Annie Smith

What year did you graduate from FPD?


Where did you attend college and what was your major?

I attended Georgia College and State University (Go Bobcats) and received a degree in Mass Communication with a minor in Marketing.

What were you involved in during your time at FPD?

I was on the volleyball and track team at FPD. Also, I was a part of the yearbook staff and did Project Lead.

Are there any specific teachers/coaches that had an impact on you?

A few stand out!  Coach A (Coach Atkinson) taught me to take notes. Still, to this day, I model my meeting notes with clients after the outline he led us through in Honors World History. Stephanie Garrison, my yearbook advisor, helped me tap into my creative skills. Without Coach Ed (Coach Middlebrooks), I would not have passed my college statistics class. Holly Scott had a massive impact on my walk with the Lord. We went on many mission trips together, and she helped me when I wanted to start a fundraiser for Casa Hogar.

What is your favorite FPD memory?

My favorite memory at FPD was our senior year spirit week. I honestly don’t think we won; we might’ve lost, but that was a year when we all came together.

What are you up to now?

Annie photographs a wedding.

Now, I am a wedding, family, and marketing photographer. I have owned my own photography business for the last four years. Working as the Chief Creative Officer for Annie T. Photography, I‘ve worked with brands such as Brew Dr. Kombucha, Visit Nashville, and Georgia Farm Bureau. Capturing over 150 families and 30 weddings over the course of four years. In December of 2022 and 2021, I was voted Best of Georgia in the wedding photography industry.

When did your interest in photography begin?

I first become curious about photography during my sophomore year in college. Working in a local boutique, I helped with their social media and was always taking photos. One day the boutique owner came to me and asked me to capture the fall photoshoot. Of course, I was thrilled, but I was also nervous. I reached out for advice from a photographer and former FPD teacher, Kerinsa Mullins. She gave me a great pep talk and a few simple tips. She connected me with local photographer Jenny Evelyn, and I interned with her in 2016. That is when my love of photography really blossomed.

Tell us a little about how your business, Annie T. Photography, started –

Discovering my passion for photography in college was such a blessing. I never really dared to go full-time in the industry. Once I graduated from Georgia College and State University, I was itching for a job in the strategic communication industry. I landed my first big girl job with a fantastic company in Macon, GA. While I adored my job, I noticed that I was staying up late editing pictures for their social media.

So, in the spring of 2019, I decided to jump headfirst into a new role as Chief Creative Officer for Annie T. Photography. I went from having a steady job to a blank calendar that I needed to fill up. I just hustled my little photographer heart out. It was terrifying but so worth it. I’ve had the honor of seeing my business grow, pivot through a pandemic, and come back stronger than ever.

I think the why behind my business is what sets me a part. The why behind my business is entirely wrapped up in the name of my business. You might’ve noticed that my business’s name is Annie T. Photography, but my actual name is Anna. Now let me explain before you get confused and start questioning if I am having an identity crisis. Annie is a childhood nickname given to me by my parents and family. Growing up they were the only ones who called me Annie. It was a sweet nickname. Once I went to college my best friends heard the nickname and it just stuck. It has slowly snowballed into my name. I still have a group of people who call me Anna and that’s okay. I mean goodness that is the name my mother picked out after all.

But Annie is slowly taking over!

It’s a nickname that means we are automatically best friends. It breaks down the barriers of awkward first hellos or the judgmental stares of a stranger. Or at least that is my mission. I want clients to feel welcomed into my business and style of doing things. I am letting them into a sacred part of my life by introducing myself as Annie in hopes that they allow me to capture a precious moment in theirs.

What advice would you give a recent graduate looking to start a business?

Pull a Nike and Just Do It. In the best-case scenario, you operate a successful business.  And even if the worst happens, you still learn so much in the process. Many times, we are scared to fail or terrified of what others might think that we never try. If you are thinking about starting a business, then do it. You don’t have to bank your entire financial security on it, start it out as a side hustle then watch it grow!