Editors Note: There are few things as intimidating as photographing a pro photographer. David Smith, freelance photographer from Grain Valley, is captured at left by our amateur lens. To view the professional quality photos Smith captures around town, check out his work at MaxPreps.com, follow him on Twitter (@DSmithPhotog), or check out his website at davidsmithphotography.zenfolio.com.
Photo credit: Valley News staff
Valley News recently caught up with Grain Valley resident David Smith before a girls basketball game at Blue Springs High School. Smith can be found around town capturing many exhilarating moments in prep and college sports.
Smith moved to Grain Valley with his wife in 2003. He began with the Missouri Highway Patrol in 1983, and moved all over the state with the job, including stops in Rockport, Mound City, Tarkio, St. Joseph, Jefferson City, and Lee’s Summit.
Smith credits his wife with getting him into his current profession.
“When I married my wife, she was kind of a photo bug, and she got me interested. She had some nephews who were younger than my two boys, and they were into a lot of sports.
She wanted help in taking sports pictures. Helping her got me interested, and I slowly started accumulating photography equipment,” Smith said.
“My oldest son ran track, and my youngest son played football at St. Joseph Central. I was able to take photos of them, and hang out on the sidelines. That was special, and it really got me hooked.”
The self-taught shutterbug honed his skills and landed a job as a freelance photographer for CBS Sports Max Preps in 2015. Smith also does freelance work with other media outlets, including 810 Varsity.
“I love being at the sporting events. The emotion, the intensity of the athletes. The challenge of trying to capture the perfect photo of that peak moment. When you get that perfect image, it’s just very satisfying. Sometimes when I see the parents of the athletes who may have purchased one of the images I’ve captured, and they comment about how much they enjoy it, it’s just gratifying.”
Sports photography pales in comparison to the dangers faced as a Highway Patrolman, but it is not without its hazards.
“You have to have your head on a swivel, and pay attention to what’s going on around you. You don’t ever want to be part of the contest,” Smith said.
“I’ve had a lot of close calls, but I’ve avoided anything serious.”
Smith values the relationships he has been able to make with players, coaches, and athletic directors in the area.
“I’ve met a lot of great people. It’s just amazing to me the level of talent we have in this area, and it’s fun to watch these athletes knowing that we’ll see some of them play at the college level and at the professional level.”
When he’s not on the sidelines, Smith enjoys reading and spending time with his two granddaughters.
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