Tuesday, February 19, 2013

BEHIND THE LENS: Jessica Smith, Brigham & Co., New Haven, CT


There is nothing we love more than having photographers reach out to us to inquire about being featured on our Behind the Lens series.  In January we were honored to be contacted by Jessica Smith of Brigham & Co.  and we were thrilled to feature her gorgeous work on our Behind the Lens series.  In reading through Jessica's interview below, I was inspired by not only her beautiful, romantic images but also by the fact that she uses her telephoto lens to let personalities unfold naturally.  It is a tip that I will definitely try.

Thank you Jessica, for sharing your story with us today.  We look forward to seeing more of your work--especially from those destination weddings!

Your Name: Jessica Smith
Your studio/business name: Brigham & Co.
Location: New Haven, Conn.
Twitter: @brighamandco
Facebook:  www.facebook.com/brighamandco

Your Style:

In 50 words or less, how would your clients describe your photography? Intuitive, pure, heart-on-your-sleeve photography. My clients love the journalistic influence in my images. They’ll say my photographs have a sweet softness, romantic and rustic images of whimsical moments whether it’s an outdoor wedding or a beachside portrait session. I love to use telephoto lenses as a means of stepping back, to let my couples’ personalities unfold in naturally, usually at a place they hold dear.

Are you self-taught or classroom trained? In 2007, I received a BFA in Photography with a concentration in documentary work. I am always learning and have continued my education with the great invention of Google, forums and the like. 

How many years have you been a professional photographer? My professional photography career spans about seven years, but I’ve been teetering with cameras since my first glorious one in 2000 – a Canon Rebel.

Where do you want to take your photography business in 5 years? Getting to know more wonderful clients throughout the New England region! Jump aboard the destination wedding circuit. ;) I’d also like to experiment with other means of producing vintage-inspired imagery, maybe using my expired collegiate film leftovers and that old, dirty Rebel!!

Is there a photographer who inspires your style?  Who would that be? Growing up I was always inspired by documentarians Garry Winogrand, Diane Arbus, Mary Ellen Mark and Sally Mann.

Favorite location to take photos? Open fields

Favorite vacation spot? Porto, Portugal!!!


Your Business:

What was the pivotal moment when you decided to become a photographer? I give a lot of credit to my high school art teacher, Mrs. P. She always let me work on my own projects and one day suggested a continuing education workshop at FIT in Manhattan. That’s when I got into the darkroom for the first time – black and white film. Once I got my bare hands dirty and watched my own images come to life in those trays, I knew: this is it for me.

What’s the best marketing tip that has worked for you? Word of mouth, great SEO and vendor guides.

What’s the most surprising thing a customer has asked you? “Well, I feel as though I own the images you’ll be taking because they’re all of me. So if they’re of me, they’re technically mine. My photographer friends have always led me to believe this, so maybe I should go find a student photographer.”

Favorite print lab? WHCC, hands down.


Your Gear:

Are you Canon or Nikon (or –other): Canon, baby!

If you could only have one lens on a photo shoot, what would it be? My 70-200mm – massive and totally worth it.

What brand bag do you carry your camera in? A pretty sweet Vivitar bag from B&H.

What gear would we find in your camera bag? I’d say the important stuff is Canon 5D Mark II, 24-70mm 2.8, 70-200mm 2.8, Speedlite 580EX II, 32’ E-TTL Cord

Are you a natural light fan or strobe fan? Au natural, but also the right light at night to produce such!

Are you PC or Mac? Mac


Your Tips and Tricks:

What post processing tools do you use? Photoshop and Lightroom

Do you shoot in Raw or Jpeg? RAW

Best advice you would give your 20-year old self? Don’t be afraid. If at first you do not succeed, try and try and try again! Success is in the eye of the beholder. Take risks and live it up, girl.

Best advice you would give a new photographer? Be unapologetically you!

What site do you use for your photography and why? My portfolio is BluDomain because it’s darn sexy. Wordpress & ProPhoto for the blog.


What Else Should We Know?

What was your worst photography experience? It’s a bad situation saved by a good Samaritan: while at a maternity shoot, I got the idea to photograph among some pretty grasses – the prettiest there considering it was winter. So there we are, shooting away when a kind gentleman yells out, “Did you know you’re on a protected sand dune?!” Yeah, no! We soon learned the pummeled fence was never repaired after Hurricane Sandy. I’m pretty sure we couldn’t have fled the area faster as this same gentleman finally followed up with, “and unfortunately if the wrong person saw ya, trespassing protected land is a 100,000 fine.” Save!! ;)

What would surprise people most about you, whether it is photography related or not? I don’t kill bugs.

Tell us something else you’d like us to know.  Until October 2012, I was newspaper photographer at a weekly periodical in Connecticut for four years; a capacity that has truly laid the foundation for how I approach photography today.


And just because we want to know you better, fill in the blanks

Three things I can’t live without…. My fiancĂ©, my family, and pencils
I wish I had more….. Dogs … only two cats … no room yet … 
The best thing about being a photographer is… the people and the works of art that come.
The most important lesson I ever learned was…. Shoot from the hip! More so figuratively, but sometimes literally.
My favorite time of day is… Morning

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