Archive for 'Editorial Photography':

Manchild & Playdough ::

June 7, 2010 | Editorial Photography

I dig “photo aware” shots sometimes. At least that’s what my BFF Kevin calls these kinds of shots. Do you? I know some folks who hate these kind of shots.

We snuck a last minute shoot in tonight for one of my favorite MC’s in the Hip Hop business. That would be Manchild and he’s the one on the right. He’s half of Mars ILL. The other cat in this photo is Playdough.

24 hours until we take off for Seattle.

Cheers, Zack

Personal Tests ::

Nothing much to say. Just sharing some recent work.

Hair by Max Sanchez from DragonFly Makeup by Jennifer Bennett & Lani Martz Talent from SSP

Cheers, Zack

"I need a rooftop. In Manhattan. Tonight. With a garden hose."

I just finished editing my first music video this week. I shot this in New York last fall thanks to the help of friends, twitter, and Kmart. Read a little story about it after the jump.

I had a few extra days in New York last fall and I spent those days shooting as much personal work as I could. I was in the area to shoot a wedding with Marc. Assistant and intern extraordinaire Brian Hall was along for the ride as well. I reached out to as many people I knew with connections in NYC to find musicians to shoot. It turned out that Snowden frontman, Jordan, was in the city at the same time. Snowden is one of my favorite bands in the world and I’m blessed that they are from Atlanta and I’ve been able to work with them a few times.

Jordan and I decided we would meet up Sunday night and shoot some new promos for him. He sent me a few of his new songs for me to listen to before our shoot. I heard this song Lemon Peel and loved it right away. Saturday night I’m riding the train and I decided we should shoot a music video instead of portraits. I sent Jordan a text and he was down for whatever. Sunday morning I put out a message on Twitter that read something like,

“I need a rooftop. In Manhattan. Tonight. With a garden hose.”

Ten minutes later I get a message from Neil at Nomadic by Design. He had access to a rooftop on the upper west side and it most definitely had a water hose we could use. The only caveat was we couldn’t make a lot of noise because we would be standing over his friend’s apartment and their two year old would be asleep. So no screaming, jumping, playing loud music. Ok. No worries. I thank Neil for helping me out and we plan to meet at his place later that evening.

Now then, I had flashes for portrait work but I sure didn’t have any video lights with me. The 5d MkII does pretty well in low light but not in no light. I knew that I wanted to build off of the water references in the song and I knew that water looks best if it can be back-lit. I also had to do this on a budget of “not much”. Like, less than $50. I went to the Kmart at Penn Station and bought six flashlights. I would have bought some more but that was all they had and I still had another band to shoot AND take 10 portraits of 10 strangers so I didn’t have a lot of time hitting up the entire city looking for more flashlights. On a tech note, these are those focused LED beam lights and they were making odd patterns of light on the roof behind Jordan. I needed to diffuse them to get rid of the pattern so I used the white plastic Kmart bag they came in to do that. I ripped the bag up and put pieces of the plastic over the front of the flashlights and that got rid of the patterns. Ghetto Video Dot Com!

Marc and Brian came along for the evening. Marc was on the flashlight lighting Jordan. Brian was on the water hose. Everything and everybody was soaked by the end of the sixth take. The wind was really unpredictable and we just had to deal with it. Jordan’s MacBook playing the song was wet, the 5d was dripping wet, and Brian turned out to be just as soaked holding the hose as Jordan did getting hit by it. All in all… it was a great night.

So why did it take me so long to edit? Because the idea I had for the edit sucked and I couldn’t re-envision the project. I had it set in my head that it was going to be one way but that way turned out like crap and I couldn’t “see” anything different. That happens to me a lot. I get an idea for a shot. I see it in my head. I pick up the camera. I take a photo. The photo sucks. It is nowhere close to what I see in my head. In photography I have learned to let those things go until another day. I couldn’t let this one go until one evening this week. I’ve been editing images for a new portfolio and this Snowden video was bugging the hell out of me. Jordan froze his ass off for this video and I still haven’t pulled anything out of it. I divorced myself from my first plan and just started fresh and new without a plan and I knocked it out in one night. Seriously. One night. Done. WTH? It’s like doing taxes. No, no it’s not.

So yes… my first music video. I’m happy with it. I’ll hate it soon enough but for now I’m really glad I dropped my first idea for the edit and went in a different direction with it. Am I going to sell my self as a music video director? Nope. Do I want to do more of these? Absolutely. Yes. Just spoke with a past client last night about another one of these. Hip to the hippity hop!

Cheers, Zack

PS – I won the last GOYA shoot out! I really thought it was going to be Robin (photographer E). I’ll do another post later.

Where Hot Shoe Flashes Dare Not Go ::

January 19, 2010 | Editorial Photography

There is a nagging question that haunts photographers…

“Do I have the right set of lights?”

This question is bugging me right now.  I do not have an answer for you just yet.  All this question has done for me in the past year is create more questions.

I’m going to get a bit nerdy on you here and take this post from looking at lighting systems to looking at camera systems.  I really don’t nerd out about gear on my blog but you need to be warned… Total nerdom after the jump.

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Cavalia :: Controlling The Work You Show

My dear friend, Marc Climie, often says…

“Let your work determine your clients. Don’t let your clients determine your work.”

In order to live by that philosophy you have to be very careful what work you show to the world through your site, blog, and book.  If you don’t want to shoot family portraits, then don’t show family portraits. If you hate selective color photographs (as you should) then don’t show them.  Here is a good scenario…

You want to shoot portraits of bands and musicians for press kits and promo work. You are a struggling photographer just trying to get started and you get a call from a friend of a friend and they would love for you to shoot their family portraits. You need the work so you agree to it and, hopefully, you do a kick ass job.  You just shot the best family portraits of your life. What do you do with them?

Continue reading and seeing after the jump ::

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One From Austin ::

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Just finished my 2nd day of teaching this week in Texas. Tonight I’m in Austin. We wrapped up at 2:30am. I’m beat but I wanted to share at least one from the OneLight… even though this one is TwoLights. :)

Cheers, Zack

Running To Stand Still? + LA Workshop Images ::

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I keep telling myself… “I just need to make it through November.” If meetings this week go as planned then I may need to start saying… “I just need to make it through December.” Am I running to stand still? Nope. I’m running to grow.

I’m thankful for work. I’m thankful for my wife supporting my work. I’m thankful for the community I’m surrounded with. I’m thankful for opportunities to connect, share, and learn.

All that said, I’m at that point where I wonder if I’m biting off more than I can chew. I’m really glad to be at this point because it means my field is growing and that means I get to bring more people on board. As I grow, others grow as well. We all grow together.

Things I have to get done around these here parts…

• The “Call To Action” update blog post. I’m totally slacking on that one. Sorry! • I have a draft called “Get A Grip” that helps you put stuff together and rig things to other things. I like things. I hope you do too. • October 11th will be our next episode of Critique! Thanks for keeping us to the fire on that one everyone! • I have to tell you all about my experience at the Vincent Laforet 5dMkII workshop. An eye opener. I was like, “Whoa.”

Coming up… I’m teaching the many uses of white seamless at PhotoPlus in NYC later this month. Hope to see you there.

Here’s some pics from last week’s LA workshop. Well, one of them. That was a double header. Big ups to Marc D’Amour for making the LA workshops run like German trains. If you are unfamiliar with the way in which German trains run then let me be the one to instruct you that, according to my high school German teacher, they run real güt.

Know when to turn your light off… Apologies to the synagogue. I had to tag something. It washes off.

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We were in Hollywood so all I had to say was… “Cue the birds! And…. Birds in 3… 2… 1… Birds! —- Aaaaannnnnnddd… CUT!” Yes. I’m a dork.

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Ok lighting folks… Take a look at the next two photos. One of these was shot in the afternoon and one was shot at night. I was demonstrating that off camera lighting is predictable and can be replicated over and over and over again no matter where you are. Which is which?

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More to come?

• The Seattle workshop was amazing. Seriously. Big thanks to the Boone brothers and Chase Jarvis and images and thoughts to come from that. You know, one of these days. I still haven’t put images up from the Australia OneLights. I’m so effing behind on blogging. But you know, it’s not like I’m curing cancer with this thing!

• I twittered about thinking about thoughts while flying home from Seattle. I’ve given myself a deadline of 2/10/2010 to get our new brand off the ground. I wish there were 20 months in the year so I could have until 20/10/2010. I know what I’m going to be doing this winter. It better not be comparing myself to others! Update – It took me until 1/2011 to get it done. Branding takes time.

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Oh… Crap. This the wind beneath my wings today…

Cheers, Zack

Street Portraits :: NYC 09/2009 :: Video + Stills

I’ve been talking with some folks and the topic of street portraits came up. Some are scared to death to approach strangers on the street. I understand the feeling completely but there are times you have to get over your anxiety about talking to strangers and pursue what it is you want to do. While I was in NYC a few weeks ago I decided to practice what I preach. I gave myself the assignment of shooting 10 portraits of 10 strangers in 10 hours. I had to sandwich these in between other shoots I had on the books while I was there. I approached 15 people and 9 accepted my request.

For those of you who have expressed your concerns about approaching strangers lemme give you some advice.

1) Read David duChemin’s book Within The Frame. David talks in depth about pursuing and expressing your vision where people, places, and culture are concerned. It’s a fantastic book with lots of technical and philosophical meat to dig your teeth into.

2) Get over talking to strangers. I know your mom told you not to but seriously, it’s ok. You will be amazed at how many people open themselves up to you. It’s a great experience for them and for you.

3) Don’t try to approach people who are on their way somewhere. Find someone just hanging out. You won’t be interrupting their schedule.

4) Guys, know your limit with approaching females. Some of you are suave and can do it with style. Dorks like me look like we are just trying a bad pick-up line. Know your limit. Ladies, well, y’all have it easy. Talk to anyone you want. :)

4) As David writes in his book, be kind, smile, and extend warmth and friendship to the folks you meet.

5) Many will tell you “no”. Many will say yes. Listen to what Janet said in the video above. She had not had a portrait made of her in 35 years! She wouldn’t have one getting shipped to her if someone had not simply asked to take a portrait of her.Anyway, here are my portraits. They aren’t the most amazing portraits I’ve ever shot but I’m glad I put myself out there. I met some great people I would have otherwise never talked to.

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NYC street portrait half_spacer.jpg Cheers, Zack

Greg Holden :: NYC

September 5, 2009 | Editorial Photography

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I would post more images but it is 2:23 am in NYC and I’m on day 3 of shooting up here with one more to go tomorrow. This is an image from a shoot I did with Greg Holden yesterday.  He’s an amazing musician from the UK who will be on tour with Ingrid Michaelson for the next six weeks or so. You should check out his myspace page to see if he’s coming to your town.

More to come.

Cheers, Zack 

Treasure Fingers :: NYC

September 4, 2009 | Editorial Photography

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I’m shooting my tail off in NYC this week.  These are a few images from my shoot with Treasure Fingers.  He makes music that makes you shake what your momma gave ya.

Many thanks to Brian for coming up from the A to help me shlep my gear around the city.  He just won Best Portfolio of his graduating class!  Congrats!

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Here’s a funny little grab from some video I was shooting in Times Square. Notice someone else’s flash firing off in the background the same time. One tourist helping out another with some rim light. The world is a good place! :p

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Cheers, Zack 


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