Models: Ludella Hahn, Miss Stephanie Tran, and Lex McD.
Evan Smith is a Boston-based freelance photographer of models, events, autos, and more. When it comes to his work with models he is mainly interested in alternative styles with a creative and artistic edge.
Sinical Magazine: How did you get started in photography?
Evan Smith: I’m not really sure what drew me to photography in the beginning. I suppose I always liked the thought of capturing a moment so that others could enjoy it and so that I could revisit it in the future. My work with models and precomposed photos in general really started when my then-girlfriend who needed to model some clothing for a small company. The photos were big hit and everything started to snowball from there.
Sinical Magazine: Who are some photographers that inspired your work when you first started?
Evan Smith: I’ve always been inspired more by photographic styles than by specific photographers. I think my own need to feel individual and create something original drives me away from focusing on any one photographer too much. That way I avoid the possibility of inadvertently copying their style. Early on I was influenced by the boom of alternative model sites (which is also how my wife first caught my eye) and the work in my favorite automotive magazines. I tend to lean towards anything with a little edge to it, but still sexy and/or interesting.
Halley Jaye and Erin Ring.
Sinical Magazine: What type of camera equipment do you use?
Evan Smith: I’ve tried both Canon and Nikon and have found that Nikon has better low-light autofocus and preferable ergonomics, and both brands have basically the same lenses. Currently I use a Nikon D600 and a D7000 as a second body, when needed. I like the D600 because of its low-light limits, great video, high megapixels and wireless flash trigger, all of which I need on a weekly basis.
Sinical Magazine: What type of lenses or focal length do you prefer for portrait work?
Evan Smith: The D600 is a full frame camera, so I try to stay with the traditional length portrait lenses of around 50 to 80mm although I can end up shooting as wide as 24mm when shooting full body shots inside some rooms. Any wider than that and weird distortion problems start to arise. I usually use f/2.8 zooms but will sometimes use a 50mm f/1.4 prime depending on the situation.
Model: Leila Hazlett.
Sinical Magazine: When creating a composition what is your main focus?
Evan Smith: I first decide what it is that I’m trying to convey to the viewer and then make sure that element is in the frame without unnecessary clutter. If I want a head shot, I make it a head shot and not a half body shot that will leave people’s eyes wandering elsewhere in the frame. Aside from that I always try to check all my basics such as keeping the subject’s eyes in focus, not cropping people off at their joints, and the ‘rule of thirds’ when its applicable.
Sinical Magazine: How much planning goes into a shoot?
Evan Smith: Not much really. Some of my best shoots have been spontaneous and almost all are only loosely outlined. I usually have a certain shot in my head that I’d like to capture, then think of a model who would fit the look, lastly I think of the details like wardrobe, location, props, etc. During the shoot I usually try to get that one shot that I’ve pictured in my head, but add my own ideas in the moment as well as the model’s suggestions to fill out the rest of the shoot. Often what I had in my head doesn’t even end up being the best shot.
Model: Marcy Horror.
Sinical Magazine: Do you work with strobes or continuous lighting?
Evan Smith: Strobes. I use a variety of shoe-mounted strobes when out on location, and small monolights when in the studio. I prefer strobes because of a higher maximum output than continuous ‘hot’ lighting and models don’t get too hot sitting under baking lights. Plus you can run hot-shoe strobes on batteries when out in the field. The downside is that they don’t help light up a room when autofocusing and its a little tougher to set the levels without seeing how the photo looks.
Sinical Magazine: What are some lighting set ups that you like to use?
Evan Smith: I almost always use at least 2 lights, and up to 5 or more depending on what I need to light up. The toughest setup I had to do was one night when I needed 9 lights to make my apartment look like it was daytime for Ludella Hahn on the cover of Bachelor Pad Magazine.
Sinical Magazine: Does music inspire your work? What do you listen to?
Evan Smith: I always have music playing when doing a shoot, although I wouldn’t say that it impacts the photos themselves. Aside from portrait work, I also have frequent gigs shooting at nightclubs and other events that I like to support. These are almost always underground electronic music but occasionally rock and metal as well. I like taking on those gigs because that’s the kind of music I prefer to listen to anyway.
Sinical Magazine: Do you have any pet peeves when it comes to models or other photographers?
Evan Smith: Just those who misrepresent themselves and copycats. I’ve seen many ‘models’ and ‘photographers’ who I personally know are just amateurs or hobbyists, but they promote themselves as full time and well known stars in an attempt to mislead those who don’t know any better. Its a shame because those of us in the field that are more humble end up getting lost in the fold.
Sinical Magazine: What is the most interesting that’s happened during one of your photo shoots?
Evan Smith: I think getting the police called on us when shooting in our local town square was pretty funny. The two officers that showed up couldn’t stop laughing when they saw two models in latex bikinis with giant inflatable animal tails. They were cool about it though. After a good laugh and a little chat they said that we weren’t doing anything wrong and left us to finish the shoot.
Sinical Magazine: Do you have one tip that you would recommend to any aspiring photographer?
Evan Smith: Don’t over sell yourself. I constantly see other ‘photographers’ that have obviously just purchased a camera and now they’re advertising that they’re available for weddings, modeling portfolios, sporting events, etc. Personally I’ve been shooting in almost every field of photography for almost 10 years and I’m just now marketing myself towards weddings (one thing that you don’t want to screw up for a client). Move on to the next photographic challenge after you master the one you’re on, don’t just jump in all at once.
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