I came across Liz Smith on Instagram and fell in love instantly with her creativity! Little did I know that she is a Des Moines photographer. Learn more about her best parenting advice, her business and give her a follow!
Des Moines Parent Spotlight: Liz Smith
Give us a little background on your family and personal life! How many kids do you have? Have you lived in Des Moines all your life?
My husband and I moved to Des Moines the month before we got married, just after college graduation. We’ve been here a dozen years and counting! We have a son, Crew, who will soon be five and a daughter due in the spring.
What is your business, and what do you do?
I own ClickSmith Photography, which just celebrated its sixth birthday. To date, I’m proud to say I’ve shot with hundreds of families in the Des Moines area and I love that no two sessions ever go quite the same. It’s work that has never felt like WORK and I’m blessed with clients who show up ready to love on each other and trust me to capture that.
Why did you become a small business owner?
I wish I could say I started with big business dreams and a solid business plan, but the truth was I just loved the art of photographing and the people connection piece that comes with shooting families, in particular. Being allowed into a family’s more significant life moments and memories is no slight thing and I’m always honored to be asked to be a part of it. I’ve had the privilege of photographing in hospital rooms with hours-old babies as they meet their big siblings, crying with couples shooting a maternity session after years of infertility, and watching families I’ve come to know so well grow year after year as they update their family photos. There’s so much heartwork in photographing and I wanted to do as much of this as possible. So I began to photograph sessions for friends, then their friends and things grew from there.
Where is your favorite place to take your children to play indoors?
Some days we need a real energy burn, and others we simply need to get out of the house! Depending on which, we seem to do a regular rotation between the Valley Community Center, Backyard Adventures, and the incredible libraries we’re lucky to have in this community. The Science Center and the Zoo rank high for us as well!
Where is your favorite place to take your children to play outdoors?
There are SO many cool parks in the Des Moines area (and beyond), but we regularly make our way out to the Brenton Arboretum and the NatureScape out there. My son could dig, build, and climb there for hours (and yes, it’s a great backdrop for me to grab a few photos!) 🙂
Parent’s day/night out. Describe your perfect parent only day/night out in Des Moines.
My husband and I really prioritize our date nights and without any family in town, babysitters are a very real line item on our budget! We like to see a movie now and then, but tend to head downtown for dinner and drinks, and uninterrupted conversation! Bubba is a frequent haunt for us, and we’re also big fans of Aposto. Every once in awhile we take advantage of Crew being in daycare and grab a breakfast date – always a toss-up between La Mie or St. Kilda. As I’m writing this, I realize that clearly our dates revolve around good food – ha!
What are some tips on juggling parenthood, working, and personal life?
While my son does attend daycare/preschool part-time, it’s only a few hours a week, so juggling shooting and editing can get tricky. There are many nights Crew goes to sleep and my husband and I can both be found in our shared office, working away (often with a glass of wine!). It’s a more relaxed pace in the evenings, but we’re still productive.
When one of us is overwhelmed with the workload, I think we’ve struck a good balance of saying, “Hey, I just need a couple of hours to get caught up and be available – can you run point for a bit?”
What is your number one parenting tip?
For us, we’ve always talked to Crew like he’s a real person, an equal in our family. We don’t dumb stuff down, and we give him space to be heard, even if it’s to make an argument he won’t win. This doesn’t mean he doesn’t have rules or hear the word “no”, but I do think he’s a pretty chill and agreeable kid in part because we always take the time to explain the sticky stuff instead of simply dictating (like WHY he can’t do something he wants to do, or WHY we’re in a disagreement about something). We also try to make space for him to share his views, and I believe that’s created a family dynamic based on respect that has steered us clear of the tantrums or major attitude you might see at his age level (so far!).