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Meet Hollywood Hills Photographer: Stephanie Aquino Smith

Today we’d like to introduce you to Stephanie Aquino Smith.

Stephanie, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I majored in pre-med biology in college, and whenever I would get stressed, I would find myself in the photo departments darkroom. That’s when I realized I needed to switch to an art school and learn how to turn my creativity into a career. Throughout the years, my focus has ventured from fashion to fine art to entertainment. I pull most of my inspiration from real life experiences and love to create stories on set that provoke emotions in my photographs.

Has it been a smooth road?
Let’s be real. Life is not a smooth ride. If it is, you’re not challenging yourself enough. Being an artist, an entrepreneur, it’s all about failing and learning how to grow. It is the kind of roller coaster that when it’s bad, you question your purpose and how much longer you have to suffer before things start to happen. But when things are good, there’s no description for how euphoric your life is and then all of that struggle becomes worth it.

Tell us about your childhood, what were you like growing up?
For the most part, I was weird and I still kind of am!

Like most kids, I did what I thought would make me ‘cool’ and then over time, I stopped caring what others thought and started standing up for things I believe in.

I’ve always been interested in dancing, painting, concerts, roller coasters, the beach, animals, camping, eating, cooking, and downtime with my family and friends.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
When I was 15, I somehow persuaded my parents to allow me to have a co-ed slumber party. All my friends came over. We danced, ate my mom’s home cooked lumpia, ordered pizza, sang karaoke, played games, and watched movies. Throughout the night, my parents would walk through the house to make sure we were behaving.

I was standing in the hallway with friends while my dad was doing a walk through. Earlier in the night, I caught my friends laughing at barbie porn, so when my dad walked past me, I tried to go in my room before him, but I failed. Once he opened the door, my friends turned my screen off, jumped into my closet, and pretended to be looking through my photo albums. Then my computer started moaning and we all started laughing. I turned off my computer and my dad told us all to go downstairs.

Later in the night, my parents wanted the girls to sleep upstairs and the boys to sleep downstairs, but we weren’t tired yet. Some of my guy friends were playing dress up with my clothes. When they heard my dad coming up the stairs, they didn’t want to get in trouble, so they hid in the closet. My dad opened the door, and one of them popped out and said,”you found me!” My dad laughed and told them to stay downstairs or else they’d have to go home. So they went downstairs. My mom laughed at them in my clothes and then they danced with her. It was cute.

Looking back, this party was madness and I have no idea how my parents dealt with it. So sorry mom and dad!!

So, what should we be on the lookout for, what’s next in store for you?
I’m currently working on several things.

I’m writing a novel, which I’m planning to shop around to filmmakers. I see my story more as a film, however, writing just flows more naturally for me.

I’m also interested in opening up a speakeasy. I have so many ideas with the direction it could go, but none of that is set in stone quite yet.

Last, with photography, I’m always looking for more artist to collaborate with and art shows to be a part of. I just want to continue growing with those who inspire me as well as share my stories with others.

Any announcements?
I recently started working on a new project called Project: Love in LA. It’s a photographic portraiture series of the singles in LA and their stories and viewpoint on love and relationships. People can find us on instagram @projectloveinla and


  • Photographer Day Rate: $1,400
  • Digital Photo Editing: $100/hr
  • Headshot Packages: $125 to $600+
  • E-Commerce, Promos, Commercial, Album Artwork: Priced per Project

Contact Info:

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Image Credit:
The Skirvin Elevator: Photographer: Stephanie Aquino Smith, Make Up: Marilyn Mayson, Models: Blake and Kayla.

Time Heals All Wounds: Photographer: Stephanie Aquino Smith, Assistant: Eva Merz, Hair and Make-Up: Sean Sullivan, Actress: Cosondra Coso.

Amphitrite: Photographer: Stephanie Aquino Smith, Hair and Make-Up: Sean Sullivan, Model: Andrea Rueda.

Abuse: Photographer: Stephanie Aquino Smith, Model: Sabrina Farrar.

Headshots: Photographer: Stephanie Aquino Smith, Stylist: MannequinLA, Actress: Claudia Zielke, Actor: Giancarlo Aravena.

©Stephanie Aquino Smith Photography 2008-2016. All Rights Reserved.

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