ATL :: Critique Night This Saturday

February 13, 2012 | Events

Meg and I are hosting our first ever live critique night at our new studio in Decatur. A few years ago we started doing critiques online. You can see our 14 episodes on

Now that we are in the new space we are going to start doing these as a live event. We don’t want to make this a drab academic experience so here’s the deal. Bring a chair and the drink of your choice and show up at our studio this Saturday, February 18th at 7pm. Drop your beer in the cooler and drop your web site / flickr page / thumb drive / etc in the critique box. Meg and I will start randomly pulling sites or thumb drives out of the box and giving critique.

Our critique is not the stuffy, bokeh magnifying, type of critique. It’s as if you came over to our place, pulled up a chair, grabbed a beer, and we just honestly talked about your work. Oh wait, that is exactly what we are going to do. :)

Here are the rules ::

1. You can’t take it personally. Even if we laugh at your photos. We are here first and foremost to help and that means we aren’t going to just hand out pats on the back and pump up your self esteem. Honest critique is needed by all of us in order to grow. It is always my goal to point out strengths and weakness. I will always let you know my strengths and weakness as well as a critic of work. We all have to grow. None of us have this all figured out. Just remember that.

2. You can’t explain your work until after the critique. You could show a mediocre photograph and then tell us the saddest story in the world about the photograph and suddenly we want to like the photograph. A picture stands on it’s own or it doesn’t. Let your work speak for itself. We can have a discussion about your work after we’ve had our say first.

3. You aren’t guaranteed a critique. We have no idea how many folks are going to show up. That’s why it is a bring your own chair sort of event. If 10 people show up then we’ll get to all of you. If 100 people show up, well, you know that would be impossible. Sitting in on the critique is always a good learning experience though. You don’t have to put something in the box to attend. You can rubberneck if you want. :)

4. Bring a chair. Our floor is concrete so you might want to grab a folding chair from home. :)

How it will work ::

We’ll have a projection up for everyone to see the work and we’ll just start picking sites and going through them. I speak to the work as a working photographer. Meg speaks to the work as a member of the general public. She could not care any less about lenses, f-stops, softboxes, etc. She’ll tell you how she “feels” about your work. Whether she would want to hire you or not. If she laughs at your work (when one is not supposed to laugh at it) take note of that right away. Others are doing the same. We don’t filter ourselves here too much, if at all.

We will be recording this for the blog. Some have asked if we would do a live stream but dealing with this live is a pain and something I’d rather not deal with. We’ll screen capture the critiques and post it later.

Open call to Photo Editors, Art Directors, Creative Directors, and Art Buyers ::

This is going to be a regular event at our studio. If your job is that of looking at photography everyday we’d love to have you be a guest critic. Anytime we have a guest in for critique then my work goes in the box as well! If you dish it out you have to be able to take it as well.

We’re looking forward to this because instead of dropping critiques on people and then getting follow up via email that no one sees, you’ll have the chance to ask questions and have a conversation about the work in person. It’s also going to silence the haters who say that we’d never say the things we do to someone’s face. Oh yes. Yes we will. :) It’s going to be fun. We’ll all have some laughs and get to the heart of the matter of growing as photographers. It’s going to be good. I hope you can make it.

Any questions? Let me know in the comments.






  • Bret Douglas said on February 13, 2012

    Will this concentrate on portraiture or are other types of photography fair game?
    I’ll see ya on Saturday!

  • Zack said on February 13, 2012

    @Bret – Any type of photography is fair game other than porn. :)


  • Skunk said on February 13, 2012

    Will this be televised for those of us out-of-state? :)

  • Brent Nitschke said on February 13, 2012

    Looking forward to it. See you there!

  • Chip said on February 13, 2012

    Is it possible/legal to mail a beer and a thumb drive together from Denver?!

  • Grant Meeks said on February 13, 2012

    Hey Zack,

    This is a great idea! Any chance these will be recorded for the web?



  • Jesse Inskeep said on February 13, 2012

    Any way for us un-locals to get in on this? I’ve been critiqued by you before and would like some feedback on my recent work and how I’ve been progressing. The problem is I live about 4 hrs away, via plane…. :) Any thoughts as to running a live feed or doing a G+ Hangout?

  • Zack said on February 13, 2012

    Jesse, Grant, and Skunk. See the following quote above…

    We will be recording this for the blog. Some have asked if we would do a live stream but dealing with this live is a pain and something I’d rather not deal with. We’ll screen capture the critiques and post it later.



  • Simon said on February 13, 2012

    Oh great ! I work this saturday… AND I live 1,200 miles north from your studio. Looking forward to see you sometimes closer to the canadian border (or in Montreal).

  • Keri said on February 13, 2012

    If i was in the right country (not the UK) i would attend just to experience a critique and hopefully have a beer with you, I would of course drop my link in the critique box as i would be interested in a pro’s opinion, even though i know i have a long way to go with my photos.

  • Rob mehlenbacher said on February 14, 2012

    Glad to here there will be recordings of these critiques that we can see later. I am in the great white north and won’t be in atlant until July.
    Cheers, rob

  • Tak said on February 14, 2012

    Just wondering four things. Can I take it personally? Am I allowed to explain my work during the critique? Am I guaranteed a critique? What kind of floor do you have? Also – do you think you can do a blog post about this event?

    I have trouble reading.


  • Rick said on February 14, 2012

    Any chance of critiquing Flickr/500px/etc online ports for us overseas folk, or would that be opening the floodgates a little too much.

  • Jon C said on February 14, 2012

    I don’t see how this thing won’t last about 12 hours. Anyway, I will eagerly await the upload.

  • Bret Douglas said on February 14, 2012

    (Note to self: Delete porn off thumb drive)

  • Meg said on February 14, 2012


    Oh my goodness I cannot stop laughing at your comment!!

    Comment WIN!!!!!

  • dave said on February 14, 2012

    I should come for this. Wait, I can’t.. Maybe later this year I’ll make a trip to ATL to get my work torn to shreds.

  • Zack said on February 14, 2012

    @Dave – You really do need to come down for one of these! Bring your workshop as well. We’ll make a whole weekend out of it.


  • Yirmiyhau Vann said on February 14, 2012

    Hey Zack, don’t forget about us out of towners. Here is my company website, give us an online critique when you make a chance.



  • deke said on February 14, 2012

    Hey Zack and Meg … can you call me when the critique starts and just leave your phone off the hook so I can listen in? Thanks!

    See ya on the blog … :)

  • Donna Luker said on February 14, 2012

    I so want to rubberneck this, but we have a prior commitment out of town. BTW, that pic of Master Hawke is priceless. You should project it as needed during critiques ;)

  • Ram said on February 15, 2012

    Will be there with my chair :-)

  • Broderick said on February 15, 2012

    Love that photo! I’m going to try and make it…

  • Juan Rodriguez said on February 16, 2012

    I understand that the spot to be critiqued is not guaranteed and like what you said, it will be an awesome experience regardless. So you know, I am going to drive from Birmingham to ATL just for this… no need of special treatment or getting ahead of the line (:wink:wink:)… nah, j/k, just the fact of having the remote possibility for you to take a look over my work and to meet you in person will be a privilege.
    Thank you again and I will see you Saturday!

  • Scott LePage said on February 16, 2012

    Looks like a fun event. I’ll be traveling through from Charlotte in route to Birmingham for some work next week. I’ll try to stop in for a critique on the fly!

  • dtbsz said on February 16, 2012


    I live on another continent so it’d be hard for me to be there. Hope online subs are not dead… :)

    Greets ‘y’all

  • Juan said on February 16, 2012

    Zack, one more thing… since I am coming from out of state (hehe!) , do you guys have any idea how long is the shindig going to last? Do you have any hotel recommendations close by (just in case of inebriation)?

  • Zack said on February 17, 2012

    Juan – If you don’t mind a dive hotel you can try the Super 8 or Decatur Inn on Church St. They’re actually one in the same and aren’t that bad. Holiday Inn Express on N. Decatur Rd. is a good option too.


  • Kathy Porupski said on February 16, 2012

    So would love to be there for this… Thinking I just might have to make a weekend journey to your neck of the woods sometime soon for a Saturday studio adventure! Have a squirrel and will travel… :-)

  • Michael KALBO said on February 16, 2012

    This sounds like a great event. Wish I lived in the ATL. Hopefully in the future you can include those of us not from the ATL area.

  • Adrea said on February 18, 2012

    Looking forward to the evening!

  • Kevin Bradley said on February 18, 2012

    Really looking forward to this! Thanks in advance!

  • Justin said on February 18, 2012

    Hey Zack, my fiance and I are both photographers and would love to attend, but it’s tough to find a sitter for our 6 year old. You think this will be kid friendly?

  • Zack said on February 18, 2012

    @Justin – We’re leaving our kiddos at home. There will be beer and, at times, unfiltered critique of work which might mean you have to lean down and say “Don’t let daddy hear you say that word.” :) I mean, it’s not going to be a sailor’s convention but I wouldn’t say it would be kid friendly.


  • Gerry B said on February 18, 2012

    I wish I would have seen this before today. Zac thank you for not only being a great photographer but a great person as well. Your videos have improved my photography so much. I can’t make it to this one but I will watch it online & bring plenty of good beer next time….. Natty Ice right

  • Juan Rodriguez said on February 19, 2012


    Again, thank you so much for letting us hang out with you and Meg in this event. I think it was an awesome idea and a lot of people got a lot out of it. I sure did! :)



  • khris kramer said on February 19, 2012

    Thank you so much for putting on the critique night. I already started to put your suggestions to action. AND thanks for the gift card!!

  • moritz said on February 19, 2012

    Fantastic idea, I wish we had something like this here in Mexico CIty. I am looking forward to the screen capture of the event but am also hoping to see/hear a bit more about what the atmosphere was like, what the reactions from the audience were and so on!

  • Ram said on February 19, 2012

    Zack & Meg
    Thanks for the wonderful evening. It was lots of fun and learning experience. Though my work wasn’t picked up for the critique, hope I will get my chance next time :-)
    Thanks again…


  • Julion Bush said on February 21, 2012

    When can we expect another critique night? I really enjoyed it, but didn’t get picked. Hoping I have better luck next time.

  • Zack said on February 21, 2012

    @Julion – Yep! It will be a fairly regular event. Every 6 weeks or so as the schedule allows.


  • djaka said on February 21, 2012

    Eagerly looking forward for the recording of this event.
    thank you

  • Paul Howard said on February 23, 2012

    Arghhh, I missed it! Is this up somewhere to re-watch?

  • Zack said on February 23, 2012

    It will be. Once I edit it. It was 3+ hours of critique so I’ve got a job ahead of me to bring that down a bit.


  • Paul Howard said on February 23, 2012

    Awesome! Great to hear, thanks Zack!

  • Scott LePage said on February 24, 2012

    Thanks, Zack, Meg and Dan…not necessarily in that order, I had a good time and I was liberating having my work critiqued in front of a fairly large audience as well as being on personal display at the mike! Cheers, Scott

  • Juan Rodriguez said on February 24, 2012

    @Zack – Pleaaaase do not cut the jokes… that’s the best part of all!
    Spoiler Alert!!!: Watch of for Phil Ball(s) work! …can’t make THAT up!!

  • Gabriel said on February 24, 2012

    i try to access
    but “404 – That Blip has sailed.” it’s temporary i hope …


  • Gabriel said on February 24, 2012

    hmm .. now it’s working .. thanks … false alarm … (sorry …)

    best regards,

  • DJ Paine said on March 8, 2012

    CANNOT WAIT FOR THE VIDEO! – or videos – man i hope i can join in one day.

  • Bret said on April 10, 2012

    Any idea when the complete critique session video will be posted? I had a blast that night and still can’t believe I was lucky enough to be chosen for critique. I guess wrapping that $5 bill around my flash drive helped, huh?
    For those that weren’t there here is a video I made of Zack and Meg ripping me during my session.

  • Juan Rodriguez said on May 2, 2012

    Hey Zack,

    When are you posting the full video?



  • Nami said on August 25, 2012

    Is this going to become a something you do on a constant basis?

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