Month: December 2018

2018 The Year in Pictures - What made this year so memorable?

December 28, 2018

2018 was a very special year in photography for me. As my business grew so did the new experiences both up and down. Every photo shoot I did this year was met with a new outlook as I challenged myself to find the good in each moment and learn from each experience. I met countless realtors, lawyers, artists, business owners, families, models, and entrepreneurs. My goal this year was to be able to grow my business and studio on Magazine Street and at the same time, keep my creative impulses satiated and continue to make new artistic collaborations. At the same time my New Orleans photography workshop offerings continued to fill and bring in new curious minds wanting to know how to photograph their world with creative confidence. I am grateful for all those who have helped me keep my businesses going as a photographer, teacher, and consultant. I want to thank all of my family, friends, and assistants for supporting me on long days on the job, out of town, and on the hustle. These photos are for you. Enjoy my favorite people, places, and moments of 2018.

Storytelling 2018: A year of portraits in New Orleans

Focus on the eyes and you can see the soul…I feel that capturing the best version of someone can’t be done without some background knowledge of who they are, what their dreams are, and what they want to achieve. Any portrait I do involves some homework to produce an image that works for my client and that I feel proud out.

Selling the Brand 2018: A year of Commercial Photography in New Orleans

“Using photography to help a brand sell a product or service”. That’s how I like to define commercial and brand photography. I have enjoyed meeting so many driven and inspired business owners while helping them create their visual identity. Here are some of my favorite commercial photo shoots from 2018.

Singing for your Supper 2018: Music and Festival photography

I was truly blessed to be able to be around such amazing music, musicians, and culture bearers in 2018. As my business steered towards headshots and branding, I never lost the focus and connections that got me to where I am today. Being able to photograph Jazz Fest, French Quarter Fest and continue to be involved in the creative energy of New Orleans humbles me to the bone.

Year of the New Orleans Headshot 2018: Face is the place!

Since opening my headshot studio at 4514 Magazine Street in New Orleans I haven’t spent this much time uptown since I lived on Jefferson in 2003! I love making the commute to work and meet the movers, shakers, and creators of this city!

These are a few of my favorite things 2018: Behind the Scenes!

As much as the portraits and branding have kept me busy this year, I still have time to photograph the things I love. My family, nature, and those random moments are always in my sight as I try to keep the balance between work and life. Here’s to pursuing YOUR dreams and making what you love be what you do in 2019!

Great Family Photography Techniques for the Best Holiday Portrait Ever!

December 21, 2018
 The Rhein family photographed at Audubon Park in New Orleans. 2018 Zack Smith Photography

The Rhein family photographed at Audubon Park in New Orleans. 2018 Zack Smith Photography

Want to know how you can take relaxed natural light family holiday portraits this season?

So I know the situation you are in. It’s the holidays, it’s stressful, you are busy, but you have this rare moment when your entire family is not only in the same state…they are all at the same house! I’ll try to make this easy for you wether you are in the bayou, the park, or even your New Orleans uptown backyard – YOU can make a great family portrait with any camera. But let’s at least make it interesting!

Once you practice thinking beyond the cliché, ideas flow. And you can capture great fall family pictures with any camera. Could be even your smartphone or iPhone. Here are some tips for taking awesome family photos this season.   

 Millie poses with her flowers in New Orleans. ©2018 Zack Smith Photography

Millie poses with her flowers in New Orleans. ©2018 Zack Smith Photography

How to use natural light for family photos

The weather changes during fall, so does the sunlight. To make the most of natural light in your fall family photos, consider heading outside with your family during the golden hour, which is the hour after sunrise or the hour before sunset. The soft, warm tones of golden light make any subject look more fascinating.  

But even if you’re shooting in the middle of the day, the low winter sun is always nice, just find a shady area to place your subjects. As I always say – you will get the BEST RESULTS by making sure your subject is in the same light as your background. This helps avoid any harsh shadows on them due to the direct sun. You can also shoot on a cloudy day, but don’t forget to set the camera’s white balance right; otherwise it might show a slightly bluish color tone ( you can always readjust in post later, especially if you shoot RAW)

Need some Expert HELP? My 2019 Photography Workshop Calendar is OUT – CLICK HERE

During the autumn season, the sun shines at a low angle and creates long, deep shadows in the afternoon. One good idea would be to include those shadows in your frame in order to capture the essence of the season. 

So if we are thinking out of the box, a good idea would be using the bright sunlight as a strong backlight. Place your subjects with the sun behind them and use a reflector to bounce back fill lights onto their face. For the lack of a proper reflector, you can use a large white paper or Polystyrene plate. Or if you don’t have that just go for it and make sure you have the shutter on continuous and high speed!

Best tips for photographing outdoors

If you’re shooting on a sunny day, setting the exposure right could be a challenge. This is where you can use the Sunny 16 rule, which suggests setting the aperture at f/16 and then setting the shutter speed reciprocal to your ISO value.

Check out my very 1st blog post for how to do the Sunny 16 Rule! CLICK HERE

For instance, set your aperture at f/16. Now if ISO is 200, your shutter speed should be 1/200 seconds.  If ISO is 100, shutter speed will be 1/100 seconds.

When taking solo shots or close-ups, you should consider using a long lens (100mm or above) to help add a nice bokeh effect to your photos. (like the photo of Millie above) If you’re taking a long shot of your family, however, use a slightly shorter focal length lens (70mm or below). Also, consider including some elements of the nature (such as, leaves or branches of a tree) in the foreground to add depth to your fall family pictures.

Best tips for capturing fall colors in family pictures

First things first, choose the right location for your fall family photos. It could be your local park, a pumpkin patch, a farm house or a countryside trail, but make sure the place has abundance of reds, yellows and oranges for colorful fall photography.

 Maggie poses with Chloe. Notice the soft out of focus backgrounds. ©Zack Smith Photography.

Maggie poses with Chloe. Notice the soft out of focus backgrounds. ©Zack Smith Photography.

Using a longer focal-length lens is always a good way to isolate the stunning fall colors in your photograph. You can also use the sunlight to your advantage. For instance, take a close shot of a backlit leaf to make the colors look more vivid. Even when you’re taking a wide landscape shot, consider using the sun as your backlight to help capture the beautiful fall foliage colors. 

Another good idea would be adjusting the camera’s color saturation setting to a slightly higher level, so that you get more intense colors.  Alternatively, it is possible to increase color saturation or adjust colors during your photo editing phase.

The colors of autumn vary depending on when you’re shooting. Ideally, you should shoot at different times of a day to capture the many different colors of the season.

Choosing what colors your family members should wear is also important. Ideally, try wearing complementary colors. For instance, a blue dress looks stunning against the orange and red fall foliage.

Finally, experiment with the camera angle. Get low or shoot from a high angle to make the fall colors come alive in your frame. Also combining this technique with “same light on subject and background” can give you great even results like this portrait of the Krieg family at New Orleans Museum of Art

 The Krieg family at New Orleans Museum of Art. ©Zack Smith Photography

The Krieg family at New Orleans Museum of Art. ©Zack Smith Photography

As always…have fun and shoot for the wall! Keep in touch with you family photo session photography and comment on this post!

"Nurturing the Lower 9": Photographs and Story in new 64 Parishes Magazine

December 21, 2018

I don’t’ do as much editorial photography these days as it’s not as much on my radar as it used to be. My world is full of commercial and brand story telling which is half real and half created to sell a product or service. Editorial photography tells the real story, no bells or whistles. I was honored to work on a project with the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities’ 64 Parishes magazine that reported on a story I had no idea existed. The camera has introduced me to people and stories I would have otherwise never been involved in, and this instance is no different. I hope you visit the site to read more!

READ STORY HERE – https://64parishes.org/nurturing-the-lower-9

 Aurthur Johnson of the Lower Ninth Ward Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development (CSED)

Aurthur Johnson of the Lower Ninth Ward Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development (CSED)

2019 New Orleans Photography Workshop Schedule with a dose of REAL...

December 17, 2018

Ding. Ding. Dong. Tis the season to start thinking about your goals for next year. I am not talking about New Year’s Resolutions about eating better or exercising more. I want to talk about your photography goals for 2019. Are you ready for some REAL TALK? Then read on…

if you are ready you can just CLICK HERE – 2019 Photography Workshops

Do you want to learn to photograph better?

Do you want to learn how to see like the camera and react to the world around you with lightning precision of creativity, balance, and insight? Learning to be a better photographer takes time, practice, and a sincere dedication in your life to WANT to see your world in a different way. If this sounds like you, then keep reading.

I have been actively teaching photographers for over 16 years and that time has given me so many tools to help YOU be a better photographer. I am not here to teach you tips or tricks. I am not here to teach you what you can learn online. I am here to look you in the eye and find out what it is that makes your photography mind tick, tick, tick and learn! My courses are geared to turning your view of the world from a curious observer to a participating director, filled with apertures and focal lengths options for EVERY situation.

Do you want to learn how to photography portraits? Do you want to learn how to photograph second lines, live music, even Mardi Gras? You have come to the right place. Go ahead…make your resolution…

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