Captured Moments: Husband-wife team operates photography studio

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Escaping the cold winters of Southern Maryland, Susan and Eric Smith moved to Beaufort in April and opened a new photography studio in the downtown area. They had a home-based studio for over 25 years in Port Tobacco, Maryland, and were considered the name brand of professional studios there. With a big display in the only mall for three counties, everyone knew who they were.
After visiting the Shrimp Festival, and longing to live near the beach while they could still enjoy it, they sold their mailing list to their closest competitor, and relocated their studio, Captured Moments Photography, to 1402 King St.

Photographer Eric Smith poses Island News publishers Kim and Elizabeth Harding at the Captured Moments studio.

A portrait studio is more than just a guy with a camera. Captured Moments’ studio is everything a real portrait studio should be. They have two camera rooms. One is a large main room that can be used 360 degrees around, with roller systems of multiple backgrounds and muslins. The second room is an all white room for kids and special sets, like tea parties and babies. There is also an outdoor posing area with unique sets and props. Eric has actually painted quite a few of the background panels himself and has built props and studio furniture. There is an entire prop storage room full of themed sets they brought with them from Maryland, such as “Baby in a Bath,” “Christmas Cookies,” and “Angels.” In addition, they have a sales room, production room, and a reception room.
With digital photography being technical, the couple is quite computer savvy. Immediately following a session, the images are downloaded, backed up and networked with the computer in the sales room. The images are projected, and clients are able to view and choose their pictures in the exact sizes they may want, from an 8×10 all the way up to a 30×40 wall portrait. A special viewing software allows Susan to create multi-image collages and greeting cards right before your eyes, with whatever color background and keylines you choose.

The finished shot of the sisters.

After the images are chosen, Susan uses Photoshop to enhance every purchased image to correct any imperfections or blemishes and to strengthen the eyes, whiten teeth, smooth wrinkles and fix stray hairs.
Special effects can also be done, like swapping heads or painting out unwanted items like dog leashes or nose rings. Once everything is perfect, the order is uploaded to the lab over the internet, and magically appears a few days later.
Along with the physical things in the studio, the couple brings years of experience in lighting and posing high school seniors, families and babies. Eric and Susan really created the high school senior market for photographers in Maryland. Before 1997, everyone just went to the school photographer. They heard complaints that no one liked their pictures, but they had no choice but to go to the contract photographer. After attending a Marketing Boot Camp for senior photography, Eric and Susan soon started a push for unique personality-driven senior portraits, and have photographed more than 4,300 high school seniors from 1997-2010. Several high school yearbook advisors started accepting their pictures in the yearbook in addition to the official school photographer’s pictures because of their consistent quality and ease of delivering the pictures to the yearbook editors. Because of their impact on the bottom line, the contract school photography companies started sending their best photographers to Southern Maryland. Competition resulted in better photography all around.
In addition to high school seniors, a popular program Captured Moments offers is a plan to photograph a baby’s first year, called “Watch Me Grow.” A baby changes so much his first year, so Captured Moments has a program to photograph a baby at 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, and one year. There are different options for these sessions.
Clients can choose to enroll in the “Club Bebe” experience where they receive a custom-designed leather album at the end of the first year, with portraits from each session and any special quotes or sayings included on the pages.
Eric has photographed more than 400 weddings around the Washington, D.C., beltway, so he is very excited to be in a wedding destination area with beautiful beaches and venues.
Since they are new to the area, they are available for last minute weddings this fall. In the past, they were booked a year in advance.
In January of 2008, Eric discovered the joys of HDR photography, a style of artistic photography that results in photographs looking almost like illustrations or paintings. His work is displayed in art galleries in Virginia and Maryland, and locally at Atmosphere in the Bay Street Marketplace. His best images are captured at dawn with clouds and colorful skies. He has photographed many local sites and buildings, including Hunting Island State Park, the Beaufort Waterfront Park and bridge, and the Sheldon Church ruins. His work is available for viewing or purchase at his online art site, found on their website: capmom.com.
Finally, Eric is a sought-after instructor. He has spoken nationally at a Professional Photographers of America annual convention in Las Vegas, as well as given classes in Maryland and Virginia. He teaches basic, intermediate and advanced classes for photography and Photoshop Elements enhancing.