Exposure: Jason Smith

Setting himself a challenge to improve his skills, Jason Smith has developed a style of his own in portraiture and lifestyle photography. Explore his portfolio on Exposure.

Lexy Savvides
Lexy is an on-air presenter and award-winning producer who covers consumer tech, including the latest smartphones, wearables and emerging trends like assistive robotics. She's won two Gold Telly Awards for her video series Beta Test. Prior to her career at CNET, she was a magazine editor, radio announcer and DJ. Lexy is based in San Francisco.
Lexy Savvides
1 of 17 Jason Smith

Aaron sliding

Jason Smith

(Credit: Jason Smith)

Photographer: Jason Smith

Speciality: Portraiture, lifestyle, sports, documentary

Biography: Jason began playing around with his mother's Panasonic Lumix compact camera in 2007. One evening, he left the camera on the roof of a friend's car. After paying his mum back, he saved up for a Canon 350D.

Over the next few years, Jason decided to challenge himself and improve his skills, so he listened to photography podcasts, read blogs from professional photographers and watched tutorial videos. With this in mind, he shifted towards portrait, documentary, lifestyle and sports photography, which are the areas that he pursues now.

I try to learn something new everyday, be it reading, experimenting or watching something photography-related. I feel that it's impossible to improve if I'm not constantly learning.

Equipment: Canon EOS 50D, Canon EOS 500D, Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6, Canon EF 50mm f/1.8, Canon 430EX II, 2x 500ws monolights, 80x60cm softbox, 84cm shoot through umbrella, 80cm bounce umbrella, Lumiquest speedlite mini softbox and parabolic reflectors, wireless transmitters, lightstands, Manfrotto tripod, DIY Panoramic tripod head, Photoshop CS5, Lightroom 3.

Video interview

More of Jason's work can be seen on his website.

Some friends and I went on a surf trip; I shot this one in the morning at Crescent Head Point. My mate, Aaron, is cruising on a nice peeling wave. I really like the cross light from the rising sun.

Exposure: 1/1250, f/5.6, 85mm, ISO 100

2 of 17 Jason Smith


I went out to a local surf spot with some friends. They surfed while I sat in the water and took photos. I was using a waterproof camera bag. It's very difficult to use, especially in rough surf, but I did my best. This is one of my picks from the day.

Exposure: 1/1000, f/6.3, 17mm, ISO 100

3 of 17 Jason Smith

Fishing at The Entrance channel

I have always loved panoramas, but the cost of the equipment is out of my price range, so I made my own panoramic tripod head. This is one of my first panoramas using the DIY head.

Exposure: 8 images stitched, 1/8, f/8, 35mm, ISO 100

4 of 17 Jason Smith

Fishing by Sumida River

Crossing a bridge in Asakusa, Tokyo, I noticed this man fishing down by the Sumida River. He had his lines set up and was just slowly walking back and forth from his lines to his fishing gear, which is out of frame.

Exposure: 1/640, f/5.6, 85mm, ISO 100

5 of 17 Jason Smith

James in the water

Taken out in the surf, this is my friend, James. I think he was watching a surfer on a wave behind me. I like this photo; the expression on his face, the gloomy clouds and the rough waves.

Exposure: 1/400, f/6.3, 17mm, ISO 100

6 of 17 Jason Smith

Japanese Macaque

During a visit to see the snow monkeys at the Jigokudani Monkey Park in Japan, I had a the goal to get some close-up portraits of them. This particular female macaque was bathing in the hot springs. I got in close and she looked directly into the lens as I took the photo.

Exposure: 1/250, f/1.8, 50mm, ISO 100

7 of 17 Jason Smith

Jarah + Kate

My friends Jarah and Kate married in Port Macquarie, then had a few reception parties at different locations around NSW and Queensland. I took some portraits of them at their Canberra reception. I used the setting sun as a nice warm backlight, and a gold reflector for fill.

Exposure: 1/800, f/1.8, 50mm, ISO 100

8 of 17 Jason Smith

Jordy at night

I was at a local skate park taking some photos for my friend, Jordy. We were going to send them into a board riding company called I Ride Sideways. I took this shot when I was setting the focus. It was pitch black, so to get the focus right I would get Jordy to hold my iPhone and stand where he would be skating. I would then set the focus using the light from the phone's screen.

Exposure: 1/60, f/4, 17mm, ISO 100

9 of 17 Jason Smith

King St in the morning

Working one morning at Newtown, I had finished earlier than expected. I had some time to kill so I grabbed my camera gear and headed to an interesting spot that I had seen before. The sun was rising behind the clouds, the traffic was starting to get busy and just as I was about to shoot, someone walked across the frame, so I slowed down the shutter speed and took the shot.

Exposure: 1/5, f/14, 17mm, ISO 100

10 of 17 Jason Smith

Lady in red

Taken inside The Galleries Victoria in Sydney. I was out and about with my Canon 500D and 50mm prime. I saw this woman walking along the level below, and lined up the shot using the hand rail as support.

Exposure: 1/200, f/1.8, 50mm, ISO 400

11 of 17 Jason Smith

Mt Fuji at sunset

We were on a nearby mountain, Mt Tenjo, that has incredible views of Mt Fuji. My friend and I had gotten lost in the town below, but had finally made our way to this lookout before dark, and with just enough time to take some photographs before the last cable car of the day.

Exposure: 1/200, f/9, 30mm, ISO 100

12 of 17 Jason Smith

Nintendo time

A bit of an impromptu photo shoot in my lounge room. Jayke and I were playing my old school Nintendo 64, and decided to take some comedic shots. I used two studio lights and a speedlite.

Exposure: 1/200, f/4, 17mm, ISO 100

13 of 17 Jason Smith

Old Holden

Last September, Lightstalking.com and I teamed up for a photo walk to Newtown. This is one of the photographs I took while exploring the backstreets.

Exposure: 1/2000, f/1.8, 50mm, ISO 100

14 of 17 Jason Smith

Sitting and waiting

My friend, Kyal, was waiting out in the water for his next wave. I thought it would make an interesting photo, half in the water and half out. It was a gloomy day so I processed the image with exaggerated colours.

Exposure: 1/320, f/7.1, 17mm, ISO 100

15 of 17 Jason Smith

Somewhere inside Shinjuku Station

Shinjuku Station in Tokyo is an incredibly busy place. Apparently, 3.6 million people pass through the gates each day. We were making our way to our platform when I saw a rush of people coming. I liked how the lines on the roof and the floor worked with people moving out from the centre of frame.

Exposure: 1/8, f/4, 20mm, ISO 100

16 of 17 Jason Smith

The Mandelas

This was my first photo shoot with a band. They are all good friends of mine, but I was still nervous. We took a number of shots; this is the one I liked the most. I used a 430EX II Speedlite and a silver foil car sunshade for a makeshift reflector.

Exposure: 1/200, f/3.5, 50mm, ISO 100

17 of 17 Jason Smith

View over Tokyo

Looking southwest from the top viewing platform in Tokyo Tower, I took seven photos, hand-held panning across approx 120º. Tokyo is an amazing sight — buildings as far as the eye can see, and using just my 17mm lens wasn't wide enough to do it justice, so a panorama was a good option.

Exposure: 7 images stitched, 1/250, f/7, 17mm, ISO 100

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