London portrait photographer Mat Smith is an independent photographer shooting editorial, commercial, and personal portrait photography. Based in Chiswick, West London, Mat undertakes photography commissions across the UK and beyond.
Mat loves shooting anyone with a story and particularly relishes working with artists, musicians, actors, business leaders, and politicians.
Mat's goal as a portrait photographer is to look past the face we present to capture something deeper. Sometimes this results in creating a bright, eye-catching image, and sometimes a more poetic study of the face. Mat often uses simple lighting setups and uncomplicated poses.
Integral to the process of his work is image editing. Every time the shutter is released during a shoot, Mat is considering the visual possibilities of what happens later in the editing suite. Although always striving for the perfect confluence of backdrop, lighting, pose, and expression during the shoot, Mat has an instinct for seeing past those technical obstacles that may be overcome later, in pursuit of spotting hidden secrets that can only be conjured in the moment.
Mat Smith. Portrait Photography & Image Creation. London.
Jul-Aug 2018 - now fully booked. Taking bookings for September 2018.
The Two Hour Portrait
Business & pleasure. LinkedIn, promo, and personals. Arresting images or natural shots. We shoot in the subject's natural habitat; in your apartment or place of work, not a studio. You'd be amazed by the results we can get with clever use of mobile lighting.
The Pop-Up Studio
A photo booth with a difference. High-energy, personality-filled, and classy. It's a manned photo booth, prints for the guests and digitals for you. We shun tacky props and go all-out to capture your wedding or event guests looking gorgeous. The perfect memento from your celebration.
Many weddings require a careful "documentary" approach. This is our default mode of working, but we relish the opportunity to work with clients who allow us space to get a little creative. This way we can come up with some stunning artistic shots from your big day.
The Corporate Headshot
Bringing life to your company's headshots. Staff headshots, executive board photos, corporate events, annual reports. We'll even match the style of your existing shots. Plus colleagues can choose their favourites from a gallery for high-end retouching.
The Music Ensemble
Mat is a music grad. We love working with musos and artists. Band photos. Classical ensembles. Staged, natural, or live in session. Great for programme notes, album covers, or promotional material.
Lifestyle portrait sessions take-on a different tone. We may use an art director to achieve a particular style, or simply shoot in a far more relaxed session based around drinks and long chats.
The School Prospectus
Engaging staff portraits. Fresh marketing visuals. Vibrant lifestyle photography of school events. Our high-energy and sensitive approach works wonders with teachers and kids. We provide coverage from a day to a week onsite.
The Family Portrait
Working to a single brief: bringing out the best in your family relationships. Capturing the sarcasm of teens, the joy of your newborn, or the romance of a silver wedding.
The Image Editing
Each and every photo you choose is meticulously checked and edited. We consider the editing process an integral part of all our photo shoots. But we also take-on image processing and editing work as a separate, standalone service too.
Comments from Clients
Nat & Ivan's Wedding, 2011
Mat's photography of our wedding was personal and beautiful. He understood exactly what we wanted to remember and capture; places, people, and emotions. We couldn't have wished for a better photographer and our memories will now always look fabulous. Thanks Mat.
Cheryl Frances-Hoad, BASCA award-winning composer, Oct 2010
Mat puts you totally at ease, and is an expert at directing you so you look as fabulous as possible. I was super-relaxed the whole photo shoot, and have a great selection of photos to show for it.
Jackie, Personal Portrait, Aug 2012
I really like the final versions, which is amazing because I've never seen a photo of me that I actually like before! You are clearly a miracle worker.
Brian, Personal Portrait, 2015
Thank you for turning what I thought was going to be a nightmare, into something enjoyable.
Rikke, Personal Portrait, 2015
By the way, I am so happy that I had my photo taken by you...
Stephanie and Gill, School Shoot, Oct 2014
Thank you for making the impossible possible during our photo shoot on Monday; your professionalism energy and talent was awe-inspiring! Love and best wishes.
Rachel, TeachFirst, Marketing images 2015
They all look fantastic and I also really appreciate the time you took to show some of the edits you were making – it’s really interesting to see all the additional work that you’ve done to improve the images and makes us appreciate them even more.
Victoria, Opera singer, 2015
Just wanted to say a big thank you again for my lovely pics. I've just updated my profile pic with one of them and have had nearly 250 likes in 24 hours - and lots of lovely comments. They look great on the website too. Please thank the team for all their help on the day.
Get in touch for 2018 pricing
Detailed Information About Mat's London Portrait Photography Business
For People Who Like Reading Blurbs
Some example styles of photography that Mat provides are as follows:
Studio photography in the home; shots with a stark black background and poetic feel. All the shots you see on this site are set up in the client's home, even the ones that look like they were in a studio.
Beautifully lit portraits with natural backdrops such as ivy, textures like stone and interesting brick. For a given scene we aim to capture shots with perfect symmetry and with an eye to a vanishing point, to provide maximum choice when it comes to proofing.
Office-based portraits that serve two purposes; provide a consistent look and feel across all employees whilst bringing out the personality of each person in front of the lens.
High-end Linked-In photos: plain shots in super high definition that are lit well and look fabulous in black and white if you choose. Although they work great for Linked-In, these photos could also be used at their full resolution and used for marketing materials later if required.
Is Mat the best portrait photographer in London? That would be quite some claim. Perhaps a more sensible question might be, "does Mat run the best portrait photography company in London?" One reason for his success is that Mat is focused on delivering an excellent result for his clients. This sounds like a terribly inert marketing statement, but it really translates when the deliverable is such a visual / subjective thing. Portrait Photography - at least the kind we do for our clients - is 40% art, 40% skill, and 20% business management.
A Typical Week For Us
A typical week for us looks like this. Three or four individual portrait photography shoots in London where we head to people's homes in various localities. In reality, although these are mostly only two hour shoots, London being London we can't fit more than two of these in a given day. Sometimes, only one. So these individual portrait sessions can take up 2 or 3 days of the week. Such days, depending on the workload, we usually find a speciality coffee house nearby and relax with a V60 filter coffee, enjoy the surroundings, or scout for new locations and do a little networking. If we wasted a long afternoon in such a manner, Mat will then work into the evening on editing assignments for other clients.
For the remaining days, Mat either takes on larger commissions such as corporate photography or editorial work, or is chained to the editing desk. We can easily spend two whole days in editing for a given week. Yes - days. It's hard as a client to understand that a lot of the work you pay for goes on behind the scenes. We aim to stick to a 5-day week like most of the rest of the working world, but this very rarely happens (like the rest of the working world?), and we often find ourselves shooting on Saturdays and Sundays, if not working through a backlog of editing that got out of hand as we tried to fit too much in. Those freelancers reading this blurb will understand that you often must take work when you are a bit too busy and try to even-out the gaps at other times when there isn't so much work, by spreading the load. As such we do specify to all our clients that there is a two week lead time for receiving deliverables, unless otherwise agreed. We can often subvert this on request, but this is our general rule, as it allows our business to be sustainable.
The Places We Work
Here's some information about the localities in which we work. Chiswick is great for portrait photography and it's where we are based. So many beautiful backdrop locations here: Ravenscourt Park (I have some special places in the park I like to shoot where the light dances around and can be captured by a reflector), the many places along the river which works great for sunset portraits, the gorgeous brickwork in some of the conservation areas, the numerous parks and green areas, fashionable cafes, and more. Portrait photography in Barnes is lovely too, there are some great photo options along the towpath in Barnes and of course we have shot some gorgeous family portraits in the river homes and green spaces in Barnes. We shoot a lot of portrait photography in Westminster, generally for legal and political professionals. We've had commissions for a handful of MPs over the years and relish working with such individuals. Mat is more interested in the political process than in the end result, so is generally fascinated and inspired by politicians of all persuasions. More often, however, the portrait photography we shoot in Westminster is for legal professionals; private commissions, photography commissions for magazines or journals. At time of writing (August 2017), recent photography sessions in Westminster have included Lord Dyson, Baroness Hale the new Supreme Court President, and a firm of retired judges, to name a few. Here are some other places in which we regularly undertake portrait photography for professionals: Camden, Hampstead, Richmond, Brompton, Fulham, Mayfair (although usually for visitors to the country), City of London, Borough. We often plan shoots in other London places that Mat finds special, and we are often found pointing the camera in a particular direction at Barbican (oh, the architecture! Not to everyone's taste but makes for stunning urban portraiture) or at various special points along the River Thames.
As a general rule we don't undertake personal portraiture outside of the M25, but our corporate and editorial commissions take us much further afield. We often receive assignments to shoot at multiple locations in the UK as it's easier for a client to hire one photographer on whom they can rely, and pay the additional expense of travelling, than to attempt to manage multiple contracts with multiple photographers. We have worked with a few clients who have attempted this before, and we have edited-up other photographer's photos and consoled the client when their Leed's-based photographer has not shown up, or their Oxford-based photographer turned out to be an amateur posing as a professional and they missed the vital shots.*
* For the sake of balance, this particular client found an excellent portrait photographer in Manchester whose work I can highly recommend!
Mat was born in London and has lived here for most of his life. Combine this with his curiosity for life and desire to find visual interest in everything he sees, and you should get a good idea about why Mat is a portrait photographer in London who knows the scene!
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Now you know how we work, if you have any other questions we'd love to hear from you. Just email mat on [email protected] or scroll upwards from here to use our contact form to get pricing for your London portrait photography shoot! Thanks for reading!