Tag Archive | photography

Are we inches away?

Reach for it!

Are you just inches away?    ©Kent Smith Photography

The world of photography is changing every second.  I went to the local book store, which by the way there only a few out there,  to pick up a book that I was looking for, and decided to make the run at the magazine stand.  I picked up a few of the how to make better pictures magazines to see what was new in them.   I was totally surprised since I have not looked at them in over four years.   The first thing that I noticed was that they are all about Photoshop now. 

Has the photography world just forgotten about how to make a great image in the camera?  Is it all about just getting something in the camera and then fixing it afterwards?  I know for a fact that this would not work for me on many ways.  One, a lot of my clients want the images within seconds of you taking them.  Some images are posted instantly to websites without no color correction, no cropping, and no removal of spots or anything else, so I ask myself why are they not teaching the fundamentals in these magazines.

The next time you get a chance to look at the world of magazines, check for yourself how things are changing.   Keep clicking away until then!


Cross the Line

As a creative person, we are often pushed to do what the client is wanting us to do.   I believe that we should always give them exactly what they want, plus a lot more, but at times we are limited to shooting on simple backgrounds, boring locations or just not enough time.   Once in a while, you must cross the line and do something for yourself!  It’s your job to express your feelings on an image or video, but other wise you are just a button pusher.   Sure it takes time, plus some money to make it happen, but it is always worth the cost in the end.   Just think if you never did one thing for yourself where would you be now?

All creatives should cross the line at least once everyday to make sure we are still alive.  Keep crossing the line!


Fashion Photography

Fashion Charlotte
©Kent Smith Photography

Snow Day!

Snow AngelsWe don’t get many of these days down in the south, but when they do arrive,  it makes for some interesting times.  I couldn’t think of too many things that I would want to shoot in the snow other than people, so I decided to take my  family out and play around in the white stuff with them.

So if your thinking of shooting in the snow, I would think about two things.  The number one thing is to protect your camera from all the elements.  Ice and Snow  which will turn into water are some of the most dangerous things you will ever run into.    The second most important thing is to turn off that automatic mode.  Now, I know you can shoot raw files and do it in post, but why when you don’t have too.

There are a ton of different things on the market that can protect your camera from all the weather.  The difference is that you don’t have time to order something or time to run down to the local camera store, which I highly recommend.  (You want them to stay in business, right.)  If this is not an option, then turn to your good old fashion trash bags.  I have even used them on professional shoots when we didn’t pack our Aquatech gear.  It may not be a fashion statement,  but it will protect your investment in your gear.

Now for the automatic mode on your camera, I know you do it.  Sometimes it is just easy to turn it to the automatic mode.  Easy is good in most cases, but you might want a little more control of the camera.  The problem with this is that the lovely white snow that is everyplace with throw off your meter on your camera.   That meter is what is determining your exposures on your automatic camera settings.  I saw a few people out shooting today with their cameras.  I noticed that most of them kept chipping on the back of the camera, of course we all do it, but in this case they couldn’t get the exposures they wanted.  Most of them would just give up and keep shooting, but when they got back home they will notice that they are under exposed.    I like to shoot in manual mode when possible, so that I can control the aperture and shutter so that I can do what ever I want with the camera.  When shooting on these lovely snow days, I will actually open up the exposure so that I am between  one stop and sometime two stops brighter than what the camera is telling me.  This will help off set what is happening with the extra light that is bouncing back at the camera sensor.

So get back out there and make some more images, but let’s try it on the manual mode or adjust the exposure compensation on the other modes to make sure you get the perfect picture.   Remember:  HAPPY SNAPPING!

Make sure to visit the new website:  www.kentsmithphoto.com



Was this the youngest photographer Ever?

Baby Picture

Was the reason that I became involved in photography at an early age because of this picture taken of me?  I am not sure about that one, but I do know that photography was something that I enjoyed doing when I was very young.

Let’s face it,  even small kids love the fact of seeing an image that they have taken pop up on the back of our cell phones now.  The difference then was that it took days, weeks, or even sometimes months to get those pictures back and look at them.  So maybe, it’s the sound of the camera clicking off frame by frame that gets us excited.

I like to think that it’s that moment that we stop in time.  Our lives are so fast paced now, that it is really cool to stop that one frame in life.  This allows us to look at it over and over, so we can  remember the past and look forward to the next shot in the future.

Happy clicking with the camera and people in front of them!!!

Make sure to visit some of my new images on the website at www.kentsmithphoto.com

One adjustment makes all the difference!

It’s very often that as photographers, we forget to make adjustments since we move so fast and our time is limited when you have a professional star in front of you even if it’s a rock star, NFL star, or a movie star.  Most shoots with famous people can usually last between one minute up to on average 20 minutes since their time is so limited.  So with all the pressure of the world on your backs, you only get a few moments to make one look with usually a list of looks that your art director, boss, creative team, or magazine editor is looking at for the ad or story.

The same is the case when it comes to sports media days.  You have a full list of items to carry out, so it is really hard to come up with something creative in your short about of time.  In the case with this years, Charlotte Bobcats Media Day,  we had about 15 minutes with each player rolling through, plus a little time to make some group shots.  We had 18 different players rolling through with a shot list of images needed for all the different outlets including the head shots.  In some years, we have done extra set ups, but we had too many shots this year to try to pull it off without adding extra photographers.

To help with adding a more dramatic look and still take all the images on a white seamless, we decided to have a different setup on the same background to help with this look.  This is where the Pocket Wizards Multi Max Transceivers really came into effect.  I just programmed one side of the lights to work in one formula, and then I could make quick adjustments to the lights according to the location of the athlete, plus add some other stuff about lighting without having to move more than two feet away from the subject.  Time is your most important asset at these types of shoots, so adding this to the mix really gives you a great extra look.

Here is one of the images from the shoot.

Make sure to check out the website for the Charlotte Bobcats for more images.

Visit Kent Smith Photography for more information.

Jefferson Count Down

Al Jefferson adds some mystery to his big 6 foot 10 self.

On Golden Pond

Every once in a while, I will actually get the camera out to look for fun things.  It’s super exciting when you are lucky enough to find cool things that make you look at the object twice.  Making art out of the most normal things is a lot of fun, plus most people don’t even see them when you are standing next to it.  Go make an image today!

Are we looking up or are we looking down?

Are we looking up or are we looking down?

‘Homeland’, Julianne Moore Lead 70th Golden Globe Nominations

Check out a few more images from this great show that I have really enjoyed working on.

NC Film News

The Hollywood Foreign Press announced the nominees for the 70th Annual Golden Globe Awards this morning, including Showtime’s hit drama Homeland, filmed in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Fayetteville, NC native Julianne Moore.

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Looking inside the Creative Mind

The Creative Monkey

A monkey will use his time wisely to be creative.
©Kent Smith Photography

Being creative is something we all have inside us. I believe we are born with that creativity, but it continues to grow within us throughout the years in our work and passion for expanding our thoughts. So, is it true some people are more creative than others? Maybe. Or it may just be some are better at tapping into that part of their brain allowing themselves to flourish. Or maybe there is a formula to all of it…
Could this formula be linked to the Golden Ratio? Is it some understanding from another time or place that has made a mark on our human thinking? I’d like to think that it’s a combination of many different things including the things we see every single day, Life itself could be one of the most influential factors. Something so simple, but yet so complex has most of us spending a lifetime trying to figure it out. Could it be the influx of images that we see everyday and our own personal translation of those images that drives the mind to think outside of the box? Creative thoughts are made from a combination of other thoughts that have then been translated to another form, such as art or words. So how do we understand the thinking that goes into to this process?
We have 86,400 seconds in a day to process thoughts. From those thoughts, the creative mind captures one or two good ones that have a chance to make a lasting impression. I liken this to being a photographer. When I have to edit down an entire photo shoot to just a few images. We should do the same with our creative thoughts. We should pick our best from all our creative blurbs and turn full attention on just a couple of the best to create a masterpiece.
Unfortunately for the creative minds time is our biggest enemy. The best ideas often come from hours and even days or years of making everything just so. For me there aren’t enough hours in the day to accomplish all the things I would like the world to see. But I take each day at a time and produce the best work I possibly can with the hours I am allowed.
I would love to hear your thoughts on how you get through the creative process. I think we can all learn from each other. Let’s face it, we all want to be better humans and not just another monkey hanging around.
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Value of Photography: Difference between Great Photographers and Good Photographers

What’s an image worth?  Why does an experienced photographer cost more than an inexperienced photographer?  There are so many questions that art directors and buyers of photographer’s services must ask when acquiring a photographer.  So how do you know the difference between one photographer or another?

Ferrari Inspired Love

Ferrari has always inspired speed, but sometimes it inspires love. ©Kent Smith Photography

The major difference between great photographers and good ones are the images.  It has been said for years that a great image is worth a thousand words;  it can tell a story before you even had time to read 10 words.  So it makes complete sense, that a great photographer will make that happen with even more impact than an average one.  Let’s face it, it has gotten easier to take images with the  advances of still cameras in the digital world, but it still comes down to the basic knowledge of how to light an image for the still world.  It also takes an eye for the unusual that will push other people’s eyes to the page or website.

If you look around you everyday, you will be inundated with images every place you go.  You can’t go down the street without seeing an image on a billboard or a poster at your local Starbucks.  These images are done for a reason.   You have  less than a second to take your eye off the road to look at a billboard on the side of the road. During that time, you will need to understand exactly what the advertising company wants you to know. This is called impact.

Great photographers (visionary people) have many years of experience on sets acquiring more skills than they guy that just picked up his camera.  He/She will understand how to light an image that will stand out from the others.  He/She will have many years of experience handling all the problems that can go with photography in case something does happen on set.  These are the things that will make them stand out from the rest, in addition to making your company money in the long run.

Over the years, we have seen many different things happen on set.  We have worked with many different art directors.  We have created different successful campaigns for many different companies around the world.  The one thing we always hear from our clients is:  “It’s nice to work with someone who knows how to work fast, but accomplish the perfect results.”  The proof is on the Billboard.  Look for it next time you are rolling down the road.

For more images from Kent Smith Photography



To take your editing skills to the next level, you need to learn how to make local adjustments.

There are many reasons why you may want do use local adjustments, but before we give you reasons we will have to explain what local adjustments are.  As you can figure it out from the title, they are adjustments applied to specific areas of the image, rather than global adjustments that effect the whole image.

Local adjustments come handy in situations where you want to bring an emphasis to specific parts of the photo.  For example, when you want to focus more attention on your athlete.  Shooting outdoors often exceeds the dynamic range of your camera, and in these situations you can use local adjustments to brighten the shadows or darken the highlights.. or both.  Sharpening could also be used as a local adjustment when you want to make your athlete stand out even more, without over-sharpening the whole image.  A similar effect can be applied when you want to bring out a lot of detail form the sky or clothing, but you don’t want your shot to look overdone.  Or may be you want to change the color of someone’s jacket, then you need to apply local adjustment to the jacket itself.  You can always apply any of these adjustments to the whole image, but you will either ruin the rest of the image or it is going to look ridiculously over-done.  Local adjustments are really important, and can easily change the overall look and feel of your photos for the better.

Many of the most popular photo editing programs have added local adjustments in their latest versions.  Now you don’t have to be a Photoshop guru to apply these.  Adobe Lightroom and Camera Raw now have the Adjustment Brush and the Gradient Tool, Capture One has a whole Local Adjustments tab, as do most popular photo editing programs.  Of course, since the beginning of time Photoshop has had Layers and Masks that allow you to apply local adjustments.

The next time you start editing your photo, try to focus on specific areas of the image and apply local adjustments rather than global.  After you get the hang of it, we can guarantee you there is no going back.  Just like the example above, try to fix problems in specific areas.  Use the gradient tool in Lightroom to darken/recover the sky.  Mess with the Adjustment Brush and apply more sharpening to your subject.  You should be able to see the difference right away.  Overusing the Clarity slider for example, makes the your images look really over-done.  Try using the brush and apply it only to the clothing of your athletes to give them a nice 3D look without ruining the rest of the photo.

Article Reposted from ActionPhotoSchool.com:


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