NYC :: And The Winner Is :: I'm not so happy about this. :)

November 1, 2010 | Events GOYA

And the winner of our NYC shoot-out last week is… Jason Groupp.

NOT only did he whoop me on single image votes but he also won most votes overall for his five images against mine. He won 1,451 votes against my 1,242 votes. His single best image won with 867 votes. I came in second place with 509 votes with this image…

In the original post Jason’s photos were 1, 3, 4, 7, & 9. Mine were 2, 5, 6, 8, 10.

It’s always fun to go out and shoot with another photographer you admire and respect. It’s even more fun to go out and shoot with a photographer you admire and respect and make it a competition. Then it is interesting to see how the public views the outcome of the images when it goes to a vote. The big take away from this is… None of y’all know great photography when you see it!!!  :) I’m just kidding.

Jason… Congratulations. Enjoy your sucksess for the next year. Maybe you should even start placing “Photographer of the year” in your bio and on your website. Know this… I’m coming back next year to this light fight as Iniogo Montoya…

We’ll have the BTS video that Jason’s crew shot online this week AS WELL as a post about the “light saber” I was using for this shoot-out. There’s a new modifier in town and it’s pretty awesome. But evidently not awesome enough for me to win this shoot-out. :)

Cheers, Zack


  • David Pexton said on November 1, 2010

    The second place photo is the first place photo. I am not wrong. There is no subjectivity in my world, so therefore I am right. You actually Won Zach! Woo Hoo!

  • onefiftyfour said on November 1, 2010

    5 and 6 are my favorites. the best doesn’t always win :)

  • Rob said on November 1, 2010

    I can’t believe Jason Groupp killed your father! I’d be pissed too!

  • Patrick Onofre said on November 1, 2010

    Nice to see I voted for YOUR image, Zack! I thought #2 was the best, but since my vote didn’t count 868 times like I wanted it to, I guess I’ll give a golf clap to Mr. Groupp. So, because I picked your photo, does this mean I get a cookie? Or at least a high five?

    – Patrick

  • Damon said on November 1, 2010

    I could have sworn it was your shot since Dan is so obvious in the picture. Very clever of Mr. Groupp to utilize your assistant to defeat you.

    Here’s hoping you rebound from this and use it as motivation to be the best lightsaber-user in the galaxy.

  • Bryan Mitchell said on November 1, 2010

    #2 was the best shot IMHO. The winner has cool light but that’s about it. Kind of boring. Plus I don’t like the light on the models faces. I don’t care for the light in the 2nd place photo but you still won Zack with #2! :)

  • Michelle Feeney said on November 1, 2010

    A great concept and an awesome competition. Thanks so much for sharing and bringing us along for the ride. :)

  • candis said on November 1, 2010

    Hey Zack – wasn’t #2 the photo that got you 509 votes? Your photo posted here isn’t the same as in the vote post.

  • Greg said on November 1, 2010

    I see photo #5 in this posting, but photo #2 was Zack’s best with 509 votes. What gives?

    NOTE: My comment is in no way influenced by my voting for photo #2. :)

  • Rob H (AKA RECD Designz) said on November 1, 2010

    I bought one of those “Star Wars” light modifiers a few days ago. Will be picking it up soon at the Tampa meetup :-)

  • zack said on November 1, 2010

    @Candis – Oh yeah! You’re right! Post changed.


  • Dave said on November 1, 2010

    I’ve been wondering since you tweeted about a new modifier a while back if it was the Saber Strip. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on it.

  • brett maxwell said on November 1, 2010

    There were several that I preferred at first glance but upon looking a little closer I didn’t find the models’ expressions and interactions flattering or appealing.

    I voted for your second place photo, Zack. It doesn’t have the most interesting lighting of the bunch, but I think it’s the most well-rounded (and awesome) photo in the group. You have a ton of OCF junkies reading this blog, so interesting lighting won this competition, but I bet a group of ADs would take your second place photo every time.

  • Sree said on November 1, 2010

    I almost voted for the JG image but I found the light on the left hand to be just too bright and my eye was constantly drawn to it. I kept debating about that :)

  • Chris said on November 1, 2010

    My vote was for #10 and I figured it was yours. Your still the photog to follow…

  • Sissel said on November 1, 2010

    It actually was between these two images for me. They both made me stop. But ultimately, it was yours that I loved more. And I didn’t know it was yours. Which makes it cool for me. The light and mood is just perfect in this image. #2 wins!!

  • michael said on November 1, 2010

    Cool experiment. Looking forward to the BTS video, I have many questions about how this went on. So, were you each watching while the other was shooting? How much does this effect the composition you were going for? Like I see a lot of right side of the street/left side of the street, front of the bus/side of the bus, and then the decisive #4 vs #5 decision, low angle with cityscape/high angle without cityscape. I’d love to hear some more commentary from you about these photos!

  • Lars saaby said on November 1, 2010

    “Inigo Montoya”… I never forget that movie. The reason being this Line: “Hello… My name is Inigo Montoya. 40 years ago you killed my father. Prepare to die”. Dont know why but that quote just stuck with me. So i was quote surprised when seing the ZackMaster mention the great Inigo Montoya 😉

  • Bane Majstor said on November 1, 2010

    I voted for #4 – that was easy, but I can’t decide which one is the worst of the lot: #1 or #6. Any help?

  • Bane Majstor said on November 1, 2010

    The reason #4 won is that it is so much different than all the other, more or less, already-seen-and-boring compositions. The #4 introduces dynamics, the woman’s expression, and pure luck of the moment thingy, while the models are just hand props. That forces you to explore the picture.

  • Benjamin Lea said on November 1, 2010

    I knew that number 2 was your shot – For what its worth I think it was the best shot out of them all!

  • Rick020200 said on November 1, 2010

    I liked both #4 and #2 and was tempted by the top vote getter. But I specifically chose #2 because I thought it was more appealing in a general sense. I liked #4 in a meta-photography sense but I felt like it would be nerdy to vote for it just because the flash was in the image. Yes, nice capture and all, but the flash made me too aware of the technology. Your image won my vote because it is gorgeous. Cheers.

  • Diego Veríssimo said on November 1, 2010

    My favorite is still #5. I voted for it and I’d do it again.

    Now I just think you should repeat this competition this month. And every month from now on 😀

  • Matt Moore said on November 1, 2010

    It it makes you feel better, I voted for you.

    Although both of you kicked out some very nice photos.

    Keep up the topshelf work.

  • DJH said on November 1, 2010

    Same here number 5…Cool competition

  • Debbi said on November 1, 2010

    The lady and the dog made the shot
    Next time find a dog Zack

  • Mike M said on November 2, 2010

    Hey Zack, don’t sweat it. The reason that the particular image won is because of a psychological trick that I call “everything and the kitchen sink.” If a kitchen sink isn’t available, then an older woman walking a dog will work too. Basically, the idea is to overload the senses of the audience with subject matter and trick them into choosing quantity over quality. It’s sort of like the photographic equivalent eating at a Las Vegas Buffet.

  • Jason Cantrell said on November 2, 2010

    I’m all about #2…

    The light is a bit harsh and I don’t like the shadows on the model’s faces in #4.

  • Reno said on November 2, 2010

    It’s crazy I just like ur picture better and i’m not wishing for any discount or rebates lol 😉
    Nice competition

  • Tim Skipper said on November 2, 2010


    I still like yours better. If you want you have my permission to count my vote another 400 times. 😉

  • Ron Dawson said on November 2, 2010

    Great contest Mr. Arias. I find it interesting to read the comments bagging on the winning photo. I wonder if that had been revealed as your photo if they wouldn’t instead be saying how brilliant it was? Just wondering. :)

  • Pat M said on November 2, 2010

    Can’t really expect to beat the poodle, can you :-)

  • Juan said on November 2, 2010

    He won because Dan was in the picture… plain and simple, everyone thought it was yours, c’mon, it had to be, right?… However, you both are extremely talented and there is no question about that!

  • Jason Groupp said on November 2, 2010

    Well, maybe I have one fan? :) Thanks Ron.

    I want to thank all of you who never gave me even the slightest chance! :)

    It’s not often I have my work critiqued, so I am enjoying the comments. I am also a big fan of Zack’s so I understand the comments that are being posted. This was a fun, yet challenging competition, and I look forward to next year. I woke the sleeping giant, I know I won’t get so lucky next year. :)

  • Mike M said on November 2, 2010

    @Ron Dawson

    The winner shoots consistently bright in the highlights and skintones. Zarias is more controlled and subdued in the highlights and skintones. It’s possible that some people were able to determine image ownership, without relying on logos, by dividng the photos series in half according to brightness.

  • Raúl Hernández González said on November 2, 2010

    Ough… “Iniogo”???? Íñigo (with ñ, and the written accent on the capital I). I know they are not characters you are used to, but still… :)

  • Carlos said on November 2, 2010

    And I’m not happy to see all the pics that I swear were not yours … ARE!
    DUDE! You told us at creative lives is dummy to take pictures in front of the brick walls and you DID!
    Braking your own rules is against the game’s rule!

  • Martin said on November 2, 2010

    What?? You lost!!
    Do we get a refund on our One Light DVD’s???
    Ha, great series of images from both of you.

  • Thomas Churchwell said on November 3, 2010

    Had he not had his Mom walk through with the dog looking like a innocent stranger then you would have won hands down Zack!

  • Calvin said on November 3, 2010

    Yeah I’m still not sold on the winning image. I mean, I get why it won, just simply because it had so much going on… but still that doesn’t make a great photo in my opinion.. seems almost lack of trying to compose.

  • Jason Groupp said on November 3, 2010

    ….whoa, this is a tough crowd! LOL – Mike won’t even refer to me by my name, and Thomas accuses me of bringing my Mom! YOWZA!

  • akent said on November 4, 2010

    what I loved about this was try to recognise what pictures are yours and what arent (in my opinion u both have very different styles)

    I would have swear that the winner picture was yours hehe. its really more your style than his

    the bus one and the B&W dual are yours too. i didnt doubt

    but for example the second in votes. i would have said it was his, and not yours. you cheated me hehe or maybe u were more romantic thet day than usual

    by the way, did u try to change the styles a bit?

    anyway all are great pics

  • mick said on November 4, 2010

    my fave was #5, minus a little too much lighting, there seemed to be a real story between the models in that pic. @zack what was your favorite image and why?

  • CHeCoS said on November 6, 2010

    I am not pro and have subject opinion only. For me there is no better and worse . There is however diffrent approach to lighting. YOur pictures are always gently lighted. Group pictures looks like american commercials from tv series. mayby thats why i am reading Your blog. (please excuse grammer spelling and poor english)

  • KJ said on November 15, 2010

    You got 0wnd, bahahahahaha!

  • Lydia said on November 28, 2010

    That’s funny because I love the emotion in the second place picture much better!

  • Tracey Hedge said on December 17, 2010

    I can see the extra interest in the first image..It makes you look a second time to make sure they are actually in the scene.
    The second on is beautiful, done just right.

  • Lauren said on April 16, 2011

    The first is well done but I like the composition in the second better….I feel like its more dynamic. It doesn’t need all of the extra “stuff”.

  • Alli said on June 14, 2011

    I love to come on your site Zack. I always feel inspired as a photographer.

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