Daniel J. Smith
Daniel J. Smith
Daniel J. Smith Photography LLC, was founded in June 2006 after I graduated high school. I had the interest in joining the United States Air Force throughout school, and while working as a laborer that Summer in 2006. I decided to officially join six months later. Now, it has been over nine years since I joined. I'm a disabled United States Air Force veteran that served in the capacity of the Security Forces with the Pennsylvania Air National Guard for close to nine years. It has been a true honor serving those years with the military.
During my time of serving I began to value life much more. I found the importance of life, and how important it is to capture certain memories so they can last over a lifetime. Out of all the interests I've had throughout the years in life, photography has always been a passion of mine. Over the years I've always believed that it is important to capture photos of people in their natural element. Hopefully my spontaneity and exciting personality will allow you to be relaxed during any task that I capture.
Back in 1998, I was a country boy always on an adventure, trying to find ways to entertain myself. I liked hiking in the woods, riding around on the ATV, just trying to seek out new things. My mom and dad bought a Panasonic PV-L650 VHS-C Camcorder for Christmas. OH SHOOT! Here we go! Another photographer telling his story about how it all began during his or her childhood. Now I will explain. So I thought well what the heck, I'm going to try and use this! I first picked up a video camera at the age of 10 and I couldn't put it down. At the same time I started using my mom's Vivitar 300Z 35mm film camera. In 2002 I took more of an interest in capturing stills, so I bought a Canon SureShot 105zoom 35mm film camera. Later on in 2002 I bought my first digital camera, the Vivitar 355 1.3 Megapixel digital camera. From 2002 to 2006 I bought over five different Kodak, Canon and Sony digital cameras for shooting pictures of family, landscapes, sports at my high school, trips around USA and overseas with missionary trips. I bought my first Canon DSLR, the Digital Rebel XTi in 2006.
Starting in December of 2007 I shot a few photographs of a speaker at Mercyhurst College, where I ran into Jeremy Korwek who was a staff photographer for the Behrend Beacon newspaper at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College. I submitted the photos to the newspaper and within a month I became a staff photographer, the same month I started going to Penn State Behrend. In the first year I became a senior staff photographer in August of 2008 with my friend Keegan McGregor that was the Photo Editor at the time. In August of 2009 I became a Photo Editor and Photojournalist Supervisor for the Behrend Beacon newspaper.
During my time at the newspaper I worked with photography and video. I worked to create page layouts and a featured page of my own called the "Photo Review" page. I managed a staff of photographers, wrote articles, and created a multimedia department within the newspaper's operations for the first time ever in the newspapers history of over 50 years. A friend of mine, Connor Sattely, and I modernized the newspaper's technology to prepare it for future staff to enjoy. Eventually everything will need to keep moving forward technology wise once again.
From May of 2008 to April of 2010 I worked with Nick Galac, who was the photo editor at the time during my freelance years with Runner's World magazine, part of Rodale Inc. It was always a battle against other professional photographers out there trying to gain a spot on the magazine pages. Even though I was able to show off some of my talent to the magazine I was never able to get a published photograph in the magazine. However some of my work was used in parts of the magazine's blog content. Growing my knowledge of what the magazine expects, I was really honored for the opportunity to feel a part of the team. Later in 2008 I changed Daniel J. Smith Photography to DJ Smith Photography, which essentially was the same name. It was a part-time venture for me, and difficult to do while serving in the Pennsylvania Air National Guard, being a college student, a newspaper staff member and operating a business through those years until mid 2010. At that time I resigned as a Photo Editor and Photojournalist Supervisor for the Behrend Beacon newspaper, also ending my time as a student at Penn State Behrend, and a freelance photographer for Rodale Inc. I wanted to dedicate more time to the military and to my photography business. Some time went by and I ended up working some jobs on top of the business and military. The jobs were related to my work experience in law enforcement and security.
Later in April of 2012 I got a hold of a friend of mine by the name of Robert Frank. He shared a similar interest in photography, and I was looking for some more work involving my passion for photography. A month later in May of 2012 I was contracted on with GoErie.com and Erie Times-News through CyberInk LP as a photojournalist for Street View. I worked with great photographers, such as Robert Frank, Matt Kleck, Greg Wohlford, and Jack Hanrahan. I photographed several events around the Erie County, PA area. I mainly photographed sporting events, social events, concerts, high school graduations, portraits, fireworks, and anything we could get our hands on. I had a great time meeting the people that I met, and capturing those moments. The photos were showcased on the GoErie.com website for the public to view and purchase. Later that year in December of 2012 I left my position to fulfill my duty in the military. I was tasked out to serve on a deployment until later of 2013. Returning home in September of 2013 started a new whole new chapter in my life involving photography, and that's when I met my wife Amber just a few weeks later. We had the same passion of being business owners and artists. We started DAS Photo & Design six months later.
Amber and I started business together in April 2014. We were in business together for almost two years with DAS Photo & Design. It wasn't easy starting the business venture together, being homeowners for the first time, becoming newlyweds later that year, and being in the military still. Some hard decisions were made over the course of two years. We decided to keep it original and personable, so I reverted back to the name of Daniel J. Smith Photography in January 2016, and we created two separate divisions under the company: DAS Events and Weddings and Resolution Multimedia. Amber and I had preparations in January 2016 to move south to South Carolina, but a couple months later we decided to stay in Pennsylvania for the time being with preparations to move still underway. A lot of good and truth has come out of our decision to stay around for the time being. I still went ahead with the idea of growing business and building relationships in South Carolina in 2016.
In June 2016, I celebrated my 10th anniversary being in business. In 2016, I grew business in Charleston, South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina, and Erie, Pennsylvania. Daniel J. Smith Photography LLC became solely owned in Fall of 2016. My wife Amber started her own part time small business called the Amber C. Smith Collection, and meanwhile she is going to college for her second bachelor's degree in Pre-Physical Therapy. I'm proud of my wife. This photography business keeps her dreams going and my desire to continue serving others.
Thank you for your time, and for the opportunity to share my story and thoughts to you. I will do my best to keep this updated. May God bless you and your Family, Friends, and the people that you come in contact with.
Daniel J. Smith