tobias as my biggest influence, because we are into the same things; my brother is probably the one person who not only understands me, but also inspires me a lot. My father is more in business; he helped me reach my goal both financially as well as guiding me to grow what I do. He has one of the most inspiring stories I know, from being a teacher at an underprivileged colored school, to being a COO at Transnet. I believe that I inherited the zeal that my father has to make it against all odds and his story is what inspires me to keep on keeping on. I keep on challenging myself on a daily basis, because if you do not face challenges in whatever you do, you will not grow. One needs to keep on challenging and motivating themselves in order to be the best in what they do and to get where one aspires to be. You have to be your own biggest influence, chasing your dream is not easy and requires a lot of self-perseverance.

Do you have any advice for any young photographers out there inspired by your work and would also love to get into the industry?

We all start somewhere; never compare your day 1 to someone else’s day 100. Ups and downs are inevitable; no one becomes the best overnight, it takes a lot of time and dedication. Look for inspiration all the time and with that, there comes a time that you need to find yourself and grow at what you are good at. Have the urge to wake up every day and take what you are doing a step further. When something does not come out the way you wanted it to, keep going and find better ways of doing things. If you are self-motivated then nothing can stop you!

To close it off, do you feel like you have realised the pinnacle of your abilities in this present time and moment?

I never stay comfortable with where my skill sets are right now, because there is always room for improvement. I keep growing day by day, creating a better me.