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Inspiring Conversations with Sybil Smith of Copper Tree Photo

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sybil Smith. 

Hi Sybil, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
My story starts with looking through my grandmother’s wedding photos from 1960. I would sit next to her and ask her about the images. She would share stories about the day, a soft smile across her face as she reminisced. As we looked through them, I found myself wondering about certain details of the day; only having her stories to rely on. There were no images of such important details like the dress, shoes, and jewelry she carefully chose. The invitation suite, the cake, the flowers, were nowhere to be seen. I asked, ‘Grandma, where are these pictures? Did you lose them?’ … She explained that when she got married, they didn’t prioritize hiring a professional photographer. The only proof of their day came from the few snapshots taken by a guest with a wind-up, disposable, camera they purchased at a drugstore nearby. Bad angles, worse lighting. I am sure they put heart into it but it just couldn’t compare to what a professional could’ve provided. I couldn’t believe this!! I wanted her to have the gallery of her dreams to look back on but that time was over. I became curious and asked to see my own Mothers’ gallery when she married my dad. Same story!! I had no idea the seeds of my future career were being planted as I sat there going through that small stack of images they’d managed to hold on to after all those years… 

Somewhere between there, and early college, when a close friend asked me to photograph their wedding on a whim, is when I discovered the thrill of capturing every little detail of their day! Since then, sincerely, that thrill has never stopped. It is with extreme enthusiasm that I approach my clients’ weddings’. I am fully invested in documenting every last choice they made leading up to their walk down the aisle. Honestly, when I arrive at a wedding, it’s obvious! I bring with me joyful, lively, encouraging, energy that lasts the whole time I’m there. People often ask me how I keep this spirit up all day and I always say the same thing, ‘This is oxygen to me!! When I’m shooting, I feel most alive!’ 

I’m fully aware of the fact that the moments unfolding in front of my camera are fleeting and it’s with great honor that I press that shutter-release button every time. I have built a career, and a business, around capturing the joy of two people completely in love with each other. My images are cheerful, timeless, and intimate with a fresh, editorial flair. My mission is to give your love story the portrait experience it deserves! If you want to read more about my ‘why’, and my heart for this business, along with a portfolio that makes me beam with pride, head over to my website. While you’re there, be sure to reach out to me if you’re ready to collaborate on the gallery of your dreams!! One that you can sit with your grandchild and have plenty of ‘proof’ of how incredibly happy you both were on that day! 

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I don’t know of any successful person, in any field, that hasn’t faced a few road bumps along the way. Being an entrepreneur takes all the ‘P’s’: Practice, Perseverance, Patience, and so much Passion! But something happens along the journey of building a successful business. You learn so much about your ability to press on in what continuously feels like uncharted waters. You have to be crafty, clever, and re-inventive. Did I mention patient before?! 

But, through it all, possibly the best thing happens… When you reach plateaus in your business, you feel one of the best feelings of all: Pride. And that’s worth all of it! 

We’ve been impressed with Copper Tree Photo, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I specialize in creating fresh, cheerful, timeless, portraits with an editorial flair. My entire intention for your portrait session is to showcase how incredibly beautiful and joyful you look during the happiest time of your lives. I want to showcase your unique beauty while providing legacy portraits you can cherish for years to come. I’m known for my bright, true-color, crisp images with subjects that appear to be effortlessly posed and in the moment with each other. I always say, ‘Don’t fight those joyful, nose-wrinkled, giggles and kisses!’ because I love when you see an image that you almost feel like you can *hear*! What sets me apart from others is that I am always only competing with myself. I don’t get caught up on trends, or what others in my industry are doing. That takes too much energy away from my clients. I believe that timeless, true-color, images are always in style and will hold up through time. And I say I compete with myself because I want to be a better photographer tomorrow than I am today. I stay competitive with myself so I will be motivated to keep getting better – for you! 

I’m most proud of how my clients feel after I’ve served them. I get misty-eyed reading the reviews of my previous clients because every business decision I make has them in mind. And to hear that I’m doing it right makes all the difference to me! I offer a luxury experience. You can expect lots of time and attention spent with you working out logistics of your portraits, full custom timelines for your wedding day, a full-color 30+ page digital engagement session style guide, and more!! When I say ‘with me you’ll be prepping like a pro’ I truly mean that! Preparation beforehand ensures a more comfortable and relaxed session on the day of. I’m committed to providing you with an incredible experience! 

Any big plans?
My plans for the future include staying put here in Kansas City, MO for several years. Being a transplant here, from Phoenix, has offered me the opportunity to truly fall in love with this community and serving as many love stories as possible! I have wonderful relationships with venues, and other wedding professionals in KCMO and have been embraced whole-heartedly in this market. I will soon be featured in the KC Engaged January 2022 magazine and I can’t wait to own 20 copies of that! I’m at a place in my career where I am attracting my dream clients and they are benefitting from my experience and know-how behind the lens – and that’s a fantastic place to be!! I’m overjoyed and can’t wait to see what the future brings! 


  • Investment begins at $3,500 for full-day wedding coverage and includes a two-hour engagement session!
  • A la Carte portrait sessions begin at $475

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Sybil Smith
Copper Tree Photo

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