How I Got the Shot: Gilmar Smith

Posted by: on Mar 6, 2020
Gilmar Smith is a photographer and Photoshop artist specializing in Creative Portraiture and Conceptual Children’s Photography with the use of colorful, expressive and humorous stylized form. In addition, she also writes Tutorials and reviews for Photoshop User Magazine. Follow her at @gilmarsmith or visit her personal site.

One of the things I am most passionate about is photographing kids. When I work with kids, I try to capture more than their image in a picture; I want to capture their imagination and sense of wonder. My approach is simple. I let them be my Creative Directors. We sit together, come up with a concept, sketch, and then we take pictures.

For this image, the concept was Magic. I was walking around Spectacular Themes, a huge props’ warehouse I partnered with when I spotted this Magic apparatus. I immediately pointed it to my son and asked if he wanted to have a picture with that, to which he replied, with a big smile, “yes, that’s so cool.” That night, I called my good friend Winfield Murdock, who is a former Illusionist and now owns a costume company that makes costumes for Disney, Universal Studios and Broadway shows, and asked him if I could borrow a magician costume for a picture. He not only said yes, but he let us borrow one of the costumes he used to wear for his shows as an Illusionist. The next day I packed my gear, costumes, and we went back to Spectacular Themes. While there, I gathered a few other props, and I built a small set in a corner they had designated for me to do photoshoots.

My kids had mentioned they wanted me to be the one inside the magician box. They also told me they wanted a lot of rabbits and doves in the picture, and at the last minute, my daughter said she wanted to add a baby chick to the image as well. Having all of this in mind, I made sure everybody was positioned where they were supposed to, so I could then add these elements in Photoshop.

In these images, I wanted to portray the fun we have as a family, and most importantly, my kids’ personalities; that’s why it is so important for me to brainstorm with them before every photo shoot, that way I make sure I honor their ideas.

Shooting tethered not only allows me to see the images clearly, but it also helps me visualize in advance the elements I will be adding to the images in Photoshop.

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