Future American President

Who will be the future president?

The 2016 Presidential election season has been filled with interesting twists and turns and it will be interesting to see what happens come November. Who will become our 45th President? Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Bernie Sander, Ted Cruz or one of the other hopefuls? Will ex-New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg jump in the race? 

Last year on Presidents' Day we released the book, Future American President: 50 States * 100 Families * Infinite Dreams, with the goal of inspiring future generations to believe they have endless possibilities. While it's too early for any of the 100 children featured in the book to become president, it isn't too late to inspire every child. This year on Presidents' Day we are releasing the Ebook. To celebrate the release we will have a special bonus. Come join us in celebrating Presidents' Day and as always, dream big!


Join me in posting this image on social media today for the beginning of the I CAN BE campaign. We will have a new image each day for the next two weeks. 

Post the image below on your social media with the hashtag #FutureAmericanPresident.

People from all over the world are taking part in this today and posting the same image and hashtag.

Come join us and lets inspire the world to dream big!


Come celebrate with me on Periscope

For anything amazing to happen in life there has to be a team. To learn how to become a great photographer, you need a team. For a child to grow up and accomplish great things they have to have a team behind them. Team stands for, Together Each Achieves More. 

I am inviting you to join me to become part of the team, to become part of the community that will inspire the next generation to become great. 

You can watch it LIVE on Periscope at 7:30 pm by following me at Matthew_JordanS






What does Vine star Nash Grier have in common with Angela Bassett?

Angela Bassett, Nash Grier, Zendaya Coleman, Boris Kodjoe, Nicole Ari Parker, all have somethign in common, they all have their own copy of Future American President. Now you can have your own special edition version of Future American President too. Starting September 12th, 2015 at 7:30 pm PST, you'll be able to make your very own special edition book with your child on the cover.  


September 12th, 2015

Launch time: 7:30 pm PST

Hosts: Angela Bassett, Nicole Ari Parker, Felicia Henderson and Dr. Pearl Grimes

Watch LIVE on Periscrope!


Caption: Nash Grier with Future American President

Caption: Nash Grier with Future American President

Caption: Angela Bassett with Future American President

Caption: Angela Bassett with Future American President

Caption: Boris Kodjoe and Nicole Ari Parker with Future American President

Caption: Boris Kodjoe and Nicole Ari Parker with Future American President

Caption: Zendaya with Future American President

Caption: Zendaya with Future American President

First TV Press!

Yesterday I was surprised by a late email at the end of the business day. A producer emailed me to say, my friend, Zendaya was doing a talk show on Monday morning and the show wanted 120 Future American Presidents books to give away to the live audience. Zendaya wrote my books foreword, and is one of today's biggest stars.

The Zendaya Foreword in Future American President

The Zendaya Foreword in Future American President


I was surprised  because the time was 4:55 p.m. and I felt it was an impossible request, even if I reached  my publisher. The show wanted the books by Monday morning at 8:00 a.m. which made it even more of a challenge. 

The Zendaya Foreword in Future American President

The Zendaya Foreword in Future American President

After multiple emails back and forth, the show decided to nix the giveaway idea and just focus on promoting the book in other ways. I sent the requested information and the show asked me to come down and be a VIP guest in the audience for Monday's show.

I hope to share a LIVE Periscope broadcast from behind the stage on Monday, along with an interview with Zendaya after the show. To see all the behind the scenes video follow me on Periscope @Matthew_JordanS. Once I have the air date for the show, I will announce the name of the show.

If you're unfamiliar with Periscope, it's a way to broadcast LIVE video from your smartphone. Periscope is owned by Twitter and connects to your twitter account once you have the Periscope app downloaded on your phone.

Have a great weekend and I look forward to seeing you on Periscope this Monday morning at 10:00 a.m.!

Always Dream Big

Proud Nevada

The expression on this little boys face in Nevada speaks volumes. He was the 2nd child photographed for the Future American President project.  

When I approached his family and told them about the project they understood right away how important the project is and what  it could mean for him. They  surrounded him with support as he thought about what he'd do as president and it was wonderful for me to see this first reaction to the project.

Being included in the book is special indeed but now every child will have the chance to be included in the book, by having their image become the cover of the book for the Special Edition version of the book. To receive emails telling you when they will be available and to receive a FREE pdf with tips on how to take better children's pictures, sign up below.

Imagine how happy your child would be with their very own copy of Future American President with their image on the books cover!

Stay tuned for more details soon!


Always Dream Big

Imagine How Your Child Would Feel...

Imagine how your child would feel to have their picture on the cover of a hardcover, book with 99 of their peers? Image if that book could educate and inspire them to dream of endless possibilities?

In less than 60 days you will have the opportunity to join Angela Bassett, Zendaya and others in having a special edition Future American President book.

Details coming all this week!

Special Edition in Tokyo-07966.jpg

To receive an email to alert you when the special Edition book launch, and to receive our FREE pdf on how to take better children's pictures click the FREE PDF button below.

Always dream big!

Six Little Boys - North Carolina

When I arrived in North Carolina,  I was hoping to find a family that was different from the other families I'd photographed around the country. As I searched for subjects I kept finding families that were similar to others in the book. Just as I was about to give up I spotted two women walking with their children. They appeared to be two mothers with five children. As they walked closer I saw one of the ladies was pregnant with another child on the way.. I decided to approach them and tell them about my project, Future American President.

When I introduced myself and began to share my project, they smiled and thought it was a great idea. As I got to know them I learned only one of the women was a mother and all five children were her's. She loved the idea and called her son's over so I could speak with them and explain the project. The boys agreed to be in the book and I began lining them up for the shoot. 

Before I photographed the family  I asked the mother about her due date. She said "I'm due in two weeks." Then I asked if she knew the sex of her unborn child. She smiled and said, "it's a boy," and we all laughed. That's when I decided on the idea for the board for the kids to hold and we quickly wrote the words, "Our Baby Is The Future President"


Unexpected New York

We never know what surprising events will affect our lives when we wake up and start our day, but every day has the potential to be an incredible day of change.

When I met the family below, they were in New York City on vacation from Texas and none of us had any idea that we'd meet. Once I met them I loved having the chance to speak with them and photograph the entire family.

When I asked the kids to write what they'd do in the future if elected as president, the son knew right away what he'd do and went to work writing down his thoughts. As he wrote, his shy little sister sat right beside him and watched him write every single word. Her focus on her brother was intense and wonderful to experience in person. I won't be surprised if she grows up to do amazing things in her life, and who knows, maybe she will even become a  future American president. 

Always dream big!

New Hampshire - First Presidential Primary

Making a lasting impression on a child isn't easy, but it is part of what I hope Future American President does for the children in this book. 

BTS_New Hampshire-0325.jpg

During the second year of shooting Future American President, I had the idea of signing each of the poster boards and giving them to each child as a memento from the shoot.  Seeing how each child reacted to me signing the boards was great and I hopefully it will give them great memories in the future. 

This location was the perfect spot to photograph a future president and maybe one of these children will make their way back here for their first presidentail primary. 

Cats, Dogs And Future Presidents

The easiest group of states to travel to in a short amount of time is the New England states. Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maine, and Vermont are all very close to each other and after traveling to almost every state in the country I was looking forward to doing less driving.

To start this leg of the journey for Future American President, I flew into Boston and started the process of looking for families. The second family I photographed in Connecticut had two beautiful girls who were filled with energy and excited to show me their unique swing. The first moment I saw the swing I knew it would be the perfect location for a portrait.

While I began taking pictures the younger daughter really starting to have fun on the swing. Soon the family cat and dog came to see what all the excitement was about, and at times, walked into my frame. I was hoping to get both pets in the image, but the cat had other plans.  The shoot went well and afterwards I said goodbye to the family and headed to Boston.

I may have thought the New England leg of my travels would be easier, but I still had Alaska to cover and I was running out of time before kids started back to school. I had no choice but to fly from Boston to Alaska.

As I left the New England states, I thought about all the families I met and wondered if or when I would see them again. I thought about each of the children and imagined how this project will impact their lives in the future. The truth is no one knows, but hopefully this project will help children dream bigger and do more than they ever imagined they could.  

Always Dream Big

Georgia On My Mind

The day I arrived in Atlanta, Georgia it was extremely hot and humid. I was getting used to the intense travel schedule but at times the driving took its toll on me, especially on humid days. I carried a lot of lighting equipment because I wanted Future American President to have a consistent look throughout the book. The best way to achieve a consistent look is to have a consistent visual style and my lighting added that element.  I couldn't control the weather in each state, but I could control the lighting if I used the same lighting recipe throughout the project.

I was getting ready to shoot when I noticed my strobe battery was dead. I'd charged all my batteries before starting this leg of the trip, or so I thought, but when I shot my first test image my lighting pack was dead. I'd packed an extra battery but left it in my rental car thinking I wouldn't need it. The car was parked 15 min. away but I had no choice but to make the trip back and get the spare battery. The battery weights about 15 lbs, but I ran back with it so I wouldn't keep my subjects waiting too long. 

While most of my subjects were random strangers, a select few were people I had a connection with. My subject in Atlanta is the daughter of  two celebrities; The actor Leon and Real Housewives of Atlanta star, Cynthia Bailey.

The day before I left for Atlanta, Zendaya had agreed to write the books foreword and I told this to my subject as we began shooting.. She is a big fan of Zendaya's and was excited to be in a book that included Zendaya

After I finished shooting, Cynthia pulled out her cell phone and starting taking pictures to remember the day. I watched this identical scene take place over and over throughout the country and it always put a smile on my face.

The lesson from this trip was to always take my extra eqipment with me.. I was trying to cut down the weight of my gear, but I learned the hard way that it was better to have everything with me all the time.

Always Dream Big



Invisible Man - New Jersey

Nothing shines as brightly as the smile of a proud parent watching their child in the spotlight. Part of the mission of Future American President is to shine the spotlight on children from as many different ethnic backgrounds as possible because far too often, the picture of the future excludes many.

I recently watched the hilarious Mindy Kaling TV commercial for Nationwide Insurance, which shows a young Indian woman believing she is actually invisible. The sad truth is if you don't see yourself represented you can feel like you're invisible. The day I stopped the family below and asked if I could photograph their son I made every family with roots from the subcontinent visible and part of the future American president conversation. 

There are times when families are very vocal about their feelings in being included in this project, and times when words alone can't express the feelings. This day was one of those times. As I photographed my young subject and asked him what he'd do if he were the president fifty years from now, his parents looked on with overflowing pride. They didn't have to say a word because I knew what the question and photograph meant, and what his image in the book could mean for other children around the world. 

As I packed my gear and prepared to leave, the father came to me and shook my hand and simply said, "thank you," and I knew exactly what he meant.


Always Dream Big

This American Dream

Imagine a photograph having the ability to change a child"s future and change the way they see themselves. Imagine your child on the cover of an inspirational book that has the power to inspire them while teaching them about America, past presidents, and about iconic people from their state.

Coming this fall - Special edition version's of Future American President featuring YOUR child on the front and back cover jacket.

Always Dream Big

How To Fight Your Fear - Lessons from Las Vegas

Sometimes the biggest obstacles we face in life come from ourselves. We have a dream, but we talk ourselves out of it before we even begin because of our fear. This was almost the case when deciding to create Future American President. 

My idea was to travel to every state in America and photograph children as a way to inspire them to dream big. I wanted to help children imagine themselves as the President of the United States by telling them I believe they have the ability to become the president, and then photographing them as a future president. I believe by combining a profound moment with a simple but powerful question, "what would you do if you were the President of the United States 50 years from now.", then this moment could possibly create a spark in a child's life.  Maybe even inspire that child to do great things in the future and become a future American president.

My fear almost stopped me before I even began. The fear part of my idea came from wanting to approach families that I did not know, strangers, and asking them if I can photograph their children. My internal fight with fear had me doubtful about the project one day and excited the next. The first test came in Las Vegas when I approached my first family. The lump in my stomach reminded me of playing sports as a kid. That fear I had right before a game as my stomach was in knots came back as I approached my first family.  With sports, as soon as the game started, the fear (the knot in my stomach) went away as soon as the whistle blew to start the game. It was exactly the same with doing this book project. The first family that I approached in Las Vegas looked at me like I was crazy, (or my fear had me thinking so) but I put all my passion for this project in every single word as I described what I was doing. The family in Las Vegas was a big family, which increased the fear factor, but they surrounded me and listened as I shared my concept. 

To give the families confidence in my ability to make this project come to life, I brought along my first two books, Sepia Dreams and Lost and Found. I also brought along examples of my celebrity work. This helped to let the families know that I was capable of bringing this project to life, and to let them know I wasn't some crazy person with a camera.


 When I finished talking to the first family, they all looked at each other and said, "sure, if he wants to do it", then they turned to their son and asked him if he wanted to be photographed. He must have wondered what in the world was going on, because all of the sudden all the adults were giving him their full attention, and I was on my knees telling him that I believe he has the ability to do great things in life one day, even the ability to become the president one day. 

The next thing I knew I was setting up my Profoto strobe lights, taking light meter readings, (which always makes my subject curious) and giving my six-year-old subject his board to hold. The photo shoot went well and my subject, little Chase, was serious and presidential in his images. As I photographed him, his entire family looked on smiling and taking pictures of the moment. After the 5 minute photo shoot ended, I asked Chase to write down what he would do if he were the President of the United States 50 years from now. He looked up as he held my sharpie and started to think. His family was now beginning to repeat the question, and started to write. His mother helped him but only a little bit, and soon his statement was complete and the project was on its way.

Chase in Las Vegas for Future American President

Chase in Las Vegas for Future American President

Sometimes our fears can get the best of us and talk us out of doing something incredible, like creating that amazing new product, or bringing a life changing idea to life. The road to success is paved with bricks of fear and doubt, but you have to just walk around, walk over or jump over your fear and get on the path to creating the life you want most.

Future American President is now completed and available, but something new and exciting is coming in July, 2015. 

Always Dream Big

The Story Behind the Image_Cover Shoot

When working on a magazine or book project, the cover is one of the most important elements because it is the first thing people see. When I started working on my latest book project, Future American President, I thought long and hard about the image for the cover. I wanted a powerful image that people could see from a distance easily and also a memorable image that would stay in people's minds long after seeing the image.

I spent weeks doing research in Barnes and Noble looking at books at a distance, asking myself which ones stood out from the shelves and what made them work (or in some cases not work.) I came to the conclusion that nothing was more powerful than the image of a single person looking directly at the viewer. Now that I had my idea, I had to find the right subject. 

I photographed a little boy when he was an infant, just a few months old, and I watched him as he became older and saw the effect he had on people, even at a very young age. As a baby he wasn't able to do much, but l created an image that I love and that image hangs on my walls today.

Baby Cloud

Baby Cloud

I felt in my heart this child, who was now seven years old, would make the perfect cover subject, so I contacted his parents, whom are both celebrities, and asked them if I could photograph their son for the cover of my book. They were elated and we set up a time to do the photo shoot.


When I arrived at their house, I told them how important the cover was for this book. They knew about the project from the very beginning and watched as I traveled from state to state. I set up my lights, did my meter readings and started to photograph my young subject. I had the image in about ten minutes and felt great about all the shots, even though I shot very little. After the shoot I was sitting with both parents, when suddenly, the mother says to me, "Matthew, you know I love my son and I think he is very handsome child, but I can't help saying this. As a mother, if I were to walk into a store and see a book titled "Future American President" I may stop and look at it, but if that same book had the picture of a girl on the cover with the words "Future American President" I would stop, take a look and I would definitely buy the book because that IS the future. We've had 44 little boys grow up to become the President of the United States. Your book is about the future and dreams and aspirations of a nation. 


By the time we finished our conversation I knew the mother was right and that I had to continue my search to find the perfect little girl for my books cover.

Cover subject - Future American President

Cover subject - Future American President


Today, I am proud to present the cover image for my book and the story behind it. I am also very excited because in a little over 60 days, on July 6th, 2015 every family in America will have the chance to put their child on the cover of Future American President.


Stay tuned for details or send an email to mjs@matthewjordansmith.com saying you'd like a special edition book featuring your child on the cover. We will send you updates as we launch the special edition versions. 


Always Dream Big

My Big Secret

Many people missed my "big announcement" a week ago on Facebook and Twitter. I will share it a few times this week to ensure the secret gets out. If you missed it, here it is and feel free to share it.

I have held a big secret for two years now. Secrets are hard to hold on to at times, but this one made me smile deep inside my soul. I have told almost everyone I know that I spent two years photographing children from 100 families across America for a project I call Future American President. Well, I did travel to every state in America and it was wonderful to meet strangers in this manner. Yes, Zendaya, the Disney star from Shake It Up, is in the book, and she wrote the books forward. Yes, President Jimmy Carter wrote a special opening note exclusively for the book, and yes, as some of you have guessed, my secret is about a child. The secret I have kept all this time is..................

I have only photographed 99 families for Future American President, not 100 as the book says on the cover. 

My "Big Secret" is  I have saved the last space, the 100th spot, for you and YOUR child. I have saved space for you to have your child on the COVER of my new book, Future AmericanPresident. 

I have made a Youtube video to explain how you can have a custom book that feature your child as the face of Future American President. Please share this link with every parent or grandparent you know - http://bit.ly/SquvzM

Future American President will make a powerful gift for your child this Christmas season for parents and grandparents. Not only will it help to empower your child but it will also help inform as the book is filled with educational elements to keep your child going back to it for years to come. For example, instead of having a traditional table of contents at the start of the book, I have sequenced the book in order of how each state came into the Union, showing children how America was formed. 

They will also learn about past American Presidents and where each was born. In the Presidential map of America, they will be able to quickly learn where each American President was born along with the years each served in office. Future American President is meant to inspire and educate. There are other elements in the new book, which comes out fall of 2014, but you can only pre-order the book with your child on the cover until June 30th, 2014.

Future Presidents Map of America.png

Order your personalized copy of Future American President here: http://igg.me/at/YourChildsCover/x/8035330

Always Dream Big!