Timothy Smith – Lens Cap Tim

Timothy is a Chicago-based photographer and musician. For him, the arts have served as a creative outlet to help him abate his depression. Check his story out below.


Say hello to Timothy: 

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Where are you from?  Where have you been?

I’m from Chicago, born and raised! I grew up on the southwest side and moved north after I got married. I love living here; being so close to Lake Michigan is great for inspiration. I’ve been to several states within the U.S. and definitely look forward to visiting other countries in the next few years.


What’s your favorite place in the world?

Sometimes, I head to the lakefront right before the sun rises. There’s this great spot where you can see the entire Chicago skyline. Outside of Chicago, I really loved Boston and NYC.

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What’s on your “bucket list” of ideas to create?

I would definitely love to continue with my water portrait series. It’s one of my most challenging shoots, but also one of the most rewarding. I also want to further my infrared photography.


How would you describe your visual style?

I don’t know that there’s just one way to describe it. I think my visual style is always evolving.


Do you get photographer’s block? If so, how do you overcome that?

I do! To overcome that, I make it a point to take on new and different projects or learn new techniques, which usually inspires me to create new photos.


Your Water Portrait series is extraordinary – tell us about that project.

That photo series was one my most challenging, which is why I think I love it so much. It took a bit of time to find models and location was also an issue, because I usually shoot portraits in two locations, and neither included a bathtub.

When it finally came together, it was one of the most rewarding shoots I’ve ever worked on, and I’m really happy with how the project has turned out. It was also a lot of fun!

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Tell us about your career.  How did you get into it?

I’ve been interested in photography for a long time. When I was a kid, my parents were both involved in the photography field, and I remember hanging out in the darkroom. I got one of my dad’s old Nikon N2000 (with a 28-80mm kit lens) cameras when I was a teenager and that’s where it all started.


What types of photography do you do?  What’s your favorite?

I do portraits, landscapes, abstract, commercial…I like to challenge myself. My favorite right now? Infrared landscapes.

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What has been your biggest setback as a photographer?

Developing an addiction to photo gear with limited finances! It taught me to be resourceful, and I realized it’s not just about the gear you use; it’s about what you bring to the table as well.


What are your three favorite photos you’ve taken?

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This portrait is from a recent shoot. It was great working with a fellow creative artist and coming up with ideas on the spot.

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This photo was taken a couple of years ago during Polar Vortex winter in Chicago. It was about -15 degrees and I was freezing cold, but it was worth it.

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This is a photo of some buildings in downtown Chicago. I was having fun experimenting with a new ultra-wide lens.

What’s the best advice you can think of for someone just starting in photography?

Explore! Try different styles and techniques. Also, if you like someone’s work on Instagram or other sites, let them know and ask questions!


What was your most memorable photoshoot?

One of my most memorable shoots: I was working with steel wool for some photos, and ended up accidentally burning and scratching the front element of my lens. The walk home from that shoot was a long one, with a lot of cursing involved.

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If you could photograph anywhere in the world, where would it be?

I would love to shoot in Kyoto. It would be great to visit during cherry blossom season.


What’s a deal breaker for you when deciding to do a shoot?

If it’s a portrait shoot, comfort levels are important. If there’s no communication or the model doesn’t really seem into it, the shoot won’t work. With landscape, weather can certainly dictate what the shoot will look like (whether it can even happen or not).


What kind of gear do you have?  What’s your favorite?

I currently shoot with a Nikon D750 with a few prime lenses (a 28mm, a 35mm, a 85mm and an ultra-wide 16-35mm F4). I have a couple of speedlights with cactus triggers and a collapsible beauty dish. My favorite is the 35mm because I think it’s the most useful for what I usually shoot.


What’s one post-processing tip you’d like to share with other photographers?

Don’t be heavy-handed with the clarity and contrast when it comes to portraits!


What has photography done for you as a person?  How has it changed you?

My photography has been a great source of comfort and a creative outlet for me. I’ve struggled with depression since I was a teenager, and having that outlet has definitely helped.


Who’s your biggest hero in your life?

My grandpa (Jack Smith). I’ve always been inspired by who he is; he’s very much a do-it-yourself, jack-of-all-trades kind of guy! I used to visit my grandparents a lot when I was a kid and he always taught me to never let anyone tell me what I could or couldn’t do.


What will you be doing five years from now?

Hopefully continuing to evolve and grow as a photographer and artist (I’m also a musician), and dedicating most of my time to the things I’m passionate about.


For anyone who wants to get in touch with Timothy, here’s some contact information:

FStop: Profile

Website: http://lenscaptim.com

Flickr: Profile

Instagram: @lenscaptim

Facebook: Profile

Tumblr: Profile


Thanks so much for interviewing with us, Timothy! We’re looking forward to seeing additions to your Water Portrait series!

If any artists out there want to collaborate with FStop, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

One thought on “Timothy Smith – Lens Cap Tim

  1. Hey Timothy!

    Love the water portraits and glad to hear that photography has also helped you through depression. I’ve got a mission to help more people discover the healing power of photography for depression and anxiety.

    Keep clicking the shutter 🙂

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