Archive for 'Misc. Photos':

"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.

GOYA Shootout :: Mirror

May 10, 2010 | GOYA Misc. Photos

We had another one of our GOYA shootouts today! This time we have visitors to the studio. David Jackson and Trevor Nackers joined us today on the shootout. Here’s the set up.

We decide to do these things at a moment’s notice. Today’s challenge was that each of us would head out with a 12″ square mirror and we had to incorporate that mirror into a photograph. We had just under two hours to complete the challenge and we could post one single image to the blog. You decide who did the best job. Meaning, you vote on the photo you like the best. The winner gets something. We never know what.

Today’s crew consists of Dan Depew, Robin Shetler, David Jackson, Trevor Nackers, and myself. Sherri left the studio with full intentions of participating but she decided to play the LAME “it’s my birthday and I have better things to do.” card. Whatever. Loser. (Actually, she won the last shootout.) What is GOYA? It’s a term we use around here meaning “Get Off Your Ass.” … and go shoot.

Here are our images.






To refresh your memory, here are the slices and who they correspond with…

Who made the best image for this shootout?
Photographer A
Photographer B
Photographer C
Photographer D
Photographer E free polls
We will end the contest this Friday afternoon EST.

Cheers, Zack

The Burj Khalifa :: From The Air

March 9, 2010 | Misc. Photos

I’ve had such a great time here in Dubai that Delta decided to blow a circuit card in an engine so we could stay just another day or two.

Thanks to fellow GPP teacher, Chris Hurtt, for hooking us up with an aerial view of Dubai a few days ago. I was able to get this photo of the Burj Khalifa. It is the tallest building in the world stretching about half a mile in the sky. When you are on the ground you can tell that the thing is huge but to really grasp the scale you have to see it from the air. This image was shot at 1,500 feet. All of those buildings around it are your typical city sky scrapers. 40, 50, 60 story buildings. I think the Burj is 160 something stories.

Ok, now I have to get on the horn with Delta to see if we are going home today or tomorrow. I should be making this post from home.

Cheers, Zack

Gulf Photo Plus :: My Shootout With David Hobby & Joey L

March 6, 2010 | • Workshop Misc. Photos News

Meg, Hawke, Dan, Sherri, and I have had an amazing week here in Dubai being part of the teaching crew at Gulf Photo Plus. This is my second year teaching at GPP. Last year, being the new guy, I had to take the group photo of all the amazing photographers that teach at this event. This year Mohamed Somji, the organizer of GPP, decided it would be fun to have a shootout between David Hobby, Joey Lawrence, and myself.

The rules were simple. We would be given a subject to photograph in the main auditorium in front of a live crowd. We would have twenty minutes each to shoot tethered & edit a photo while our images were projected on a large screen. We all would have the same subject to photograph and we were not allowed to see what the other was doing. Hobby went first. I was second and Joey brought it up from behind. We were also told there might be a surprise or two.

The surprise was A) we would have two subjects instead of one and B) Joe McNally would have a microphone and be giving live commentary as we were setting up a shot and shooting. Two people? David and I asked the same question… “Do they both have to be in the photo at the same time?” :)

No pressure.

So the photo above is what I came up with. It was a great teaching exercise if anything and we all had a fun time with it. Yes… there were video cameras and it will be online as soon as we have links to it. David and Joey will post their photos at some point I’m sure. Joey… well he threw us all a curve ball. :) Lastly… an official winner was never named so… IMHO the best shot was

Six days of non-stop teaching and the stress of having to perform to a packed auditorium has me worn out. I have two days of personal shooting to do now. Can’t wait to share more images from this trip. I have had such an amazing time here in Dubai. I love this city. Usedfilm Dubai? I don’t hate the sound of that. :)

Cheers, Zack

Mych :: Teaching This Technique In March

January 19, 2010 | • Workshop GOYA Misc. Photos

Did some testing with Mych (pronounced Mike) this week.  He has an amazing range of emotions.

Shot with a silver 86″ para on the cyc wall.  I’ll be teaching this technique at Gulf Photo Plus in Dubai at the beginning of March and again at Photoshop World in Orlando at the end of March.

Cheers, Zack

In Front Of The Scenes :: Gracie Is Over This

January 14, 2010 | GOYA Misc. Photos

Gracie is totally over this shoot.  You can find one of the end results of this shoot on my other blog.

Cheers, Zack

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 ::


A Foggy GOYA Shootout For The Crew ::

December 14, 2009 | GOYA Misc. Photos

It was a foggy day today here in Atlanta.  We don’t have many days like today to take advantage of shooting in the fog.  After lunch we had two choices, work on some copy shots for the show that is still installed in the studio or get off our arses and go shoot in the fog. GOYA stands for “Get Off Your Arse”.  It’s a project that I do from time to time. Not as much as I should be doing.  Today it was for anyone in the studio.

So our business manager, @sherriinnis, our intern, @robinshetler, my 10 year old son, Caleb, and myself went out for an hour to shoot in the fog.  It was all fun and games until we came back and I told everyone that they had to chose their best five because they were goin’ on the blog!

Since we have been in contest mode around here we are going to make this a contest! You tell us in the comments which photographer did the best job. A, B, C, or D.  The photographer with the most votes will get a $50 gift card to any place of their choice. If I happen to win this then I’m going to make them take me to lunch and pick up the bill!  Ha!  I just made the prizes up.  I like being the boss.  :)

BTW – The VisionMongers contest winners have been chosen and notified. We had 519 stories come in and Robin and Rhonda worked really hard to cull those down to the top 20.  We could easily have chosen hundreds of stories.  Meg and I got it down to the top 11 and Sherri had to be the tie breaker.  We will be sharing some of the stories here on the blog after Christmas.

Update :: The voting has ended! Photos and results after the jump.

All the photos after the jump ::


One From Austin ::


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 ::


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.


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.


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?


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.


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

A Few From Yesterday’s OneLight ::

August 20, 2009 | • Workshop Misc. Photos



Had a great time at yesterday’s OneLight workshop. Thanks to all who came out and hung out with us until 3am this morning!

Cheers, Zack

I’m Still A Photographer Right? :: Lots Of Pictures ::

photography_by_zackarias_19.jpg photography_by_zackarias_32.jpg I have a lot of images I want to share here on the blog and very little time to make specific blog posts about each shoot. This is a selection of some of the things I’ve been shooting. I had three more assignments with Nylon Magazine since shooting Living Things for them. For the record, they prefer natural light as opposed to lit photos.

Dallas Austin ::

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Vistoso Bosses ::

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B.o.B ::

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Animation guru Craig Hartin for Relevant Magazine ::

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Atlanta music legend Butch Walker :: His band :: His BMW

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My friends Mike & Priya got hitched ::

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Been shootin’ a lot of headshots like these of local actress Brenda Weitzer. ::

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Mark Adams of LaCour Photo came in to speak to the three day Photo 101 workshop I held a week before last :: Uh-Maze-ing time to be had. Thanks to you fine folks who traveled in for the workshop!

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Here are some images from that workshop. We set up some chatoic real world situations that beginning photographers may run into. Like… Shooting a family of seven at 10am in the front yard.

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And how to take on headshots without a flash and without a studio. It’s an exercise in finding light for portraits of any kind really.

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Shot some pictures for local musician Jeremy Agers ::

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Had a great OneLight workshop after the Photo 101 with our friends Jonathan Baker and Julia as our clients to photograph ::

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Oh man… I had Phive Starr in for a shoot. This production duo is un-freaking-believable. Super stoked to work with them. ::

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I haven’t even talked about my experience at Twitter and Google yet! This is @ded. He brought me to Twitter because he works there, he is awesome, and he is a kick ass photographer.

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I did a OneLight workshop for a bunch of google folks at the Googleplex. I can’t even begin to describe what an amazing place that is filled with amazing people who love their jobs. Here’s a few from that workshop. ::

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Lastly, another one from my shoot with Stephanie Lawrence a few months ago :: photography_by_zackarias_01.jpg photography_by_zackarias_32.jpg

I have yet to catch my breath and we leave for Australia tomorrow. That flight is going to suck but the experience there is going to make up for it I’m sure. Sorry for sucking up your bandwidth with this post! I just had to purge.

Cheers, Zack

PS – While I’m gone somebody keep the photography campfire lit!*

*Twitter ref. this week. :)

My Lovely Meg :: Maternity Portrait

April 26, 2009 | Family Misc. Photos


This is my lovely wife who complained in the last critique that I don’t take enough photos of her.  I’m calling this a maternity portrait because she is 9 months pregnant. We’ve been married for 9 months and 5 days. Do the math!  Yes… this is my maternity portrait of you my dear Meghan. Because it is a portrait of you while you are pregnant.

You see, I shoot portraits of musicians but it is a rare, rare, rare instance that I photograph musicians with their instruments. All the portraits I have of myself, a photographer, are without me holding a camera. So, a maternity photo, to me, isn’t about the belly. It’s about the place in time of the woman who is pregnant.  Meghan is going to remember this time because there she was, at Lenny’s Bar of all places, hanging out with me while I was shooting an assignment. That assignment was shooting portraits of musicians. None of them were holding anything they make music with. Still a portrait of musicians. 

Meg… I love you!  I hope you like this portrait of you! 

Nerd talk – Shot with a Nikon D3, 24mm 2.8. No post processing. Straight from camera. I was going to work with it a bit but decided it was perfect just like it is… just like my wife.

Cheers, Zack 

Dubai Workshop Photos ::

April 16, 2009 | • Workshop Misc. Photos

dubai_mix_01.jpg Above :: From the Photo 101 class. Working with available light.

The number one problem we had in Dubai (aside from crappy Internet service) were the horrible models we had to deal with. We really did our best to work with what we had. I mean, you know, you can only do sooooo much with beautiful people! :)

dubai_mix_02.jpg Above :: Left – Nikon SB25 in a 50″ Westcott softbox. Right – Available light.

dubai_mix_03.jpg Above :: Left – Nikon SB25 with 20 degree grid. Right – Nikon SB25 straight. No modifier.

dubai_mix_04.jpg Above :: Nikon SB25 with 20 degree grid.

dubai_mix_05.jpg Above :: Nikon SB25 zoomed to 85mm shot with 24mm lens.

dubai_mix_06.jpg Above :: Available light.

Can’t wait to go back next year!

Cheers, Zack

PS – We are very close to launching the new OneLight site with workshop dates for this year. Stay tuned!

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