Have you taken the Smart Photo Quiz?

When was the last time you smiled and had fun as a photographer? The Smart Photo Quiz should definitely put a smile on your face...especially if you get all the answers right.

<<<CLICK HERE>>> to start your quiz.

Since we are on the topic of quizzes, here one to end this post.

Which prime focal length lens was used to create the following image?

1) 24mm

2) 35mm

3) 105mm


Write your answer in the comments section!


Always dream big,


P.S. Here's the photography quiz link to pass along to all your friends. 


What's your favorite lens?

Recently I’ve been asked this question quite a bit. It seems everyone wants to know what gear other photographers like using. What’s your favorite camera, your favorite lens, your favorite light, these days?

Over the years I’ve had many favorite lenses, but at this very moment, I have one lens that stands out above the rest and it keeps blowing me away every time I use it.  The Nikkor 105 f/1.4 lens is one incredible lens.



Yesterday, I went to Kamakura, Japan for the Yabusame ceremony (horseback archery), which is a traditional Japanese archery where an archer shoots arrows at three wooden targets while riding horseback. It was my first time attending this ceremony and I arrived later than I should have to get a good spot to take pictures. I took my new Nikon D850 camera and my Nikkor 105 f/1.4 lens. Before I left home, I decided to shoot at f/2.8 for the entire day. The bokeh (quality of blur) on this lens is insane and I wanted to test it in this situation.



For this ceremony, archers are dressed in beautiful Samurai attire and compete for the top honor. It is an amazing ceremony to see in person and even better to photograph.


After the event, I looked over my images as I took the train home. With the Nikon SnapBridge app, my images are transferred instantly to my smart-phone so I can share high-quality photographs instantly on social media or send to friends and family. I was blown away by the sharpness I was able to achieve as the archers flew by at lightning speed. The D850 camera and the 105 lens makes for a powerful combination.

For more info on photography check out the webinar this week.


Always dream big,



4 Photography Mistakes And How To Avoid Them

I think every photographer starts off wanting to learn as much about photography as possible, and this is a good thing. The more you know the better your images will be, right?

4 Photography Mistakes And How To Avoid Them - Day 4

# 4: I Can Do It All

Just because you can do it all doesn't mean you should. As a matter of fact, the more focused you are in photography the better your career will be. You don't need to do it all, just focus on what you enjoy doing most and put all of your energy into that.

If I could start my career all over again with my current knowledge, I would focus on shooting what I enjoy most and only shoot that. For example, if you love cooking and love taking pictures of food, only shoot pictures of food. To go even deeper, maybe you love baking desserts vs just taking pictures of food in general. You'd focus on photographing beautiful desserts and master it vs just photographing food. 

Find your special niche and work to be the best you can in your specific niche of photography.

Always dream big,


4 Photography Mistakes And How to Avoid Them - Day 3

Earlier this year I was speaking at a photo convention in Japan. There were several photographers speaking and the day before the convention started we had a rehearsal session. I watched as one photographer set up to do a live photo shoot. He set up his lights, took a photo, then looked at the back of his camera to see if the exposure was right. He did this for about 15 minutes trying to figure out the right exposure until he finally got close but it was still off a bit.

4 Photography Mistakes And How To Avoid Them - Day 3


# 3: I can just use the histograms or the camera display to judge my exposure

We have all done it before so don't feel bad. I mean, it's easy to look at the display on the back of your camera and think the exposure is correct, but judging your pictures this way can lead to big disappointments. Especially if you are trying to look at your camera display while shooting outside on a bright sunny day. 

The histograms give you a better view on what is correct in terms of exposure but it is still not enough information I believe. To avoid making exposure mistakes discover how to use a light meter. A light meter will never lead you wrong. Remember, numbers don't lie, but your camera display can and will fool you at times.

To learn more about light and photography, join me today for the FREE webinar/master class which take place this Tuesday, November 1st starting  at 10:00 a.m. PST 

Register here - Master Class: How Photographic Lighting Can Increase Your Income In 90 Days

Time: 10:00 a.m. PST (California) / 1:00 p.m. EST (New York)


Always dream big,



4 Photography Mistakes And How To Avoid Them - Day 2

When I was first starting out in photography, I thought the more light I added to an image the better my image would become. I believed my pictures didn't look good because I just didn't have enough light to "fix" them .

4 Photography Mistakes And How To Avoid Them - Day 2


# 2: I Need More Light To Make Better Pictures

One of my biggest mistakes starting out in photography was buying more gear than I needed at the time. I remember thinking I needed at least three lights to make a decent picture but when I finally had three lights I still wasn't happy with my pictures. By having more lights I felt like a professional but my pictures didn't look any better. One day a mentor took me to the side and said, "Matthew before you buy any more lights learn to master using one light first!" I think that was the best advice I've ever received in my career. 

Photographic lighting is hard to see but by learning how to use one light first you begin seeing how light works. To avoid making the mistake I made, use one light in as many ways as possible. Think of the sun, which is one light source, but it gives us many different types of light. Use your one light in as many ways as possible and find out which way is your favorite. Once you find what you like, use it over and over until you master it.

To learn more about light and photography, join this week's webinar/master class which take place this Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. PST 

Master Class: How Photographic Lighting Can Increase Your Income In 90 Days

Time: 10:00 a.m. PST (California) / 1:00 p.m. EST (New York)


Always dream big,



4 Photography Lighting Mistakes And How To Avoid Them - Day 1

The other day I overheard two guys talking about photography in my favorite coffee shop.  One of the guys said to the other, "anyone can take a great picture on a cloudy day, it's easy!"  That statement is the inspiration for this series of blog posts.

4 Photography Mistakes And How To Avoid Them - Day 1


# 1: Anyone can take great pictures on a cloudy day: 

While it is true that the soft light on a cloudy day can make flattering pictures, the pictures are not flattering just because it's a cloudy day.  On overcast days the sun is diffused by the clouds but the sun is still giving light, it's just softened by the clouds. Think of a flashlight shining through a sheet of white paper. The paper breaks up the light from the flashlight  the same way the clouds break up the sunlight. Now here's the tricky part, on a cloudy day it is VERY HARD to see light unless you LEARN how to see light. 

Imagine today's a cloudy day and you want to take pictures at twelve noon of your friends or family. At noon on a bright sunny day, the light is not flattering because it's coming directly from above, On a cloudy day at noon, the sun is still in the same position except it have a thick layer of diffusion to soften the light, but the direction of the sun at this time of day is still not the most flattering and the eyes of your subject will be dark because the light is coming from above. 

To avoid this problem, take pictures when the direction of the sun is lower in the sky, like the first 2 to 3 hours or the last 2 to 3 hours, depending on where you are in the world and the time of year. During the winter months this time frame of good light is shorter then in the summer months. Use the Sun Seeker app to learn where the su is and use that information to your advantage. You'll discover how to see light the more you use the app and before you know it, you'll be able to see light on a cloudy day.

To learn more about light and photography, join this weeks webinar/master class which take place this Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. PST 

Master Class: How Photographic Lighting Can Increase Your Income In 90 Days

Time: 10:00 a.m. PST (California) / 1:00 p.m. EST (New York)


Always dream big,



Japanese Star Becky

I recently photographed one of the most famous people in Japan for a series of beauty images. Today, the images are all over Japanese TV, Instagram, Yahoo news, LINE news, and other media outlets. 

While most people outside of Japan may not know Becky, many have made comments on her remarkable beauty comparing her look to a young Isabella Rossellini.

All I know is that I enjoyed working with Becky and her sister and can't wait to do it again!


Becky photographed by Matthew Jordan Smith

Becky photographed by Matthew Jordan Smith



This saves me time

These days I can't seem to get away from the computer so anything that can help shortcut my  computer time is my friend. 

This weekend I shot about 1900 image and I would usually dread the process of retouching images but since I started using Perfectly Clear my time is cut down drastically. Today the software goes on sale so you can save money and time. A no-brainer in my opinion.

Training Part III (plus a bonus!)

I hope you all had a great weekend, and if you're in America, I hope you had a great Memorial Day holiday.

Last week, I released the first two parts of a free three-part photography training series and today I'm releasing the third video in the series. FREE TRAINING PART III

 I've received a lot of great comments via the video page, twitter, Instagram and even instant message and email. One photographer asked me a question about only using natural light. He only uses natural light and wanted to know why I list this as a rookie mistake. I think this question is important for many of us today so I made a short video to explain more.

Always dream big,


Training Part II

On Tuesday, we released the first FREE training video of a 3-part photography training series. At the time of this writing, almost 500 people have watched video # 1 and we hope the video reaches more as the week goes on.

Today, we are releasing training video # 2 and hope to help photographers by sharing some of the mistakes I made at the start of my career. To watch both training sessions you need to sign up for the series. AS soon as you sign up you get instant access to the series.


Always dream big,


FREE photography training today!

You've probably heard the phrase, "Today is the first day of the rest of your life," but today really could be a turning point in your photography.

Today is the first day of a FREE training series designed to help photographer learn more about different aspects of photography. The series consists of three training sessions that will be released over the next ten days.

To join the FREE TRAINING SERIES you must sign up by clicking HERE. Once you sign up you get INSTANT ACCESS to the first training session. There are three training sessions total with the other sessions being released between now and next Tuesday. 

I hope you like the training and if you do please spread the word.

Always dream big!

The 3 books every photographer must read

I'm just back from teaching at the  Mars School of Photography for a week and it was an awesome experience. I had amazing students and share the joy of photography through a course on portrait lighting. 

At the end of the class, I shared my top three must-read books that every photographer needs to read and this morning, I'm sharing them with you.

1. How To Win Friends And Influence People

2. Selling The Invisible

3. The Alchemist

I also shared a lot about personal projects and spoke about how I made my first and current books come to life. 

1st book: Sepia Dreams

It's finally finished!

I am so happy today! After four months of round-the-clock work filled with many 18+ hour days, we have finally completed the intensive photographic lighting course. This course is a MONSTER course and will teach you more than you could learn in four years of school majoring in photography. The goal of this digital course is simple: Teach everything I know about photographic lighting.

Now that the course is complete, we still have a  little bit of tweaking and prep work to do but the heavy lifting is done!! We hope to launch in the next seven days.

To celebrate, we are putting the course up for the pre-sale at the price $397.00, this price is $100 off the actual price of the course and will never be seen again once the course is live. This price will only be shared with my readers and podcast audience and again It will never be sold lower than the $497  again.

The lighting course is 6 modules long,  and each module has three incredible lessons. This baby is JAM-PACKED with everything you've ever wanted to know about photographic lighting, including how to work with light meters, power packs, light modifiers and much, much more. . To be the first to get your copy order today by going to the following lin: PREORDER