“Why build it if no one will see it?” asks Jimi James Smith as he shoots a designer’s pool. Jimi has been specializing in landscape photography now for a few years, and in his years of working hands on with builders and designers; he’s come up with a few bits of advice on how to maximize your photographer to get the highest quality shots and what to look for when searching for a professional. Building and designing a landscape art is just the beginning. Not only will your revenue grow by hosting a gallery on your website to illustrate what you can do, it helps your clients visualize the possibilities! It sets your firm up for recognition within the industry. It sets you apart from your competitors. Today’s world is image obsessed, and one in which if you are not creating a presence online, your decrease your value. Your unknown competitor’s may even be far less talented, and have higher value due to a stock of impressive photos! In 2017, and fast approaching a new decade; it is about showcasing your skill, and in digital media driven age, that picture is worth 1,000 words. Even smart phone cameras can take a shot that may be worth a million words! Sometimes, the cameras are superior to even a pricey digital- however there is a method to the madness and to host a gallery of well-directed shots is something you can’t afford not to do! Jimi Smith shares with us his top pointers to how to get the most out of your photography session and why it holds the key to success.

Jimi takes it all in as he travels to different states to shoot landscapes. Leaving the island life behind for a day or two to get involved in these fantastic designs; he has learned a thing or two along the way. Follow his top 3 insights and you will have the tools to create your own gallery of dreams for the clientele!




A photographer is a person, just like you and me; everyone is different, and thus everyone may have their own way to do things. Listening to their needs and applying them into the session will allow the photographer to create their art, as they capture the essence of your art! The photographer knows what they need to accomplish the task at hand- no one knows better than the one shooting and editing the photos- so listen to what they need! Place your trust in this person, they are an artist just like you, and require a level of trust to work out their form of art. To listen properly, the photographer needs certain elements made known to them. If there are specific areas in your landscape that are less typical, or unknown to the laymen eye- speak up! Say something, tell them ahead of time. When you plan to schedule your photography session, talk to them directly about the space, the details and explain what you are looking for. Then, sit back and relax! Let the photographer take the wheel! It may even work better if you are not there, hovering over their shoulder. During the session, they may be setting up shots that you are not aware of why or how- this is where the trust comes in! Trust you have hired the right person, and let them do their job. The best course of action you can take after providing the necessary information is to get out of the way!



The money shot is what every designer/builder is looking for. How do you get the money shot? The “money” question that will solve every issue a photographer can face, and what can guarantee to get a money shot even off the worst design or build you have seen is…. the time of day! When to shoot the landscape is the only thing that matters- morning or evening, or both? Sunrise and sunset- the sun creates shadows that a photographer needs to work. A shadow, or no shadow can alter the entire look of the pool. You need the right light at the right time. Now how do you best answer this money question? What if you are not sure, or what if you have never even seen your pool build at night, or at sunset, or at all? When Jimi discovered the element that has changed the game of in depth conversations with designers and builders and trying to pull the needed information from these artists, he was overjoyed! There is one tool that answers every single question a photographer will ever need. One tool that covers every second of light that can encapsulate the landscape. One tool that will display the shadows, direction of sunlight, and will allow the photographer and the designer to never need to meet face to face! The tool is; 3-D design studio! A 3-D design video covers every single element of light, every piece to the design, and all areas of the build. It will show every single item from A-Z, and is all a photographer ever needs to produce the best work possible! Send this design video to your photographer! Once your photographer has viewed this video, you can discuss specifics and continue to be on the same page, with a visual guide! Even a drone shooting schedule can be preplanned when a photog is able to utilize the 3-D design as a tool. The possibilities of correct shots during the perfect light are matter of fact using these tools.



What tools will the photographer be using? What’s in Jimi’s photography bag? If you meet with a photographer and they do not have any of these items, or most of them- they are not the right person to shoot your landscape. A landscape design photographer needs to have the proper tools to capture the essence of your art. If they cannot provide these pieces, it’s a waste of your time and energy and you will not get what you paid for. Be proactive and ask these questions!

A. Do you have a 2nd camera or a back-up camera? Always have a backup! This is a necessity when working on shooting a landscape! The timing must be right, and as the clock is ticking and the sun is creating shadows, you do not have time to redo a shoot if something happens to your camera! This is the most professional item to have and there is no room for error on this!

B. 3 lenses every landscape photog needs to own- wide angle lens, a tilt shift lens, and a zoom lens. The most important out of the 3- is the wide angle! If they do not have a wide angle- they are not the right choice! Now the 2nd most important lens to have is the Tilt lens. The tilt shift will distort the straight line and capture the coping or the intended lines the architect has created. The only way to capture the true real likeness of these lines is with a tilt shift. A huge structure may be straight in real life and shooting without a tilt shift will alter these intended straight lines into curves. This lens offers perspective control and optical manipulation. The areas of sharpness in a photo are the same distance to the camera, so a normal lens can only focus on a singular plane. Using the tilt- the focus will become malleable and allows the lens to point at an angle. The 3rd lens that isn’t a requirement, but a very nice one to have to create an easier work space is a zoom lens. Every photographer has a 50 millimeter- this is an exact match of what the human eye sees. When you want the image to look normal, the 50 millimeter is used. To get better detail of the landscape art, and all the brilliant depth, you need to work with a 70-millimeter lens. Before Jimi started bringing his zoom lens to the landscape shoots, he would have to get in the pools, hang upside down, do anything to get a good shot of the intricate details each space provides. A zoom lens will provide a portrait aspect and is able to capture every single detail.



C. Ask your to-be photographer, what megapixels is your camera? The type of camera will always determine the quality level of your photos. Luckily these days, most cameras on the market are already producing a high-quality image, so for the most part you can’t go wrong. Jimi’s go to camera is the Nikon D810. He prefers this to other brands or styles for the 32 megapixels. This is what is called a “billboard” camera. The megapixels produce sharp images and is the high resolution camera. This is what you want so you have a raw photo and lose no detail. Every year the constant production of imagery outdoes the year before, so you must always stay up to date on the upcoming technology trends!


Jimi James Smith has created a niche industry in the photography world. Traveling photography can cost a pretty penny, however the “Quality Not Quantity” is what should determine if you are getting what you pay for. Asking the right questions, and understanding the correct tools your photographer needs to supply, will help place you on the path to perfection. Jimi’s personal style is a rare find, and his years of experience have defined his stylistic approach to the luxury landscapes he captures. Jimi has perfected a style and created an approach that is truly a diamond in the rough. At first glance at some of his “mike drop” photos- you may have a tough time believing the photos are real, and not altered or layered over with filters or photoshop programs. In fact, each photo is a real picture of the moment, or times he has captured. The “mike drop” final shot Jimi will deliver is multiple shots taken over a length of time. Jimi enters the space, looks for the shot, and once he sees the perfect area or angle; he then sets up a tripod and focuses his camera to take the photos over a prolonged period. Sometimes this will take hours. He waits for the light, and as it begins to change he shoots the photos continuously during these changes. From sunlight to starlight.


The camera is constantly snapping the images. This allows Jimi to run around with his 2nd camera, and even sometimes his phone and take alternate shots or different angles, all the while using his remote to continuously snap those photos on the tripod. As the light grows or dims; this is where Jimi has found his personal style. His coined phrase is “Moments in Time” which perfectly describes the shot itself in its final stages. One picture of a sunset simply doesn’t do it justice. Most see Jimi’s photos and exclaim “wow, you were there just at the right time!” The truth is he was there, over time. The spanning time of a sunset, or sunrise is what can truly hold the essence of the natural beauty we usually only experience in person. Every single change in the light, he is there, taking exposures of the best moments in time. Each exposure is then compressed into one photo to create that perfect final image. He blends these photos together with a light blending tool to create a real-life photo of the breathtaking sunsets, landscapes and turning dreams into reality. This light fusion Jimi has created is what sets him apart from other photographers and allows him to find the art in the luxury of your landscapes.