A warm, SnapKnot welcome to Kristen Smith, who specializes in photojournalistic wedding photography! Born and raised in Sacramento, California, this Folsom-based photographer grew up watching football, working on cars, and playing both the cello and the piano. Dogs, roses, skulls, dragons, and tattoos are among the things that Kristen loves. In fact, she has a “rather large dragon tattoo,” that is still in progress, and believes that tattoos are “like an extremely fascinating look into a person’s life.”
Fun fact about Kristen? She has a “big brown fuzz” (her dog) who runs her life, whom she would do almost anything for.
“Some people may think that I am a very dark person, because of my love for skulls, but in reality, I am a really big softie, especially when it comes to animals. I would adopt every stray animal I came across, if I could afford it.”
Kristen has been playing her hand at the professional photography game since 2009, although, she has considered herself a photographer for much longer than that. Throughout her childhood, Kristen was always playing with her mom’s film camera and video camera. In junior high, she used to carry around disposable cameras with her everywhere, and in high school, it was the video camera that followed her around to most places she went. “I wanted to remember how totally awesome my life was… I know that sounds cliche, but looking back, the photos and videos I made are memories of many amazing experiences of my past.”
While Kristen was trying to find her direction at community college, it was her grandfather who convinced her to follower her creative heart. She eventually adopted a photography major, straying away from her initial interest in English. After taking one black and white 35mm film class and developing her first roll of black and white film, she was hooked! From there she transferred from American River College with her Associate’s Degree, to California State University, Sacramento, and earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Photography and Design in May of 2010.
Although her grandfather helped her realize her passion for photography, Kristen’s father tops her list of biggest influences. The most hard-working and strong-willed individual she has ever known, Kristen’s father has also taught her the majority of what she knows in life. Including running her own business. It was his own experience his own financial planning business from the bottom up that inspired Kristen to do the same with her photography business.
Kristen has other inspirations in addition to her family. Her work has been largely influenced by “Sally Mann”, in regards to “telling it like it is. Her series, entitled “family Pictures” challenged society’s politically correct idea of what is appropriate to photograph your children doing. She pushed the envelope greatly with that series, and it has encouraged Kristen to continue to push the envelop with her own photography.
“Luckily, my wonderfully amazing father came to my rescue, and drove to my house to retrieve my digital camera, and then almost an hour to deliver the precious cargo to me. Luck had also played a big role in regards to the fact that my 35mm film camera was in the back of my truck, with 4 rolls of brand new color film, and with that, I captured the bride before the ceremony (along with one of my all-time favorite photos of a special moment between mother and daughter). Now, I have a checklist, and it gets checked before EVERY photo session, especially weddings!”