Brian Smith Cover

If there’s one photographer I relate with stylistically, it’s Brian Smith. He’s done all kinds of photography over his career, and he spoke with me about his beginnings in this podcast. He is simply one of the best living portraitists and ranks high in the all-time category, as well. His photographs are made with people, not just of people. It’s clear that he connects with his subjects and helps them present an image that it is true. That’s kinda deep, but it’s accurate. I wanna be Brian Smith when I grow up.

Brian Smith with Sony a900

Brian Smith works as a commercial portraitist based in Miami, Florida, USA; he’s also one of Sony’s Artisans.

When Brian photographs a person, it’s clear that the person is the subject. His portraits lack complex finishing techniques and they aren’t always made in cool places, and they don’t have a billion lights balanced to perfection. What they do have is soul. Study his work and you’ll see simple poses, simple lighting and backdrops, and no discernible post production. It’s clear to me that Brian is aware that the person is the most important thing in a photograph.


Richard Branson - Virgin Galactic - Necker Island, BVI

Cuban boxer Erislandy Lara

William H. Macy for Be A Star

His book, Art & Soul, is a perfect example of his simple work depicting real character. He dialed up a lot of celebrities and asked them to make a picture with him and write in a few words what Art means to their lives. It’s a moving and character-rich book, and I highly recommend you study it.

John Turturro

Actress Anne Hathaway

Zooey Deschanel

Brian Smith will be teaching at Photoshop World a few days after Labor Day, and I hope to see you there. You’ll find me in Brian’s classes trying to soak up some awesomeness.

Oh, and I’ll save you the trouble of Googling Ann Hathaway, and you should really check out Zoe Deschanel’s music :)

Join Levi at Photoshop World (Discount code: PSWFOCUS414), and see his other articles here.

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Mosaic A complete solution for photographers using Lightroom who want to access, manage and share their photos on the go. You can easily view images with their iOS app or in your personal Google Drive account, and you can even star/flag images in the app and sync the changes back to Lightroom on your computer. Be sure to also check out the Lightroom Learning Center to learn new ways to work in Lightroom. Learn photography anytime, anywhere, and at your own pace—from bite-sized tutorials to comprehensive courses. Try free for 10 days by visiting Photofocus.

The HDR Learning Center Check out new ways to use High Dynamic Range photography to make compelling images. Free tutorials and posts to get results. Produced in partnership with HDRsoft.


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About Levi Sim

Passion drives Levi to make photographs, teach, and help new friends. He tells people he's a photographer, but he really does more than just make pictures. His professional photography is primarily commercial work for businesses, both small and large, and he really helps show how great it'd be to work with those companies. He excels at photographing people, from two-year-olds to oil field workers to couples married for 60 years, everyone has a good time making pictures with Levi. Besides people and businesses, Levi enjoys all other aspects of photography, and practices landscapes and still life, as well. Other people enjoy photographing everything, and Levi wants to be able to help, so he practices as much as he can to be ready to help. He also runs a local photography club, is a Rotarian, actively helps at church, is a husband, and poppa to a peppy four-year-old girl. Levi writes regularly for and is co-author of books on Adobe Lightroom.


A Photographer You Should Know, Inspiration, Photography, Portrait