We had the good fortune of connecting with Adam Smith and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Adam, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
It takes some commitment and knowing that it won’t always be easy. Building up a customer base, gathering reviews and just making yourself look experienced and reputable can’t really be faked. I started by offering lower than average prices and even did a few shoots for free with friends to get my portfolio built up and was blessed to have enough clients give me a chance the first year or two for my business to take off and sustain itself without having to spend anything on advertising. Sticking with it and trusting your plan has been very important. Luckily I enjoy it too, so it’s been a pretty fun journey.

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Going in to 2010, I had hardly taken a meaningful photo in my life, but that winter I spent a semester studying in Spain and traveling all over Europe. Throughout my travels and time over there, I got more and more hooked on documenting my trips and capturing the amazing places I was able to visit to share with friends and family back home. After that semester, I upgraded my camera and continued taking trips whenever I could and really fell in love with photography. I think I always had the eye for it, in part because of my love for cinema and thinking about how I could frame things in the most appealing yet cool and stylish way. After more and more practice taking landscape and travel photos around the world and spending some decent money on even more camera gear, I figured I could try and make some money off a hobby that I really enjoyed. Everyone and their mother wants to make a living traveling and shooting photos, but I knew the easiest way to to use my camera in a business was to start shooting photos of people in my area. This was a somewhat big decision and I felt like I was stepping into a whole new world, but at the same time I knew I could do it if people would give me a chance. I also had a day job, so if things didn’t work out I was still going to be alright financially, but I hate failing and wanted to make this all work. I had no idea how much to charge, or where I should try and market myself but I spent time building followings on social media and showcasing things I’ve done. Initially, I got a few shoots and did a small wedding which really helped me grow my portfolio and, from there, it kind of just took off. I’ve been able to consistently adjust prices to my experience and have had to start turning down some bookings. I think one thing that sets me apart is I don’t have any classic training in photography. I’ve kind of developed my own rules and style over the years and studied the technical aspect on my own. While I’m not bashing a photography degree, I do think that sometimes those types of ‘artsy’ academic focuses can put creativity in a box.
So many people are anxious about getting their photos taken. They think that they don’t look good in front of the camera and get all stressed about even doing an engagement shoot. I love meeting people who say that to me, which I take as a challenge. I put in a lot of effort to subtly try to calm their nerves and make the photo shoot a fun and relaxing experience. I’ll show them a couple shots from the back of my camera screen as we’re going along to help boost their confidence and then often times people really start to loosen up and have some fun. It really is great to see and makes my job so much better when people aren’t uptight and stressing out!

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I live in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. It’s a city of like 70,000 people. I don’t think it’s the most exciting place, but there are some fun outdoor adventures in the area. About a half hour from here is a really fun little hike at a place called Hoffman Hills which takes you to an observation tower that you can climb up a series of vertigo inducing stairs to see some incredible 360 degree views. For this part of the county, it’s about as high up as you’ll get. We also have some neat wineries scattered around the nearby countryside and I enjoy visiting any and all of them with friends and family. During the summer, we have some outdoor concerts in a park along the river which are fun little events to spend some time at. Anyone who spends time with me will also get treated to some visits to our local disc golf courses. We have a lot of options for places to throw some plastic and I’ll take just about anyone out for a round, whether it’s their first or 1000th time.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’m thankful for the inspiration other photographers provide when sharing their work and to God for putting me in the place to do this!

Website: www.adamsmithphotographywi.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/adamsmithphotographywi/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/photographybyadamsmith

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutColorado is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.