Month: January 2020

Ancestral portraits and how we can see the past with a present through our lens

January 31, 2020


Here are my favorite shots from the November session with Askia Bennett – the talented, humble, laid back creative cat I met at Jazz Fest last year. He was marching w/ the Ole & Nu Style Fellas and it was there i got some of my favorite 2nd line photos.

After photographing him and talking with him during our follow up conversations I am again stuck with the powerful message that we, right now, are our own selves but forever tied to the family, lineage, and ancestors of our past. Our community makes us whole, feeds our inspiration, and helps put soulful strikes and bold fonts in our continuing storyline.

Askia was gracious enough to take some time and bring some of his new pieces to my studio for a session. He came by my Magazine Street studio and for an hour, we made some photos. I wanted to use a combo of red and white backgrounds and some gelled Paul C. Buff, Inc. #einstein lights. It’s nice to have some drama attached to a story such as his…soft light from a large octabox is nice but augment that with some specular colored strobes and you have deeper meanings…that’s just my opinion.

“I have been a member of Ole and Nu for 23 years, since the beginning,” says Askia, which really shows me that each bead and color put into his suit is a long rich story.

“What made me want to join the club, was that, my mother pretty much put me in it. While most kids would want to be held doing a secondline I want to be in the streets dancing to the music../Family is all I know and why wouldn’t I want to be in the best social aid & pleasure club in New Orleans?” answered Asia when I asked what made him want to join the Social Aid club.

Does creativity run in your family? Where does your inspiration come from?
“Creativity definitely runs in the family, my grandmother was very creative. She was a member of the original Baby Doll’s and she also created customs for other clubs during that time. All the inspiration comes from my brother “Trouble” everything you see have come because of his influence and inspiration…all credit is due to him”

At our shoot, Askia kept unloading gear and props..beaded typewriters, golden microphones and red gel binoculars. But one piece caught my interest – a 3 foot tall very lifelike but cartoonish older woman on a stand…
Emelda Lewis-Frank, Askia’s grandmother.

“The statue of her comes from all the years she couldn’t see the family. She started come out the door on secondline day so that was made so she could finally have the opportunity to see us come out the door and see everything from our point of view” says Askia.



How to cull and tag your photographs in Lightroom: A Photography Video Tutorial

January 14, 2020


How to select, rate, and prioritize your photos in Lightroom

Finding the winning photograph to start your editing workflow can be a chore, especially sifting through hundreds, sometimes thousands of losers! I love photographing people, culture, and telling the visual stories of the moments around me. I don’t like sitting in front of a computer trying to find the best ones. Granted, there are those magical times when you are on a portrait shoot or shooting some documentary street photography when you just KNOW the one image that trumps all the others. If you are wise in the field and can get yourself out of the ‘moment’ to tag that shot, then you are winning the culling game.

Learn from me how to cull and tag your BEST images in the video above!

So many people as me “how do I find the best photographs from my shoot and not waste time doing it”? My number one suggestion would be to get familiar with the shortcuts given to you by Lightroom using the numbers 1 through 5 and color code numbers 6-9. If you don’t remember anything from this photo tutorial blog and video, remember that! You can determine what number, or color, means what in how you tag your images. On food photography shoots I like to first number my photos on the first pass, but then give certain photos a color code to differentiate a theme or composition I like/

Using metadata to win the editing game

If your camera allows you to rate your photographs in the field, meaning the ability to rate while shooting, then I feel that is a great way to get a jump start on your photography culling and editing. There are times when I am on a conference photoshoot, or especially on a corporate or business headshot, where I have some downtime to hit the review button and start looking at my image. Anything that you rate on the camera, gets stored in the metadata of the image file. This data is built into the image that will then show up in your Lightroom catalogue. You have the ability to give you images a 1-5 star rating in the camera, which stays with the photo upon importing. This tactic has saved me so much time!

I am going to be posting more helpful photography editing video tutorials on my website and blog in the coming year to help give you 2020 VISION and creative freedom with your photography. If you have any suggestions as to what kind of topics you’d like me to cover, please message me here or email!

Find more helpful editing and tagging blogs posts in my archive!






Subscribe Now!

Get email updates on new Photography Workshops, Blog Posts, New Orleans Photo Galleries and more from the world of Zack Smith Photography!

Thank you for signing up for my newsletter! I send one out every week, or two and you can always opt out any time!

Beginner Digital