We had the good fortune of connecting with Danni Smith and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Danni, do you have a favorite quote or affirmation?
“Keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” -Walt Disney It has helped me through the years from trying photography for the first time to even today, struggling through the pandemic. Always remind yourself to not give up, to keep creating and trying new things and letting our curiosity lead us into new skills or experiences in the best way we can. Even when a session doesn’t go well, or my sales aren’t the best one month, I just remind myself to keep creating and trying, and to keep moving forward.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am a giving person, and in the photography industry I feel this needs to be more prevalent. I say this because I give my time, my advice, and my work more than many I have spoken with or watched from the sidelines in my industry. I was given a chance at a zoo through a third party company to photograph guests interacting with the wildlife and feeding giraffes, I was taught timing, patience, and an all around understanding that photography is not just clicking a button on a camera. I learned to power through failure, low capture rates, and lots of “no’s” from families as they entered the park, it was hard and disheartening but after time and practice I learned to turn around moods and how to create a seamless story and experience which in turn helped me grow into who I am today as a creative and personality. I learned that giving photos to keepers for calling me when the animals were active created amazing relationships and gave joy everyday to the caretakers of these amazing critters, but I also learned how easy it is to step on toes, upset others and come off as something I wasn’t for seeking opportunities. Giving what I could gave a lot back to me, I will always go the extra mile for my clients and subjects and I find it more rewarding in times when life is hard and cruel too often to too many. Everyday I am learning and trying to grow in my brand and myself and I hope you come along for the journey, and photos of course.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
When I have guests visit, I go hard on planning. I love to let my guests acclimate as well as explore and see as much as they can in a short period and being a landscape and adventure photographer really helps me find some great places. I love to find local “mom & pop” shops and will take my friends to a dispensary (sorry) and usually a pho or ramen place near my house in Littleton. When the city and bars were more open I would take my guests to the best bar in town, The Front Porch, for cozy lighting, great service, and good drinks, usually after walking around 16th street and showing them a taste of Denver from the people to the sights. After a few days of acclimating, most of my friends come from Florida, I take them to the mountains. Where, you ask? Well that is where I come to disappoint, I am not a fan of geotagging and have seen first hand the repercussions of too much traffic in my beloved areas, however one favorite that is well known that I always take a first time visitor, is St. Mary’s Glacier, the lake and views give everyone just a taste of the beauty Colorado has to offer. After hiking is usually a stop in Idaho Springs to visit Tommyknocker’s and see the old town and Water Wheel, when the waterfall isn’t frozen. I try to give a taste of both since we live in a place that offers much more than Florida ever did for me, from walking Pearl Street Mall in Boulder, to driving the Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Drive, to watching a sunset from Garden of the Gods, I try to give my guests a full Colorado experience.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
If it wasn’t for National Geographic magazines, my family supporting my art since day 1, and my first photography job at a zoo, I do not know where I would be. My support to be creative and find what I am good at creating was unmatched and my mom purchased my camera for me that I still use to this day to book sessions and capture amazing landscapes. If you see this, any of you, always support your artist friends and family, it will take them so far.
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dannidivagates/ & https://www.instagram.com/dannidazzles/
Katrina Joseph Casey Valentine