Vivid Image Photography

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Sometimes we find our niche in the most unusual way, whether it’s through a painful life experience, or a special event. Dayna Smith is one such person – she truly discovered her love for photography after one chapter of her life closed and another opened. Dayna’s skill behind the lens is very well rounded – she enjoys portraiture, weddings, landscapes and macro photography. She’s a custom car lover to boot – check out the wheels!

Hi Dayna. What brought you to the Manning area to live and work?

After an adventure of moving to the Atherton Tablelands inland from Cairns in Far North Queensland, where I found it difficult to find work, I decided to move to the Manning area to pick up the pieces and try to rebuild my life. My father lives in the area and my custom car club is based in Taree, where I already had established a network of friends and fellow car enthusiasts.

What’s your back story with photography … where did your journey behind the lens begin?

My journey began with a painful event in my life. After many years trying to have a baby through IVF, my journey came to an end – after experiencing the worst emotional rollercoaster of my life, I decided to walk away. I had given the attempt five years of my life; my relationship and my job all suffered.

I felt that I needed to fill the void; I was lost, when a friend thought I would enjoy scrapbooking. However, I realised my photos were not worth scrapbooking. So, I used my tax cheque and purchased my first SLR camera, a Canon 500D with lens kit.

After I got it home and unpacked it, I soon realised it would take more than reading the manual to learn how to use this camera properly, so I attended a local photography school to complete their basic SLR course. I was hooked! Two years later, I graduated from their freelance photography course and gave up the scrapbooking.

Your photography skill set is quite varied, as you work with families, weddings, real estate, landscapes and corporate shots! What situations do you find you’re most comfortable working with – and why?

I was attempting to find my niche and experimented with all the genres. After a few sessions, I soon learned that maternity and newborn was far too painful, and withdrew that from my services.

I find that I most enjoy weddings, family portraiture, and for myself, I love landscape and macro photography. I love the hype and excitement of weddings and seeing couples so much in love and being a part of their special day.

My landscape photography helps me to escape into nature, alone with the flora and fauna, and I find I get immersed in the experience. Macro photography fascinates me, and I love experimenting with my macro lens.

How do you cater for different types of shoots?

I use two cameras; I have a Canon 5D MII and a Canon 7D. I love using a combination of my EF 70 – 200 2.8 MII zoom, 24 – 105 1.4 wide angle zoom, my trusty 50 mm 1.4, flashes and of course, my 100 mm macro lens.

What’s one of the most rewarding photo shoots you’ve been involved with recently, and why did you particularly enjoy it?

I had the opportunity to photograph one of the majestic beauties of the ocean on a whale watch tour, which reinforced my dream to travel to Africa for a safari photography experience.

What are some of the items you’d never leave home without when you’re planning a photo shoot?

My basic kit items are: my Canon 5D MII, 24 – 105, 70 – 200, flashes (and remotes), batteries, memory cards, tripod, reflectors and remote shutter release.

Where are some place you’ve travelled to you’d like to revisit – simply because of the sights, atmosphere and photo opps?

Most definitely I would like to re-do my 1991 world tour and reshoot the entire trip. OMG! The photo opportunities I missed.

What do you feel is the most useful piece of information you’ve ever learned about taking great photos (and where/how did you learn it)?

Using a fill flash, and not having your clients standing facing the sun. A lot of my images before I learnt photography were inconsistent, especially during the day with shade, hats, squinty faces and shadows; most people don’t even think to use a flash during the day time (flashes are for night, right?) However, it can take an ordinary photo to a great photo by just adding some light.

What’s your photographic dream – what would you ultimately like to achieve with your camera?

My ultimate dream would be to own my own studio and work solely as a photographer on wedding and family portraiture, capturing those precious moments of life for families to treasure.

Where can we see more of your work, or contact you for more info?

I have a Facebook page at the moment, and I am currently rebuilding my website to be re-released later in the year.

Facebook – 

Website – – when it is relaunched.

Email –

Phone – 0438 568 121.

Thanks Dayna.

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