Archive for 'Editorial Photography':

Let's Test 6 Degrees :: Calling Coldplay & Diddy.

June 25, 2009 | Editorial Photography News


I’m currently in San Francisco where I will be giving a presentation to the mighty fine group of individuals that have brought Twitter to all of us!  I’m going to be talking about the importance of social media in my life and how it has helped the photography industry build community. Both virtual and real. Twitter is a key to my marketing plans over the next year but beyond that, it keeps me in touch with so many people that I would normally fall out of touch with due to time or distance. Not to mention how many new friends I have thanks to social networking.

So… They say that we are connected to everyone on this planet by 6 degrees of separation. I want to test this by putting a call out to the 4,700+ followers on Twitter and 4,300+ friends on FaceBook surely there is a way for me to be able to photograph two prolific twitter account holders.

1 – I want to shoot a portrait of Coldplay.

2 – I want to hang out for a day and shoot Diddy. I’m locked in Diddy!  DM me!

What does this mean? Someone out there knows someone who knows someone who can connect me to Coldplay or to Diddy. I want to shoot portraits and I will travel for this project at my own expense. If Tom reads this and forwards it to Sally who knows Jeff in NYC who can connect Tom over to Bill who can get back to me with a time and place I could go and photograph Coldplay then this project can work. I’m still working on my list of folks on Twitter who I want to photograph but I’ll start simple.

Will you help me out with this? Retweet my tweets? Let’s test six degrees.

My expectations for this project is it will be a complete bust… But I just have to try it.  Who knows who you know? :)

Off to Twitter HQ!

Cheers, Zack 

Brent Lundy Promo Shoot ::

April 25, 2009 | Editorial Photography

Brent Lundy promo / press photography by Zack Arias #1 – 30º grid on Brent. Lights shot through sticks to create the pattern on the background. Brent Lundy was in town this week and came in for a full day shoot. Erik and I went location scouting Tuesday afternoon and were wishing we had brought coats. We were cussing at the heat the next day. Welcome to Atlanta. I twittered some of the locations that day and a lot of folks responded to the the “rust bucket” so I’ve included a few extras of that spot.

Brent Lundy promo / press photography by Zack Arias #2 Brent Lundy promo / press photography by Zack Arias #3 Brent Lundy promo / press photography by Zack Arias #4

More after the jump… Plus a tip on finding a cool location vehicle. (more…)

Iain & Jamie :: My Friends @ Ticket Alternative

April 24, 2009 | Editorial Photography


half_spacer.jpg Ticket Alternative

My friends Iain (upper right hand photo) and Jamie (lower left hand photo) came in this week for some images they need for their company Ticket Alternative.  These guys are giving folks like Ticket Master a run for their over charged convenience fee money!

Iain is one of the first guys I met when I entered the Atlanta music scene as a full time working photographer. We have collaborated on a number of projects since then and I had the pleasure of shooting his wedding a few years ago.

Cheers, Zack 

Sometimes You Get Lucky ::

April 17, 2009 | Editorial Photography


One day I was going by our local rental shop to pick up a lens and I noticed these two old dead trees behind their building. I’m always looking for interesting locations especially when they don’t look like anything you would normally find in the middle of a fairly large city. This is from a shoot I did with Surveil. Shot with an Alien Bee B1600 and a Westcott Apollo 50″ softbox.

I’m going back to just shoot the trees… provided they are still standing after this week’s wind storm.

Cheers, Zack

GPP Group Shot = Pressure That Can Make Diamonds


On the next to the last day of Gulf Photo Plus I was informed by GPP organizer, Mohamed Somji, that I had the “privilege” of shooting the group shot of all the GPP staff and photographers. I would be given 15 minutes to set up and execute the shot with 25 to 40 people.I have done countless group shots in my young career but never one that had folks like Joe McNally, Drew Gardner, David Hobby, Chase Jarvis, David Nightingale, and on and on and on. No pressure.

Last year David Hobby shot the group photo. He did it available light and had the photo posted on the web in 30 minutes. He was smart. David kept it simple. I however had could not leave “well enough” alone. I wanted to make a picture that was a tribute to some of the photographers in the photo and I wanted to keep with the OneLight theme so I decided I would get everyone in the auditorium and light them individually with one light and then comp them together in post. I have “painted with strobes” a few times in my life but never on this scale. It isn’t the most technically brilliant photograph I’ve ever made in my life but I had fun doing it. Everyone in the room had fun bustin’ my chops for taking this on. Hobby had a GRAND time playing with his wizard in his pocket while I was setting this up too. :)

How I did it = Pretty simple

• I set my camera up on a tripod so that each shot would align in the final image to be created.

• I had my studio manager, Erik, walk around the room with a Nikon SB-25 mounted on a tripod. On the SB I placed a Lightsphere that I have painted black. I call it my Darksphere. I then bunjee’d a 20º grid on the front of that. I like to have my grids placed off of the flash tube to get a cleaner circle of light.

• I exposed somewhere around 5.6 at 250th of a second to kill the ambient light in the room. I just needed the light on each person. There are 29 people in the final shot and I used 28 frames to capture them all. Chase and his wife, Kate, were lit together for one shot.

• I tried a quick multiple exposure shot on the back of the D3 to see if my idea was going to work. In this you can see Erik holding the light on the stick.


This is what each individual shot looked like…


This is what the group shot looks like without the auditorium showing through…


Here is the auditorium. I would use this image to mask parts of the ambient back into the group shot.


Once the people were together I could then bring in the image above and again, using layer masking, I painted in just enough of the ambient light to mix in with the lit shots. The final shot was 34 layers tall. 28 layers of people and 6 layers of ambient light and details like the the strobe painting on the back wall panels. Here it is again…


So…To Joe McNally – I know you eat 30 Speedlights for breakfast every morning so excuse me while I meagerly try to pull it off with one.

To David Hobby – My light rig for this shot not only has a bunjee cord on it, but it has a LightSphere that I spray painted black to keep with the DIY / Modify philosophy you preach so well.

To David Nightingale – 30+ exposures to make one final image! How do you do it so well? You can see how much of a hack I am.

To Drew Gardner – If only I had a water buffalo and 300 gallons of strawberry jam then you too would have a tribute here. :) Maybe next year I’ll shoot it on a Phase One. Oh wait! I don’t have to shoot it next year! Some other light monkey will have to do it!

To Chase Jarvis – You talk about pushing yourself. Well… I pushed myself on this one!

I could have done this or that or the other to make this shot better but I had no time to really think it through. It was a good exercise for me though. I’m glad I did it this way.

I have one more Dubai post to make this week and then we are back to regularly scheduled blogramming.

Cheers, Zack

A Few From Dubai ::

onelight_dubai_01.jpgAbove :: From my first OneLight here in Dubai.

joe01.jpg Above :: Joe McNally in old Satwa

tv_interview.jpg Above :: I’m being interviewed for an Arab television station.

old_dubai01.jpg Above :: A friendly TV repairman in Satwa.

I’m having an amazing time here at Gulf Photo Plus. The Internet sucks here in our building. I can get online a few minutes a day right now. More to come!

Cheers, Zack

I Feel Like I’m In A Tool Video :: Julia with the 5d Mk II


The image above states the exact feeling one has when shooting at this old prison in East Atlanta.

Here are some more images I shot this week of Julia. She needed one or two new pieces for her portfolio and I needed to run the CaNikon 5z Marc Too (as I call it) through the paces. Overall I’m really happy with this camera. For this shoot I used the 24-70/2.8L and the 90 2.8 Tilt Shift. I have to be very, very, very careful with the T/S lens because if I am not very, very, very careful I will use it WAY too much. The reason I don’t own a fisheye lens is because I would use it all the time. I fear I may do that with the T/S. It’s like instant creativity! :) My initial thoughts on the 5d after the images.

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julia_09.jpg half_spacer.jpg In addition to the stills, I shot video as well. I don’t have the time right now to get the editing done on that but I hope to cut a short clip together soon.

Things I love about the 5d vs. the D3 I normally Shoot :: • Color and Contrast straight out of the camera. • A remarkable skin tone quality when shooting natural light. • HD video

Things I don’t like about the 5d vs. the D3 :: • The AF system sucks in low light situations. Every Nikon I have ever owned from the D100 to the D3 can lock focus faster and more accurately than the 5d does in low light levels. • Nikon still pwns Canon at ISO 3200 and up. • It’s slow as Christmas compared to the shooting speed and buffer of the D3. • The ergonomics. The 5d feels like a brick in my hands even with the grip. The D3 feels like a glove.

And yes, I’m aware that I’m comparing a mid level Canon to the top of the food chain Nikon.

The number one reason I have this 5d is for the video as I’ve stated before, but I also love that there is a specific quality to the images this camera produces that I find other cameras do not have. Back in the days of film you would choose one film over another based on the characteristics of that film and the type of color, contrast, and quality that you desired for the shoot you were doing. Since we can’t simply change sensors in our camera bodies like we could change film, this particular time in digital photography requires us to change the entire body. In the studio the cameras are nearly identical.

It is in the available light photography that I find the 5d to perform remarkably different. Skin tones have a smoother quality to them akin to something with warm butter all over it. The Nikon can be a little too cool and too sharp for my liking. You can spend time in post trying to replicate one look or the other but when you study enough images online and you KNOW an image was shot with a 5d without looking at META data then you know the camera has something special about it.

The same could be said for my D70. I could do things with that camera in post production that I have yet to fully replicate with any other digital camera I have owned. The camera body is now the film base and you choose the one you want for the look you desire. That’s why the 5d is going to have a permanent spot in my bag in addition to the video capabilities.

Cheers, Zack

Air Stephanie :: In Studio With The CaNikon


Testing the CaNikon 5z Marc Too in the studio today. It stands up really well against the D3 in the studio. For the first card of the day I find the images to need less color correction than the D3. Hmmmm. Off to lunch then more shooting.

Cheers, Zack

One From Today :: Julia


I’ve decided I’m going to start an entire personal series on fabric. I was influenced to do so from the photo above. I love moving fabric.

It’s 1:30am and I have another full day of shooting again tomorrow. The image of Julia above was shot with my D3.  Once I finished the studio work today we hit the prison location from yesterday with my new camera.  I call it the CaNikon 5z Marc Too. I am not switching but I’m not hating this camera at all either! I have a few things to say about it. Imagine that. :)

If you have been following my tweets today I’m sorry if you were expecting photos from the CaNikon. Those will hit the blog this weekend.

Cheers, Zack

Old Prison :: Aaron Shust

March 18, 2009 | Editorial Photography


Was led to an old prison by J. at Aaron’s record label. We are spending the day working on his new CD artwork and promo material. This shot was from this morning.

We are going back this week to explore this place some more. Dave Jackson would feel at home here. I have been shooting every day this week but another critique episode is in the works and will be online in a few days! 

Cheers, Zack 

Let's Get Back To Living ::

March 5, 2009 | Editorial Photography

First and foremost… I miss my dad.

Thank you for all of your comments and emails. We really do read each one. Thank you. Over 200 people attended his service yesterday. My family and I stood in the parlor of his church and received people for an hour straight. It was overwhelming.

Deadlines don’t stop for the dead though. Had to get this shoot for Holiday Parade out the door today. I have ventured (kicking and screaming) into some photoshop actions with this job. I’m not an action kind of guy nor am I versed in the use of them other than the ones I make myself. This client had some specific style requests. So… what the hell. I bought a bunch of actions and started tweaking them last week and today. I kept some items, ditched others. I’m finding the core of the Totally Rad Actions are pretty great. I think I will take about 5 of these actions, customize them, and put them into regular use. I’m still experimenting though.

Actions… I’m on the fence about them. For me, the biggest problem I have with actions is that it is so easy to get carried away with them. Suddenly, a series of photos no longer have a consistent look. I think that if I introduce specific actions into my workflow, I will have to keep a small set of them on hand so that I don’t go overboard with them. This is exactly the reason why I don’t own a fisheye. I would use it way too much.

Actions… Meg loves ’em. I kind of have to admit that the Toy Camera app on the iPhone makes those pictures a lot more interesting. But for a D3?

So… actions or no actions? Do you use them?

Cheers, Zack

PS – Thank you again for all of your love, prayers, thoughts, and support as we said goodbye to my dad this week. You folks are amazing. Thank you.

Rock Boobs – Been A Weird Week ::

February 26, 2009 | Editorial Photography Family


It’s been a weird week.

• Friday – Meg and I flew to San Francisco where I was supposed to shoot a wedding with Marc.

• Saturday AM – I got the call that I needed to get on home to say goodbye to Dad. We are told he won’t make it till Monday. That’s when we were supposed to be flying home. Thank you Cliff for covering our butt at the wedding on Sunday.

• Saturday PM – Meg and I have a chance to meet up with photo pals Ann, Gene, Jose, and Joel which means we didn’t go to bed really. Jose & Joel are awesome. Nice meeting you fellas BTW. Meg and I get back to the hotel at 2am or something stupid.

• Sunday AM – We leave the rental car with Marc. Meg and I catch the first flight home to Atlanta at 6am.

• Sunday PM – Stand around my Dad’s hospital bed all evening talking about what a remarkable recovery from the edge of death he is making.

• Early Tuesday AM – Called to the hospital. Numbers are dropping fast.

• Wednesday PM – Stand around my Dad’s hospital bed all evening talking about what a remarkable recovery from the edge of death he is making.

• Thursday – Shoot with Holiday Parade. Lady flashes her rock boobs at us.

I wonder what the weekend will bring.

Cheers, Zack

Back From The (near) Dead ::

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I have been tumbling slowly toward total burn out.  Dad is still in the hospital. I can’t make that any better. Meg ended up in the hospital for a few hours this week as well. When it pours it floods.

In a final attempt to save my sanity, we lined up A LOT of shooting this week and I have barricaded myself in the studio to work, work, work.  Not on paper work, not on filing crap, not on networking opportunities, not on the workshop, not on the branding, not on the web site, not on any of that crap that has nothing to do with pushing that big fat effing black button on my big black effing camera.  I’ve nearly lost my mind because I have NOT been shooting.  I’m a photographer  Not a bookeeper, web master, janitor, whatever.  The studio is TRASHED and I love it because it is from shooting.  Up first…. Tyrell.

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Coming up shortly for blog posts of their own…. Justin, Daniel, and Liz.

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I feel as though my pulse is returning. I’m a photographer. That’s not my entire identity but it sure is something I need to be doing with some part of my life.

More and more and more to come. I’m shooting. Need something? Hire me. I’ll almost pay you to shoot.*

Cheers, Zack

* Key word – “almost”

PhotoPlus Expo – "Lawn Of The Month" Award

October 24, 2008 | Editorial Photography


Companies pour tens of thousands of dollars and up into their booths and presentations material when they are slinging their stuff to the industry.

Of all the amazing booths, presentations, and half naked Craig’s List models standing under softboxes, Megavision gets the “lawn of the month” award at this show.  Simplicity is key.  The symmetry of the chairs, the boldness of their signage, the turning of the table so that it transforms from your day to day square to a diamond.  Diamonds are classy you know.  The subtle use of trade show blue carpet says to you, “Hello, we are Megavision.”  

In fact, their whole presentation sort of wraps up their new marketing campaign.  “Hello.  We are Megavision.  We’re so good we aren’t even going to show up.”

Highlights thus far?  Metting David Hobby face to face!  After three years of emails, David and I got to sit in and listen to UK photographer Drew Gardner speak about his work.  I was so humbled and honored when David introduced me to Drew and he said “OH yeah, yer that OneLight guy. Yeah.  Love what yer doin’ mate.  Ya should come to London and do one.  That’ll be fantastic!”

Jason Groupp’s party was the place to be earlier this week.  I would say “Jason Groupp’s party was the place to be _______ night.” but I can’t remember what day it is right now.  

Of all the things that had to get done here at PhotoPlus, the OneLight planning meeting for 2009 was crucial.  I’m pretty sure we did that yesterday. Erik, Kara, Meg, and myself sat in the hotel lobby bar for four hours looking at the schedule for 2009 and framing in a schedule for the new workshops.  I’m sad to say and happy to say that there will be fewer workshops in 2009.  Happy to say that because the travel has been taking a toll on me and my family.  Sad to say that because I love traveling so much.  

We also had a conference call with Ross from FloSites.  His crew have been working on the new OneLight site.  It will be launching soon!

I think we had that meeting yesterday.  

Lastly.  I can not get over the fact that the best BBQ I’ve ever had in my life was in Brooklyn.  Really?  It was at a place called the Smoke Joint.  Look it up the next time your here.


Cheers, Zack 

One more day in NYC.  I’m taking something more than my camera phone out today. Maybe I should have borrowed a camera from Megavision. Oh wait. They didn’t even show up. Well done.

Glad To Be Home

September 18, 2008 | Editorial Photography News


Meg and I just got home from Washington, IL where we have just spent an AMAZING 3 days at the ONE Conference hosted by Jeff & Julia Woods.  I have much to say about this coming up. MUCH to say. I had the honor of speaking and attending this conference. MUCH to say about this coming up.

I’m glad to be home because I was on a plane last night that lost all of its hydraulic fluid for the tail section from pulling out of the gate to nearly taking off.  We were next in line for take off when a warning light came on.  The pilot aborted the take off, pulled back to the gate, and the mechanics soon found a massive problem with the hydraulic system.  Thank you God for having that happen on the ground and not in the air!

DVDs?  Yeah!  I know!  We are waiting on them as well!  We have 2 of the 3 shipments we need.  We are tracking down the other.  We were expecting them yesterday but we are dealing with UPS here so please pray for us.  I have really had it with UPS this year. More to come.  

I need some serious amounts of coffee today.  

Cheers, Zack

PS – Thanks to Andrew & Rachel from Lacour for putting the above image on your blog so I could rip it off from you quicker than downloading my own photos.  :)   

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