Professional Interview With Zalontate T. Smith Of Swag Photography
Q: Do you like to talk about yourself or your pictures? If yes, about what aspects of photography? If no, why?
A: I would rather speak upon the shoot experiences I have. photo shoots are very interesting to me. I don’t have a problem speaking about myself but I am a very behind the camera type of person so I try and speak my words through the pictures with the model as the subject.
Q: How would you describe your attention span?
A: Lol, I am a very focused person, some times I may over dedicate my time to some thing. I guess it’s not hard to keep my attention into things because I do a lot of analyzing and breaking down of everything I come across.
Q: When did you decide to become a photographer?
A: I remember back in my school days I was big on fashion magazines this was in 92-93 I’ll say. I was a artist first but carried over into the camera instead of the pen not to much after school but became a full time only 4 years ago.
Q: What does photography mean to you?
A: To me photography means vision & endless time. To capture a moment is very powerful it would be selfish to keep a moment as only a memory and not share it with the world and photography allows you to do such. But out of respect I must say it is a art.
Q: Can you recall the first photo you took that made you go WOW!?
A: My first wow shot lol, I like to call those shots the magic moment in every shoot it is a majic moment and you can just feel it when it comes, me myself get very excited in those time time like awwwwww.
The one that stands out the most was when I was shooting this model by the name of Alisha in front of this huge castle for a magazine shoot. We got stiffed on the page layout but rewarded in other ways from the shoot.
Q: Do you have any formal training regarding photography?
A: I went to school for graphic art thinking I was going to be able to run wild with my first love drawing and was introduced to photography by the course and got a divorce from the pen and married my Nikon d70s.
Q: How technical is your photography?
A: I don’t think my work is very technical maybe because now it’s a natural thing for me to do. With me it’s all about the angle, light, & lay out or the flow of the picture.
Q: How do you feel about cropping?
A: I think cropping should be done before you snap the camera. I try and only shoot what I need.
Q: Where is your favorite place to live and work as a photographer in the World and why?
A: I love South Carolina because I love the scenery here. It’s rural, city, & very country all in driving distance where I’m located. back drops bore me what’s around me keep my work very personal and stand out.
Q: Define the word “beauty”!
A: Soothing to the eyes and when it comes to pictures in that aspect.
Q: What is your most favorite and least favorite word in photography or life? How do they make you feel?
A: I love hearing the word thanks because it makes me feel appreciated but hate the words. A word I hate is dark room it just makes me feel behind in time lol I am so digital no disrespect to those who shoot film though.
Q: How does your personality change when you look through the camera?
A: It really don’t change and I think it’s because of when I’m not behind the camera i react to things in my sight as if I am already.
Q: How do you feel about missed shots which cannot be recreated?
A: It’s a hit and miss type of work so I really focus when I’m shooting and before I snap I aim to catch every small detail but still have a few misses in a shoot so I just strive on keep the percentage low when it comes to misses.
Q: Ever concerned about failure?
A: If you are concerned or scared to fail to the point of not trying you never will achieve. with that in mind I am sort of a fearless type of guy.
Q: Who are your influences?
A: Everyday people inspires me a lot but as photographers Daren Grey out of Atlanta he’s one of the best at the type of work he does but it’s more of his work ethic to does it for me.
Q: What is your favorite image, either your own or someone else’s or both? Describe its creation or meaning to you?
A: My favorite image is of my lil girl which is now modeling herself. I took a pic in the front yard of her holding up a plastic American flag and submitted it a competition shortly after 911 and called it “BLESS AMERICA” it was a winner and published in a coffee table book.
Q: Describe a day in your personal or professional life.
A: My average day is full of email responses, editing, driving looking for shoot scenes and being a father first so it’s a busy life for me to fill you in on a full day would take up too much time and I would rather keep you flowing through the interview.
Q: What are the biggest personal or professional challenges you face on a daily basis?
A: A balance tween the two personal life and business life.
Q: What has been the single biggest obstacle against growing as a photographer in whole?
A: Event planning aww man it’s a lot to goes with having a great event idea lol.
Q: What are your favorite subjects to photograph?
Q: Tell your funniest, scariest, most bizarre, most touching story from a photo shoot!
A: The funniest thing I ever seen during a shoot was at the awards show and this artist was being real cocky while dancing and fell off of the stage at the same time it was the scariest also because that stage was pretty high ( am I wrong for that) ? the most touching was shooting this female that kind of insecure and after looking at the pics she shed a tear and said you made me look good and I said it was all you all I had to do was capture it.
Q: Have you ever thought about or actually stopped doing photography? What were the circumstances?
A: No, no, & no
Q: Do you ever have photographer’s block and if yes how do you deal with it?
A: Sometimes if the chemistry is working I would just stop there and relocate to see if a change of scene helps out.
Q: What types of assignments are you attracted most?
A: Fashion shows.
Q: Describe what black and white photography means to you?
A: I love black and white photography. When it’s done right I respect it the same as color that’s done right.
Q: Do you think of yourself as an artist and what do you think of the word artist?
A: Artist is a great way to put it. The word artist is used to loosely some times.
Q: How do you describe your photographic style?
A: Never really thought about it I just do what I do and let others place it.
Q: What has been the most surprising or most predictable reaction to your photographs?
A: I hear the words you have a good eye and I love your angles a lot but it’s just the average compliments of I like your work is what keeps me going.
Q: Tell a little secret about yourself that no-one knows …
A: Then it wouldn’t be a secret.
Q: Who or what would you love to shoot that you haven’t already?
A: The first family photo shoot
Q: What would you have done differently during your photography career so far and could this be an advice to others?
A: Found a agency to find me work sooner than what I did.
Q: What are your thoughts on the paparazzi and their effects on photographers and photography?
A: I love their aggression. They do what they do to make there income so it must be a demand and if they are feeding there family by doing so hey I can’t knock it.
Q: How do you feel about digital manipulation and to what extent do you utilize it?
A: It’s in the field of art but I use very little and only when needed or when I’m just wanting to be creative though if over used could take away from a great picture. Sometimes I use it to try and save bad shots.
Q: What other thoughts would you like to share?
A: I appreciate your time and you could here more from me at:
thanks a lot.