by Lenny Smith Published 01/11/2012
After spending years on the road as a professional musician, Lenny Smith decided that he needed to listen to his father and get 'a decent job,' and he's been building up a career as a photographer ever since.
In terms of precarious careers that have the capacity to reward those who are prepared to put in the hours, one of the few that can rival photography is music. The professional musician can spend much of their life on the road, has to constantly be honing and developing their skills and much of their success will be judged on the quality and originality of the style they develop.
Small wonder then Lenny Smith had a head start over many others who, after years in a particular job, have made the decision to switch professions and to pick up a camera full time. "As someone who was heavily involved in the music industry I had been travelling all around the country for most of my adult life," says Lenny, "and finally I decided it was time to stay at home and (in the words of my dad) to get a decent job."I was very lucky in that whenever I toured with my band I had my camera with me, and I had loads of free time during the day. Although I had been taking photographs for many years, taking that step to actually go professional was very daunting, but also very exciting."
Of course the first challenge was to identify an area of photography that appealed and where personal skills might be brought to bear. "I always thought of myself as a people person," says Lenny, "and so wedding and portrait photography came naturally to me. I did need something that would differentiate me from all the other photographers in this sector, however, and I looked back to the time when I first picked up a camera, when I was living in the Shetland Isles. The scenery and wildlife there were amazing, and they were on my doorstep. I would go out and take some stunning landscape images, and I would always be excited about seeing the results once I'd processed my film; ah, the good old film days!
"Now that I photograph weddings professionally I always try to incorporate a stunning landscape-type background if I can, and most of my award-winning images were shot using this style. It's my signature look and it's something that many of my clients specifically come to me for."
Individual success for Lenny has included five major awards, ranging from the title of Most Promising Photographer of the Year through to Scottish Wedding Photographer of the Year and Overall Photographer of the Year. In March 2012 he also won Most Promising Photographer of the Year, Most Promising Traditional Wedding Photographer, Most Promising Contemporary Wedding Photographer, Most Promising Traditional Portrait Photographer and Monochrome Photographer of the Year, plus three awards of excellence and three merits.
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