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@everythingamylsmith was chosen as the Featured Artist for the theme {Abstract} and we connected with Amy to learn more about her and her photography journey.

Tell us a bit about yourself?  And, are you a hobbyist or a pro?

I recently relocated to the Louisville, KY area after almost 6 years in Anchorage, AK. To say that I LOVED it there, is the understatement of the century. My husband (28 years), David, and our sons Lucas and Jacob are my everything, along with our sweet Vizsla pups, Sampson and Sadie. I shoot a wide variety of genres, a few of those being landscape/nature, wildlife, my dogs, food, branding, families, and seniors. I shoot Canon and use an R5 as well as a Mark IV. I also have a DJI Mavic II Pro drone that I love to fly and take photos and videos with as well.  I also love to make stop motions and films…So to say I dabble in a lot is an understatement!  As far as the hobby vs pro question, can you be both? – Because I think that is what I am….I do some of both!  I am also very fortunate to be a mentor with Click Community and have that group to thank for majorly forming me into the photographer I am today! Some of my very best friends are in my life due to being a member of that community and I will be forever grateful!  

The blue sky sunrise photo is a favorite because it was taken very near where we used to live in Anchorage. I miss that view.

What inspired you to pick up your camera initially? 

I am a former school teacher, fortunate to be able to stay home when my kids were born. When they were school age, I went back to teaching periodically (long term maternity substitute positions) and being very involved in my kids schools, all the way until they were in early high school. By then, ‘stick a fork in me’ —  I was ‘done’ in the school setting. I began to think about what I was going to do when they went off to college and left the house. I had always had a camera around to document life since I was a kid as well as when my kids were young – I had 1000’s of photos in boxes, all very precious to me, but not very technically correct. I felt, and from seeing so many amazing photos and photographer’s work out there, I felt something was missing and that was skill and knowledge – both of which I hardly had any. My husband got me a “real” camera for Christmas in 2013 and I was literally scared of it – all the buttons and dials…I joined the Click Community and decided to take control and learn how to shoot in manual and  have never looked back since then! I have learned so much and have grown so much as a person! I only wish I had taken that step so many years before!

The eagle photo is special just because…I love the strength and beauty of those amazing creatures. I was so lucky to be able to capture them in the wild on many adventures we took in Alaska!

How do you improve your technique?

Shoot, shoot, and shoot some more! Always be observant of the light and whatever it is you like to shoot, whether you utilize natural light or create the light you want to showcase in your work. Tell a story with your work. I also gain a lot of insight and am inspired by studying photographers whose work I admire for whatever reason – their use of light, their editing style, their compositional techniques, the way the push boundaries… I also try to take as many workshops and breakouts/self-paced courses that I can fit into my schedule.

The golden hour sunset at the Waikiki harbor is special as it was just after a rain storm and the light and color was magnificent!

Most important thing you have learned about editing?

Your editing style is what makes your work, your work. It is one of the ways that photographers make their vision ‘happen’ and apparent to the viewer – it is a tool they can use to amplify their voice and overall message of their work. I edit differently depending on what the subject and/or purpose of the image is. For example, my food work differs from my landscape and nature work. It also depends if it is client work or for me personally. Regardless of what genre I am shooting and then editing, I have learned that sometimes less is more…and sometimes more is more…it just completely depends on what the vision for the image is. 

Camping at Trail River in Moose Pass, AK was time spent with amazing friends and so much fun was had. Amazing memories go with the time spent there and this particular foggy morning is a perfect reminder of all of that for me!

Secret weapon. Or piece of advice that’s helped you?

I think it’s something that, for me, I believe has come with time and “maturity”(hint-hint, wink-wink…not AGE- that’s just a number). When not planning and shooting for client work, I create and shoot entirely for me and me alone. I don’t shoot in hopes of pleasing anyone else or gaining followers or likes. If you look at my IG feed, it isn’t curated or cohesive in any way, other than it’s what I like and how I see the varying genres and subjects that I shoot, and in turn, share. If it make someone smile, or takes them to a place or memory they have in their mind/heart, that’s great! If not, that’s great too – I felt something from the image and that’s enough. 

The drone photo is special to me as that is one of my boys doing something they’ve loved to do since they were little dudes. I love to shoot them doing their thing!

Why photographs? Why not painting? Or poems? Or, for that matter, statutes or taxes?

Numbers and I aren’t very good friends. Never have been. I mean, we can be in the same room together, but we don’t have a lot to talk about. Thankfully my husband and I compliment each other’s weaknesses very well! ; )

But…anything that has a crafty vibe or hands on/diy aspect? – Bring it on! I really enjoy and have gotten into acrylic pour painting, and I like to create my own backdrops and surfaces to use in my food and still life photography. 

The flatlay of the designed bread is special to me because it is a concept I had in my head and made it come to life just as I had envisioned. Food photography is a such therapy for me as I love to cook and bake. Working with small businesses – is so fun and rewarding at the same time!

Thank you Amy for sharing your story and your beautiful images. You have share some stunning images here. I love the beautiful countryside and wildlife, but the drone image and the flatlay are just amazing.

We look forward to seeing your images on our Facebook page and our Instagram Page.  The theme this month is {Joy} for so tag us with #sharesix_joy for another 2 weeks. The theme will change on May 6, 2022.