Future President

Presidents' Day Special Bonus_Zendaya Edition

Wow, I can't believe it's been a year since the Future American President book was first released with a foreword by Zendaya. To celebrate, we are releasing the eBook with two amazing bonuses. The first bonus is "5 secrets for taking great pictures of children" and the 2nd bonus, and this one is REALLY special, is a complete behind-the-scenes pdf of the making of Future American President. To make it ever better, it features behind the scenes images of the shoot with Zendaya as well.

The eBook with the bonuses is only available until midnight at the introductory price of $15! After midnight the price will increase to $20, so get your copy today!

Order online at FUTURE AMERICAN PRESIDENT

Oh, and by the way, tonight during the Grammy's Cover Girl will announce their new face who is none other than our amazing ZENDAYA!

Happy Presidents' Day!

Always dream big


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!

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

 

FUTURE AMERICAN DREAM

ON 

KICKSTARTER.COM

A PERSONAL WAY TO INSPIRE YOUR CHILD


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.  

KICKSTARTER ONLY!  under FUTURE AMERICAN DREAM

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


Parents, Kids And The Ultimate Selfie

Why are selfie's so popular? I believe the reason is because it makes us feel good, regardless of age.

When a child looks at a picture of themselves it has an even deeper effect. What if we could take a photograph of a child and exponentially increase its power to positively affect a child's self-image.

What if the image of a child could be used to empower them to believe they can accomplish anything in life while teaching them about America, past presidents and iconic people from their state at the same time?

On September 15, 2015 at 9:00 a.m. PST we will launch the FUTURE AMERICAN DREAM project on KICKSTARTER, giving every parent the opportunity to make a "special edition" book with their child's picture on the cover of Future American President.  To receive an alert via email please click here.

IMG_8912.JPG

 

The effect of having a child on the cover of a book titled "Future American President, also has a profound impact on parents and grandparents too. Imagine how you'd feel to see your child featured on eyour very own special edition version of Future American President.

We also have a few NEW surprises in store...but we are keeping those tightly wrapped under lock and key. 

To learn more about how your child can have their very own special edition book click here. To get a sneak peak into our BIG SECRET. click here.

 

Always dream big,

Matthew

I'd Like To Tell You A Story

It was a day like any other day in Omaha, Nebraska. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, and seven-year-old Brayden, and his five-year-old brother Kaegan, were enjoying the start of a beautiful summer day. The redhead brothers were excited because their mother was taking them to Gateway To The Wild at the Henry Doorly Zoo, which is considered one of the world's best.

Both brothers dressed in a plaid button down shirt, shorts and sneakers. Brayden’s sneakers were a bright green color while Kaegan’s had a mix of black and green. Both brothers were ready for this special day and made sure to bring their sunglasses, because today, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.

The zoo parking lot was packed and finding an empty spot took some time, but their mother found an open space and after she parked the boys rushed out of the car toward the zoo. As the family started walking toward the zoo entrance a tall, bald, African-American man approached their mother and asked her a simple question; "Do you think your son's have the ability to become the president one day?" The man carried an Ipad filled with images of other children from around the county who parents were asked the same question. As he spoke he showed her the pictures and explained that he was traveling to every state in America with the goal of photographing 100 kids and asking them what they would do in the future as the president of the United States. The boys had no idea at first what the conversation was about, but the mother knew right away this was important and asked her two boys if they wanted to be a part of the project the man spoke of.

At first, Brayden, who was very excited to enter the zoo, was hesitant, but his mother pulled him to the side and explained how this was something that could have a huge impact on both he and his brother’s life. Moment’s later, Brayden and Kaegan were being introduced to Matthew Jordan Smith, the man with the ipad who is the creator of the Future American President project. Matthew explained the project and ask them to think what they would do in the future, 50 years from now if they become the president of the United States.

While the brothers thought about the question Matthew prepared to photograph them and promised it would only take three to five minutes to complete. Both brothers wanted to wear their cool sunglasses, but the photograph would be stronger without them. Sensing that both brothers loved wearing their sunglasses, Matthew asked them to take their sunglasses off and hang them inside the collar of their shirts. He gave them a sign to hold which read, “Nebraska, Possibilities …Endless – Future President.”

 

The brothers had great smiles and in no time at all, Matthew had great photographs. After the photo session, both brother thought hard about the presidential question and decided to collaborate on their answer. They stood together and wrote their statement as mom looked on. Afterwards, Matthew thanked the family and wished them well as they left to enjoy a day at the zoo.

 

Brayden and Kaegan are like many children growing up today in Nebraska and like Warren Buffet, Fred Astaire, and other great Nebraskans, they have someone who believes they have the ability to do great things in life. If you'd like to learn how your child can be inspired through this book sign up with your email address below.  For joining us you'll receive a FREE PDF with 5 secrets to taking great children's pictures.



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

Lost In Oregon

Lost In Oregon

 

I have always wanted to drive from Los Angeles to Oregon. I have heard how beautiful the drive is and I was looking forward to making the journey for the Future American President project. However, as life would have it, I didn’t have the time to do the drive from Los Angeles to Oregon. The end of the summer was approaching and kids were going back to school soon, so I flew to Seattle, Washington, rented a car and drove down to Oregon.

The movie, The Goonies, was popular when I was growing up and one location in the movie stood out as a great location for a photo shoot. I set my Google maps app on my phone to Cannon Beach, Oregon and started the drive.

I wanted to photograph two families in Oregon and hoped I’d meet the right families during my drive. I stopped from time to time at different locations and at one point found a popular waterfall attraction. While there, I admired the different post cards with incredible scenic views throughout Oregon and purchased one that caught my eye. The location was stunning and I wondered if I could find this location. I looked on the post card and tried to see if it was on my way but it would take me off my course by a couple of hours. I decided to give it a shot and try to find this beautiful location and prayed I’d meet a family there as well.

Two hours later I arrived at the location I thought might be the place in the post card but found it was not. I drove around and found myself lost in Oregon, but lost in the most amazingly beautiful neighborhood I could imagine. The views were incredible in every direction, so I felt I must be in close. After driving around for a while I decided to stop and ask for directions, someone I rarely do. Normally, I’d never stop at a house and ask for directions but there was no gas station to be found for miles.

I pulled into a driveway when I saw a woman off in the distance, and asked her for directions. She gave me general directions and as I was about to leave she inquired what I was looking for in particular. I showed her the postcard and she said, “This could have been taken from many places around here, even from my vineyard.” I hadn’t noticed before but as I looked up the hill, there was a massive vineyard with beautiful Mt. Hood in the background. The view was stunning. She asked why I was looking for that particular location and I explained that I was a photographer working on a project and I hoped to find a family  at this park to photograph with this wonderful location in the background. She said, the view wasn’t a park as I had hoped and that she doubted families went there. It was just an amazing view but the view could be seen from many locations. Then she asked if I had examples of my project. I pulled out my iPad to show Future American President and the different children from around the country. She loved the project and said, “I know of a family with a beautiful daughter and I think she’s future president material. Would you like me to contact them? If you like, you can photograph her here”. As I looked around her views were amazing. I said yes, if they were available. She called her friend and left a voicemail message when no one picked up, then offered to show me the grounds until her friend called back. As she started to walk me around the vineyard, a little girl came out of the house and ran to her. I could tell after a while the little girl suffered from a slight disability and I asked the woman if the child was her daughter? When she said yes, I said, if you don’t mind, I’d like to photograph your daughter for the book. Her eyes started to tear and she said, “Well, I’m not sure if you’ve noticed but my daughter has a disability.” I said, “actually, that is why I’d like to include your daughter in this book, so other children with disabilities feel included.” I told her about the other children with disabilities included in Future American President, and her expression is one that I will never forget. She said “I’d be honored to have my daughter in your book.” Moments later I was setting up my strobe light and looking for the right location to create a powerful image.

Oregon BTS-5948.jpg


After the photo shoot, she asked where I was staying. When she learned I was hours away, she said she and her husband have a guesthouse on the property and that I could stay there. She showed me the guesthouse, which was ten times larger and a thousand times more beautiful than the hotel I was staying in, but all my luggage was back at the hotel and closer to my final destination. I reluctantly declined but told her thank you and that I wished I could stay with them that evening. We spoke for a while longer and I learned they had just sold their home and vineyard and where moving to a place with less rain. After talking with both the mother and father, who’d just returned home, I said my goodbyes and wished them well during their move.

As I drove away I wished I could have stayed longer with them but I was thankful to be able to connect and include their daughter in Future American President.


Always Dream Big 

You Are Not Alone – The California Story

Have you ever felt like you were the only person in the world going through a difficult time? Just the feeling of thinking you are the only one dealing with your problem can make it harder to deal with.

During the making of Future American President, it was important to find children with disabilities, but finding children on the road would be challenging. I know a family in California with a disabled child and asked if I could include their daughter in the book. I didn’t want her to be the only child in the book with a disability so I sought to find others.

I shared my vision of including other children with disabilities with friends, and a buddy told me he knew a woman whose child suffered from a disability, but he wasn’t sure about the specifics of her condition. I asked if I could speak with the mother and my friend made the introduction. The first time I spoke on the phone with the mother she was curious about the project and told me she would like for me to meet her daughter first. We made an appointment and a week later I was knocking on their front door.

I was greeted at the door by the child’s grandmother, who welcomed me into their home and spoke at length about my project. Twenty minutes later I was introduced to the mother and learned more about her daughter. As she shared information she explained that her daughter has been in a wheelchair all her life. The more she spoke the more my interest grew in meeting and speaking with her ten-year-old daughter. After about 45 minutes, I still had no idea about her daughter’s particular disability, and then, she told me.

When the mother first mentioned her daughter’s disability I couldn’t believe my ears, but then she shared something that really threw me. She said her daughter feels like she is the only child in the world dealing with her disability. In that moment, I knew God had led me to meet this little girl.

Her daughter has Spina Bifida, a birth defect that affects the spine and is preventable by taking folic acid before and during the first three months of pregnancy. I was shocked to learn of  her daughter’s disability because the first child I photographed with a disability also has Spina Bifida.

Now it was time to meet her daughter. The first moment we met I loved her energy and zest for life. She talked with me for a while and seemed wise beyond her years. She was beautiful, intelligent and strong willed, the perfect combination of qualities necessary to become a future leader. As we spoke, she told me she feels like she is the only child suffering from Spina Bifida, even though she knew there were others somewhere. I told her I knew of another little girl with Spina Bifida and that she too, is included in the book. She was surprised, so I asked her if she’d like to meet the other little girl. She said yes, and I promised I would speak with the other child’s parents and see what I could arrange. Before I left, I shared the story about one past American president who lead the country from his wheelchair, and explained to her that she could do anything in her life if she just believed it was possible. We set up a date to do the photo shoot and I called the other parents as soon as I left to see if they were available to meet my newfound friend.

 

On the day of the photo shoot the other parents met me at the shoot location with their daughter and both girls had a chance to meet, and I photographed them together to remember the moment. The connection for everyone involved was wonderful because the first parents have a foundation that helps children suffering from Spina Bifida and were able to give useful information to my latest subjects mother.

 

I left this photo shoot feeling intense emotions because my new friend now knows she isn’t suffering by herself. What I didn’t know is that my journey would lead me to meet another child in Tennessee months later who also has Spina Bifida, but even that wouldn’t be the last child with a disability included in the book.


Always Dream Big

A Military Family In The District of Columbia

What are two things Duke Ellington, Al Gore and Bill Nye have in common? All were born in the District of Columbia, and all are featured on page 56 in Future American President.

During the process of driving from state to state to make Future American President, I had a lot of time to think about ways to make this project stronger. One idea that came to mind was to include iconic people from each state, so children can learn about other great American's from their state. In the coming days we will release the digital version of Future American President, and each spread includes likes to all of the iconic figures throughout the book, along with links with information on each of our 44 presidents. Children will be able to learn about great people from their state and all the presidents by simply clicking on the link. Everyone from Zendaya and Misty Copeland to John Sheehan, Selena Gomez, Mary Lou Retton, Florence Sabin and many more.

The family featured in the District of Columbia spread, are like many military families in America with one exception; Both mother and father have served in the military and the father is still in active military service. I loved photographing this family and being able to highlight them in the book. I learned a lot from the mother, who taught me a lot about social media and hosted my first Twitter chat ever. 

Stay tuned for the release of the digital version, coming in a few days!

 

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"

 


Massachusetts, Harvard and Future Presidents

The first two images below are outtakes from my shoot in Boston for Future American President. The day I photographed these images it was brutally hot, but my subject was cool and composed. I'd just come back from Beijing and after recovering from my jet lag, I set out to continue working on the book in the New England states.

Throughout the making of the book I wanted to find children who spoke in other languages, and thanks to the  Boys and Girls Clubs of America, I was able to find a subject who spoke Mandarin that was born in the United States.

Photographed at F 22.0 @ 1/125th

Photographed at F 22.0 @ 1/125th

 

To light the image, I  took a reading of the sunlight on my subject using a handheld light meter. The exposure read F16.0 at 1/125th. The lighting was harsh and not exactly the most flattering of conditions for a great photograph. To get the picture I wanted I needed to overpower the sun, so I set my strobe light to read F22.0 at 1/125th. One stop more than the sunlight reading. This allowed me to create an image with flattering light on my subject, and to have a better background. By shooting with strobe lights I was albe to drop my background exposure down to get richer colors in the image. If I were to increase my shutter speed from 1/125 to say 1/200th,  I would get more dramatic colors in my backgrounds.

An example of shooting at a faster shutter speed can be seen in the image below. Both images are shot in almost the same conditions. One image was shot in Utah and the other in Boston, Mass. but the conditions were the same. Both were photographed during the harsh sunlight hours and gave the same natural light exposure reading. In both images, I overpowered the sun by shooting at F22.0. The only difference is that the shutter speed in the image below was set to 1/200th vs 1/125. Notice how the sky appears to be a richer hue of blue. There are many advantages to shooting with strobe lights on location, and when working on a big project, like a book for example, you want to have a consistent feel throughout all of the images.

Photographed at F22.0 at 1/1200th of a second

Photographed at F22.0 at 1/1200th of a second

Good luck and have fun shooting this week.

Always Dream Big

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

MORE POWERFUL THAN A LEBRON SELFIE

MORE POWERFUL THAN A LEBRON SELFIE

Imagine a child growing up seeing their picture on the cover of an inspirational book. Imagine that book being filled with stories from your child's peers with an introduction by Disney's KC Undercover star, Zendaya

Read More

Memorial Day Traval

Two years ago, on Memorial Day, I was traveling from state to state, working on a book project entitled Future American President. As I drove toward Indianapolis, Indiana I spotted what appeared to be a large group having a holiday barbeque. From the highway I could see tons of cars outside the home and a big green and white tent. For the Future American President project, I approached strangers all over America and asked them if I could photograph their children. As you can imagine, it was a bit scary doing this.

When I first saw the house from the highway I envisioned a large family having a great time together enjoying the holiday. I thought an image of a family spending time together in this way would be powerful and that families all over America would be able to relate to such an image. Something inside me said, go and knock on the door and introduce myself…Then my internal fight started. Part of me wanted to knock on the door and tell them about my project, but then part of me didn’t want to intrude. What if they wanted to be left alone? What if they thought I was some crazy lunatic? Also, lets face it, what if they were scared, (or hated) Black people? This was the internal fight that went on in my head as I drove down the highway. Two miles later, I thought about the words, “you have not, because you ask not.” I turned the car around and drove back to the house.

I truly believe God protects me throughout my travels wherever I go, so I can never really be fearful. The fear is always in your head. As I pulled up to the driveway, my heart was beating a million miles a minuet. It seemed no matter how many times I approached strangers and told them about my project, it didn’t get any easier. I knocked on the door and was greeted by a smiling face who asked, “can I help you?” I introduced myself and started talking about how I saw the family gathering and told her what I was doing. She said, “well it sounds like a great thing you’re doing but you’d have to ask the owners of the house.” Then she invited me in and took me out back where I saw about 30 people having a great time. I was introduced to the couple hosting the gathering and told them about my project and why I decided to stop at their home on Memorial Day. I showed them images on my ipad of other families I’d photographed around the country and they loved the project. Then they said, “well, who would you want to photography because there are a lot of kids here?” I said, how about the youngest child here? The next thing I knew I was being introduced to a young mother with a 7 week-old baby.

Future American President   

Future American President

 

 

Last week, my minister at One Church spoke about audacious living, and defined it as “showing a willingness to take surprisingly bold risks.” He said, “you will never be as great as you can be without taking risks. Creating Future American President is a series of bold risks but I believe in the message of this project. I believe this book has the potential to make a profound impact on children everywhere by seeing themselves in ways they wouldn’t have imagined otherwise.

 

I want to have a stronger impact on children with this project. What if I could include every child in America in the book? Well, my team and I have figured out how to do just that. Very soon every family in the world will have the ability to put their child’s face on the COVER of the FUTURE AMERICAN PRESIDENT book with a special edition version of the book. Imagine your child growing up with their face on the cover of a book that is dedicated to inspiring children to dream big.

Photography notes:

To photograph this image I used Profoto strobe lights to overpower the sun. This image was shot during the middle of the day, when the sun is the most intense. I shot one stop over the daylight reading. The sunlight was reading on F 16.0 @ 1/125th, so i used my Sekonic light meter and adjusted the strobe to read F22.0, which is one stop over the sunlight reading and makes for an image that is dramatic and solves the problem of bad light from midday sun.


Always Dream Big