Carlos Smith Photography: Blog en-us (C) Carlos Smith Photography [email protected] (Carlos Smith Photography) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:28:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:28:00 GMT My friends, the lizards One of the things that surprised me the most about living in FL, other than how quickly the weather changes, was the sheer number of lizards there are here (like this brown basilisk, which is actually not native to Florida). They are everywhere! It's like an invasion! But unlike other animals, lizards are my friends. I hate insects and they eat insects, so we're cool.

[email protected] (Carlos Smith Photography) Tue, 08 May 2018 16:59:41 GMT
Why we do this photography thing we do... Not too long ago, I was testing some new equipment and I asked my daughter to pose for me. She agreed and, after our impromptu mini-session, she was absolutely sure none of the pictures would come out good because she "doesn't look like a model". Just like any pre-teen girl, their self image is sometimes skewed by social pressure and the distorted concept of beauty that is out on TV and the internet.

I knew the pictures were good and I just hoped that she would not imagine any flaws when she saw them (because my daughter is perfect and beautiful and there is nothing anyone can say that will make me think otherwise). The next day I show her the selected images (included in this post) and she was quiet for a minutes before she said "Wow! I look beautiful!"

And that is why I love photography.

Because I love the feeling I get when someone looks at the photos and thinks they look great in them, or they use the picture I took as their profile picture on social media... because they are using that image as their presentation card, as the image that they want to show to the world to say "this is me and this is what I look like".

As photographers we should not think of our work as just "taking pictures". We should think about creating images that will hopefully speak louder than people's insecurities, and make them see themselves in a better light.

[email protected] (Carlos Smith Photography) Tue, 01 May 2018 22:37:33 GMT
Black and white... Unless you're doing something really artsy, color photography has to be fairly accurate. If colors are different you are likely going to feel that something is "wrong" with the photo. The sky may be a slightly different hue of blue, faces may have a weird tint because of the lighting, etc. There is an expectation of accuracy in color photography.

With black and white pictures you can pretty much do whatever you want. A cloudy sky can be changed to look light and soft, dark and with a lot of contrast and mood, or you can deal with bad lighting color by going monochrome. Either would look Ok and not give you a feeling of something being "wrong" with the picture.

You can play with contrast, exposure, or saturation (making things that were blue in the original image appear darker, or the green of the trees appear with more contrast in the black and white version). You can create your own interpretation of reality with monochrome images.

[email protected] (Carlos Smith Photography) Fri, 27 Apr 2018 23:50:21 GMT
Get to know your camera better than anything else When I started doing this photography thing more seriously a few years ago, I learned early on that knowing your camera inside and out is essential. I realized that wasting time fiddling with buttons or navigating menus looking for a particular setting was the best way to miss the moment and NOT get the shot that I wanted.


Yeah, you could take the easy way out and just shoot in Auto mode all the time, but that just means that the settings will be for the type of image that the camera thinks you are trying to capture, which is not always the right configuration. This is why, for example, so many photos show silhouettes when the sun was behind you or the image of people in motion is blurry because it was getting dark outside.

In order to get the best picture, it is very important to know your camera so well that you can change any setting without even thinking about it. I don't mean that you should know exactly what values to use for each setting, but you should be able to get to those settings easily. Being able to get an idea of the right values for a particular scene comes from years of experimenting, and even after that it's an ongoing learning experience. Besides just going out and shooting a lot to practice (which is not always possible), make sure you RTFM (read the friggin' manual) . If you know your camera you will be able to do things like increase the exposure to avoid a back-lit subject looking like a silhouette, change the white-balance to make a sunset appear redder before the sun goes down, or get the right look before your model loses patience.


Play around with the camera. The great thing about digital is that you can shoot as much as you want. Even at the highest resolution you have an almost endless supply of "film". Just keep practicing, play with the settings to see what happens, and delete what you don't want... then rinse and repeat.

[email protected] (Carlos Smith Photography) Wed, 25 Apr 2018 23:54:01 GMT
How it all started I was wondering what I should post here in my Portrait Photography page and realized that I have never reflected on how I got into cameras and picture taking. I must have been around 8 or 10 years old (don't really remember) when my parents gave me my first camera. It must have been one of those Kodak 126 film Instamatics or one of the even simpler 110 format cameras.

I would run around taking pictures of our dog, a rock, the beach, my toy cars... anything I could think of. I doubt there was any artistic motive behind it. I just wanted to take a picture to freeze the scene in black and white, and feel like a cool kid with my camera. When I got older, I inherited my dad's Canon AE-1, and unlike my first camera, this was a complex state of the art machine (at the time) where you really had to know what you were doing in order to use it. Everything (focus, aperture, shutter speed, zoom, ISO/ASA, film advance, etc.) was manual. No automation at all.

The thing that made the most difference was being forced to actually create the photo by deciding all the settings in the camera for each shot (a characteristic of old film SLRs). With that camera, and what my dad taught me, I began to understand how photography and cameras worked. Before I knew it, I was actually taking pictures that I really liked (like the ones in this post, which are scans of very old prints from over 20 years ago).

Fast forward many years later, I got some semi-pro digital gear but still kept it as a hobby. I was taking pictures of events, places my wife and I visited, portraits of friends... I even got several of my images used in magazines, newspapers, and online. Some even made it to a small photo gallery.

Now I'm on my fourth digital pro-level camera, and one day some friends called me asking for family portraits and would not take the "I'll do it for free because you're my friend" price. They wanted to pay me because they thought I was worth it. I realized that I could indeed turn this into a side business. Something I had never done before, probably because I was too scared to put myself out there, or I hadn't realized that my work and the time I put into it truly of value, or worse, just assumed that nobody would be willing to ask for pictures and actually pay for them because there are so many other photographers out there.

Now this side business is starting simply through referrals and my wife's unconditional support. People are very happy with my work and they are recommending me when someone else wants portraits. Don't get me wrong, I have no intention of leaving my day job. I like what I do as a consultant and I'm good at it, but if I can make some money during my time off and have my professional gear pay for itself, then that's good enough for me.

So, if you think you have the talent, don't be afraid and just do it! It will be slow at first, but it's very rewarding. I guarantee it.

[email protected] (Carlos Smith Photography) Tue, 24 Apr 2018 01:02:22 GMT