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

Hi Crystal, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
I think my decision to be a creative whether a graphic designer or a photographer was kind of a blessing and a birthright for me. Born and raised with the ability to draw, paint and be creative was something that I always knew would get me far. Pursuing an artistic career was a bit of a challenge but, I knew I would be excellent at it.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
So currently, I am a full-time graphic designer for a corporate company but, during my downtime, I am a photographer with a focus on fashion and portrait photography. What helps me get to who I am currently, is getting around the right people and mentors that helped me understand my camera and taking the time to study other photographers and their creative process. I feel like I am still learning and understanding photography all due to things constantly changing daily. I think the lessons I have learned along the way are, understanding mistakes are just a learning lesson and you can not be too hard on yourself especially being a creative. Being a photographer, it takes time and is a process that you just can’t learn overnight. What I would love the world to know about me is, my brand is constantly evolving. The world needs to know there are more black female photographers out there in the world and we can be creative just like our other counterparts.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If traveling to Houston, you have to tryout the hidden gems. One of my favorite places is brunch at the Conservatory located downtown. An underground beer garden and food hall that reminds me of being in New York Cities’ Chelsea market. Next is grabbing drinks at the Secret Garden for midday cocktails and enjoying the ambience and decor of this outdoor bar and lounge. If you are a photographer, a great place to capture nice photos is checking out the little art district that is located just north of downtown. This area has a very industrial vibe with a bodega on the corner and artist lofts that make you feel you just stepped right out of New York’s Brooklyn burrow. Finally you should end the day by heading out to Houston’s 77 degree roof top bar. This place is excellent and has that Miami Caribbean atmosphere.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Honestly my shout out first goes to God, for blessing me with my talents, I hope that I continue to use my God-given talents to bless others. Secondly my friends and family for being my support and encouragers. Days when I second guess myself, my friends are there to encourage me about my talents.

Website: www.crystalsmileyphotography.com
Instagram: crystalsmileyphotography

Image Credits
Models: Loribel Peguero, TiaRose Pezzani, Annie Lara, Linda Fuentes, Elan Noir Modeling Agency Models: Saline and Aniefiok