SmugMug Corner #96: Brian Smithson

It's Friday, which means it's time for another photographer interview. This week it's SmugMug's turn as we interview UK's own Brian Smithson in our bi-weekly feature "SmugMug Corner." Enjoy the interview, the dozen+ photos, and the weekend!

Name: Brian Smithson
Website: (photography), (business).

Tell us a little about yourself.

I am Brian Smithson, aged 61 from Milton Keynes in the UK. I work as an owner/partner in a business offering electronic publishing, both in print and on the web. My side of the business is print publishing (DTP and ePub production) as well as business development.

What is your background/training in photography?

Like a lot of people, largely self-taught. Nowadays, I learn from online materials – and – as well as read books and magazines and follow photo blogs on the internet.

How long has photography been a passion for you? When, where and how did it start?

My earliest memory of photography is as a child – oh, about 8, I guess – being fascinated by the colour refractions in the lens of my uncle's rangefinder camera. He noticed that and allowed me to 'play' with it – sometimes with film in it. :) I bought my first camera in my teens – a Practika SLR – and have been involved ever since.

What equipment is in your camera bag? What piece of equipment will be added to the collection next?

I currently own a Canon 40D and my main walkaround lens is a Canon EF 28-135mm USM IS lens. I also own a Canon 50mm f1.8, a Canon EF 90-300mm f4.5 – 5.6 USM and a Tamron 10-24mm f3.5 – 4.5 wide angle. There is the usual extras such as filters, hoods etc. and a Manfrotto tripod. The range is completed by a Canon G11 compact. Next would be any of the 'L' series of glass from Canon – particularly a macro :) and, maybe, a dedicated flash unit.

What are your favorite places/subjects to photograph? Why?

I have a varied and eclectic taste and find images where I can. My wife and I (she is also a photographer) like to set about choosing a specific place to shoot and she takes in the wide vistas and I think my forte is getting in to the closer, more intimate shots. We love to travel to France and there are a lot of shots from there in our portfolios.

Who are your biggest photographic influences? Why? What about their work influences your work?

There are a number of photographers I admire. David duChemin, for his message that 'gear is good but vision is better'. Scott Kelby manages to impart serious advice and training in a casual and enjoyable manner. David Nightingale, for his insight into using Photoshop layers and masking to enhance images. My business partner, Miles Wolstenholme (who also has a SmugMug site) for his skill and focus on creating a niche for his Dartmoor photographs is also an inspirational help. Belonging to the SmugMug community has also helped – getting comments on your work, critiques where necessary and general good honest-to-goodness sense of belonging to a group of like-minded individuals.

How long have you been Smug with your photographs? What features do you most enjoy with your SmugMug account?

I've had my SmugMug Pro account since May 2009. It took a little while to understand how to get comfortable with it – there can be a lot of options – but I'm so glad I did. I had the joy of having my first print sale recently :) it really makes your day! I love being able to set up the site the way I want it and I am currently looking into starting my own blog and customizing the SmugMug site and the blog to work seamlessly. The main advantage, though, as I said in the previous question, is the Communities. Such a lot of talented photographers, giving freely of their time and knowledge.

If you had do sum up in 50 words or less the impact SmugMug has made on your photography/photography business, those 50 words would be...

If you want to be taken seriously as a photographer and present your work in its best light, you really ought to be on SmugMug. It is set up to make you as professional as you want to be and has great members and staff.

If you had to give one piece of advice to those wanting to pursue photography, what would you tell them?

Get to know your camera so that you take shots without thinking. In order to do that, always carry your camera with you. Take lots of photographs – someone said, recently, film is now effectively free; shoot more and be honest in your evaluation of the results. One main thing, though, is to develop your eye. When you view life through a lens, learn to see as a camera sees. Your photographs will love you for it.

Posted by Tim L. Walker on Fri, 2011–06–03 16:05
Categories: SmugMug Corner