Michael Smith / Photographer & Independent Publisher
My career as a photographer began in 2009 when I left a career as a banker to live a dream as a photographer. As a child I was told the "arts" wasn't a career and that I'd need to secure a standard job to "make it in this world." For a long time, I believed that. But the artistic community gnawed at me and while I disregarded that feeling for quite a while, I finally decided to make the change in my late 20s to become a photographer (something I loved to do since I was 11). Switching careers at that time of my life with a stay at home wife, 2 young children, and the standard family home with 2 cars was one of the hardest things I've ever done. And last year, after nearly a decade of owning running a successful photography business in the Philadelphia region, my family packed up everything and left everything we knew and moved to Colorado. That, then, became the hardest thing I've (we've) ever done. So here I am now, living in Louisville, CO and starting over in a new area with photography and family... but I am happy to be out west, closer to the vibe I love so much, closer to the mountains, closer to people with a style and frame of mind like my own. And even though it's been challenging the last year, I'm glad it was a challenge I took on and I look forward to what's in store.
- Photography - I have extensive knowledge in both digital and film mediums. I've worked with all types of cameras, lighting, and just about anything you can think of in regards to photography (and anything that goes with it)
- Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, Reader, InDesign, Lightroom)
- Web Design (efficient in template based site design)
- Google Docs such as Drive and Numbers (and other Google related programs), Excel
- Customer Service (I've run a successful business for nearly a decade that deals entirely with consumers. Photography is driven by word of mouth and I put my clients at the forefront of my focus)
- Self publishing (quarter arts & culture journal called Unvael)
- Writer (self described but passionate - I conduct interviews and write in every issue of the journal I just referenced)
- Proficient in Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and a few other social media platforms.
2009 - Present / Owner and Principal Photographer
- Photographed nearly 400 weddings over the course of a decade as well as dozens of commercial and editorial style sessions per year
- Handled every day - and office based - tasks such as accounting, emails, phone calls - anything that needed to be done when dealing with roughly 40 clients a year
- Proficient in several Adobe Creative Suite applications
- Proficient in template based web building (I have also built websites for clients)
- Handled several subcontracted employees as well as 2 associate photographers
- Year round - full time photographer
- Handled all social media marketing and advertising
2017 - Present / Created & Founded
Unvael stemmed from a passion of the arts community. Every issue I curate and publish features over 30 artists and writers from around the world set in a (roughly) 100 paged press book. I publish this journal myself handling everything, including the layout and design, emails, editing, curating, social media promotion, and even shipping - and I do this quarterly. For the journal I conduct interviews as well as photograph creative people that will be featured in each issue. You can see some of the photographs on the website you are currently on by using the nav bar at the left as well as the website for the journal itself (a website I created).
2001 - 2009 was spent in the banking world at several institutions. While these jobs don't play any role in publishing or the arts - where my livelihood exists - they did teach me valuable lessons in customer service and finance. Because of the knowledge I gained from managing bank offices and handling small business development I was able to successfully launch Ash Imagery in 2009. I contribute a successful start into the world of photography not just on my photographic talents, but from what I learned during my tenure as a bank employee.