South 70 :: Press, Promo, CD Packaging Shoot

August 4, 2010 | Editorial Photography

Just completed the post production for the shoot I did with South 70 last week. We were only kicked out of one location. Not too bad. You’ll notice guitars showing up in this shoot. I typically avoid including instruments in my press and promo work because it can become cliché very quickly but there are times I break that rule. It has to just “work” and I feel with this shoot it worked. They’re a little bit country and a little bit rock-n-roll and I need that guitar in a few shots to bridge the gap visually. Not only that, when the guitar was on set it was being played. When the guitar was being played everyone started to sing. When everyone started to sing everyone forgot about the camera. When everyone forgot about the camera something genuine would happen… like the image above. As a photographer you sometimes just need to create the environment, set the light, and then wait for a moment to happen.

Aaaaaaaaaand… then you go back to directing things.

Thanks to the crew!

Cheers, Zack


  • Errol Dunlap said on August 4, 2010

    Great as usual. The first shot…beauty dish? or burn in PS?

  • zack said on August 4, 2010

    Errol – 1st shot is the 7′ octa.

  • Phil said on August 4, 2010

    Really enjoy the B&W. Always digged your B&W work.

  • Borna Cavrag said on August 4, 2010

    Could you please tell me where the usedfilm sticker is in the pic #4, It’s driving me nuts 😀

  • zack said on August 4, 2010

    Borna – Check the post she’s leaning on. :)

  • larry reeves said on August 4, 2010

    awesome post, zack! Thanks for sharing!

  • Fatih K said on August 4, 2010

    Great work Zack! First one is my favorite.

  • Andy S. said on August 4, 2010

    Great as always, man! Although I was surprised to see a guitar…;)

    The last color group shot…7′ Octa? Whatever it is, the light is beautiful!

  • zack said on August 4, 2010

    Andy – The last group shot was the Westcott 50″ Apollo softbox.


  • Josh said on August 4, 2010

    Great images Zack! I was wondering, is that seamless roll a 9ft or is it longer? I would imagine it would be difficult to fit that many people onto the standard 9ft that I have used.

  • zack said on August 4, 2010

    Josh – That’s our cyc wall. It’s 19′ wide by 11.5′ high and the floor runs white for 25′. I’ve shot 5 on a 9′ seamless though. It can be done. They all just have to be very close to each other!


  • Tony said on August 4, 2010

    Awesome, as usual. You are a true inpiration!

  • Rick Wenner said on August 4, 2010

    Love these shots here Zack, great work as always my man. Was the restaurant booth shot taken next door? I’m really diggin the first shot and the booth.

  • Richerd Reynolds said on August 4, 2010

    Excellent post. Fantastic work as always Zack. I really love the 6th image. Capturing the crane(?) in there was a great touch. It really adds to the shot.

    Which location were you kicked out of?

  • zack said on August 4, 2010

    Richerd – The bird is part of our logo added in as a watermark. We were shooting outside of an abandoned house in Kirkwood. The owner showed up and was nice about us being there but still requested we leave. He said next time to leave a note on the door and talk to him first. Luckily the cops weren’t involved although that always makes for more interesting stories. :)

  • Borna Cavrag said on August 4, 2010

    you might as well make it 254 white on the burned sky… two hours lost… better things to do… zombies… beer…



  • Rob H (RECD Designz) said on August 4, 2010

    I find it appropriate that Dan is holding an AlienBee in that last image – lol.

  • Rob H (RECD Designz) said on August 4, 2010

    @Borna – The watermark is on the white beam just to her left (our right). It’s placed vertically 😉

  • Howard Haby said on August 4, 2010

    Love, Love, Love these photos, Zack. Man, you and your work are so inspirational! I can’t pick a favorite here ’cause each are excellent in their own way, but the opening photo made me smile right along with them. Genuine moments = magic.

  • Senor D said on August 4, 2010

    Hey Zack, great stuff. In the second picture, the woman on the left feet are pointed just a little odd, though.

    Also, is there any ETA to the grip video you mentioned?

  • Niels and Everlien said on August 4, 2010

    As always Zack. The pictures look great. Love the B&W. Too bad you aren’t doing a european tour and come to Holland. Would’ve taken the Onelight workshop.



  • AJ said on August 4, 2010

    Really nice work Zack. The first three shots are impeccable IMO. In the last group shot of the band, the legs of the guy on the left (with the guitar) are getting lost in the black b/g. It could just be my monitor, so sorry if that is the case.

  • Richerd Reynolds said on August 4, 2010

    Hi Zack, yep. I figured what it was after I posted. Nothing like looking like an idiot on your first post. Sorry about that.

    I would like to know though, could lighting like that (image 6) be pulled off with something like an sb-900 or is that strictly the domain of studio level strobes?

    Thanks again for all of your fine work and inspiration.

  • zack said on August 4, 2010

    Richerd :: That last image can be pulled off with a hotshoe. You just have to wait for the sun to dip below the horizon.

  • Frager said on August 4, 2010

    These are really inspirational. I am new to photography and I truly thank God for you doing the one light series. I would love it if you could to doing a workshop in Mississippi one day.

  • Matthew Walton said on August 4, 2010


    When you shoot in restaurants and other similar locations, do you get permission to block off several tables or do you go before/after hours?

    Thanks for a great post!


  • Kip Beelman said on August 4, 2010

    Solid all the way around, but that first frame is special and unique in the world of band photography. Love it.

  • Debbi said on August 4, 2010

    What did you do to Dan’s arm? LOL

    Glad ur posting again, had zack withdrawals


  • Otto Rascon said on August 4, 2010

    Wow, I am so digging these photos. I love the clean look on the seamless background – so awesome! I will have to check out this band, as I am curious to their sound. Thanks for sharing Zack. Rock on and much love from Chicago – so bummed I missed your workshop just a few weeks back :(

  • GregK said on August 4, 2010

    Good stuff Zack!

  • Shannon White said on August 4, 2010

    Love love the first shot. It is probably one of my all time favs!

  • Tim Skipper said on August 4, 2010

    As usual you deliver on excellence. Great work love the first picture

  • Glyn Dewis said on August 4, 2010

    Great stuff Zack; love the energy in the first shot.

    Good to know that I’m not the only one that gets ‘booted out’ of locations but then I do tend to live by the motto that it;s ‘easier to apologise than to ask permission’ … this way I atleast get to shoot in places I otherwise wouldn’t; albeit for a short period a times…lol

    All the best to you,

  • Paul Pratt said on August 4, 2010

    Love all of these, killer shot for me is the girl standing on her own with the sun flare. Glad to see you are into the trespassing scene too. Also, this is the first time I’ve seen Dan *almost* smile in a photograph.



  • sherri said on August 4, 2010

    love the bird in the second to last shot :-) very creative!

  • Chris Bergstrom said on August 4, 2010

    Zack, excellent work as usual! I have to say thanks for the ColrMunki recommendation though. It’s been a lifesaver for me!


  • Andy S. said on August 5, 2010

    Time to pick your brain a bit…

    I suck at directing. It feels awkward to me. I find myself “waiting for moments” too often…then you get that awkward silence where your staring at your subject…

    Are you just a natural born director? If not, any tips to kind of get the hang of it?

  • zack said on August 5, 2010

    Andy S – Not to be a jerk of a salesman but I talked a lot about that in my creativeLIVE studio class…

    I’ve had to learn how to direct. I’m most certainly not a natural at it. The biggest part of direction is usually having an idea of what you want in the first place. If you don’t know what you want to shoot you’ll have a really hard time directing your subjects into your vision.


  • John Sharpe said on August 5, 2010

    Zack, just love the 2nd and 6th photos. You just have an amazing knack for arranging B&W band promo photos! Thanks for inspiring me (once again)

  • Daf said on August 5, 2010

    Agree with you about instruments being cliche sometimes but I think that acoustic instruments are fine in a shoot as they CAN be played. Que Slash on a mountain top playing an electric guitar not plugged in – ha.
    It’s an issue for me as I photograph lots of DJ’s and electronic music producers. Headphones around the neck – Ok, keyboards not plugged in – less so!

    Out of interest – the 4th picture, girl alone. Love it and just started to try similar stuff after seeing a tip on Dtown from Matt Kloskowski – but I’m still finding my way. Did you use any additional light/reflector or just expose naturally for the girl ? TIA

  • zack said on August 5, 2010

    @Daf – Just available light. No other reflectors. Should have had one on hand for just a bit of fill but it was that “just right” time of day to pull that shot off without one.


  • Martin said on August 5, 2010

    Man, you just kick serious ass. This is inspiring, at a time when I really needed it. Thanks.

  • Bender said on August 5, 2010

    Hey Zack,

    I love image 6.
    How were you able to prevent shadows from the other band members being cast on the guy in the back?


  • zack said on August 5, 2010

    Bender – I was using the 50″ Westcott Softbox. It was a bit off to camera right to give some direction but it is large enough to wrap around as long as you don’t place someone in direct line between the subject in the back and the light source.


  • Sree said on August 5, 2010

    i just might have to buy their CD. thanks Zack!:P

  • Sree said on August 5, 2010

    i just might have to buy their CD. 😛

  • Marvin Pascual said on August 6, 2010

    I love the contrast in #3… Great!!!

  • Daf said on August 6, 2010

    On directing – I found that doing cooperative shoots with other photographers really helped. My 1st was a real eye opener – I was the techie photographer, not talking much just moving lights around, fiddling with buttons etc – the other tog was a artist people-person – she didn’t change the lights at all instead moved and talked to the person. Was a great lesson.

  • Geoff said on August 6, 2010

    Zack – Great meeting you and thank you again for this amazing work!! Can’t wait til we get our recordings mixed/mastered so we can have some top-notch recorded music to match these outstanding pics!

    – Geoff

  • Debbi said on August 6, 2010

    Do you use Photoshop for B&W conversion.
    Thx, great post

  • Bill Blankenship said on August 7, 2010

    awesome stuff, great pictures here. Looking forward to seeing and hearing more.

    Trent’s Music Notes

  • Nico said on August 11, 2010

    There! I saw it, you took a photo of a musician holding a guitar…
    Guess you haven’t improved that much from your days in university :-)
    there’s no brick background though !
    Have a great day,

  • taurui said on August 20, 2010

    Don’t laugh at me for not knowing (because I don’t think it’s all that complicated), but how did you light 157? Laaaarge softbox to the right, gel’d a little warmer?

  • misslieze said on August 23, 2010

    Can anyone tell me where the blonde hair girl got her boots form? I’m dying to know! 😀 Must have them! lol

  • Daniel said on September 3, 2010

    Great shots here.

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