Jimi Smith is probably one of the most popular photographers on the planet that you never even heard of. That is of course, you happen to be in the pool industry. In which case, his name is immediately associated with stunning photographs of over the top inground swimming pools.
Although Jimi has only been shooting pools for less than 5 years, his reputation has already begun to grow. His eye for detail and ability to stage a pool has led him to all points of the globe. Jimi’s talent as a professional high end photographer of luxury inground pools is now well established.
How Jimi Smith Got Started Photographing Pools
We had the opportunity to discuss pool photography and chat with Smith for over an hour. In the course of our discussion we learned alot of interesting things about this up and coming star in the pool industry. His journey as one of the world’s leading pool photographers began roughly five years ago while he was living in the Virgin Islands.
“At the time, I was working in a scuba shop. I had studied photography in school. Whenever I’d get off work at the dive shop, I’d head down to the local beaches and take photographs on my off hours. Before long, I began selling photos for postcards and got really good at it.” Smith explained.
“I started to build up a name as a photographer and built a website that year. I’d post my photos to social media and was building up quite a big following.” Smith continued. “It was at this point in time, I got a Facebook message from a buddy of mine from high school named Shane Leblanc of Selective Designs who was making quite a name for himself as a traveling design consultant.”
“Shane Leblanc asked me, are you willing to travel to shoot photographs? Next thing I knew, I’m on a flight with my gear. I wound up shooting 4 pools in 3 days. That was it, I was hooked.”JIMI SMITH – luxury Pool photographer
“I had no clue pools like this even existed in peoples backyards. Shane introduced me to that whole world. He had gone through the Genesis program and was doing really incredible jobs. He’s definitely at the top of his game right now.” said Smith.
Word of Mouth Lead to a new Career
As often happens in the pool industry, word began to get around about Smith’s abilities. That year Leblanc entered Smith’s photographs in several design competitions and won numerous awards including the APSP International Award of Excellence – Gold award. Pool Builders were impressed at the caliber of the photos Leblanc had submitted and Shane was more than happy to recommend his friend Smith as the photographer who had so expertly captured his amazing designs.
That was a watershed moment for Smith’s career and that is when it truly began to take off. From that moment on, Smith began to receive requests from all over the country from some of the most cutting edge and well-known builders in the swimming pool industry. It was a far cry from what he had been doing only a few years prior. Smith says he still can’t believe how fortunate he is to be able to do what he truly enjoys doing.
“I fly all over the world now for work. When I’m traveling people often ask me what I do for a living. I just take out my cellphone and show them photos of the pools I’ve photographed. ” said Smith.
Smith is an unassuming and incredibly talented young man. He’s a veritable open book and fountain of knowledge when it comes to photographing pools. Jimi took the time to share a few insider pro tips with our readers to help them make their own photos stand out. He routinely consults with pool builders that want amazing photographs of their work but may not have a pro photographer on staff to shoot their pools.
Advice From Jimi Smith on how to take amazing Pool Photos…
“More often than not, pool builders want to photograph the completed project before it’s truly ready. Ideally, you want to wait until the landscaping is completed, not just the swimming pool.”JIMI SMITH – PROFESSIONAL POOL PHOTOGRAPHER
Smith also suggested until waiting for the right time of year to photograph the pool area. “A large percentage of what makes my photos so appealing is also the house and other outdoor living amenities. Waiting until the landscaping, outdoor kitchen or pergola is completed can really help fill in the negative space and adds a big impact to the photos.” said Smith.
Taking world class Pool Photos is all about timing…
“I’d also advise pool builders not to wait too long until after the backyard is completed before taking photographs. You want the backyard to look pristine, and unlived in for these types of photos.” said Smith who added that he often spends time positioning furniture and setting lighting to properly stage his shots.
He advises to take multiple shots and from different angles of the pool to highlight the features and amenities of the backyard. “Quite often, I see pools photographed, where it looks like the photographer was trying to cram in the entire backyard into a single shot. Your eye doesn’t know what to look at first.”
Smith, who has an incredible eye for detail also has an in-depth knowledge of operating a pool. Quite frequently he performs unassisted out in the field. He’s become quite capable of operating all of the equipment, water and fire features, automation, and lighting in the pool. Smith said that he does this on nearly every job he shoots. He offers a key piece of advice here for anyone trying to photograph a pool at night.
“The golden hour is right before sunset.” said Smith. “It’s during this key timeframe that you’re able to get great shots of all the details of the pool. You can still see the led lighting in the pool if you turn it on. You also get some ambient light from the setting sun which helps to create these dramatic layered looks.”
Since Jimi Smith has seen so many luxury pools over the years, he has developed a critical eye for quality of workmanship as well as design. Smith says he can often spot quality construction when he attempts to level his camera tripod. “Frequently on a high end build, I will hardly have to adjust the level at all on my tripod. The pool area on some of these jobs I’ve photographed is so perfectly level that I barely have to make any adjustments.”
Working with Jimi Smith
One of the major reasons that Jimi gets so much work in the pool industry has to do with his prowess and overall knowledge of how inground swimming pools function and operate. Over the years, Smith has spent considerable time upping his pool IQ. His comfort level in operating all the components and features of even the most sophisticated luxury pools is only matched by his abilities behind the camera. Consequently, he’s become a favorite of major pool builders across the country who have come to rely on his particular skillset.
Seeing as he works with so many builders, we asked Jimi a question he confessed he gets alot… “Who is your favorite pool builder?”
“It’s hard to pick and single out one builder. I’ve shot for so many great designers.” said Smith. “Randy Angell is one designer out of Dallas, TX whose work I really appreciate. He’s a big believer of ‘form follows function’ which appeals to my personal aesthetic.”
We asked Jimi which designer he hasn’t worked with yet but is eager to shoot for. “Kirk Bianchi is one designer I’d love to work with. He’s out of Scottsdale, AZ but has spent alot of time overseas in Japan. His designs are exquisitely unique and have an Asian influence that you don’t find very often in the pool industry.”
It was definitely a privilege to talk photography with Jimi and you can certainly see for yourself why his skills are in such high demand these days. Interested in hiring Jimi to photograph your pools? Check out his website https://www.jimismithphotography.com/ or follow him on Instagram @jimismithphotography.
Photo Credits: Jimi Smith Photography
Pool Designer Credits: Danny Wang, Randy Angell, Ryan Hughes
How to Get Rid of Swimming Pool Algae – Rudy Stankowitz
30 year industry veteran Rudy Stankowitz writes experts guide to preventing swimming pool algae
Rudy Stankowitz launches new book: “How to Get Rid of Swimming Pool Algae”
Thirty-year pool industry veteran and water chemistry expert Rudy Stankowitz has launched an online certification class(https://poolclass.teachable.com/p/algae-prevention-eradication-specialist-certification) on April 2, 2021, to accompany his recently released book ‘How to Get Rid of Swimming Pool Algae.’
The educational publication utilizes real-world scenarios to which the reader can easily relate, which is in line with the teaching stylings for which Stankowitz is known. The book draws heavily from his experience maintaining residential and commercial swimming pools throughout his career.
How to Get Rid of Swimming Pool Algae debuts at #10 on Amazon Best Sellers List! -Consumer’s Guides
Incorporating much of Stankowitz’s field research, The How to Get Rid of Swimming Pool Algae book is the only publication to offer an in-depth topic-specific course of study on swimming pool algae. Several myths are Busted! Previously unknown information on Black Algae, including species and new treatment methods, are within these pages. Wowza!
This handbook takes the reader through discerning algae myths, environmental factors, the role water chemistry plays, conditions types of algae prefer, the influence of filtration and circulation, characteristics of algae species, pairing algastats, and algaecides to phylum. This book is more than a text that simply exposes an individual to algae treatments – ‘How to Get Rid of Swimming Pool Algae’ is written to provide a person with the tools and knowledge to become an Algae Prevention & Eradication Specialist.
“I’ve shared a ton of methods and hacks I have picked up along the way – Ancient Pool Pro Secrets.”– Rudy Stankowitz
“Getting the chance to reimagine education in the pool industry in creating a resource manual with a specialized focus and a training course to follow – nothing could be more exciting for me… This is, after all, more in line with the way people actually learn. I talk about things other than algae, but only how they play a role in either thwarting or remediating algae growth. It keeps us on a single topic, and that increases retention and elevates skillsets in a big way.” – Rudy Stankowitz
“If you include my field research and lab studies I’ve had conducted, this is a project that has been years in the making. The idea of bundling it all up into a comprehensive tutorial with accompanying text (available now) and a certification course (available April 2, 2021) is a dream come true. The pool industry has been very good to me – it’s nice to have a way to pay it forward. In this day and age, I don’t see why anyone should have to reinvent the wheel. I want to share what I’ve learned.” – Rudy Stankowitz
Stankowitz’s book ‘How to Get Rid of Swimming Pool Algae’ is available Now on Amazon in both Paperback and eBook for worldwide distribution. The publication stands on its own and is a tremendous resource for both new pool care, Aquatics Professionals, Hotel & Apartment Maintenance, Waterpark Personnel, and seasoned Pool Pros. The book is excellent for new hire training as well! At a much lower price point than similar educational texts, Rudy is adamant that the book and upcoming program be affordable to all.
“Rudy, your field samples are very interesting – and rare. There is almost nothing published on the varieties of algae in pools… If you focus on black “algae,” you will be the first person in nearly 40 years to document it. That would be really, really cool.” – Dr. Roy D. Vore, Ph.D., Microbial physiologist, Senior Consultant, Vore & Associates, previously Technology Manager, BioLab inc.
Stankowitz’s How to Get Rid of Swimming Pool Algae book has been on Amazon’s Best Sellers list for 10 straight weeks and counting in the following categories:
- Consumer Guides (Books)
- Outdoor & Recreational Area Gardening
- Do-It-Yourself Home Improvement (Books)
About the Books Author:
Rudy Stankowitz is a thirty-year pool industry veteran, pool water chemistry expert, columnist, author, and CEO of Aquatic Facility Training & Consultants. His background includes retail pool supplies, pool equipment manufacturing, swimming pool service, and consulting. An award-winning instructor, Rudy has conducted training and technical seminars throughout North America, the Caribbean, South America, Europe, and Asia. A proud dad and grandfather, he now lives in Florida with his wife Joy and their two pups, Ghost and Tigger. When he is not poolside, Rudy enjoys traveling, photography, fishing, and scary movie night with his grandchildren (Scooby-Doo with the youngest ones).
Listen to the Pool Magazine Podcast with Rudy Stankowtiz discussing the pool service industry.
Featured Photo Credit: The Gainesville Sun
Shortages Delaying Pool Construction
A series of shortages are causing pool construction delays across the nation
Shortages continue to plague the pool industry and have now begun to cause tremendous delays for pool builders. Experts say a serious plastics shortage is trickling down and impacting builders across the pool industry. Diminished supplies and rising costs for raw materials are causing prices to skyrocket with distributors. Supply chains have been dramatically affected by a recent surge in demand for pool products as well as the COVID-19 shutdowns. As manufacturing plants begin to come back online, many in the industry are beginning to wonder if it’s too little too late to save this year’s pool season. Supply delays are already causing serious problems for pool builders across the nation and the situation looks to only be getting worse as the season goes on.
Shortages Cause Distributors to Raise Prices
Across the board – prices for chemicals, components, and machinery have gone up with major distributors. PoolCorp announced price increases earlier this year that are set to start on May 3, 2021. Many pool companies however, have reported wide spread price increases from other distributors in the months prior to the announcement taking effect. Stock on many essential components are in short supply due to Covid causing a series of wide spread factory slowdowns. This following an unprecedented demand for pool and spa goods in 2020.
Hurricane Laura sparked a fire at one of the main chlorine production plants, shutting down more than 40% of the chlorine tablet production in the United States. We have seen significant price increases on chemicals, especially chlorine. The price for chlorine tablets is predicted to increase up to 50% by mid July according to analysts.
Plastics Shortage Impacting The Pool Industry
ISM is reporting a plastics shortage that is already predicted to severely impact the pool industry. Raw material shortages for resin have dramatically impacted supply chains. Dwindling supplies were already tight say leading experts. The recent deep freeze caused by winter storm Uri, took many supplies off the market as pool owners in Texas experienced millions of dollars in unexpected pool equipment repairs.
The Petrochemical industry which is largely based in Texas, was nearly brought to it’s knees during the winter. Uri had disastrous implications on supplies which are impacting the inventory that pool companies have depended on being available for this seasons installation projects.
According to the Wall Street Journal, which cited S& P Global Platts, the freeze in Texas, one of the largest exporters of plastics and other petrochemical products, halted production of 75% of polyethylene, 62% of polypropylene, and 57% of PVC. Texas manufactures about 85 percent of the polyethylene used in the United States, making it the most commonly used plastic in the world. The manufacturing delays have triggered a global plastics shortage.
Maintaining Pricing Structures is Impossible
Maintaining existing pricing structures has already become untenable for pool service companies due to the rising costs of chemicals like trichlor and dichlor. Many pool service companies have begun to send out announcements to customers to expect price increases on weekly pool service this season. “We have absolutely no choice” said Mike Pompura of Pool Masters in Corona, CA. “Distributors have raised their prices considerably this season and unfortunately we are going to have start passing these price increases on to our customers.”
Pompura who has run his pool service company for the past two decades, says he has never seen conditions like this before. “I’ve been in business since 2001 and this is the worst I have seen it. We are having problems getting valves. PVC has also gone way up this year” said Pompura.
The problems Pompura is experiencing seem to echo the sentiments of many pool companies sounding off in pool industry groups on social media. The stress on plastic supplies and a surge on demand for resins are causing bottlenecks in the supply chain across the nation. Experts cite a number of causes for ongoing delays including port closures, over the road capacity shortages, and an increased demand on plastics for food packaging and PPE.
Winter storm Uri hit petrochemcial plants in Texas and Louisiana hard. Many industry experts fear that supply chains have not yet recovered to make a meaningful impact in time for this years pool season. This could very well be why major distributors are hedging their bets by stating that further price increases may be just around the corner.
Shortages Causing Prices to Soar
One thing is certain, with raw materials increasing in price – consumers can be certain to feel the trickle down effect in their wallet this pool season. The price of an inground swimming pool is predicted to increase 15-25% in most markets throughout the United States this year in comparison to last year. This is on par with the rising costs of raw materials like lumber contributing to an expected additional $36,000 to the price of average new home construction this year.
In addition, timelines for completing inground pool projects have also been dramatically impacted. There is an enormous backlog of homeowners waiting just to get on the list for pool construction. Consumers can expect extended timelines for construction to go up from the typical timeframe of 6-8 weeks to now 3 months or more in many areas of the country.
The news does not bode well for homeowners like Penny Lopez in Las Vegas who contracted with her pool builder back in January and is still waiting for her pool to be finished. “We were told that we would be swimming by May but I’m still looking at a giant hole in my backyard,” said Lopez, whose story seems to resemble that of other homeowners throughout the Las Vegas region.
The Trickle Down Effects
The pool and spa industry is just one of many industries affected by this crisis. John Schiegg, VP of Supply Chain Services for Houston-based home builders David Weekley Homes, said he’s seeing shortages and price increases on everything from siding to adhesives to insulation. After winter storm Uri, several PVC manufacturers reported to Schiegg they would be unable to meet their contractual obligations. Schiegg said he was surprised to hear distributors in other neighboring states were impacted as well.
New York based Confer Plastics, manufacturers of pool ladders, steps, and spa accessories; said they would be unable to deliver products planned or scheduled. They’ve already been forced to layoff 40 employees. Vice President Bob Confer said he’s never seen a situation like this in his 47 years in the industry. Confer Plastics is far from the epicenter of the Texas freeze but is still experiencing the long range ripple effects as are many other manufacturers throughout the pool industry.
Vinyl Liner Replacement Services In 2021
Have you ever thought about providing vinyl liner replacement services? At present, there is a high demand for liner replacement services. So, one way you can expand your business this year is to provide these services.
The owner of Carolina Pool and Spa, Val Simoncic, had extensive experience in pool maintenance before meeting Greg Minton. The regional sales manager for Tara Pool & Outdoor Products, Greg Minton, introduced Val to the vinyl liner replacement business. Simoncic states, “In 2015, Greg taught me everything I needed to know about the liner business. He showed me how to measure all pool types; vinyl, concrete and fiberglass. Consequently, I have been able to grow my company over the years.”
Simoncic’s company, Carolina Pool and Spa, only uses liners from Tara. Tara is a reliable vinyl liner manufacturer located in Alabama. The company has been in the industry since 1984. Subsequently, they manufacture quality products that meet customer requirements. The company has always been an industry leader due to its precision and attention to detail. The liners at Tara provide exceptional aesthetics and durability. Also, they come in a broad spectrum of pool designs and colors.
Simoncic says, “Nowadays, you can customize your liner to complement your pool. Besides, liners also come in different patterns and can fit water features like tanning ledges. In fact, vinyl pools now offer high versatility like gunite pools. Nonetheless, you cannot build an infinity-edge vinyl pool.”
As a result, the popularity of vinyl pools is constantly on the rise. Remember, these pools are affordable and can last for a decade. Needless to say, you have to take good care of vinyl pools to boost their durability. Leaving the vinyl pool exposed to the sun for a prolonged period can weaken or damage the liner.
Tara Pool & Outdoor Products provides over 26 liner patterns in different materials, colors, and sizes. Tara liners can add a whole new charm to your backyard. The best thing about these liners is that they come with a durable 20-year warranty. With this warranty, you get complete vinyl liner replacement services within the first two years.
A modern visualization tool: The envision pool designer
At times, it’s not enough to see the liner in a standard picture. Most customers would love to see how the liner will look when inside their pool before purchasing it. Luckily, Tara uses the Envision Pool Designer to showcase all their liners to their clients. The software uses reflective properties of the sun and water to show how a liner looks when placed in the pool. This way, customers see the outcome of the project even before vinyl liner replacement begins.
A while back, Simoncic won a sale using the Envision Pool Designer without presenting a liner sample to the client. He says, “Immediately the customers saw the brand-new Tara pattern, Aquamarine, on Envision Pool Designer, they made their purchase. I told them I didn’t have a sample at that moment, but they didn’t care. It’s like they had already made up their minds. They were able to access the visualizer through their smartphones. All in all, the Aquamarine is a beautiful liner pattern, and we are probably going to be the first company to install it.”
Vinyl liner pools are not famous for their aesthetics. Most people think that vinyl pools are non-customizable and less appealing. However, Tara Pool & Outdoor Products are helping homeowners to change their perceptions about vinyl pools. The company provides elegant liners that complement almost all pool designs. Simoncic says, “We had a customer who wanted to remodel her gunite pool. She wanted to reduce the size of her pool. When I asked her if I should give her the price of a vinyl pool, she was skeptical. In fact, she said they were not attractive. But when I presented samples of our previous vinyl pool projects, her mind was blown away.”
2021 is the best way to increase your sales
Last year, the pool industry experienced increased demand for their service. Tara had the busiest year in 2020. So, they had to increase their production to keep up with the high demand. Moreover, the company went through a major rebranding.
Getting a liner from Tara is pretty simple. All you have to do is have the right measurements for the pool. Also, present all your customer requirements and specifications during this time. Then, send them to Tara. The manufacturers will come up with a computer drawing of the liner and send it to you. Once you approve the drawing, they’ll deliver the liner after about seven days.
Vinyl liner replacement
Offering vinyl liner replacement services can help you boost your sales and revenues. But you have to deliver quality installation. Fortunately, Tara is here to help. Suppose you have any questions about liner installation, feel free to ask them. Ultimately, Tara stands out due to its excellent reputation and customer service.
Pool Troopers Partners with Pool Chlor to Expand Phoenix, AZ Footprint
How to Get Rid of Swimming Pool Algae – Rudy Stankowitz
Pentair Joins Forces with The Pool & Hot Tub Alliance for National Water Safety Month
Chlorine Tablet Shortage Due to Covid-19 & BioLab Fire
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