The Life of a Photographer's Daughter

An interview with my gorgeous daughter, Kayla Bean.

Going into my 3rd year, I can say my daughter has been a huge part of helping me grow as a photographer. From modeling for me to being my assitant with lighting and equipment, and even taking photography classes herself and shooting her own photos, then "trying" to photoshop them, Kayla Bean is my little partner in crime!

So ... I thought it might be fun to find out how she's felt about our journey.

MB: "Kayla Bean, I started shooting you (with my CAMERA!) in 2012, what was your first reaction to being my camera puppet? Does this picture say it all? Or was it kinda fun?"
KB: "It was fun. I got to do lots of fun things like posing on the swing. Plus I got to do fun shoots with my friends."
MB: "What's your least favorite thing about doing photo shoots?"
KB: "Standing still and all the lights flashing in my eyes. Then you end up seeing millions of little lights when you close your eyes.
MB: "Which shoot was your favorite?"
KB: "All the shoots I did with my BFF."
MB: "Which was your least favorite shoot?"
KB: "Um ... The one where I have all the weird makeup. We were really bored and it was fun, but I look like the chick from Lorde.
MB: "Um ... she has curly hair and doesn't wear that much makeup."
KB: "I'm just saying ... it was just a bit over the top."

(In my defense, I was in a makeup class and I was trying to practice ... I clearly need more makeup classes!)

MB: "BUT ... it WAS fun???"
KB: "Yeah, yeah."
MB: "If we could do any kind of photo shoot, what would it be of?"
KB: *scratches her chin* "Um ... Me in front of a river with a city scape behind it at night. I'd look so cool."
MB: *smiles* "And what would your outfit look like?"
KB: *sighs* *breaks out google* "Jeans with a white, black or red shirt with a cool logo."
MB: "No ball gowns?"
KB: "I hate dresses and skirts! You couldn't even beg me! Well ... maybe."
MB: "Do you enjoy being a model or is it absolute torture?" *sly smile*
KB: "Besides the lighting, I like it."
MB: "It's now 2015, I've been officially shooting for 3 years. You've assisted in quite a few shoots for me. How has that been?"
KB: "I enjoy helping with the photo shoots. Especially working with the little kids. I also like making new friends."
MB: "What could I do to make working with me even more fun?"
KB: "Hmmmm ... good question. We should get our own studio and make it full of rainbows and decorations. We could make it amazing. Give it three different sections. A girl section, a boy section, and a family section. Then and out door spot. And a coffee and food and snacks and drinks for the parents and kids. Oh and you can have your own camera spot for you to set up and put your equiptment. And then and I'd have my own room for design and props. Oh and Skittles. Skittles for me. Not for you. You don't get any. You can have Starbursts. And we'll have even more amazing quality pictures and everyone will want to come to Marybeth Smith Photography. Oh and I can make ads!"
MB: "Wow! I've got my work cut out for me! Good thing I have an awesome side kick!"
KB: "Well, I am Kayla Bean, Ruler of Awesomeness!"
MB: "That's just because I'm your mom ... of course you're awesome! It's genetic. So overall, it's been a fun journey?"
KB: "Maybe ..."

Yep ... she's her mother's daughter.

Overall ... it's been fantastic to have such a great model/daughter/protege. I'm so proud of her and it has been fantastic to shoot that pretty little face of hers! (With a CAMERA!!!) I look forward to all the years of spending time with one of my best friends doing one of my favorite things in the world.

Topic: Kid's Fashion

Categories: Children

Tags: 2015, chlildren, daughters, fashion, marybeth, models, mothers, photography, portraits

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How to be a Successful Photographer

To determine how to be a successful Photographer (or successful at anything really), one must first look at the difference between what makes a failure and what makes a success. I suppose the most common way to go about this is to look at the definitions.


1. Lack of success.
2. An unsuccessful person, enterprise, or thing.
See, well now that just gives me a whole new question. If failure is lack of success, who defines success? Well the dictionary defines it as so ...


1. The accomplishment of an aim or purpose.
2. The attainment of popularity or profit

Okay, fair enough. But wait ... to attain popularity. So if I'm not popular, I'm a failure? Yeah, I'm not so sure I agree with that. But to accomplish an aim or purpose ... I can buy that.

>HOWEVER, who assigns us our aim or purpose? I mean, who REALLY determines what is considered a failure, and what is just small roadblock to attaining the intended purpose? Just because it isn't attained the first time, does that actually mean we can't try again? I mean is there a time frame on success?

Yeah, I don't really think so. Because if that's the case ... I've been a failure my entire life ... and so have you! (GASP ... did I just write that out loud? Why yes, I did!)

If failing at something on the first try gives you the label of "failure", then ... well ... I've done a shit ton of failing.

Apparently, I was a failure when:

I tried to walk for the first time and fell down.

I fell off my bike when I couldn't balance without training wheels.

I wrote my name incorrectly while learning how to spell it.

I added to much milk to my mac and cheese the first time I made it.

I got fired from my first job.

I failed my first test.

I failed my first driving test!

I lost my house.

The first time I didn't pay a bill by its due date.

The first time I made a mistake while parenting my children.

After not getting an agent for my first, second and third book ...

I mean, hell, I'm one big fat failure and a half!!! As are my kids and you and your kids and the kids they haven't even had yet.

Um yeah, excuse my french and all, but really, that's a crock of shit! And here's the truth ...





Wow, that's a loud truth. And let's be honest, can you actually argue this? Can you actually say that every child who stumbles on their first word is a frocking failure? Yeah, not so much.

Life is a learning process people! We fall down, we make mistakes, we get things wrong, and we are NOT perfect. But what do we do, we get up, we fix our mistakes, we try again until we get it right, and we accept that we are not perfect, yet we try our best to be as perfect as we can be.

Why am I making such a big deal about this? Well today, I kind of woke up feeling like a failure. My camera broke this week, I'm not booking as many sessions as I'd like, I'm not feeling as thin as I want to look, Ihate my diet, I don't feel like getting out of bed, shall I go on? Not necessary. Because all of those things, really mean nothing more than I need to stop wallowing in self pity and get up and do something about it.

Send in the dang camera and wait the 4 to 6 weeks to get it back. Life won't end!

Try new marketing techniques.


Suck it up and follow the boring diet or be in pain.

Get out of bed (grumble grumble)


Look ... I just solved all my problems. Just like that. I haven't failed at anything, I simply just need to wake up, get out of bed, and start over. Try harder. And define my own success!

It's called optimism. There is NO time limit on success. No where in that definition does it say "if you fail on the first try you suck". We need to stop making excuses for not moving forward and start being proactive. We are who we want to be. So, with that, I shall redefine Failure.


1. Not trying again!
2. Giving Up!

So it's simple really, never stop trying and never give up. We define whether or not we are a failure. The only person who can label you a failure is you. You decide when to throw in the towel. And think of all the times you could have thrown in the towel but didn't. What would you be missing out on?




Heck ... I'd have tossed my camera to the ground long ago if I had given up when it first did not succeed. I'd have missed out on some AWESOME friendships I've made with new clients. I'd have never figured out who I was. And I wouldn't be the success I am today. But in all seriousness, I haven't even begun to succeed!

What have you "failed" at? Did you really fail? Or did you just give up and stopped trying?

Here's a little example of why I keep trying and why I consider myself a growing success ...

2012 - Children's Fashion

Nice pretty Picasa border. No fill light. Underexposed ... need I go on.

Again, gorgeous border. Blurry much?

2015 - Children's Fashion

2012 Senior/Fashion

Flat flat lighting. Under exposed. Slightly blurry. Not a huge fan of the angle either. (Reason #432 why I own a step stool ... curse my short legs!)

No fill light. A little rule of thirds could have gone a long way here. Some back light wouldn't have hurt either. ANY light couldn't have hurt.

2015 Senior/Fashion

Though my art is still a work in progress, the progress I've made thus far is outstanding. If I can improve this much in 3 years, where will I be 3 years from now? As long as I keep trying, I cannot fail!

Rephrase ...

As long as WE keep on trying WE cannot fail!

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3 Year Old - 100 / Marybeth - 1

Meet Jenna. Sweetest little 3 yr old ever. She loves her new dress and adores her new shoes (fashionista in the making? I think so!!!) Simply put, she's a doll!

Still, despite her beauty and fabulous attire, the one fact remains ... Jenna is 3! I love 3 yr olds. They are silly and goofy and undeniable adorable. They are also clever and wildly independent. And independence is important to a 3 yr old. This independence paired with the adorable silliness, however, can prove to be quite a challenge for a photographer.

And when I hear the word "challenge," I can only say one thing, "Challenge Accepted!!!"

And so we began ...

She clearly had the upper hand from the very beginning!

"Eyes on my, sweety," I coached.


Several shots later I thought, "Let's try a new outfit!" Gives Jenna time for a break and perhaps a change of attire would spark new interest.

Checking out the new kicks. It's all good ...

Still admiring the new dress ...

"Now look at me, Jenna!"


"Oh, where's your sunglasses? We should put them on!"

Sunglasses on, pushed up so they look hip and fancy ... everything is cool.

"Now look up here and smile."

"Please look at Marybeth, sweety."

I just kept on shooting. One of these shots she was bound to look at me with a big cheesy, mom-worthy grin.

"Deep Breath ... I can do this. I can outsmart a 3 yr old!!!" I thought.

Now this may have been one of the most ridiculous thoughts I've ever had. I mean, I've raised three 3 yr olds. It may have been many moons ago, but I still recall their fierce indpendence and undying tenacity. If banded together, 3 yr olds could possibly take over the universe.

But I'm not a quitter.

I took that deep breath. "Look at me, Jenna."

WIN ... sorta. I mean, she did look at me!

"Now smile!"

Again ... she listened.

Let's try this one more time but ...

"Look at me AND smile."

Applause rang down from the heavens and the little baby angels rejoiced.

And this is how I almost, barely, not really (mostly just got lucky) outsmarted a 3 year old.

Categories: Children

Tags: 3yrolds, chlildren, kids, lansing, marybeth, mi, photography, portraits, smith, toddlers

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The Story of My Life - MaKynzie

I had the priveledge last fall of taking a journey with MaKynzie through her childhood and teenage years. She is an amazing young woman with a great deal of talent! We traveled everywhere that had meaning to her as a child, and now as a young adult. From her grade school, to her first dance studio, Sleepy Hollow State Park, The Zoo! and even her grandmothers house ... we pulled out the stops, each place remembering and capturing memories to last a life time.

Here is MaKynzie's Life Story ...

Took a trip to where her education began ... MaKynzie's grade school

On the swings at her school's park where many a recess was spent.

Painted Hands. 15 years later ... not so tiny anymore.

Sitting in front of her grandmother's house where she spent her afternoons after school.

MaKynzie has a great passion for dance which started as a young child. We made sure to get her posing next to a statue that gave her inspiration.

MaKynzie has trained as a dancer at Fusion Dance Center since she was a child.

Took a little visit to the zoo. One of MaKynzie's favorite places to go as a kid.

Visited Uncle John's Cider Mill. Even tried a little frozen cider!

One of MaKynzie's most important memories is camping at Sleepy Hollow State Park. We visited at sunset for some amazing shots!

MaKynzie is proud member of the Holt Rams Dance Team.

Happy Graduation MaKynzie. I wish you the best of success after graduation! I know you will do amazing things!!!

To book your "The Story of My Life" photo shoot call Marybeth at 517-366-1830 or email at

Topic: Senior Portraits

Categories: Senior Portraits

Tags: 2015, area, center, class, creative, dance, dancers, fusion, grade, graduation, high, holt, lansing, life, marybeth, mb, mi, my, of, photographer, photography, pictures, portraits, rams, school, senior, seniors, smith, story, the

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Laura and Josiah's Wedding

Last month I had the pleasure of assisting Karie Anne Photography for the wedding of Laura and Josiah. Everything from the details to the ceremony were absolutely beautiful. My favorite part of the day, however, was the "first look." Josiah's face spelled out his every thought and his love for his future wife. Not only could you see in his eyes how beautiful he viewed Laura, but also how much he adored her with all his heart.

Here is that story ...

To view more from Laura and Josiah's wedding day, please visit their album! You can view it here

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New Name, New Website, More Focus

Hello all. Over the next few days, I am launching a new website and branding. Marybeth Smith Photography is changing its name to MBcreative. Along with the name change I will be focusing exclusively on Fashion, Wedding and Senior photography.

Creative, dramatic, and engaging photography has been my goal from day one. I would just like to thank all of my clients, friends, fans, and family for supporting me as I make this transition. 

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