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Mingle with Engle and Christine Lee Smith

Today’s mingle is with the lovely Christine of CLS photography


Describe your photography style or words that describe your brand?
I’ve struggled this year to define my style and brand. What I’ve come to realize is the more I understand myself, as a person, it’s easier to identify what makes my business and photography unique. I’ve learned that my journey to discover who I am deeply translates into my photography style; and that simplistic systems of running my business are key to my success. So, for me it boils down to being real, with my art and clients, and being timeless.

What is your favorite thing to photograph?
People, more specifically my hubbie, Matt


What is a must read or must see?
Dane Sanders’ Fast Track Photographer, John Millers’, QBQ: The Question Behind the Question and my newest favorite Seth Godin’s Purple Cow.

What is your favorite thing about Pictage?
My favorite thing about Pictage hands-down is the community it offers. I know my business would not be where it is today without Pictage.


What lens could you not live without?
Canon’s 24-70mm f2.8 is my favorite. I default to this lens so often because of its versatility. Although a new lens is bringing in some stiff competition. A couple years back I had the opportunity to do a mentoring session with Mike Larson and he recommended that the next lens I bought should be the 85mm f1.2, due primarily to the amazing f1.2. I finally followed that piece of great advice and am loving this lens.


How do you juggle your business and family/social life?
I’m learning to say no. Building better boundaries is the only way I’ve maintained any sort of balance (which I hope to continue working on this next year). Also, once I decided to build healthy boundaries between my work and home life, I started finding ways to help me keep to those boundaries – GotVMail phone service is one great example.

What workflow tools do you use?
I’m one of Lightroom’s biggest fans. It has completely revolutionized the way, and speed, in which I can turn around a project. Without it I think I’d still be editing work from this summer.


How long have you been a photographer?
I’ve been a photographer since high school, when I found my dad’s old Canon AE-1 in the closet. Professionally, I’ve been in business since 2006.


What was your very first job?

My very first photography job was my sister-in-law’s best friend’s wedding. After 10-hours of “fun” I decided I didn’t want to do anything else. It was my first experience getting paid for doing what I loved – photographing people.

What is something you have learned this year?
It’s all about me – but it’s absolutely not all about me. Contradictory statement, I know. What I mean is that my business is built on my decisions, good or bad; it’s built on my reputation (again, good or bad); and it’s built on my vision. With out my active involvement, my business would eventually cease to exist – I need to take ownership of that reality and get
busy as a CEO, not only as an artist.

The second half of the statement reflects that although I’m directly involved in managing and growing my business, I can’t be in it for just myself. My pride has gotten in the way of my success this year – and it’s been a painful lesson. As much as I’d like to be a rock-star photographer, that’s not the goal (nor is it the purpose) of what I do. So, I need to take ownership and responsibility for the direction I lead my business. If I make egotistical decisions, my business will follow. If I make decisions that benefit my clients, and others, my business will follow – and I suspect growth will be the by-product of that type of leadership.


What is one thing we don’t know about you?
Despite my serious or shy demeanor, I’m really a huge goofball underneath. My husband is slowly teaching me to bring that side to light.

What blog do you stalk?
Cake Wrecks (cakewrecks.blogspot.com). It’s just plain funny.


Any words of wisdom to share…
Enjoy your art and lead your business – it’s the best thing you can do for both.

Thanks Christine!!!! – Emily

The NEW ShootQ is Complimentary while in Beta mode for the next few months.  Enjoy!
The NEW ShootQ is Complimentary while in Beta mode for the next few months.  Enjoy!