Residing in Denver, Colorado, portrait photographer Ty Smith has a stellar resume and catalog that many with an artistic flair will certainly appreciate. Honing his craft for seven years now, he’s had the opportunity to work with several big brands such as Beats By Dre, Nissan, and FaZe Clan amongst others. Through his work, Ty seeks to explore the concept of beauty, whether that be from the inside or out.
In our latest installment of Behind The Lens, Ty Smith shares how he found his love for photography, talks equipment, and navigating through the space as a young creative to name a few topics. Read the interview with Ty Smith below!
Where did your love for photography and visual art begin?
It all started when I was a young kid, my father always had cameras around the house and would document me and my sibling’s childhood. This sparked my interest in wanting to record videos and take my own pictures. I created my first youtube video back in 2007 and ever since then I’ve always been creating something. In 2014 all I wanted for Christmas was my own camera and from there I found out how much I truly enjoyed taking pictures. Self-portraits were my first form of expressing myself through my pictures and then eventually that led to taking pictures of other people.
What have you learned directly–artistically–working with all these young creatives?
I’m an ambivert so in my personal life I’m more introverted and like to keep to myself but when it comes to working with people in my art form I’m a whole different person and the extrovert side of me strives. Being able to constantly meet new people all the time and building dope relationships through art is the best part of what I do.
Every person that I work with teaches me something new about myself that I can apply to the next person that I work with. Everyone has different personalities so sometimes I can be working with a very closed off person and have to learn how to make them more comfortable to fully express themselves through the photos that I take and other times I work with people that are more open making it easier for me to get the message across in the image. Regardless I like working with both types of individuals because I learn something new every time.
Is there something in particular that you are the proudest of in your career so far?
Yes! Last year I had the opportunity to work with Faze Clan, a professional e-sport organization. I got invited to work on multiple projects with them which led me to be able to add a couple of notable names to my portfolio like Beats By Dre, Nissan, and G-Fuel. Forever grateful for that team and the connections that I made at that time, I learned a lot and I definitely leveled myself up as a photographer during the process.
Getting technical, what type of gear do you use?
My main camera is my Canon 6D with a 24-70mm and I also have my Canon A-1 which I shot on for a whole year with no digital at all. I also have a Mamiya RB67 which I have not used as much this past year but I’m making it a goal to shoot more film so it’s a must that I start making that effort here soon.
If you can recall, what was your favorite moment or event that you had a chance to shoot?
In February of 2020, I got to shoot for Madisin Rian before a pre-oscar party back when I used to live in LA. I was called last minute to come to shoot for her and I hadn’t known who she really was until after the photos were sent off. Shortly after she posted the photos they got a lot of coverage in different popular magazines and it was really dope to know that thousands upon thousands of people saw my work and were really impressed by it.
As a professional in the space, what would you recommend someone to do to separate themselves from just being somebody with a camera?
It all comes down to shooting over a long period of time. When I first started I wasn’t proud of the photos I was taking, but I was dedicated to becoming better. To those wanting to better themselves as photographers, you just gotta keep on shooting. I started shooting in 2014 and I wasn’t really proud of my work until 2018-2019. You keep on experimenting and eventually, you will find your own unique style as I did.
Elsewhere in art and photography, check out our interview with director Tayyofficial.