We had the good fortune of connecting with Zachary Smith and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Zachary, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
During my apprenticeship with Bjoern, I wanted to overcome my learning curve as fast as possible, so I would work with him, shoot my own clients, have artistic shoots with friends in the evenings, and then study as much cinema and other concepts as possible that I would bring into my sessions. One day, when I was hanging with my nieces (5 and 3 at the time), I realized they like to play according to the rules of improv. We played and we came up with story lines to act out, and they felt so free to just be different characters and make up worlds around them. After seeing how much fun we had, I started implementing allotted play time and improv in my photo shoots to help my clients show what they can do in a free environment. Aside from teaching me how to be more playful, spending time with family and friends helps me stay true to the energy I like to bring to my clients.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am a staff photographer for BK Headshots, a cinematic headshot and self-tape company established by Bjoern Kommerell and operated both in Atlanta and Los Angeles.

What sets us apart from other photographers is our philosophy: Show the world what you can do. I like to ask my clients, if I was a genie and could snap my fingers and book you in three projects, what would they be? If you walk into our studio as if you are walking into an audition for one or all three projects, we get intentional photos for those projects, but also get inspired to try different sets and tones. It’s ok to shoot what you want to play as opposed to just what you’ve been cast as. Here we cast a different light on you so your picture reflects your essence and the world you want to play in (Ozark, Walking Dead, Batman, etc.).

I’m proud of the work we do, from headshots to movie posters and album covers, we get to explore all the different realms of creativity and art. With every new method, it’s like a puzzle to solve: learning where the pieces go, then once you’ve gathered enough experiences, you see how the whole picture comes together and you just dive into your flow. Approaching it playfully makes the journey fun, and makes you fall in love with the process. If there’s one thing that I want the world to know about the BK team is that we are passionate about the process and love every second of it.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
There are a few places I absolutely love!

Our studio is located in downtown arts district, so we’d be starting with a beautifully graffiti filled walk down Mateo and tour by some of my favorite tv spots: The bar from Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Anavirn from the tv show “You”, and the apartment from “New Girl”. Then we’d head to get some sushi at the Kura Revolving Sushi Bar on E 2nd St

For jazz, I always love to take my friends to Black Rabbit Rose Magic in Hollywood. It’s a jazz and magic bar with incredible cocktails, brilliant magic, and soul vibrating jazz. Next to it is Madame Siam and Dirty Laundry with great music to dance to and No Vacancy to solidify the LA speakeasy experience (you just have to go).

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
When I first started this journey to master visuals, I was very fortunate to find a mentor in Bjoern Kommerell. Bjoern came to Los Angeles about 25 years ago with a camera in hand and forged his path to becoming one of the top celebrity photographers in the city. He took the time to gift his process and style to me so that I could become like him. As I take on more responsibility and am shooting in multiple cities, I have found that the lessons he has taught me are always close at hand. I appreciate him and will always continue challenging myself and my art just as he does.

Website: https://bkheadshots.com/shooting-with-zach/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/zacharyismith/

Other: https://www.instagram.com/bkheadshots/

Image Credits
Photos of Zachary Smith by Tim Coto All other photos by Zachary Smith, copyright ©Bjoernkommerell

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