November Photographer Spot Light with Christy Smith

Q. Where are you located, and what are any hurdles you struggle with in your every day business.

I am located in Southwestern Idaho.  I live in an area that is very oversaturated with photographers of all skill levels.  As a professional, I have to truly set myself apart from others in this industry by giving my clients a completely unique and memorable experience.  

Q.  Where do you find inspiration for your art?

I find inspiration in the seasons.  I find it in the colors around me and in nature as it changes.  I find inspiration in my children and I especially find inspiration in my senior models.  I even find inspiration in my pets and in the beautiful creatures around me.  I have a background in rodeo, livestock, 4-H and FFA and this inspires me greatly.

Q.  Where do you see your passion taking you in the next 5 years?

I have grown so much as an artist and as an individual in the past few years that when I look forward five years, I am truly excited about the possibilities. I plan to invest in myself over the next few years, especially by taking workshops whenever possible and learning as much as I possibly can.  

I would like to potentially teach some classes of my own and return to new aspiring photographers skills and information that I so desperately needed when I was first starting out.I hope to become recognized in some well-known publications.Most importantly, I just want to continue to learn and grow.  It makes me a better photographer, yes, but it also helps to make me a better person. 

Q.  Is photography something that has always been a part of your life, or when & how did you get inspired to become such an amazing photographer?

I have always loved photography, but I didn’t truly understand how much until just a few years ago.  I don’t remember a time that I didn’t have a camera in my hand, but I didn’t own a professional grade camera until 2013.  

In 2012, I went to load all of my personal photos to the cloud and at that time (which seemed like a great deal then), I had 27,000 photos to upload.  It was my husband who said, “Maybe you need to look at doing this on a larger scale.”  His aunt who was a photographer, told me – “Now, save up for the camera that you want… Now, save up for it twice.”  So, I did.  I didn’t settle for the first DSLR that I could afford and I’m so glad that I waited.

I began to add better glass (lenses) and when I was able to, a full frame body.  I took pictures of everything and learned some hard lessons along the way.

I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to shoot some beautiful events and sessions and become recognized for my work.

Q.  If you could shoot only for pleasure and not income, what would be your focus?

I will admit that I am not a specialist.  I have never narrowed down my area of specialty of photography.  Maybe it’s my ADD or maybe it’s just the fact that I love the beauty of so many different things.  I have learned along the way what I don’t want to shoot, and I have now learned how to say “no.”  I think that that is a hugely important thing to know.

If I could only shoot for pleasure, I would shoot more themed shoots.  I love the creativity that goes into them and I love the feeling that you get when you view the finished product.

Q.  Favorite post editing tools for getting the looks you achieve?

I love Photoshop actions and I have just recently discovered Alien Skin.  I wouldn’t be a photographer without them.  I know that I can do hand edits, but why would I want to when we have these beautiful tools that have been created for us to achieve these amazing looks to our portraits?

Q.  What are your favourite Chasing Light Actions?  

This is such an incredibly hard question to answer.  Some of my absolute favorite actions that I use consistently from Chasing Light Actions are the entire Retouch set, Maleficent, Cruella, Romantica, Romancing the Stone, and the Black and White set.Chasing Light Actions are the most amazing actions in my editing collection.  You can adjust them to suit any type of portrait for the most individual and unique looks to work!

Q.  What would you say is the best tool for your workflow, that you have purchased from Chasing Light?

The best tool that I have ever purchased from Chasing Light or any action producer is Chasing Light’s Retouch set.  I use this set on absolutely every portrait I edit.  I even use this set on pets (The sharpening eyes is spectacular!)  I use this set to start off every edit and I cannot imagine where I would be in my work without it.  Chasing Light’s Skin Perfection action in the Retouch set is unrivaled.

Q.  What Off Camera Flash do you use (if any)?

When working in my studio, I use Alien Bee’s, both 400 and 800’s with a 60” Octaboxand 24x36” Softboxes.  I also use a Beauty Dish depending on the session.When I am using OCF outside, I use a Canon 430 exii with a 26” Westcott Rapid box Octabox with a Yongnuo 622c transceiver set-up.

Q.  (If you are) How do you juggle being a mom, wife and a professional photographer? 

This is definitely the most difficult part of being a photographer.  My husband is a truck driver for Wal*Mart and is home approximately a day-and-a-half each week.   I still have three of my five children living at home and when my photography career took off, I used to always say that I was looking for “balance.”  I’ve given up on that.  I now say that I’m looking for “harmony.”  Synonyms for harmony are peace, cooperation, and understanding.  As long as my family respects one another and each other’s goals, we can all be successful.  I am blessed that my family is very proud of me.

Q.  Photographers you watch for inspiration?

There are so many photographers that I love to follow, but I think it is important to let them inspire you to a degree, but to always keep your work your own.While I love to follow photographers that are known on a larger scale, the women that I follow who I know personally who have influenced me on a greater level are important to me for inspiration.

  1. Katelyn James - Wedding
  2. Tami Brundage – Newborn
  3. Alexia Wardell – Seniors
  4. Chelsea Shinkle – Wedding, Family & Children
  5. Krista Melone – Wedding, Boudoir, & Conceptual
  6. Nikki Britt – Landscapes
  7. Rachel Murillo – Beauty & Children
  8. Sam Marvin – Seniors
  9. Jessica Southfield - Newborn
  10. Thank you Christy for this amazing and informative Interview!

Here are some of her amazing before and after shots using Chasing Light Actions!

For more information on Christy you can visit her here:
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/dreamhighphoto
Website:  http://www.dreamhighphotography.com