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


  • Jason Sheesley said on June 7, 2010

    I have no problem with “photo aware” shots in general, but I’m not crazy about that boom running through the middle of the shot.

  • melissa said on June 7, 2010

    i am a fan of them, with lights or hand holding strobes too..

  • Nasir said on June 7, 2010

    I dig it. Please post more of these. Thanks.
    Have a great flight out west, see you on Friday.

  • bryan lathrop said on June 7, 2010

    totally diggable…`ceptin that boom in the middle.

  • Ben said on June 8, 2010

    The boom is a distraction in my opinion. Apart from that I like it!

  • Charles Lethbridge said on June 8, 2010

    Like the ‘used film’ branding on your fabric grid on the right… my eye went straight to it…
    I quite liked the boom, think it makes it a much more intimate photo, without it, it would be guys in a big room with some lights rather than feeling like it was shot in a small space backstage or something like that

  • Mike said on June 8, 2010

    I love ’em. It’s great to be able to see the lighting setup.

    Nice one. Cheers, Zack.

  • Daf said on June 8, 2010

    As a photo-geek and someone who’s still learning my ways in lighting (yes I’m signed up for this weekends tutorials) I love them.
    Agreed about the boom arm though.

  • Bill Van Loo said on June 8, 2010

    I like those shots in general. Ditto the boom comment.

    I was excited to see this regardless -been listening to Pirate Radio and Pro*Pain a bunch lately!

  • seth floyd said on June 8, 2010

    I like the “aware” shots…we get to see your setup. :)
    The boom is part of the awareness so its fine. If you nixed it and only saw the light rigs, the average user might not even get that its just regular old lighting equipment. Id even add another element and add a “prop photographer” in the foreground bottom left as if he were doing the shoot. If you caught him from the back in just a silhouette that might validate the boom more but I say its fine like it is.

    Just my opinion though.

  • Michael Howard said on June 8, 2010

    They are like anything else for me. As long as you are showing the ‘gear’ for a reason and it adds to the content/meaning of the image I have no problem with it. If you are showing the gear just to ‘break a rule’ then it’s just like a distracting action/color shift on an image.

    While the lighting in the image is visually pleasing, I’m not sold on the gear being shown in relation to the 2 guys. They feel very disconnected from one another and seem to be caged into a corner surrounded by photo gear!

  • taurui said on June 8, 2010

    Hey Zack, what about the GOYA results? :)

  • moritz said on June 8, 2010

    Funny – the boom is distracting but adds credibility!
    Interesting read on “photo awareness” (in case you missed it):

  • Jon Yoder said on June 8, 2010

    I’m a fan of Mars Ill–especially the song Alpha Male. It’s cool that you had those guys in the studio!

    I also do like setup shots like this. I like the boom arm being there too. It adds to the whole “behind the scenes feel.”

  • Clayton Borah said on June 8, 2010

    SWEET! I love me some mars ill, I used to work in a “Christian” bookstore and every time I got the oportunity I would stop the southern gospel and put on Mars Ill, Pigeon John, or The Tunnel Rats. Those were the good ol’ days. Great work Zack and I’m totally stoked for your Creative Live workshop!

  • Surly said on June 8, 2010

    I dig it. I think the boom needs to be there. I’d love to hear ZA’s take on why it’s there.

  • Hunter said on June 8, 2010

    I listened to him. He’s no Biggie, but he is pretty decent.

  • Rob Wise said on June 8, 2010

    It’s really funny that this is the subject of yesterday’s blog since I just took a “photo aware” shot last week and it turned out to be one of my favorites in the entire shoot.

    Yeah I really like the style, it might even be interesting to do a whole series with the secrets being shown in the shot.

  • Andy said on June 8, 2010

    I like. I shot one on a whim while I was doing my first studio shoot and it turned out to be one of my favorites.

  • Glyn Dewis said on June 8, 2010

    Really liking these strips; and digging the photo aware shot Zack.

    Have a great time in Seattle. Rest assured I’ll be syncing watches here in the UK to be sure I catch you ‘online’.


  • Mike Allen said on June 9, 2010

    I’m digging the shot. Unlike most, the boom needs to stay in the shot. Seeing it in the shot gives me the sense that I’m sneaking backstage and hiding just so that I can get a sneakpeak of the performer. If the boom wasn’t in it, it would still be cool but not as much.

    I love your style and study it as much as I can.

  • jon thorpe said on June 9, 2010

    where’s dust at? is he not with manchild anymore?

  • Niall said on June 11, 2010

    They are awesome. It’s like behind the scenes film except you have to tell the story about the shot in one frame.

  • Ben said on June 14, 2010

    what are the sizes of the stripboxes?

  • joe said on June 15, 2010

    I Love them

  • nathan blaney said on June 23, 2010

    I shoot very few of those, but occasionally they work. I’m happy with this one:

  • Mike Moss said on July 3, 2010

    The phrase “photo aware” is a great description for that type of style of photography. I actually think it’s a good way to photograph unknown talent because the set itself can make them look important even if the audience is not very familiar with them yet. The bigger the lights = the bigger the star. The bigger the set = the bigger the star.

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