Living Things for Nylon Magazine ::

July 15, 2009 | Editorial Photography

Living Things photographed by music photographer Zack Arias

I have a lot of blog posts to make with recent work and very little time to make them. These images are from my shoot with Living Things. This was an assignment for Nylon Magazine. I’ve completed four assignments for Nylon and as they hit the shelves I’ll blog about them. The assignment was to shoot the band, individuals, and cover their show here in Atlanta. I haven’t worked with a better group of artists than these four guys.

Living Things photographed by music photographer Zack Arias

Living Things photographed by music photographer Zack Arias

Living Things photographed by editorial music photographer Zack Arias

I put out a question on Twitter during this assignment asking if I should take a 5d with a 90mm lens or a D3 with a 24mm lens. The D3 combo won. I finished the assignment with one camera and one lens.

Living Things photographed by atlanta based editorial music photographer Zack Arias for Nylon Magazine

Living Things photographed by editorial photographer Zack Arias

Living Things photographed by photographer © Zack Arias

Living Things are an effing amazing live band. If you ever have the chance to see them live don’t pass it up.

Living Things photographed with a Nikon D3 by music photographer

I shot typical live shots like this…

Living Things photographed by music photographer Zack Arias

But… I wanted something different than straight forward live shots. Being I was shooting with the D3 I put the camera in multiple exposure mode and lit a fire of creativity under my arse. I’m now experimenting more with multiple exposure. Yes, you can shoot single frames and then composite them together in PhotoChop, but sometimes you need to come up with something different while not depending on software to do it later.

Multiple exposures of Living Things by music photographer Zack Arias

The band Living Things photographed by music photographer Zack Arias

Living Things by music photographer Zack Arias ©

Shooting a live show with multiple exposures is maddening because you can’t be exactly sure what you are going to get but that is the payoff. Sometimes it surprises you in a good way.

Do any of you experiment with in camera multiple exposure?

Cheers, Zack


  • Steve said on July 15, 2009

    I have enough trouble getting a single exposure to look good, but I like what you’ve done.

  • said on July 15, 2009

    I love multiple exposure, one of the reasons I switched to Nikon, though I haven’t done it in live captures. Love this series!

  • PhiliP White said on July 15, 2009

    crappy pics the whole effing bunch

  • Squeeker said on July 15, 2009

    I have to say I haven’t done much multiple exposure stuff myself but I am a fan of the last photo you posted here (with the guitarist). That one really catches me for some reason. But again, phenomenal work! – something I’m sure you hear all the time! =)

    Is it only the D3 that does that right in camera? =)

  • Sam Coran said on July 15, 2009

    Another great photographer who does the multiple exposure very well would be Joe McNally.

    I had tried it a few times but sad to say i can’t have the same result the way you guys do it. i’m getting there, I need to start somewhere.

    Love the blur effect in one photo. It’s like some of Avedon’s photo… the “Avedon blur” as some call it.

  • Evan Travers said on July 15, 2009

    Love the multiple exposures, they are pretty cool. Especially in the black and white.

  • Miguel Serrano said on July 15, 2009

    I was at the McNally workshop where he took the double exposure of Vanessa ( and it was cool to see him putting it all together; the amount of trial and error that took and how he worked it all out at the end.

    It is nice to see the great ones solving problems.

    You are a brave man for doing this “live”… hats of to ya !

  • Rob said on July 15, 2009

    I haven’t tried multiple in camera yet. Does the 5D Mk2 offer that feature?

  • T. C. Knight said on July 15, 2009

    Glad you’re back Zack. Great shots. Of course, everything you show us is great. You are an inspiration for more things than you think. I am an agriculture photographer. I take photos of people working, but these people work in the dirt rather than on a stage. However, I study your photos constantly, because, (my wife doesn’t even know this), I would REALLY like to shoot a live production of “A Prairie Home Companion”. How nerdy is THAT?

    On your readers’ choice of camera: I have a Nikon 24-70 attached to my D3 almost all the time. Looking at the EXIF data on my people shots, the lens is at 24mm about 85% of the time. I can’t imagine a better combination.


  • matt s. said on July 15, 2009

    Proving again why you’re the man. These are great. Who’s idea was it to have the (presumably) front man wear a different color shirt?

    A BTS video of one of these shoots would be incredible. Mostly to see how you handle dealing with shooting multiple people.

  • fabiano said on July 15, 2009

    ill give it a try now, thats for sure…

  • Sarah said on July 15, 2009

    ach, these are amazing!! the last one is mental, I love the mulit-exposures.

  • Evan said on July 15, 2009

    ZA, these are rad. i concur to do this live seems to be madness. The last frame in the post is so insane. Feels like something from the Late 60’s to Mid 70’s from the Who or David Bowie.

  • Gary said on July 15, 2009

    Images are awesome Zack. Cool placement of your usedfilm logo.. Great Job!!!

  • R. Doyle Bowman said on July 15, 2009

    Great stuff Zack.
    As for multiple exposures…hell yeah! I really enjoy shooting with my my holga esp. b/w film or IR with multiple exposures, real gritty real dirty.

  • Anonymous said on July 15, 2009

    To be perfectly honest, I’m not impressed with these photos. They seem to lack that creativity and dramatic punch that most of your other images have. I, along with most of your other fans, love when you post shots of your current work. I’m not sure about everyone else, but I like looking at the photos that make me say “WOW!” or “How did he do that?”

    Again, I love your work and think you’re a great photographer, but seriously, I think you can do better than this.

  • zack said on July 15, 2009

    Thanks for the feedback Anonymous.


  • Rick Wenner said on July 15, 2009

    I love your lighting in the solo shots. The motion blur in the fourth shot is a great touch too…and I know that wasn’t done in PS which makes it that much better. The multiple exposure shots are very nice also, makes me wish my 5D Mark II had that option. C’mon Canon! Get in the game!

  • Jamie said on July 15, 2009


    Loving these photos! I totally disagree with Sir Anonymous up there, I really think you caught the spirit of the guys, really. Especially with those last live shots, I enjoy the stills, they’ll be lovely for a magazine article, they fit with Nylons style beautifully, but those last few exposures at the bottom are truly beautiful and creatively inspiring. Excellent work, truly. That last one rocks like nobodies business! Thanks for sharing!

  • Anonymous said on July 15, 2009

    You’re welcome Zack.

    I want to just reiterate that I’m not trying to be negative or hateful towards you, in fact I really love your work and think you do a great job. I’m just saying that with some of the great work I’ve seen you do, these images seem to fall short somehow.

    I’m not a professional photographer quite yet so I suppose I don’t have room to talk, but I have bought your dvd, browsed photos on this site and your flickr and these seem below par compared to some of your awesome OneLight stuff.

  • Ziv said on July 15, 2009

    Afro Rama… I love that!

  • peter bang said on July 15, 2009

    love how the multiple exposure shots turned out. i think those are pretty darn creative. i have no experience w/ multiple exposure and in fact the first time i heard about it was from your blog post shot of your wifey.

  • xander swanson said on July 15, 2009

    great work. love the multi-exposure stuff. still don’t think it could make me switch from canon tho. you’re probably the main reason/inspiration behind why I want to get into band photography. cheers!

  • Tom said on July 16, 2009

    Hi Zack,
    Love the live multiple exposure stuff! I can’t get away with it for the live stuff I shoot for work, but next time I’m shooting a friend’s band for fun I’m definitely trying this.

    Sincere thanks for all the inspiration so far.

    PS any plans for a UK Onelight workshop?

  • neil clarke said on July 16, 2009

    i have played with multi exposure but only in colour, an i wasnt overly impressed, but your B&W shoots are fantastic so im gonna give it another go, might play with it on the photo walk Saturday, as good a time as any i guess,

    recently iv been picking up just one lens (prime) an going out shooting, i done it original to get to grips with new lenses but in turn found i shot differently an thought so much more before pressing the shutter. an now i seem to just go out with 1 maybe 2 lenses an zooms tend to stay at home, usually d200+grip 28mm ƒ2.8 85mm ƒ1.8.

  • jeremy said on July 16, 2009

    hey zack, love how these turned out. havn’tused multi ex much but i’ll be thinkin of how i can use it now.
    great work

  • Andy J Scott said on July 16, 2009

    The last one is very nice. I like the curve the exposures make. Also nice one on AfroRama!

  • Matt Lange said on July 16, 2009

    Beautiful. Good work sir.

  • Kevin said on July 16, 2009

    re: multiple exposure… I don’t think you can get quite the same effect in photoshop anyway, since PS has no “add” blend mode; only “multiply” and a few others that don’t do exactly what “add” would. (astro photographers lament this, as it requires that they seek other tools to stack exposures)

  • Kevin said on July 16, 2009

    I really like the last one, Zack. I am thinking about experimenting with multiple exposure in more regular settings like wedding and family snapshots. Thanks for the inspiration.

  • Nev said on July 16, 2009

    I take it the 5dii wont do this on camera? Just Nikon?

  • John Shim said on July 16, 2009

    Zack!!! I think the 24/D3 combo is way more useful than the 90/5D combo… actually that second combo just doesn’t seem to even be fair compared to the D3. 24 is way more useful of a focal length than 90 especially for all the group shots you’d be doing. It was almost like you were trying to get the canon combo to lose. :) Just saying. :) :)

  • Damien said on July 16, 2009

    Fantastic shots. I’ve just started playing with the multiple exposures on m D700.

  • Ken Wilcox said on July 16, 2009

    So how long will it be until a “caged” store front window becomes the next brick wall for a band shot (coming from the critique videos you posted)?

    The set list on the drum kit brought back fond memories – thanks!

  • Scott said on July 16, 2009

    I’ve got to have my two cents on Anonymous’ comments about Zack’s work being “below par”.

    Anonymous, Zack is a working photographer. And while every photo he takes might not blow your pants off, he is CONSISTENT in delivering good work.

    I know you were just being honest in your comments and not hating, but it’s a bit redundant. I mean, most of Joe McNallly’s work seems paedestrian in comparison to his best and most creative shots. But he’s a working photographer and, like Zack, it’s unreasonable to expect award-winningly creative photos every time they pick up a camera.


  • Dominoe Imus said on July 17, 2009

    Those last three shots are totally badass. They turned out real cool.

  • Anthony Skelton said on July 18, 2009

    I have mixed feelings about the first two multiple exposure shots, but the last one is amazing. I really like the placement of the faces and the overlapping of all the equipment along the bottom. I’ve done a little multiple exposure experimenting with my Holga, but nothing digital. But after seeing these I would love to start, thanks again for the continued inspiration.

  • Adam said on July 18, 2009

    That last photo makes me think “Bohemian Rhapsody”

    Nice shots, Zack

  • Stu said on July 19, 2009

    Awesome series Zack, esp the live ones. I love multi exp on my LX3, very creative.

  • kamerawerk said on July 19, 2009

    Hi Zack
    I wish I would have seen the multiple exposure shots a week earlier. I was shooting an openair with some big name acts (one of those gigs where there are 20 photogs in the pit and everyone has an 80-200 on the camera) and was wishing for inspiration to come.
    next time around I’ll try it (looks like it’s gonna be oasis :-).

  • Andy Pennebaker said on July 19, 2009

    In the first “Afro Rama” (I am sure you are aware) you can clearly see the assistant holding up a reflector or something similar under the word unisex.

    I love the multiple exposure pictures. the 2nd and 3rd pictures are nice how the light is feathered off their bodies. Looks like a grid or something.

  • Stephan Cremer said on July 19, 2009

    I like the outdoor-band shots

  • Randall Douglas said on July 19, 2009

    The whole band motion blur on (I assume) white seamless is my favorite. I also dig the motion blur stuff.

  • Randall Douglas said on July 19, 2009

    Mean to say…I really like the last two multiple exposure (or multiple exposurish) photos.

  • bob@razalihassan said on July 20, 2009

    inspired me a lot,.i`m far behind,..

  • Allen Ross Thomas said on July 20, 2009

    Really love the multiple exposures for the live shots! Great great stuff. I will certainly be experimenting with some of that.


  • Rhonda said on July 20, 2009

    Hi Zack,

    My bf turned me onto your site. Love this shots of Living Things! That multiple exposure mode is the SHIZ! i can’t wait to use it!

    I met the guys from the Living Things on 6/26/09 when the NYLON Summer Tour came to the Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro, NC. They RAWK! And they are super kewl, down-to-earth, dudes! Please see my shots in my flickr stream:

  • Kurt Stenberg said on July 21, 2009

    Nice shots Zach,

    I love the motion blur photo. I know you critique and say you dont like live show shots unless they are amazing or at least creative and I think you hit the mark. Very unique. The band must have asked for the graffiti portrait? Haha I think I remember you saying its the last band shot you would ever take. Still it looks sweet and i would be happy with that shot If I were them :)

    Kurt Stenberg

  • sunith said on July 22, 2009

    The last shot reminded me of jimmy Page in the stairway to heaven video. there is a part before his amazing solo, where the video becomes a double image(not sure about the exact term)…. very cool. I played around with multi-exposures some months back, which turned out crappy for my taste and I let it be till now…

  • Bob Davis said on July 22, 2009

    Hey Zach,

    Great post. I love how you spread the light. Awesome, being a Canon shooter, I didn’t know they (Nikon) have that old feature of in camera double exposure, COOL. I’ll have to push Canon on that one. I miss it from my film days! Love getting it in camera verses “photochop”. Keep on keeping on.

  • sunith said on July 23, 2009

    btw, time to update the “about me” section… the last bit…

  • Justin said on July 23, 2009

    Love your in camera multi-exposures!! The last two just ROCK!

  • Victor Nomoto said on July 27, 2009

    I love multiple exps , im use this techinique every time shot a show ^^ (Sorry for my english)

  • Clint Miller said on July 29, 2009

    here’s a friend in Atlanta who shoots lots of concerts using multiple exposures. His stuff is really cool:

  • Evert said on August 3, 2009

    Great shots! I really dig those TS-lens shots; amazing what you can do with available light and some creativity.

  • deborah grosmark said on August 18, 2009

    Are you shooting in B&W? How many exposures are you shooting? I was looking for inspiration, perhaps I will try it w/ my stage combat!
    Thank you for sharing your work, as always!

  • Karlo said on September 20, 2009

    Inspired by the blogpost i gave it a shot yesterday boy i got unreal results mainly the lights were led’s

    thanks for the inspiration

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