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Daily Inspiration: Meet Reanna (Marchman) Smith

Today we’d like to introduce you to Reanna (Marchman) Smith.

Reanna, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
Growing up, I always loved being creative. We would often make up stories before bedtime and play make believe sleeping under the stars. I also remember always having one of those throw away cameras with me as a kid. I remember being so excited to get them developed and see the pictures. My life was unique in that I was raised by my great aunt and uncle from age four until I turned 15, which is when tragedy hit my family. I mention this because I think it has shaped me in various ways good and bad. I was then raised by various family members but was also being mentored by my youth pastor and his wife, Kim Robbins, who had decided to pursue photography as a career around the same time I was starting my senior project in High School.

That’s when the real journey of photography began: 15 years ago, when I was a crazy teenager. I decided to use my senior project to learn photography. I spent the next six months learning everything I could from a local professional, Jeray about photography: lighting, composition, camera settings, photoshop, etc. I loved this time because I could be as creative as I wanted, there were no limits.

I continued learning by shadowing two professional photographers at weddings, Jeray and Kim Weddings (they have since dissolved their partnership). I was also an editing assistant for Kim Robbins Photographer and would shadow her at sessions as well.

I began getting hired for senior sessions and to second at weddings on the side for other photographers. I also worked at various jobs all while seconding, assisting and shadowing whenever possible.

In the summer of 2017, I decided to take a leap of faith and start passionately pursuing photography as a business and not just a hobby. After that decision, I began taking online classes to learn everything from lighting and baby posing to business and pricing. I continue to use Kim Robbins (who has since retired and has since become my adopted mom) as a powerful resource as well.

My husband has been a huge support in this process and has since started working from home and has freed me up to take on more sessions. I have three beautiful girls – 9, 6 & 10 months who continue to be models for me when needed. My family is so important to me and together, we love to travel in our RV, this summer we took a six weeks trip and I was blessed to photograph people in other states as well.

I feel like God has always given me favor in whatever I’ve decided to pursue and always brought people into my life when I needed them, and photography isn’t an exception: I’ve gotten calls out of the blue to photograph people running for office, from photographers out of state wanting me to work with them at events. I’ve also loved building creative connections with other artists of all types. In the Redlands community, I have met so many awesome people. I also recently joined a photographer’s group to support and create Community over Competition among photographers in our area.

My story is still being written and there’s much more that has gotten me to where I am, but I think I’ll end with this:

I am a creative soul by nature: I love art and writing. I have my degree in English- Creative Writing. I love to write down memories, poetry and stories.

As a wife and mom, I am passionate about capturing moments that can be cherished forever. I am passionate about reflecting your memories through my lens and into your hands.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
My life journey has certainly not been a smooth road. Just like in life, pursuing photography has also not always been easy. When I first started, I had been a stay at home mom for almost two years and before that, I was a youth pastor. It was an adjustment for me and my husband for me to go back to work. Just like with learning anything, it has its learning curve, I’m still learning and developing my business skills, administrative, photography and editing skills. I still don’t feel like I have it all figured out but have committed to always be a life-long learner. There’s certain parts that come more easily than others to me: writing content, talking and relating with clients, and being creative with my photos. There’s other parts that are more difficult: basically all the business aspects. I’m learning and I’m also learning where to hire out when needed.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I’m a portrait photographer mainly, though I enjoy other forms as well, but more for fun. I mostly specialize in family, children, maternity, and newborns. I also do individual portraits including: seniors/grads, artists, authors, branding/content photos. I also take on a few weddings a year with engagements and am hoping to get back into second shooting. I’ve also photographed three home births, which was amazing! I feel like I’m mostly known for the way I capture light, I hear it a lot: “I saw how you captured the light in the photos and knew I wanted to book you.” I believe it’s not just the actual sunlight I capture, but the light in people: I try to let their personalities shine through in photos. I definitely pose people, but I always feel like the best photos are the ones where families are interacting with each other. My tagline is Reflecting Your Story. That’s all I want to do is tell people’s stories through photographs, to capture those moments in time that are so fleeting so they can look back and see themselves reflected in photos.

Any advice for finding a mentor or networking in general?
I’m not sure if I have advice about finding a mentor, but it is definitely important to have people who will speak into your life and into your work. People of good character who will cheer you on, give you positive feedback but who will also challenge you and maybe give you some constructive criticisms when you need it. If you can’t do that, at least someone to follow on social media, watch on YouTube, read their books and learn from a far. For me, Networking has happened in a mix of ways, meeting artists I found on social media, joining groups Facebook and in person, and if there is nothing where you are, try and start something. Right now, I’m in the BASBC – a business women’s networking group that meets once a month, and in an informal photographers meet up group that meets in person once a month to take photos together.

Contact Info:

Image Credits:

Photo of me: Kayla Rochin Photographer All other Photos are mine

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