Category: Commercial Portrait Photo

Business Branding and Lifestyle Photography in New Orleans: Your story is the lead character!

headshot photographer New Orleans shoots in natural light
January 5, 2021
Leslie Hooper and her dog Dexter, photographed at Zack Smith Photography Studio

Your face is your brand and your story is the lead character. I bet you never thought about your business that way before right? In the last four years photographing headshots at my studio on Magazine Street I have been amazed and in awe at the variety of ways that business owners seek to promote their brand. The easiest way for a potential client to identify someone’s business is by their name and their face. For most business owners, it’s not just as easy as putting your face out there, so there has to be a variety of images to tell your story.

Studio headshots and a mix of natural light photography can help diversify your brand.

Simple studio headshots

Less is really more and you can say a lot without being over styled or just visually messy. A combination of indoor simplicity and outdoor scenes can round out a business headshot or New Orleans portrait session in under one hour. I have finally figured out a way to get you in and out of my studio in an hour while giving you creative photography options based on your brand needs.

Headshots should be relaxed and show that side of you when the cameras aren’t out.

Being in the business of making people feel comfortable in uncomfortable situations is what I do well. I have been working with strangers for over 20 years to give them their best images.

Deanna Causey chose her headshot in natural light at City Park in New Orleans

Your brand identity is important and your headshots and lifestyle photography should reflect that, but most of all it should reflect who YOU are. In this stressful and unprecedented COVID19 world we live in, safety is still my number one goal, and I have repeatedly made my studio and shooting environments just that. Safe and Creative. As a New Orleans headshot photographer I value the role I have in solving your visual problem, give me a call or schedule a consultation soon!

When agency, photographer, and client communicate, they are able to Creatively Collaborate!

December 27, 2016

When you really take the time to look at a body of advertising or creative branded content, you truly see that there are more than just one cook in the kitchen. Notice the placement of the type, the size and it’s font. Notice the negative space allowed by a photograph to boost what would be a blank space into a colorful background for an apt page title. See the subject in position, smiling, balanced, and lit to make your eyes move over the page slowly with precision and tact? Yeah, I notice that too!

Being able to coordinate these subtleties of a large scale photoshoot and Annual Report takes the utmost patience and clear communication between Agency, Photographer, and Client. I recently had this experience when working with the New Orleans branding and web design agency, Design the Planet, and the LSU Health Foundation to produce a series of portraits and photographs for their 2016 Annual Report and website. In order to get the most out of each portrait we made location scouting a top priority. Each doctor, organization, or donor we photographed were on seriously tight schedules and we could not take up more time than needed. 

After each scout, I knew what lighting we would need to create each dynamic portrait. At each shoot we were able to arrive a few hours early and setup only the gear needed for each shot, nothing more and nothing less. Having Adrienne Folse at the agency be the liaison for the client helped me efficiently communicate with each person as to the best time to scout, and then ultimately, to shoot. As agency head, Adrienne was also on each shoot helping with all facets of the shot – something I happen to enjoy on such an important shoot. 

What I gained from this experience is that when you have open communication as to what the goals are from each photograph, where they are going, and how they will be viewed can do nothing but help you with composition, exposure, and even focal length. I have always said “let the subject set the settings” and I still stand by that, but these helpful insights will only benefit the shared outcome of the next amazing portrait you make.

New E-commerce store photography for New Orleans Tourism site!

October 24, 2016

Did you know the City of New Orleans has merch? No, not merchandise like mardi gras beads, hurricane cups from Pat O’s or hangovers. The city’s creative side offers stuff like T-shirts, tricentennial pins, and tote bags and I was honored to photograph the collection for their new e-commerce site. In doing so, I was able to recruit some good friends and meet some new young models in shooting a few days of studio and location portrait photography. As usual, I rented studio space at my favorite place in town – NOLA Spaces on Toledano St.

Being able to work with friends in a low stress environment creating content for the City of New Orleans?? Pinch me I am still dreaming. This is a dream job for me, it really is. Actually the last 6 months have been so busy for my business and the same time fueling my creative site in the most balancing way. It’s hard to keep up this blog with current content with all the stuff going on. I will try my best to keep you in the loop..but for now – the City Of New Orleans online store is open – click on the photo below to come in!

That time I got to photograph inside the hippest office in downtown New Orleans?

You know when you visit an office or a home a few times and you really really want to photograph inside it but all the photographing is usually done outside the house?

 Each set of portraits were done in locations around Peter Mayer

Each set of portraits were done in locations around Peter Mayer’s modern yet rustic office.

Well, I got to photograph inside the house. Well, the office that is. A few months back I had the pleasure of photographing staff portraits of the Peter Mayer ad and marketing firm in New Orleans, LA. They have just finished their new website and wanted new staff portraits to populate the new site. (check their new website HERE

The Peter Mayer agency has been at the industry forefront since 1967, right here in New Orleans, Louisiana. 

Peter Mayer is one of those old school/new school types of agencies. They understand the history of the power of pen and image and understand the current trends enough to create lasting brands. We know this, well, because they have been on the industry forefront since 1967, operating right out of New Orleans, Louisiana. I had the pleasure of meeting and photographing Peter Mayer and his two sons, Josh and Mark for New Orleans Magazine back in 2007 (you can see that pic on their site here – PHOTO)

Over the last few years I have been lucky to work with them on a number of client jobs. Working with the teams from Peter Mayer is always a creative and collaborative experience for me as I learn so much every time I work with them. So, I was truly honored that they asked me to photograph their staff portraits – at their office! As I might have mentioned before, every time I walk into their office there is a different background that pops out waiting to be photographed. A dark corner, a silver-light lit atrium all begging for their closeup…Their office is rustic yet sleek, modern yet classic in style and vibe. It’s the ultimate studio. And it was mine for two days…

Each of these portraits you see here were taken in 4 different areas of their office. We used a similar, often exact, light setup as to try and maintain the feel of the shots as a whole even though we changed location. This was difficult to do at times, so we always had the camera tethering to Lightroom (click for past Blog on Tethering) and then to a 38″ monitor so we could see what we were getting. Being able to tether your workflow, including the preset Black and White filter, and project the finals while you are shooting proved very useful here!

I look forward to more photo shoots with Peter Mayer, and it has been a delight to see how many recognizable brands, images, and moments that were created right there in that office on Camp St. Happy to be in that #….




Behind the Scenes for St. Charles Vision Portrait Shoot #2 - NOLA "Distinctive"

Heading into Overdrive and BTS (Behind the Scenes) at the St. Charles Vision “Distinctive” New Orleans portrait photo shoot

In this second installment of St. Charles Vision’s “Distinctive” New Orleans portrait campaign, we photographed chefs Kristen Essig co-owner of Coquette, Aaron Burgau of Patois and Central City BBQ, Thomas Mann, artist, and trombone player extraordinaire and all around nice fellow, Delfayo Marsalis. New Orleans is ripe with creatives, and I am honored to be around their energy and have the privilege to photograph them. Thanks again to Matt at St. Charles Vision for including me in this very cool collaborative photographic project. Here are some of my favorite Behind the Scenes shots from our shoot last week held at Room #1 at NOLA Spaces in New Orleans. Hair and makeup by Susan Spaid, assisted by Lamar Arceneaux and Sarrah Danziger, Cameron Wood digital tech.



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