New Staff Photographer Ryan Smiley

Hello friends! Today is a fun day! We love it when we get to announce staff photographers! Our new staff photographer Ryan Smiley is awesome! This Los Angeles native has traveled the U.S. in order to perfect his craft. Born wiht the Eye, this soon to be world traveler has a weakness for pretty faces and no major desire to shoot well known personalities! This means those of you in the Cali area have a greater chance of being shot and given your big break on GMM! Let’s take a moment and get to know Ryan!

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GMM: How long have you been a photographer?

Ryan: I’ve been using a camera since the 10th Grade when I first picked up an old 35 mm film camera for a Darkroom printing class I had in High School. Friends and family told me I have “The Eye” but at the time I was more interested in graphic design. I soon learned that customers for graphic work rip the creativity right out of you because they think they know what’s better and I often times found myself frustratingly redoing the work over and over. With Photography I am in creative control both during the shoot and after with post-production.

GMM:: How did you get your start?

Ryan: I moved from Los Angeles, California to Portland, Oregon to take photography and graphic design classes and submerse myself in a truly appreciative artistic culture. My first digital photography teacher was tough, I mean really tough. No matter how great I thought my photos were she always gave me a B! Every project would not break 89%! One day I frustrating asked her why I was getting a B while others while seemingly a few projects of the same quality of work were getting A’s. Her response stuck with me. She said – “Because they’ve reached their full potential, you haven’t!” She proceeded to explain my composition was incredible but I can do better everywhere else and she saw that. She told me she had yet to see my “A work” Life got in the way of me pursuing my dream… for the next few years. It wasn’t until after I moved back to southern California and was getting fed up with the 9-5 sales job that I decided to pursue photography as a career. I started about a year ago now in March, 2013 and now I’m fortunate to have almost no days off from shooting, editing, or networking. I’m the happiest and most fulfilled I’ve ever been. To be successful as any type of artist is truly an amazing feeling.


GMM: Do you like to keep your techniques a secret or do you like to share with others?

Ryan: I love to help other photographers with techniques and composition. My post production techniques are saved for me and my close photographer buddies! They are the icing to my cake!.

GMM: Who would you love to shoot?

Ryan: Although I have some big names coming in front of my camera this year, I actually prefer to shoot with the model who isn’t discovered yet. There is something about shooting a true beauty not yet scarred by the industry. Just as I am building my career, I love to help models doing the same!

GMM: Who is the most famous model you have shot with?

Ryan: Although I have some big names coming in front of my camera this year, I actually prefer to shoot with the model who isn’t discovered yet. There is something about shooting a true beauty not yet scarred by the industry. Just as I am building my career, I love to help models doing the same!

GMM: What makes you different from the other photographers?

Ryan: I believe my post production create a different look and vibe that Is unique to me. That is where I really shine and where I get that “WOW” reacting from my models after they see the photos


GMM: Who is your favorite photographer?

Ryan: Greg Campos (Gregorio Photography) is a huge influence to me. He is well known in the area for his unedited black and white style and is a constant reminder of how powerful black and white photos can be constant reminder of how powerful black and white photos can be.

GMM: What traits do you look for in a model?

Ryan: Nothing gets me more than a gorgeous face. Bodies are all different and beautiful in their own right but a powerful look is priceless

GMM: What is your ultimate goal as a photographer?

Ryan: To get out there see the world, shoot in gorgeous locations and not have work a single day of my life. My only goal is to do this full time until I am physically unable. My wealth will come from living a happy life doing what I love. When I am gone from this earth I will leave behind a chronological photo autobiography. My life through my eyes and all the amazing people I shared it with along the way.

Your Gear

GMM: Canon or Nikon?

Ryan: Canon no questions asked.

GMM: What is your favorite lens to use?

Ryan: I loved working with fixed lenses, mainly my 50 mm for powerful portraits.

GMM: What is your Favorite Lighting Gear?

Ryan: The sun! I much prefer natural light over anything!

GMM: Mac or PC?

Ryan: PC- more (P)ersonal (C)hoices!

Shooting, Models, Locations

GMM: Do you have a favorite location to shoot?

Ryan: El matador Beach, CA is by far my favorite spot. Its a beach full of character and it reminds me why I love living in SOCAL!

GMM: Do you bring Hairstylist and Make up artist to your shoots?

Ryan: Depends on the shoot! Sometimes that “Effortlessly Sexy” look is priceless!

GMM: Do models try to play you for gimmees? If so, does it work?

Ryan: I can be a sucker for a pretty face sometimes… next question! Hahaha!

GMM: Do you find it challenging to be around such beautiful models?

Ryan: More like rewarding for all my hard work! Hahaha! Models are people too. They are talented just like me but in their own way. It doesn’t bother me at all.

GMM: Do you use model mayhem?

Ryan: Yes I do

GMM: What is your favorite social network?

Ryan: I’ve received most inquires through Instagram than all other sources combined! It is my favorite networking tool.

GMM: What do you love about Facebook and what do you hate about Facebook?

Ryan: I love the picture part. I hate hearing about other people’s problems and images the tell me if I don’t “share this post” then I don’t love animals or the world is going to end tomorrow.

GMM: Do you think photographers get a bad rap?

Ryan: Unfortunately there are many men who pose to be professional photographers and lure these young models to photo shoots that make them feel very uncomfortable. I always aim to be as professional and respectful as possible but because of these so called photographers, I may have to provide references and/or have my model show up with their boyfriends. Frankly I can’t blame them! It puts a damper on my business.

GMM: What is the worst experience you can remember from a photoshoot?

Ryan: I showed up to one of my first photo shoots ever only to have my camera break right after getting everything set up! It was a disaster! Luckily I had a fellow friend and photographer with me who had showed me this unique location and he had his camera with him! Thank god!

GMM: Do you see a solid career for the bikini models?

Ryan: I believe with modeling, photography, and art in general you get out what you put in. If you have the talent, dive in head first! I dumped hours and hours on top of my full time job into developing my skills and NETWORKING! This is so very important for ANYONE! It truly has paid off!

GMM: Is there anything you want to express now that people should know about this business?

Ryan: Photography is a unique and beautiful art. The skills do not come over night. I would encourage anyone and everyone who is interested in photography to pick up a cheap old 35 mm film camera. Learn how to shoot in true manual and on film. These cameras are unforgiving and really teach you how to understand light and how it affects film or the image sensor to create your desired looks. Most of all know that all the hard work is extremely rewarding! Have fun! These images will be potentially around longer than you are! To me there is nothing greater.