Insights about photography direct from Brian Smeets! A place to comment, connect and appreciate photography and the photo biz.

Small Bites for Grub Street!

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011
Small Bites for Grub Street!

Here’s a recent shot from a recent small plates shoot for Grub Street. This burger has the ghost pepper on, supposedly the hottest known to man. All I know is that it was spicy! Always wash your hands after handling them, because anything you touch will burn for quite a while.

Full Slideshow Here

Shooting like its 1949

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

 (Photographer: Brian Smeets, Brian Smeets/Brian Smeets Photography)

Anyone thats been around my new apartment lately knows that I’ve been shooting 8×10 with some unusual materials for negatives. For those of you whom aren’t quite sure what that means, I guess you’ll have to come over and have your portrait taken! Its a great process with a camera from the 50s, paper and x-ray negatives and lenses from the same era. I may even ask you to stay in the same place for, oh ten minutes if we’re running low on light or try to blind you with a huge strobe. All kidding aside, the results are spectacular.

I shot this image of my friend Eric on our back deck on a sunny day. Its exposed on Kodak Full Speed x-ray film, which is only sensitive to blue light. The tones came out well, though I need to invest in a real film scanner as opposed to hanging negs on my venetian blinds! One caveat with x-ray film is that scratches extremely easily and has an emulsion on both sides – so its not quite as sharp as single emulsion films. But hey, when your negative is as big as a sheet of paper, its not too much of an issue!

I’ve also been shooting paper negatives, more on that later.

Wide Angle Views

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

I have a friend whom has been asking me about using ultra wide angle lenses. The urge to ‘get it all in’ is important for landscapes and architecture – the problem is we often get too much! For a 35mm equivalent, ultra wide is really anything under 24mm. You can find great rectilinear lenses to 12 or 14mm, and fisheyes and 180 degree lenses wider than that.

The artistic look that distortion gives you can be a great advantage for those ‘wow’ shots. Try not to overuse it though. What ultra wides are really good for is empasizing texture and foreqound – without something to bring the viewer you stand to have them squinting at the far, far, far away mountains wondering what to look for. This shot is taken at 16mm on a full frame – you can see the emphasis on texture of the foreground and the incredible distance it brings to the rest of the image:

 (Brian Smeets)

Skiing and Driving

Sunday, January 16th, 2011




Walls and bridges

Monday, November 29th, 2010


For what was intended to be a small set of images based on the bridges around manhattan.


Bridges act as portals we can step across into a new world. I felt they carried me across the void and the danger below into the endless dream world that is New York.


A tangible metaphor so ordinary yet so majestic is difficult to find, let alone saturate oneself with – there are 15 foot, rail and car bridges out of manhattan alone, plus tunnels.