As an Air Force veteran and military spouse of 19 years, Washington, D.C.-based photographer Trish Alegre-Smith knows the ins and outs of military life and how to best capture it. So much so that the June cover of Military Families Magazine is Alegre-Smith‘s 10th cover for AmeriForce Media, publisher of Military Families Magazine.
Tell us about some of your most challenging jobs as a photographer.
Whenever I have to put group shoots together, those are the most challenging. It’s the reunion and the photoshoot at the same time. Those can be the hardest to do because everyone is just so excited to see each other. You get genuine reactions but it is hard to get everyone’s attention and to get everyone organized for that perfect picture.
What tips and tricks do you use to photograph big groups?
The first thing is planning the shoot ahead of time. For this issue’s cover shoot, I had a rough drawing sketched out of how the setup was going to look. Being a mom and a volunteer who works with children, you get good at “Simon Says.” As a photographer, you do that too. You model the behavior you want the other person to do.
What is your greatest joy as a photographer?
You don’t realize how insecure people can be about their self-image. To the outside observer, they can look gorgeous or handsome but they may not think of themselves that way. So when I nail it — that perfect picture, and I know it when I see it — and I show it to them on the preview screen of my camera, you see the excitement … You can see them going from slightly insecure to utterly confident. That is the feeling that I want everyone to walk away with.
What does it feel like when you see your work in print?
There’s such amazing pride. Not only is my work good enough but someone appreciates the work. It makes you feel really good.
What makes the military spouse community unique?
We recognize each other. We know what we’ve gone through. We know the struggles that we have. We also know where we can find success, however, we define it, whether it’s in our home, in the workplace, or in our creative pursuits. Wherever you land, no matter where you go in the world, you will always find someone who “gets it.”