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{low down, throw down} with Jean Smith Photography

It is always a pleasure to be introduced to a talented photog. Jean Smith of Jean Smith Photography fits this bill perfectly! Her images are both gorgeous and inspiring, funky and breathtaking. With clean and bright processing and an eye for the unusual it is our pleasure here at The Maternal Lens to introduce you to Jean Smith!!

look at her gorgeous family!!

Name: Jean Smith
Business name: Jean Smith Photography
Location: New Hudson, Michigan
Facebook Page

Tell us one sentence to describe your photography:
Fresh. Unique. Fun.


What's one thing that everyone should know about you?:
My husband and I are both super passionate about photography and we have this nerdy dream of being able to travel all around the world photographing people and places. Someday...when the kids get older...and we have lots of money...sigh...

How long have you been doing photography and how did you get started:
I wish I could say that I was one of those people who was given a a film camera at the age of 8 and my passion just blossomed from there. The true story is that I was always just the girl holding a cheap point and shoot and madly appreciating beautiful pictures. I was a wannabe. UNTIL the day in early 2006 when I just couldn't stand it anymore. I got my first "real" camera and spent a summer in China photographing anything and everything around me and studying and learning everything I could get my hands on related to photography. My love and passion continued from that point and I have been in business for a little over three years.


If they made a movie about your life, what would it be titled and who would play you?
In my real world, the title would be "Finding the Balance" played by Reese Witherspoon. Because let's face it, as a wife, mom of four boys, photographer, and all of my other mini-roles, there is that constant struggle to achieve that happy balance.

In my fake world, the title might be something like "Charlie's Angels 3: Bungee jumping Photographers in Thailand" played by Cameron Diaz. Perfect, let's go with the fake world option.


Tell us about your first paid photography job?
Arizona. Family Session. Fall 2006. I went into it terrified, but came out completely relaxed and pleasantly surprised with the results.


If you had to pick one reality show to be on what would it be and why?:
So You Think You Can Dance or American Idol. Although I don't think singing in the shower or dancing with my kids counts for actual talent, so I might have to be the one they make joke clips about...

Where do you go to find inspiration?:
I would be lying if I didn't mention there were several photographers who were my main sources of inspiration as I began my photographic journey. Although I still greatly admire many photographers, my own style has emerged (and my obsession has increased), and I find that I look at the world around me as if through a camera. My main inspiration now comes from daily happenings...noticing sunlight falling across a face, an old barn in a field, moody skies, my kids laughing, and more than anything...how light falls off and on subjects and objects. Oh, and the occasional beautiful magazine ad or catalog does wonders to inspire me.


What type of sessions are your favorite (children, e-sessions, weddings, newborns....) and why?:
SO hard to answer because as you view my work, it's quite apparent I really just enjoy photographing PEOPLE...all types of people. But, as of late, I am just loving seniors and weddings...love the beauty and spontaneity.


What equipment do you use and if you had only one lens to use...what would it be?:
Nikon D700 is my main camera with a D300 as my backup. I love natural light, but when artificial light is needed or wanted, I use either an Alien Bee strobe with huge softbox, or Nikon speedlights with an umbrella or 24x24 softbox and pocket wizards. I am starting to use reflectors a lot more and love them.

My favorite lens is currently the Nikon 24-70 2.8, but I always shoot with two cameras and keep either my Nikon 50 1.4 or my Nikon 70-200 2.8 on my backup camera and use and love them almost as much.


What is your current favorite pair of shoes?
Flip flops. Hands down my favorite shoes. Even in December in Michigan.

What moment in your life makes you smile every single time you think about it?:
Warning: Too much information for some. I do a quiet giggle every time I think about how I recently found my husband singing and playing the guitar on the toilet. Priceless.


What is at the top of your wish list right now?:
A super wide angle lens. Oh, or an awesome macro lens. Any suggestions?

Tell us the best advice that you have ever received (photography related or life in general):
Find your own sources of inspiration. Practice. Master light. Practice. Try new things. Think outside the box. Practice. If something is ruining your joy in your business or life, get rid of it. Practice. Laugh and laugh a lot.


What is the all time best book you've ever read?
Yikes. I have so many favorites. But, I always seem to go back to Pride and Prejudice. Or maybe County of Monte Cristo. Or maybe even To Kill a Mockingbird. I love the classics.

If we surprised you at your house today, what would be the first thing we would notice?
That the pictures of my children on my wall are over a year old. I'm so ashamed...


And lastly.....when we started the maternal lens, all of us filled out this questionnaire and shared our answers....now it's your turn :)

What is your favorite word? Medulla Oblongata.
What is your least favorite word? Sofa. Panties is a close second.
What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? Music.
What turns you off creatively, spiritually or emotionally? Interruption.
What sound or noise do you love? So cliche, but definitely my children giggling.
What sound or noise do you hate? My husband using the pen on his Wacom tablet. I want one so bad, but I hate the noise!
What is your favorite thing to say when you get mad? Crap.
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Professional soccer player. I understand that I would have to be super fit and ridiculously awesome, but it's still a dream.
What profession would you not like to do? Chocolate taster. Because I would go way above my call of duty and sample ten times the allotted amount.
If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? Welcome child, you have done well.

[please show jean some blog love both here and at her own blog]

- Isn't she fantastic?!! - her images just make you happy - her focus spot on with a touch of the whimsy. Thank you Jean for stopping by The Maternal Lens - !

don't forget to tell your family and friends on facebook to join our fan page!!


  1. gorgeous work! Such stunning clarity and that shot with the bride and groom is to die for!

  2. Great Feature Photographer. Inspiring. Loved her answers...and her photos are amazing!

  3. Jean is amazing! She just keeps getting better and better!!!

  4. These are absolutely amazing!
    Love the bride and groom...and the kids.

  5. Fun, vibrant, and fabulous

  6. jenn reay2/11/2010

    i think we could be BFF.
    the photos are gorge & jean's interview is wonderful! she's a pip! that's right, i said pip.

  7. a gorgeous photog in every way. jean you HAVE to share you post processing secrets with us!!
    (and jenn, i did think of you while reading this! pip that you are!!)

  8. Love JEAN SMITH! She is a rockstar!

  9. You are SUCH an inspiration Jean...thanks for the interview. Your images are absolutely beautiful and every single one made me smile.

  10. Beautiful work! Love all the photos that were shared!! Thanks for the inspiration!

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  12. You are an awesome photographer! Thanks for sharing these with us, I will add you on FB so I can keep up with your work!

  13. So Stunning is all I can say. I am so drawn to pure, non-tricked up pictures. I have a new blog to stalk!

  14. wow, thanks SO much everyone! um, can i ask what "pip" is? not sure if i should be flattered or offended...

  15. I found a new favorite photog to follow! :)

  16. Beautiful images! Going on my "blog stalking list"....thanks for sharing!

  17. Jean is the greatest!!!

  18. I've had the great luck of obsessing over photography with Jean, and she is the real deal. She takes her work very seriously and very playfully at the same time. Lots of love to you Jean!!!

  19. Great interview Jean- thank you for sharing your passion for photography! You are a source of inspiration, your work is beautiful!

  20. Jean has helped my so much in the adventure of starting my own photography business and continues to be in inspiration to me!

  21. Jean: You are so cute!!! I loved reading your interview! I wanna know what a pip is too?! :)

  22. I loved that!!! I felt like you were right here talking to me and it made me miss you! You are SO AMAZING at what you do! It never fails that every new post and picture you put on your blog I am totally flabbergasted (is that even a word?) Anyways...your great!

  23. Jean: I have been secretly admiring your work ever since your (and my) friend Holly told me about you. You are very inspiring especially now that I know you would love to be a pro soccer player, a girl after my own heart!


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