Author Archives: Tobin Smith

May Life Be Amazing… with Word Booth Photos

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#MayLifeBeAmazing with a word booth by photobin photography

And so May comes to a close, as do our annual 31 days of #MayLifeBeAmazing banners! Wow! I hope it was as amazing for you as it was for us. Between birthdays (Oliver’s and mine), Mother’s Day, our 19th wedding anniversary, sessions in our studio and everyWOMAN, it was jam packed with joy, love and laughter.

In Whistler, at everyWOMAN, aside from leading two workshops, we host a word booth, where the attendees complete the sentence “For everyWOMAN I will be…” and then they write that word on their arm and we take their portrait.
Here is a link to the gallery of images on our Facebook page and here is a link to the Vimeo slideshow from the event.  Feel free to tag, share and download the portraits.
We are filled with gratitude for the trust that everyone put in us, as they stepped in front of our lens, while they ran from one activity to another during the fun filled tapas version of experiences that is everyWOMAN.
We are already thinking of next years word booth and how the phrase/theme for the word might evolve. We’d love to see you there.

The Importance of Putting Your Best Face Forward

Do you remember being told “don’t judge a book by it’s cover”? I do. That was drilled into my head as part of the “get to know the person, your first impression could be wrong” parental guidance. But it usually wasn’t wrong was it?

Most people will judge you within the first second of meeting you, says body language expert Vanessa Van Edwards, She posted recently on her website:

“Most people will judge you within the first second of meeting you, and their opinion will most likely never change. Making a good first impression is incredibly important because you only get one shot at it.”

Princeton University psychologist Alex Todorov and coauthor Janine Willis, a student researcher who graduated from Princeton in 2005, had people look at a microsecond of video of a political candidate. Amazingly, research subjects could predict with 70-percent accuracy who would win the election just from that microsecond of tape. This tells us that people can make incredibly accurate snap judgments in a tenth of a second.”

So maybe it’s time to ask “what does your headshot say about you?” because, in this digital age where people will look you up before they even meet you, you are often not even present for your first impression.

This brings us to the importance of having a professional headshot and selecting the photographer that is right for you. Many professionals can expose and compose a quality photograph, but will you get along with them? Will you be able to be comfortable and feel like yourself in front of their lens? Will you personality shine through or be stuck giving ‘the realtor’ grin? You know the one I’m talking about J

When looking for your photographer, I encourage you to look past their price, don’t select your photographer by who is the cheapest or even most expensive. Invest in the photographer whose work and personality speak to you. If you are still unsure, look at the headshots of your peers. Does one resonate with you? Find out who their photographer was and ask about their experience with the photographer.

For my process, whether I’m shooting corporate headshots for a Fortune 500 company in a corner office, hosting 9 employees from a small dental office in our natural light studio, or photographing a solo entrepreneur, I like to have fun and between my mirco-posing and my assistants eyes on clothes, hair and collars, we are able to take care of the details so you don’t have to think about how you look and just relax and have fun. This is how I am able to create genuine headshots and an enjoyable experience for my clients.

Are you about to put your best face forward for the world to see or are you using a photo that is more than 4 years old, wouldn’t it be great if your new headshot left the best impression possible?

Want to learn more about Body Language?

creativeLIVE will be rebroadcasting Vanessa Van Edward’sThe Power of Body Language’. Check out their calendar for details.

Are you a photographer and want to learn more?

You can watch a rebroadcast of Sarah and I with our friend and mentor, the incredible Lou Freeman as she instructs on “Commercial and Iconic Headshots

Want to see a sample of my work and see if I am the right photographer for you?

Check me out


NOTE: While it was a long time between my own blog posts, I have been writing as a guest blogger to other blogs and sites. I will be sharing some of those posts here as I regain my blogging habits, over the next couple months.

This post was originally written as a guest blog post for Cadi Jordan (pictured below). Check out her site and great content.

May Life Be Amazing Day photobin


When you know you’re putting what you want into the world

A friend of mine who follows our Facebook page messaged me about a dream she had the other night.

“Had a crazy dream last night and you were in it. I was at a medical conference and you were the key note speaker. You were speaking to all of us about how empowering it was to photograph for a group of cancer patients that had gone thru mastectomy. You spoke about how these woman had felt they had lost big pieces of themselves and not feeling beautiful anymore. But with your lenses and undivided attention they rediscovered how beautiful they really were.

I don’t no where this dream came from, it was very odd but so powerful and beautiful. I just wanted to share it with you… Hope you and the family are doing well.”

In the past we have donated sessions to I Picture Hope, a foundation that donates portrait sessions to women who are surviving or have survived breast cancer. What attracted us to it, was Sarah’s time in Paris with Sue Bryce making The Light That Shines, along with my own perspective from when I saw a shirt that said “Save Second Base – Breastcancer awareness month”. And while I thought it was a funny shirt, I wanted to save the woman, more than the breasts. I felt a woman can be beautiful and sexy, even without her breasts, and it was such a male idea to be about the breasts over the being.

I loved that, even subconsciously, our purpose in seeing EVERYONE as beautiful came across. Thank you Jennaya for sharing your dream with me, and for allowing me to share it with everyone.


A Limited Life

This came to my mind yesterday morning.

A bluejay is perched on a tree branch by a lake. The bluejay watches a fish swim by.
The bluejay exclaims “wow. Look at that fish swim. He’s so lucky.  I wish I could swim. My life is so limited.”
Then the bluejay flies off
We can become so focused on what we can’t do that sometimes we don’t recognize what it is that we can do, which may to many, be even more remarkable. Take a moment. Take stock. Appreciate what you have and who you are.

May Life Be Amazing.

Welcome to May. This is my most favourite month.  Not only because it’s my sons birthday, my birthday, Mother’s Day, and our anniversary of being married (18 years this year, if you can believe that),  but also that it is a time of warmth and sunshine, and a time to begin planning the summer activities.

And so I plan to make a new effort to share my love for all things amazing, during May (and I don’t just mean things that happen during May 😉 ) . I will be posting videos, updates or blog posts each day about something positive or wonderful. In fact how cool would that be if we all made an effort to not post negative stuff? I’m not saying make up happy posts, but let’s surround ourselves with positivity. Let’s feel good and help our neighbours feel good too!  Look for those random acts of kindness opportunities.

You are awesome and amazing, and I would love for you to share in the amazingness with us.

I’ll be using two hashtags to be able to keep track of it all. Using #aMAYzing and #MayLifeBeAmazing You can follow along and post with them as well.

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Long time

Well hi there. Long time.  I feel like we might finally be returning to more and more of our site and communications.
Thank you all for your patience.
Sarah is still on medications for the day to day, but has now taken on some new vitamins (as has our whole family) and they have helped her immensely.
And since I have so much to talk about that I’ve wanted to post over this last year, it’s time to begin.
I’m excited to explore more of this beautiful world with you all.
Thank your for being on this journey with us.
With joy and gratitude,
PS. I also welcome your thoughts on things you’d like to hear from us. (i.e.Selfie tips. Why it’s important to love ourselves. What was that brush Sarah used to make my make-up look crazy awesome smooth, etc”

Dream Killers

Our 6 year old son has never been a good sleeper, through the night. I think our record for ‘nights staying in bed’ is currently at 5 consecutive. I thought the problem I had was just not getting enough sleep, until one night last year I realized my morning grogginess and brain fog stemmed more from unfinished business in my dream state. My dreams never came to a conclusion, I was almost always interrupted and yanked out of them.

Last week I started watching some unwatched portions of a course from my creativeLIVE library: Bulletproof Life. In the course there are a few sections dedicated to sleep. To say I had a paradigm shift would be an understatement. My children weren’t nearly the dream killers I thought they were. My environment was.

We are in the process of changing many things in our house to improve sleep, and so far, I think the first has been the most important… we unplugged our clocks and turned off all electronics, except our iPhone’s which are in airplane mode and are running a sleep app. Just unplugging our clock… that bright red set of numbers that illuminates the room has made an incredible difference.

Do you have children that have trouble sleeping through the night? What have you tried that has worked?

UPDATE (July 13th): Pretty soon after this post, we moved both kids into the same room and they have both stayed in bed through out the night. Oliver is still an early riser (as is his sister now) getting up between 5am and 5:45am, but no multiple middle of the night visits!!!

Where Did We Go?

Obviously it’s been a while since we’ve blogged. Well a while since we’ve posted a blog. I’ve written several but they never made it online. Why? Well having a busy and exciting November and December, Sarah was rear ended, while sitting at a red light, and suffered some tissue damage and a concussion that just hasn’t gone away.

So why haven’t I posted? Well Sarah is our WordPress and blog gate-keeper, but I’m finally getting that figured out. Not the WordPress part, but our posting a blog part.

Instead of writing a novel about every that’s happened, I’ll give it to you short… which might still be a little long.

In November, Sarah and I were invited back to creativeLIVE to learn from the incredible Lou Freeman. While most first spout about Lou’s being the longest shooting woman for Playboy, I would start with her incredible commercial and glamour work that has graced the pages of magazines such as Harper’s Bazaar. Oh, I’m already making this long, but to digress a little further, we also did a bit of guest blogging for cL that we’d love to share with you in coming posts.

Anyway, while we were at creativeLIVE, Sarah’s mom was up here taking care of our kids and it just so happens that during this time, Sarah’s dad (who was alone at their house down in Washington) took a leap off a ladder and broke his leg in a few spots, so Sarah rushed off to his side, since she was the closest family member. It’s a much longer story that Sarah would be happy to tell you in person.

Then in early December, Sarah took a little trip down to LA to be a consultant to another photographer with setting up her portrait business, which was immediately followed by a family trip to bring down some joy to Sarah’s “in-valid” parents.

Jump to January 2nd. Sarah is rear ended, suffers the concussion and I go from the one who took the shots at photobin photography to the one who was running the business by myself, parenting mostly by myself and care giving to Sarah for several months.  I’m incredibly grateful to all our friends and family who stepped up to help.  And to Jen of Dames and Doll’s who became part of our {modern glam} experience and did the hair and make-up on our shoots.

Also during this process… we moved to a new studio location that I am in love with!!!! The light in this space in incredible!!! I’ve already photographed 6 people in the space and a new ‘girls day out’ experience video will be coming soon.

Last Sunday, Sarah returned for her first hair and make-up in months, and I’m happy to say that we feel she will be able join us in the studio for the {modern glam} experience up to once a week. Most other bookings within a given week will be with one of the other talented hair and make-up artists we have invited to join us.

Now that I’m figuring this ‘posting to our blog’ thing out… somewhat. I will do my best to keep you all more in the loop as to what is going on.

Coming up we will be having a give-away or two, a mother’s day special, some announcements about companies we have partnered with, a client appreciation night at our new space, an open house AND a family photo fundraiser.

Thank you again for everyone’s help, support and encouragement these last 3 months. Fingers crossed that in the next 4-6 months Sarah will complete her recovery and you will all get to see much more of her.

Wishing you all a beautiful day!


The next step in our creativeLIFE

For anyone who has been following us for some time, you are probably well aware of our passion for continuing to improve ourselves by learning from some of the best of the best through resources like creativeLIVE.

Recently Sarah and I had the opportunity to return to creativeLIVE and attend another amazing workshop, this time with the ever charming Lou Freeman.

We first watched Lou teach during photo week with creativeLIVE. It was amazing! I watched it three more times and even forced Sarah to sit down with me for the third, because the language Lou used, just spoke to us.  Once Sarah saw her photo week courses, she turned to me and said “we have to submit to be down at that creativeLIVE course. This will be another game changer for us!”  And Sarah was not wrong.

Ever since I attended Sue Bryce’s first creativeLIVE workshop, we have been working primarily with natural light, not available light, but natural light. Manipulating natural light with reflectors, boards and angles the way Sue Bryce inspired us to. Lou has now inspired… or rather motivated us to look at bringing back in some more dramatic light with strobes and speed lights. We will continue to do our natural light sessions and work primarily with natural light, but we will also be starting to use other lights and modifiers to create larger and more epic sessions as part of our portrait studio service.

I loved watching Lou teach so much that I went and looked at what else she has offered in the past. This week I will be looking at her digital course ‘modern lite’ and will share with you my thoughts after I have. I also recently sat down and had a chat with Lou about how she prepared herself up for some of her significant opportunities she created, and will share that with you in the coming weeks.

At the end of my interviewing Lou, I did ask if there was something she would like to share with everyone. She shared two things. One, a beautiful nugget of wisdom that will be in my follow up post… second, she is announcing a series of workshops that she will be doing across Canada and the USA in 2014.

I look forward to sharing more about our evolution as we expand our creativeLIFE.


Over on the creativeLIVE blog

We LOVE creativeLIVE and were very honoured when they asked us to be contributors.  Here is a link to the first blog post I wrote for them all about the incredible Lara Jade and her Steps to Succeeding as a Professional Photographer on her Experimental Portraits workshop