Who is Danielle, the creative behind Lightsmith Images?

I’m a lover of Mexican food, craft beer, and Gelato Messina. Throw into the mix a mariachi band playing as I eat and drink, and that would be my idea of heaven. I’m a massive animal lover, and if you have a pet, I’ll positively encourage you to include them in your couples shoot.

At a wedding, you’ll catch me singing along to the tunes as I capture dance floor action and I’m more than happy to bust a move at the end of the evening (my forte is the running man). 

My guilty (very guilty) pleasure is watching Dance Moms but to offset the loss of brain cells, I sometimes watch ABC’s Q&A. It’s all about balance, right?

I love to travel, new adventures and most of all, wild romantic love stories.

Tell us a little more about the equipment that you use?

I always shoot with two camera bodies and a shit-tonne of memory cards because on a wedding day, I leave nothing to chance (I’m one of those people who will arrive on location 2 hours early and go grab a coffee, rather than risking being late). I always overpack my bags with lighting equipment, stands and a lens for every occasion because you never know what you might need but to be honest, most things I leave in the car, “just in case”. I like to be on location with as little as possible so I can focus entirely on what is unfolding in front of me, rather than having my head buried in gear. I like to be mobile and as inconspicuous as possible, and the gear I use ensures that I can be just that.

 What does being a photographer mean to you?

Being a photographer is about capturing love stories in the most honest, authentic, and meaningful way. I don’t just turn up to a shoot with a preconceived idea or agenda. I simply observe how couples interact with one another in their environment and capture all that is unique to them. That is, when my couples see their photos, they see more than just a pretty picture. They see them – the way they hold hands, the way their bodies fall into one another, the crinkled noses when they laugh and the way they hold one another’s glance.

Their photos will transport them back in time and bring with it all the feelings, senses and emotions that they felt on this day and that to me, is a truly extraordinary thing to be able to do for people.

What makes you get up out of bed every day and do what you do?

I’m a creative at heart so to be able to work in a creative space each and every day feels like I’ve hit the jackpot. I love my clients – I feel genuinely blessed to have crossed paths with so many incredible couples who I now call friends. I get to laugh each day, I get to be immersed in love and I get to go to the most gorgeous places, be embraced by the most beautiful friends and family and go to bed each night with a full heart.

Why photography, why weddings?

My creative outlet used to be the written word. I would see characters in my mind so vividly and would feel compelled to put pen to paper, writing short stories, poems, and plays. Photography has been an extension of my love of story-telling, but now, I am telling stories in images.

I love all the emotion, adoration, and joy that is experienced at a wedding. I love the moments of chaos as much as the moments of quiet. I love the unpredictability of weddings and standing on the periphery of it all, being able to catch all the beautiful little moments that take place throughout the day. 

Wedding or elopement?

I did shoot a sunrise elopement a couple of years ago that remains to this day, one of my favourite stories of all time. Saying that I love seeing the joy, emotion, and celebration that a wedding can bring too – some of my favourite frames are the reactions of loved ones who are a part of the big day.

For me, it’s less about Weddings vs. Elopements and more about working with couples who are committed to doing things their way, rather than be influenced by latest trends or traditions that do not resonate with them.

When you’re not shooting weddings, what would we find you doing?

I’ll probably be thinking about my next meal. I LOVE food, whether it be a cosy bowl of pasta at home, or going out for something new and delicious. I love live music, long drives somewhere beautiful and my most recent obsession is Pub Choir where I get to combine beer drinking, singing and time with friends – I can’t think of a better way to enjoy spare time!

What are your ‘words I live by’?

What is life, but one grand adventure?

I think it’s so important to live with an open mind, an open heart, and a willingness to learn and grow continually. I want to be that 90 year old trying to skateboard for the first time and to embrace the changes and challenges that life inevitably brings.