Photography Critique :: Episode 8

March 27, 2009 | • Critique

We start out this critique by answering some questions from emails and comments here on the blog concerning “general photography” and “niched photography.” One thing I forgot to say during this recording concerning narrowing your vision with photography…

Remember there is a massive influx of photographers coming into the industry right now and many of them are generalists. The more you can narrowly define who you are as a photographer not only helps you grow as a photographer, helps you work your marketing mojo toward the right client, but it helps you stand out from the crowd of folks armed with a digital camera.

Keep these questions rolling! These are some great subjects for us to discuss. If you want to be added to the critique que then send your link to critique @ zacKarias [dot] com.

I’ll check in with you when I get to the other side of the planet! :)

Cheers, Zack


  • Tim Larson said on March 27, 2009

    Great advice… shoot every assignment as though it’s a high end editorial assignment.

  • zack said on March 27, 2009

    Tech note :: The audio is a bit too quiet on this one. I upgraded to an external mic and I had the recording level set too low. I’ll have that fixed for the next episode.


  • Robin said on March 27, 2009

    Zack- you are just amazing. I don’t know if you got my email but I did send one. I would so love to have some type of help to hone my skills and learn what direction to go next. I am so eager to do but am currently standing at the crossroads… I hope the website isn’t a deterrent since I don’t have a “real” one yet–that’s just because I can’t seem to find JUST the right one!

    Hope you have a great trip!

  • Ghislain Leduc said on March 27, 2009

    Hi Zack, can we download your Photo critique? I really enjoy your comments and It’s helping me reorganize but going back to the site and download the video for just a quick review I want to see, here in Canada we don’t have unlimited download so it’s pretty much costing me money to look back again :-) If it’s not possible, no big deal it’s so helpful, the extra box worth it! :-)

  • Rich said on March 27, 2009

    Terrific episode Zack – more information packed in there than I can even remember! Keep it up, it’s very helpful. And good luck in Dubai!


  • Luis said on March 27, 2009

    Thank You Zack.

    Each time I see one of your vids I feel I am in class again.

    I absorb as much info & knowledge as I can, keep it up.

    It would be great if you could podcast this so I could have them on my iPhone anytime I want to help me critique my work.

  • محمد said on March 27, 2009

    هناك أرأى لك.

  • Gerald said on March 27, 2009

    Hi Zack, I was wondering do you take on interns? I attend gwinnett techs commercial photo program and we have a quarter where we have to do an internship local or abroad.

  • Phillip Resuggan said on March 27, 2009

    Ditto on the podcast. I have been wanting to check out the critiques but my time is such that I have to process images when in front to the computer. I do have time however to listen and view podcasts on my iphone. Please publish your videos as a podcast.

  • Robyn said on March 27, 2009

    Another fabulous, fabulous job, Zack. If Andy is reading this, I wanted to point out that it looks like you need to clean your sensor judging from the large glob under the third light on the last picture reviewed. Wonderful job, and I agree with Zack that once you get your color and focus issues sorted out, you will be a force to be reckoned with.

  • Jason said on March 27, 2009

    Travel safe.

  • Mark said on March 27, 2009

    Hi Zack,

    There is a lot of excitement that your coming to the other side of the planet. Your blog has been a consistent source of inspiration and knowledge.

    Have a safe journey and see you at GPP!

  • mannedspace said on March 27, 2009

    Keep up these late night recordings, Zack. Thanks for taking the time and efforts to really understand how to present yourself to the WWW.

  • kyle said on March 27, 2009

    You’re great. I love these critiques, they are so very useful.

  • matt s. said on March 27, 2009

    Excellent post. A nice unexpected Friday gift.

    Am I the only dummy that tries to scroll down the page in the video?

    Multiple times. Wow, I have problems.

    I’m wondering if the focus problem in many of andy’s photos is caused by not sharpening them when they’re scaled down. That seems to make a huge difference in my images.

  • neal carpenter said on March 27, 2009

    Thank you for doing this. It has been so helpful. Have fun in Dubai!

  • Jeff said on March 27, 2009

    “chernobyl baby” thats a good one :-)

    The advice on the tones going from light to dark in your b&w section was great.

    As well as the shoot what you have to and publish what you want to sell advice.

    Thanks again!

  • T. C. Knight said on March 27, 2009

    Just watched all of the critiques in one sitting. (read “eys are crossed”. Can’t begin to convey how much I have learned today. Hope you keep this up for a while.

    Oh, lest I forget, I shared the video you made for Scott Kelby with my photographer friends. We can all relate.

    Thanks again and keep up the great work in helping to educate those of us that never want to stop learning.

  • Kallie said on March 27, 2009

    You SHOULD go to Norway! The vikings are very friendly, and if you come in the summer you’re guaranteed 20+ hours of daylight 😀

  • Derek said on March 27, 2009

    Thanks for all these talks/critiques I have learned so much from just watching and listening!
    I plan to redo my whole site and portfolio in the summer when I get some time.
    Thanks so much Za!

  • Andrew Lee said on March 27, 2009

    thanks for the critique zack! it was good to see you the other day and i’m working already on the things you’ve pointed out. I totally agree with you on the actions/consistency.

    @ Robyn – Good eye! I just had it cleaned. Thanks!

  • brett maxwell said on March 27, 2009

    just a thought for your cyc gallery Zach, how about arranging it in order from the least movement/action to the most?

  • Zed said on March 27, 2009

    Good to see Meg back on the show .. she’s needed to let you know when the point is well and truly made (see Episode 7 .-) Great team work. Great Critique once again!

  • John Ferguson said on March 27, 2009

    Hi Zack, I’ve been following your blog for a while now, particularly enjoying the critique series.

    It struck me that a potential order for your cyc gallery would have it so that the subject position within the frame moved from left to right as you moved through the gallery, but maybe that’s too obvious and you’ve already dismissed it. Either way keep up the great work. Cheers.

  • erik said on March 27, 2009

    This is the first photo critique I have watched and I really liked it. I’m going to have to watch them all now, its giving me great points to go through my pictures and look at.

    In reference to the crazy Norwegian naked sculptures (because I know you are losing sleep over it). They are from Viegeland Park in Oslo, the big column of people is called the Monolith and it represents peoples’ desire to be together and be more spiritual, which is why it is towering toward the heavens.

    Again, great job on the critiques, I will continue watching them.


  • Jeff said on March 28, 2009

    Is running out of time for Andre kinda like running out of time for Matt Damon on Jimmy Kimmel? hahaha. cause i’m finding it hilarious.

  • André Berg said on March 28, 2009

    Thanks to both of you for putting in those extra hours providing comments on how to improve ones shooting, website and portfolio. I like to believe that I’m actually able to take some of it to heart, and from there put it into action.

    I hardly believe though that I’m one of only 3 Norwegians following your blog and episodes 😉

    Thanks again!

  • meg said on March 28, 2009

    LOL at the “unfortunate texture”! sorry but even your example of a bad portfolio was better than most out there…including mine of course but hey! I had separated black and white from colour already…

    I am also voting for these to be a podcast I can subscribe to on i-tunes; I mean have pity on those of us on slower connections (high speed satellite island bound girls), and spare us from having to wait all day for the Zack and Meghan brilliance to load…

    cheers, m

  • Katrin said on March 29, 2009

    On “narrow your focus” vs. “paying your bills”: What’s your opinion on building two websites? Eg. one for the weddings-need-to-get-my-bills-paid pics, and one for the fine art/editorial stuff? Pro: It helps you market in the area that pays your bills. Con: Anyone who googles your name finds both sites and might get confused.

  • Javier I Sanchez said on March 29, 2009


    For your Cyc portfolio – how about trying a flow from left to right (composition wise). So you would start off with your images where your subject is far left and then end up with the guy in the far right corner. Might make it look almost like an animation.

  • Craig Ferguson said on March 29, 2009

    Another great critique. Each one gives me ideas for my site – I just have to find the time to put things into practice.

  • Sean McCormack said on March 30, 2009

    A trick for those using safari and Quicktime.
    To download the video, click Window>Activity. Start the video. The look at relevant page in activity. Look in the list of files for an FLV. e.g.
    Double click on this link to download it.

    Look for Perian and install it, then you’ll be able to watch the movie in Quicktime.

  • Fredrik said on March 31, 2009

    You´re videos are great!
    Im sure you have more than 3 followers from Norway. Please come here, and make up your own mind for free. If you do, I can provide free acomodations.

  • Peter Miranda said on April 2, 2009

    Hey Zeee,
    I just started to laugh when you mentioned those 2 photogs that have the same style. I asked the latter one how she developed her style? she replied,” I attended one of her workshops”..
    I think she was trying to sell me the workshop too eh?

    Anyway, keep up the great work.
    Don’t loose that sense of humour that i connect with every time i hear you.
    Keep it real……..

  • Joanna said on April 3, 2009

    My Brightest Diamond, Over the Rhine, great musical taste. These videos are so helpful to so many aspiring photographers out there.

  • Francisco Quiñones said on April 7, 2009

    thank you for your time.

  • KC said on April 9, 2009

    Great video/info Zach I dig it. It answered some important questons for me about the direction I want to take my portfolio.

  • Tommy said on April 14, 2009

    Now we are up to 3 blog readers from norway!!! Give it up for Norway. :)

  • Rob said on April 14, 2009

    Something you touched on but that does speak volumes as to what you’re speaking about is the financial aspect.

    I just got into photography on November of ’08. In the past 6 months, I’ve probably spent over $6,000 in equipment. Starting off with a Canon Rebel XSi, battery grip and a nice portrait and macro lens.

    I wanted to try landscape, so I picked up a Manfrotto tripod and a quality wide-angle lens. Then it was Christmas time and I had family coming over (I have very attractive nieces), so I build my own set of hot lamps (Home Depot work lights with color balanced CFL’s) and bought some backdrops to do portraits. I wanted a little extra lighting help, so I dropped $400 or so on a 580EX II flash.

    Then I had an interest in shooting sports, so I dropped $1500 on a 70-200mm f/2.8 USM IS lens, but my XSi was only shooting at 3fps. So I dropped another $1300 on a Canon 50D and $200 on the battery grip and another $200 on CF cards since my XSi used SD’s, oh, and I needed the $115 Lowepro Slingshot AW to store my gear in… now that things were so heavy, my little low-end Manfrotto tripod wouldn’t hold things up, so I bought a Manfrotto 055XPROB with a 488RC0 ball head. And just in case I wasn’t as close as I’d like $300 on a 1.4x teleconverter.

    Oh, and I did my first official model shoot — dropped a nice chunk of change on a set of three studio strobes, stands, umbrellas and softboxes… I won’t say how much. ;/

    My sister has kindly ask that I shoot her wedding, so I “need” to pick up a flash bracket and sync cable — maybe another strobe, because I fear what the TSA will do to my lights.

    Yeah, so… specializing will most certainly help out with keeping your finances in check and your wife from divorcing you.

    Love your stuff. 😉


  • Adrian said on April 19, 2009

    Blogreader from Norway number 4!

    Anywho, I’ve been watching the critiques almost all day and it’s awesome.

    Put’s alot of things in my head regarding my own setup on my soon to come website -and photographing in general.

    Keep up the good work.

    Cheers from Norway.

  • Dana said on April 21, 2009

    Just discovered the critiques by chance…and so glad I did! As one of those beginning photogs…THANK YOU! In your critique of others, you have helped me to confirm my aspirations…and critiqued MY work too without even looking at it! Awesome, awesome, awesome…I have learned so much.

  • Andy said on May 30, 2009

    39th min “…or a hat…”
    …best quote ever.

  • Suhn Marshall said on November 4, 2009

    Keep it candid. Keep it real.
    No, I’m not from the hood.
    I’m from Canada. Lol!

  • AnGkEr said on August 6, 2010

    Just a question….if a new photographer doesn’t try to shoot all types…how is he going to know which type he is actually good at. I’ve seen your critique on some websites and you actually told them which type of photography genres to go into….so if they had not try all those…they would not have gotten those invaluable advice…just my 2 cents.

  • John said on March 29, 2011

    Hi Zack,

    I think the sports photographer you were mentioning is Sol Neelman. He gave a talk at Geekfest in St. Pete, Fl a short while after you gave a one-light pres for photojournalists.


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