Momentum :: What are you going to do with it?

August 17, 2009 | • Philosophy • Resources


It’s Monday and we are getting back into life. Last week’s series of blog posts really stirred a pot of emotions in all of us. I know that if you are like me then you get all excited and worked up and motivated about something and in a few days… all that momentum seems to fade away and you’re right back where you started. THEN you get all depressed because just a few days ago you had a spark bright enough to start a fire. Something stirred in you that was a call to action! You were ready to take that hill and now… Meh. Forget it. It was a stupid idea.

Thanks to the generosity of all of you, Derrick sold a whole lot of soap last week by taking his pitch to the Internet. Many of you acted on a feeling and did something about it. Donations from $1 to $50 and more came in. It’s going to make his day when I hook up with him later this week! The beauty of it all is it wasn’t an act of a charity but an act of gratitude because Derrick went all Tony Robbins on us and he helped spark something.

But what is that something? What is that spark? And more importantly… What are you going to do with it?

I tell folks at my OneLight workshop to not sit on this information for six months or it will be gone. When you get motivated you need to act. You need to move. You need to get that spark on to something flammable so you can start a fire.

We are going to make this some sort of series on the blog so we can hold ourselves accountable to this process. I’m going to be emailing B. on a regular basis to make sure he gets his a$$ up and makes pictures. My team of people around me are keeping me accountable because I want to do something with this as well.

Don’t answer this now but… If last week’s series of blog posts sparked something inside of you then what are you going to do about it? If you felt a call to action then how are you going to answer that call? How are you going to get off your arse and move in a direction that you want to go in? Don’t put this back on your back burner. Keep it right in front of you and ask yourself for the next few days…

“What am I going to do about this?”

Write down every idea you have.

Cheers, Zack


  • Sarah @MainlineMom said on August 17, 2009

    I’m answering it now, so I’ll be held accountable. I’ve been looking for ways that God can use me, my talent, my positivity. I love photographing pregnant mamas and new babies, and I’ve been thinking about calling up the local crisis pregnancy center and offering to do some free portraits…I’m gonna do it…this week.

  • Filip Bunkens said on August 17, 2009

    Although it were not the blogposts that sparked me last week, but the realization that I’m slowly turning into one of those dead bodies.

    I updated my website, started an ad campaign and offered some discounts to attract some more clients.

    I’m also using my twitter and facebook page to show off the images I take and process. It probably won’t give me something in return in the short term but it will definitely help in the long term.

    Also I have set myself some goals, I want to realise this week. Every week I’ll set some new goals to achieve and I hope that it helps me to stay motivated, to act and not to sit and whine.

    In dutch we have a saying that goes like: The best captains are at the dock. It means that everybody thinks he knows better, what you have to do, then you do. But in the end, it’s you who needs to act and take decissions on his own once you are out there.

    So I decided to listen but take from it what I can use and act on it directly and not to think it over and wait a bit, think so more, …

    So for this week, my goals are:

    – Write a article for a high profile website about starting as a photographer
    – Process all the backlog I have
    – finish printing my portfolio
    – go out and cold call some people for a project I have in mind

    If I achieve those things, I’ll be very happy and motivated. If one of those things will get me some more work in the next weeks, I’m finally doing what I should have been doing the last couple of months

  • Scott Webb said on August 17, 2009

    That is great that about emailing b. on a reg basis and to see what he’s up to.

    It sort of reminds me of Fight Club. The soap salesman, the person that works in the convenience store that wants to be a vet, checking up on him to make sure he is on his way to being a vet. I adore it and I can seriously relate to everything thats been talked about in the last few posts. And I resonated with your intial video. I posted it on twitter a month or so ago to remind photographers how inspired they were at that time and what are they doing now?

    Part of that video sparked something in me and I started to make progress. About 2 weeks or so ago now, I became much more focused in trying to build my presence and offer something far greater to the community of photographers.

    Then you came out and had these few posts! I realized that what I want do achieve through my photography is helping others that want to do photography full time and on their own terms. I really hope I can leverage some of your information to help people as well.

    My blogs have been far more active and I am taking action on my ebook today with the outline. Action jaction.



  • A.J. Sullivan said on August 17, 2009

    Its insane. These past few blog posts have hit the nail right on the head for where i’ve been at in my progression, and todays just did it again. I remember sitting thinking yesterday as I poured over the hundreds of replies to the original post regarding B, I thought to myself “this is it, this is the same info I need to get my ass in gear…oh who am I kidding, im going to just get excited for a few days and then drift back into the same old stuff”

    Thanks for calling me out, indirectly.

  • David duChemin said on August 17, 2009

    Zack – I think one of the things that hobbles us all is good intentions and big dreams without ever taking it down from the macro/meta level to simple, do-able, and easily-evaluated steps. We can dream big but when it comes to doing it, not so easy.

    To go back to the Derrick story, I’m sure he has dreams. He probably even has goals – like working a particular area of town. But until you break it down from the dream of “I’m going to sell a ton of soap in the West End this week” to “On Monday I’m going to take the bus to this spot and do these 200 homes, on Tuesday I’m going to…” it often doesn’t happen.

    What I’m getting at in reply to your question is this – List your dreams/goals. Be bold. But then break it down. If I want to accomplish X, what do I need to do this year. Then break those tasks into “what do I need to do in January so I can do what I need to do in February” Then break those into weeks, or days.

    This sounds structured, but it’s what I do to keep the procrastination at bay – simply because it’s easier to procrastinate with something huge than a small step. It also doesn’t sound like glamourous “living the dream” talk, but it’s what keeps me on track with my dreams.

    Life is short, y’all. Live it with intention and passion, and when the dream gets too big to manage but too good to let go, break it down. S’all about the baby steps,people. :-)

    Zack, thanks for the last week, brother. inspiring, needed stuff. Keep us posted on Derrick.


  • zack said on August 17, 2009

    Yes!!! David duChemin has entered the building! I was hoping this would hit your radar David.


  • Andy J Scott said on August 17, 2009

    Definitely was feeling that when I watched the video. Made sure I acted on that motivation and shot as much as I could this weekend.

  • Al said on August 17, 2009

    Yesterday someone (my neighbor) asked me how my photography business was going and I said to be honest, pretty crap! I’ve had one inquiry this month and I think my images are worthy of being sold and certainly in the same league as some of the popular photogs in my area. Anyway, this morning, being a Monday un all, I have been more motivated than ever after reading the previous posts below.

    Today I am going to:

    Work on my branding and new business cards.
    Start contacting some charity organizations in my area and see where I can help.
    Just get my name out there!!

    At least that’s the plan.. :)

  • Milton Bryant said on August 17, 2009


    I started off by emailing Brian Palmer and thanking him for an insightful post (#58) last week and asked him to keep in touch as a peer. I am also starting a 365 project this week as I am still a novice and my lighting techniques still need work. I have built a base foe a web site a month ago, now I am going to start filling it with my progress from a novice to what I hope over time into a Professional. It is not going to happen overnight but it will be documented on my site. I een opened a Flicker account this week to start posting images for critique, I am ready to hear what others have to say and not take it personal.

    All that and my day job/family, I have the motivation to get started again!


  • David duChemin said on August 17, 2009

    LOL. You’re always on my radar, Zack. This week’s been a significant one and I’ve been sitting on the sides soaking in it. Sometimes it’s more needful to listen than than to participate :-)

    What I love most about this conversation is the seldom-struck balance between the motivational pursue-your-dreams kind of talk and the realistic stop-your-whining and go-work-your-ass-off kind of talk. Fact is our dreams matter, deep down they matter. But no amount of dreaming will make it happen. It’s hustle, work, accountability, baby steps, all of that. To outsiders it’ll look like we’ve had it handed to us on a silver platter, but those of us on the inside know that if anything’s on a silver platter it’s because we hammered out the metal, did the plating ourselves, and carried the damn thing too! (not without a huge group of friends, loved ones and mentors to push our ass out the door, though!)

    Ha! So much listening and not talking. LOL

    thanks again, z.

  • kettlepot said on August 17, 2009

    i started by doing some maternity shots that i’ve been procrastinating about for a few weeks now, thanks in large part to the videos this week that got me off my rear-end. i also started a top secret video project for our anniversary. thanks, zack!

  • Brian said on August 17, 2009


    I like many am glad that ol’ B and Derrick seem to have jump started something in you, brought you back to your site and have you pumped. I know a lot of us look to people like yourself for inspiration and appreciate what you do for us and for the community so that you.

    I know from experience that I will be excited and pumped about an idea. Like you said a day or a week goes by and the longer you have to think about it the more it sounds like too much work or like a bad idea. If I would have just sucked it up and jumped in head first half these ideas may have turned out alright or even great.

    What am I going to do now, not sure… I’m re-evaluating. Taking a look inside to see what it is I want out of this. Luckily for me I have a full time job and am not counting on any income from photography although it’s really what I love to do and would be extremely helpful in making the monthly bills.

    Either way, you’ve once again sparked a fire and I enjoy sitting by the warmth watching it burn.

    Thank you!

  • Andy said on August 17, 2009

    This, along with many other things has led me to have faith in my art & ability and to finally step out of the comfort of a 9-5 job.

    I’ve held onto it for too long, which has prevented me from growing the business and as a photographer.

    It’s good to see posts like this from your blog and the strong readership is adding in so many useful comments.

    This should help out as in a week I’ll be on my own.

    @ duChemin Thanks for the reminder to microplan, but not micromanage our tasks and goals.

  • Heinz Schmidt said on August 17, 2009

    Hi Zack,

    The blog posts you’ve put up lately are inspirational, thanks dude.

    Also, I can relate to David duChemin’s comment above. I have big dreams about becoming a really successful photographer… but how?

    I want to work in the editorial field… but how?

    What are the small steps I should start taking this week when I get off my butt? I don’t have material to show editorial clients. I don’t have the money to set up my own editorial shoots and I don’t know anyone who can guide me into taking the first steps.

    It’s the sticking point, that one hurdle that we all hit, that we all can’t get over and that makes us give up and sit down on our a$$es.

    I feel like I should do something with what little resources I have, but will what I produce with my limited resources be laughed out the room when I show it to a prospective client. We all know our stuff has to be up-to-scratch in this day and age.

    That one hurdle… just that one bloody hurdle.


  • Matt said on August 17, 2009


    After last week I was humbled, and motivated. At the same time, I happened upon an office/studio space that was available for sale. Doing the math, it would cost me the same amount of money to purchase it as I am currently spending on rent of the small office space I’m currently working out of.

    High on the motivational messages from B. and “Transform” I grabbed my fiance and drove out there immediately. Turns out she loves it. Its a big step.. but we’re going to do it.

    My momentum right now is akin to the big giant boulder beginning its roll down a long hill. We’re going to pick up speed.. and once we get started, there’s no stopping us.

    I couldn’t sleep last night I was so excited. If all goes well, we should have the keys to the new studio by the end of the week.

    And while I’m waiting.. I’m finally going to get off my arse and revamp my website. A project I’ve been letting stew on the back burner for quite a while.

    So thanks everybody.. It’s time to roll.


  • John said on August 17, 2009


    Last week did really motivate me, and you’re right. I woke up this morning and was like, “man now a day without my camera.” But I am staying the course. here is what i have done so far today.

    1. Updated my free Google maps business listing with fresh images and youtube videos. (if ya’ll don’t have you’re business isted on Google maps you’re crazy…it’s free!)

    2. I have called 2 prominate wedding guides and bridal show producers to arrange some meeting time to discuss advertising with them.

    3. I have firmly decided to pony up the cash for advertising on a monthly basis. And I’m not talking $100 here and tehre, but a real budget to work with.

    4. I have been in discussions with the client I shot on Saturday.

    All of this in not so much time. I have to do teh business of business when I can.

    And on the note of recent shoots. I would love to share with everyone. I feel like some of the images are my best in a very, very long time. I was in a zone! But… my agreement with the client will not let me make them public until December. I’ll try to remember to come back here and update.

    Zack, if you get a chance I’d love some quick critique of some of teh shots. Some are very strong, some are weak, and some honestly just suck. But that’s life. If you can email me, and I’ll send you a link. Thanks.

    To everyone else, Stay with it, don’t sale yourself short, and bring your A-game every day.

  • Ryan Register said on August 17, 2009

    Zack, thank you so much for posting these entries last week; it was as if God told you exactly what to say to knock me up-side my head and get me moving! :)

    I’ve always had a dream to take pictures for a job and to own my own photography business. Since I graduated in April 2008 from FSU, I’ve been looking for some kind of fulltime job that I could stand to do for a few years, I mean since that’s what you’re “supposed” to do after graduation I guess. 😉 ha! But after sending out over 125 applications to different jobs and not hearing back from any, I kinda started thinking God might have something different planned for me, that He didn’t want to use me in the corporate 8-5 world, but more than likely in the creative arena. So I started thinking about actually starting my own photo business… and then I hit that daunting brick wall of “how in the heck do I do that?!” I mean I don’t even know where to start! And then of course came the fears of “well I’m not good enough to compete” and “Tallahassee really just doesn’t have much of a market for the stuff I love to shoot”. I love to photograph people, for creative portraiture and lifestyle advertising as well as band photography… but I just don’t even know how to market to that area to even begin trying to get clients.

    But these entries have SO greatly helped me decide to start moving closer to the edge of the dock, I’m not sure if I’m ready for the plunge yet, but I know for sure I’m starting to prepare. Just since last week, I’ve almost got my website totally redesigned and just about ready to go live with my new work from this past year; I also ran into a great deal for very professional looking business cards for pretty much free (I feel that God was kinda giving me a little nudge forward in that!) and I also ordered a new lens that’ll allow me to improve the quality of my work. Needless to say I’m still nervous about it of course, but I’m feeling more courageous than ever now knowing that this amazing community will keep me and each other accountable in this venture that we embark upon, and also that through these latest few blog entries, that it has helped affrim the direction that I feel God is leading me in.

    Thank you B for your courage, thank you Derrick for your wisdom and perserverence, and thank you Zack for posting these amazing and inspiring words of wisdom, encouragement, and support!

    God bless, Ryan

  • Squeeker said on August 17, 2009

    I was so excited and motivated after the blog posts this past week or so for my shoot this past weekend! I’d been planning my first larger production shoot. A creative/artistic shoot for me… something I was inspired to do by things you have posted over the last several months even.

    This past weekend was amazing and hectic and nerve-wracking…. but I was so motivated to take my photography in a new direction. I got out of the studio and applied all the things I’ve been reading about online.

    I would like to share the first couple shots from the series with you and very much welcome any comments you might have on them. I’m still working on images so I’ve only got 2 ready for now. But when my girls go down this afternoon for their nap I’ll be working on more. =)

    Here’s the set on flickr:

    I’m hanging on to that momentum and have shoots planned every weekend for nearly a month! =D

  • I am B. said on August 17, 2009


    I suppose this means I’ll have an e-mail waiting for me when I get home. I’m not of fan of having my personal e-mail blocked at work, but maybe the anticipation will make the day go by faster.

    Also, GET OUT OF MY HEAD! :)


  • Jaxun said on August 17, 2009

    ALL OF THE ABOVE is stuff I do on an every day basis… and I’m a part timer because I currently have my career to contend with. Everybody is yapping and praising and “jumping off the dock” and blah, blah. It’s frustrating to see that NO ONE here has spoken a word about their passion << you remember that word don’t you Zack? Nobody here has said anything about why they got into not “the business” but “the art”. It is a talent, a passion, a desire to share, etc… whatever else. What pisses me off is I’ve been trying and trying and learning and learning, focusing on technical this and technical that, listening to Zack, Listening to Jarvis, researching this guy’s site, setting prices…………. and on and on and on……. What do I have? I haven’t taken ONE SINGLE picture in almost a year that I am satisfied with. I don’t pick up my camera any more and just go, “Take pictures”. It stays in my bag because every time I think about doing something with it I can’t get critiques I’ve watched out of my head, I can’t get what limited light sources I have out of my head, I can’t get what little money I’ll make off of taking a picture for myself… and so on. It’s so easy for the successful players to talk and encourage everyone else. And I respect that. Share it with everybody, I would. BUT, I have yet to see anyone, other than B. really express true feelings or true passion or problems with the passion. Has anyone here every critiqued Zack? Don’t think so. Will you? C’mon Zack… I know there you are badass but even you have some pictures that aren’t “by the book”. I mean… seriously… I like Pollock but his paintings sucked. Anyone can slop paint all over canvas, yet the world just loved his work like he was a master. Why is photography any different? Anyway, love you Zack, love your work, still love taking pictures, but I just want to be decent again… maybe even pretty damn good… but for nobody else and not for sale… I just want to take a freaken badass picture one day. That one picture that will define me as what I like to call myself “a photographer”. Until then I’m just a computer animator at a fountain company.

  • Martin said on August 17, 2009

    Amazing that so many of us are standing at the same crossroads. Sitting on that dock.
    How to push that boat out off into the sea?

    For me its selecting the right chioce.

    Its like i have 10 boats in front of me. I know any of them can sink. I know 8 of them probably will, and i know 2 of them might float, if i row hard enough.
    But im buggered if i can decide which one and can i bring myself to take the chance…..
    Still sitting on the dock.
    Still cant decide.

    What i need is a safe way to start out, and i dont know how to. How much am i willing to risk. At the moment not enough.

    Love what you are doing Zack, its identified where i am and whats going on, its not got me in that boat though, cos i really dont know where im going or how.

  • bluewhirled said on August 17, 2009

    1- I Started a blog ’cause I always wanted to have one. I figure it’s my contract with the world follow-through with whatever I commit to on it.

    2- Since I’m a Newb I contacted a few non-prof’s to offer my services. i.e. free portraits and such. Possibly IT stuff if really needed.


  • Marc Haers said on August 17, 2009

    Hey Zack,

    I’m a 20 year old dutch kid with a passion sitting on my lap when I hold a camera.

    I’ve been a full believer I wanted to be a pilot my whole entire life. But since I’ve taken a hold of a camera, and even started making money just for making people happy with a good picture. I’m in love. That’s it, love at first click this is man.

    I’ve known you and your blog before your onelight dvd stuff. And you’ve been awesome like you are now before the transform movie also.

    I’ve got one year of school in front of me, and I don’t even know what I wanna do with my life, pilot? photos? travel agent?

    I’ll tell you what these two blogposts did for me. Open my goddang eyes to do what my heart tells me to do. Just make it work, and work hard to get there.

    Next summer I’m going to start working part time at my current place and try to set up my business in photography as a photographer, begin as young as I am, and having the opportunity to stop whenever I want to continue any other education that I want, if it’s being a soap seller or a lawyer, it doesn’t matter.

    Your posts made me a believer in now, and when instead of later and if. You’ve sparked my inner risk taker and you’ve made a person’s life maybe even richer. Taking a risk is living. Why the heck won’t we do it then?

    You guys, are all one by one amazing in what you do. I thank you guys.


    Marc Haers

  • Glyn Dewis said on August 17, 2009

    Hi Zack,

    It’s certainly the last two blog posts and the impact they had that’s given me a bot of kick up the @£$ this last week; in particular watching Derrick on the Dope, Soap and Hope film.

    For the past month or so I’ve gone through a semi dark patch; sure I’ve had jobs coming in and have been quite busy but I’ve had this unshakeable cloud hanging over me and no amount of ‘fake it till you make it’ has helped. The only things that have given me what I needed ie the kick up the @£$ I mentioned has been your blog posts and rewatching Transform.

    In the last week I’ve had a mass tidy up and re-organise of my office/studio which by itself has made me more focused. Maybe something as simple as having a ‘sort out’ could be what more of us need to do???

    Anyways, in the last couple of days I’ve put together a Portrait Promo Video which I’ve been meaning to do for too long and am now working on an About Me / Mini Bio for the site too. You can see my Portrait Promo on my blog or by visiting my Vimeo page at:

    With regards to things I want to do now … I’ve decided to focus in alot more on my Portrait Work and in particular want to introduce a ‘Seniors’ style section. (Seen alot in the US but not so in the UK).

    Also, desperate to come over to one of your OneLight Workshops. I’ve asked if there are vacancies in November, but if not then as soon as the new year dates are posted, I’m on it :o)

    Anyway, sorry to waffle on but thanks for the posts; great to learn not just photography skills, but life skills too.

    Best wishes to you and yours,

  • Casper said on August 17, 2009

    A little off topic:

    That’s an awesome picture of the birds, Zack. Did you use a flash?


  • Manny said on August 17, 2009

    Doesnt it make it harder that your motivation and/or momentum depends on the help of others? I desperately want to get out there and take tons of photos but it seems harder and harder to find people to shoot or even places to shoot. I cant tell you how many times Ive been like, “SWEET! Lets go shoot!” only to be deflated later when there are no willing subjects. I soldier on though because I know that for every rejection I get, there is someone willing to give me a shot. It just gets harder to build up the confidence and momentum after a while.

  • Matt Lange said on August 17, 2009

    I’ve already begun. Check out the ‘trailer’ for my Hoop Dreams photo series at

  • Eric said on August 17, 2009

    A timely post sir,

    I just recently got blessed by google with a ten spot listing in the locals for a good term and that has gotten me out of my change of cities funk of the past couple of months regarding getting new clients. Moving a photography business is tough, and things were pretty dismal for a while. But since the rerank, traffic has doubled and leads are flowing now.

    I have been pondering how to take this newfound momentum and snowball ball it into something bigger and better for my business.

    Thanks for this post and the inspiration. You have done more than you’ll probably ever know for the photography community.

    Cheers to you!!


  • Al said on August 17, 2009

    @Glyn – your pics are great! Keep up the good work!

  • melissa said on August 17, 2009


    The Dip by Seth G kind of new business was a GREAT source of inspiration and SANITY as I pushed through well, the DIP .. He asks tough questions about what you are doing BUT I loved how it made so much sense and revitalized me to know I was doing the 100% right thing to keep plugging on!

    highly reccommend…

  • darryl said on August 17, 2009

    I’ve bet we’ve heard this a thousand times…but after the last two blog post it rung a bell…

    We have to sow and cultivate our God given talents before we can Harvest the fruits of our labor.

    Or Like George Benson put it…”Cause I know I can play this here guitar…and I won’t stop till I’m a star.”

  • amanda zaragoza said on August 17, 2009

    im going to….

    1. pull all my branding together


    3. print my portfolio and mount them.

    4. dog treats…bake lots of dog treats (part of my packaging for an event on friday).

    If i can get all this done…i will be on my way…

    thanks to everyone!

  • Frank T said on August 17, 2009


    I think the connection you make to the “every-person” from you being someone who has tried, failed, and gotten back up and succeeded because you learned what not to do, is what really resonates with me and everyone else who reads your blog and watched your video. B and Derrick are two people who have benefited from YOUR vision of what people can do to help themselves to succeed (ala Tony Robbins).

    Your messages of: 1) be your own best advocate, 2) get off your buttocks and DO, and 3) learn something new and share what you know with others —- these are what people want and need to help them get through to what they want to be and to be successful in doing so.

    You do all three of these things (and I think your lovely wife helps you stay focused on them as well) – and having a partner (business, life, love, mentor) to be there to help you through all of this is also very important.

    Thanks for caring enough about people (and photography) to share your view and inspire a whole horde of people to change from being automatons just getting through life into creative individuals with vision for what they want to be.

    Thanks again for sharing.

  • zack said on August 17, 2009

    @Jaxun (Comment #20) — I’m making a comment in long form because I bet you anything there are a number of you thinking the same thing Jaxun is.

    >>>>It’s frustrating to see that NO ONE here has spoken a word about their passion < < you remember that word don’t you Zack? Nobody here has said anything about why they got into not “the business” but “the art”. It is a talent, a passion, a desire to share, etc… whatever else. Lemme give some back story here. Photojournalism is my heart of hearts. I want to tell stories that make a difference to the people I'm speaking to AND to the people I'm speaking about. The problem though is it is hard to feed a family in the world of photojournalism. So I work in the commercial field because I still love the art of making pictures. Just because I'm not sailing off in a PJ boat doesn't mean I have to stay on the dock. I can still pursue this craft. This week is the first time I really really really feel that I have used my talent to make a difference. To make an impact. To rally people together and make something happen. I've dabbled in it for a long time. I've made a difference here and there. But from the emails we have gotten, to the comments left on this blog, to the phone calls... I know that for a fact, for the first time ever in my life, I have used the talent God has given me to make a difference. Please note that the day I decided I was going to finally pursue photography and make it my life was about 14 years ago. I jumped off the dock in 1996, by quitting my day job and going back to school to get a degree in photography. In 2001 my little photography boat sprung a leak. That leak led to the whole thing sinking to the bottom and there it laid for about 2 years while I swam back to the dock to figure out what the hell happened. I lost my full time photography job, my struggling freelance side work, and eventually my marriage. That's when I ended up at Kinkos. In Transform, I thought it was pretty evident that the reason I fall into these deep and abiding funks is because my passion has dried up. I hate my work. I feel like I'm a hack. I try to go out and create a new body of work every winter only to create a bunch of photographic visual pollution that the world will never see. That wasn't metaphor. I really honestly do this every winter. Farmers could plan their season around it. >>>>What pisses me off is I’ve been trying and trying and learning and learning, focusing on technical this and technical that, listening to Zack, Listening to Jarvis, researching this guy’s site, setting prices…………. and on and on and on……. What do I have? I haven’t taken ONE SINGLE picture in almost a year that I am satisfied with. I don’t pick up my camera any more and just go, “Take pictures”.It stays in my bag because every time I think about doing something with it I can’t get critiques I’ve watched out of my head, I can’t get what limited light sources I have out of my head, I can’t get what little money I’ll make off of taking a picture for myself… and so on.

    Not trying to be mean or insensitive but that’s all on your shoulders. Lots of people and organizations have a lot of information to share about what we do with our cameras, our lights, our subjects, our locations, our business, etc, etc, etc…

    You are doing the right thing in learning as much as you can but at the end of the day no one, and I mean no one, can teach you how to see or go out and build that portfolio for you.

    I understand your frustration and anger man. I really honestly do.

    I was just telling a story to Meg the other night about how I remember loading 4×5 film holders one day when working at JC Penney’s. I was so sick of loading film for someone else. I wanted to be loading my own film. I had a degree. I had the technical know how. I had been published. People liked me on DPreview… on and on and on but damn it all to hell… I was loading someone else’s film.

    It wasn’t all that long after that day that my little boat started to spring a leak.

    >>>>It’s so easy for the successful players to talk and encourage everyone else.

    Actually it isn’t so easy. To garner any amount of success in this industry it takes years of hard work. I’m a young un to this industry! I’m only 36 but I have been pursuing it for over a decade now so I do have some experience to bring to the table but you better believe that I hang on every word that Joe McNally says because he’s been doing it three times longer than I have and that is a boat load of experience to learn from.

    If you find someone successful then know that it was a ton of hard work to get there. You are seeing the fruit but you missed out seeing the planting of the seed.

    Going to school wasn’t easy. Finding jobs working in photography wasn’t easy. Losing my marriage wasn’t easy. Leaving Kinko’s wasn’t easy. Going from $25 Craig’s List jobs to teaching workshops in places like Dubai sure wasn’t easy. Anything that looks easy from the outside has a ton of blood, sweat, and tears behind it.

    >>>>And I respect that. Share it with everybody, I would.


    >>>>BUT, I have yet to see anyone, other than B. really express true feelings or true passion or problems with the passion. Has anyone here every critiqued Zack? Don’t think so.

    Please see this post from earlier this year –

    Image from the post above… That would be your aforementioned Chase Jarvis giving me a critique about three years ago when I first met him. I was attending the PDN on the road workshop and seminar. I hunted his ass down and got about 20 minutes of critique out of him. Notice me there on the left taking notes. :) During that three day conference I had the chance to show my work and get feedback and critique from the editor and the publisher from PDN, Mary Virginia Swanson, and the local chapter heads of ASMP and APA.

    For the two years of commercial photography school we had to be critiqued at least twice a week. No less than two critiques every week for two years. Follow that with my experience with the Atlanta Photojournalism Seminar of which I used to be a board member. ( Every year I sat down with photographers and photo editors from around the world to have my work critiqued. Pulitzer prize winning photographers and editors have picked my work apart.

    I love to be critiqued but I’m selective in who I listen to now that I’ve hit a few benchmarks. I listen to photo editors and art directors I work with because they speak photography, have seen a lot of photography, and they buy photography based on their experience with it.

    I also look for photographers higher up the food chain. Like when I cornered Chase to look at my work. I respect him as a photographer and he is working in a field at a higher level than I am. Since I want to grow up into that level of work then I look for feedback from people already there.

    I also have some mentors from when I got started who still mean a lot to me and I value what they have to say. The last on this list are my clients. I need to listen to them as well but I’ll never be the photographer who says… “Well, my client liked that picture.”

    Anyone is free to tell me what they think of my work but currently I only really pay attention to those who I really respect and admire.

    >>>>I mean… seriously…I like Pollock but his paintings sucked. Anyone can slop paint all over canvas, yet the world just loved his work like he was a master.

    Here’s an old quote heard a number of times… “If anyone can do it then why isn’t everyone doing it?”

    You may not like Pollock’s work but damn it, he went out and made it and he went out and made a name for himself. Maybe he just did it first. Maybe he just made the right connections. Or maybe his work speaks to those who understand the language he speaks in. I don’t speak Pollock but I respect it. Hahaha… that almost reads in a derogatory way that is sort of funny!

    >>>>Why is photography any different?

    It isn’t. If I’m at a place that gives voice to people and inspiration to people it isn’t because I just jumped off the dock yesterday. I’ve been at this for a long time but not as long as others who are doing the same or more. I realize I’m not curing cancer with a camera but I did just help an ex-con make the largest soap deal of his life. That means something to me.

    And Derrick… For him to flash that pearly smile at all of us and motivate us to do something…. He had to sit his ass in a jail cell.

    >>>>but I just want to be decent again… maybe even pretty damn good… but for nobody else and not for sale… I just want to take a freaken badass picture one day.

    That’s all on your shoulders to figure out. We, as a community can offer support, encouragement, and advice but at the end of the day it is your responsibility to get off your ass and take that picture you can be proud of. Screw Chase. Screw critique. Screw technique. Screw me. (I mean… you know what I mean!)

    Screw the industry and go make pictures for yourself. Let it be messy and organic. Let it be a bunch of bullshit to start with. Lots of great things start out messy, organic, and planted in crap. :)

    >>>>That one picture that will define me as what I like to call myself “a photographer”.

    I’m still looking for a picture like that myself.


  • Petra Hall said on August 17, 2009

    Momentum. Yes, it’s hard to keep it going, especially when you’re a part timer like me and can’t shoot regularly (not for the lack of want, but for the lack of time).

    But then again, do we always need to be “on a roll”? Do we always need to be moving? I personally don’t think so… I think we sometimes need those “low times”, to remind us that this is the low and bad times, as well as we need those high times, as we’ll remember the low times. (Not sure I make sense here, but to me a momentum is a swinging pendula, up and down, back and forward.

    And when we find ourselves in a rut (in the low, in the backwards movement), that’s when we need a spark of inspiration, that’s when we need a Zack Arias (or whomever), who kick us back in gear, etc. To get us going.

    If we keep running forward, or upwards, we’ll eventually burn ourselves out. We need the low times, the times when things aren’t so bright to refine and re-find ourselves.

    I just stopped watching the OneLight DVD’s that a friend lent me (thanks J!) and it was great. It was inspiring and it was something that I need to play more with. But not right now, I don’t have the time. So I’ve asked my friend to hold on to that set of DVD’s for a bit, so I can re-watch it when I have the time to go out and explore and work for myself and learn.

    One thing, at the very, very end of disk two, Zack says that he started out with borrowed PocketWizards, etc. He couldn’t afford the stuff he needed, even when he was teaching workshops. And that’s the thing… we need to start somewhere. Usually at the bottom, unless we’re rich or have a very generous aunt that we could poison or just ask for money. And not having all the gear and money is a motivator – to move forward, to get into a momentum, even if it’s a slow one.

    Ok, I’ve rambled enough, so I just want to end this ramblings with: I embrace both the lack of momentum as well as the motion that goes up and down, forward and backwards, as that’s how life is and that’s what we learn from.

    Now I need to go and get me a triangular round honey comb…. I think I’ve seen it somewhere. 😉

  • Scott said on August 17, 2009

    I finally got off my butt and decided to do the photo project I have drawn on paper and gone to sleep thinking about for months. I joined my 2 favorite things together Football(Soccer) and Photography.

    Then I decided it was time to share it with everyone on my blog .

    Sure I had loads of images that failed and I questioned myself but that’s what photography is… Seeking answers to questions. How do I do this? What will this do?

    Questioning our selves will make us all better photographers and people. No-one like s know-it-all.

  • Ben said on August 17, 2009

    To Jaxun (#20), and partly in response to Zack’s reply…

    I can absolutely relate to where you’re at. This spring I found myself almost exactly where you’re at now. I was completely fed-up with all the photography biz “stuff”. One day it dawned on me that the more I read the blogs, and kept my “finger on the pulse” of what everybody out there was doing (Jarvis, Arias, Cowart, Laforet, etc. etc.), the more I was hating my own work and feeling like I’d never make it.

    So you know what I did? I deleted them all. I stopped reading the blogs. Entirely. I stopped checking all the forums and getting all the feeds. I just cut the cord completely. At first I did it for a couple weeks as a test. And when I realized that I felt better than I had in months, I cut it off completely. Honestly, it feels great. :)

    Here’s my theory, in a nutshell:

    I’m not convinced “the community” is always the best thing for us. (And by us, I mean young-ish photographers trying to figure out what we’re doing and how to get to where we’re going.) When you think about it, it’s amazing that we even have access at all to the info that we have. 25 years ago, there were no blogs, no feeds, no Twitter. All the info and training that a young photographer got was from school (possibly), trade publications, or a mentor of some kind. I’m convinced that for some of us, the cacophony of INFORMATION that we get from all these great and successful people only serves to remind us of where we are NOT. It’s too easy to just read all the blog posts and devour all the technical bullshit and never actually take pictures. Don’t get me wrong, I love the community and and am thankful to people like Zack for all the sharing and critiquing and help. But I fear that a bunch of us are more lost than we need to be, simply because there’s so much good info out there that the joy and passion of photography gets supplanted by “the community” and all the knowledge that we attempt to amass *from others* about it.

    Not sure if that helps at all, but it’s definitely helped me.

    Realizing that MY path in this thing is going to be TOTALLY different from anyone else’s has helped me immensely. And right now, my path has led me to buying some old film cameras, a good scanner, and taking photos of my family and friends. I’m trying to rediscover why I loved photography in the first place. And I’m trying to remember that in the big picture, life is short and whether or not I ever “MAKE IT” as a big-time photographer is beside the point. I want to enjoy the time I’ve got and make the most of it, not spend my time comparing myself to Zack or anyone else.

    Thanks again, Zack for sharing. It’s good to see somebody who’s been through the fire and come out on the other side. :-)


  • Sean McCormack said on August 17, 2009

    I’ll bite.

    Since the critique videos, I’ve been heavily pushing myself to split the work I do into different websites. That way I can discuss the relevant ones with the right people.
    Marketing wise I’ve created a series of postcards and cards for my main site (which needs a revamp, on the cards).
    I’m in the process of creating cards for my new music photography site,
    Yeah, I know you don’t like scrolling sites, but as I designed the Lightroom plugin that created it, I’m certainly going to use it!
    I’ve been pushing to find better contacts in the music press here and getting stuff in.
    I’m still struggling with knowing what to charge, but I do at least have a fixed rate for now (which is probably too low).

  • Charles Smith said on August 17, 2009

    Momentum is a very hard thing to carry through. Most of us are naturally lazy and want things to come to us. But the fortunate few realize that we have to go to the opportunities.

    I got into this “business” by accident. I was working at a photo lab part time about 12 years ago to earn extra money aside from my regular job. At first my duties were to deliver prints to corporate clients and pick up film that needed to be processed. With the advent of cheap digital cameras I saw my second job starting to dwindle. I asked if I could work in the lab to keep me gainfully employed. The manager agreed since she had a few people leave. Long story short, I took a few classes at the local community college and found I had a passion for this medium. I guess what got me hooked was standing over the developer tray and seeing that print emerge from the plain white sheet. There was MAGIC in that tray, I swear.

    I found a new world that had existed all around me. I saw things differently and from new perspectives. I photographed everything from the interesting to the mundane. I made the mistake of reading the Ansel Adams series of books: Camera, Negative, Print. The depth of knowledge and experience on those 3 books was astounding. There is still valuable knowledge in those books even though the technology has changed. I studied other “masters” and absorbed as much knowledge and inspiration as I could. I still do.

    My passion has transformed over the years and thus has affected my momentum. I currently live in an area that is pretty much dead as far as an art scene goes. This is a little that goes on, but not much that I am aware of. It’s hard to get motivated when there is very little opportunity to grow. But I do not let this stop me. I actively seek out jobs, even mundane ones as shooting a birthday party indoors in someone’s home with a guest list approaching 100. But why should I wait to pick up my camera when no jobs are coming in? I do have other full time work as an electrician. However, I do go out with my camera regularly and try to find something to shoot. Photographing without an end result in mind is like photographing with the lens cap on. You may have fun doing it, but your not going to get anything in return. I always set assignments and goals for myself when I go out. Whether its shooting with just one lens, looking for just one shape or color, or trying a new niche. Challenging yourself is an excellent way to build your skills and hone your craft. And pushing yourself is giving yourself momentum! The more you challenge, the more momentum builds up and you can carry that over into other aspects, whether it be new outside assignments or getting contacts. I have gotten so many contacts just from being out with my camera and people asking me about what I do and such.

    I do this because I enjoy it and it is a creative outlet. I am not really in it for the money. I don’t have top of the line equipment or even a lot of equipment. But I love going out and photographing and seeing what I bring back and learning from what I did (Having a notepad or voice recorder with you in the field is VALUABLE tool. This helps remind you of what you did and why).

    Momentum is what you put into it. It’s not easy and we all stumble, but Zack is right in a few regards. Write down your ideas and then find ways to execute them. Just because you don’t have the “gear” doesn’t mean you don’t have the means. be creative! Find alternate solutions. MacGuyver your own gear if you think it will help you achieve your end results. Photography is all about experimentation and trial and error! Push yourselves and see what happens, some of you might be surprised!

    Keep it up Zack, and keep challenging us!

  • zack said on August 17, 2009

    @Ben – Amen! I follow the same folks and at times I just have to turn them all off. I then go and just listen to hip hop.



  • Robin Gansle said on August 17, 2009

    I used some momentum, last week, to shut a door on something that wasn’t going to work. Rather than let it drag out endlessly and cause anxiety that was literally making me sick, I decided it wasn’t worth it. Shutting that door has motivated me to put more of my efforts back into my main business. It has also helped me realize I can’t be business partners with friends. :)

  • Craig Ferguson (@cfimages) said on August 17, 2009

    Momentum is a tough one to keep going. For me, finding the momentum to keep shooting is easy. Maintaining the momentum and getting the energy to seek out new clients, do all the marketing etc is what I struggle with. I’d honestly rather be shooting than cold calling – I’m sure that most of us fit into the same boat there. If anyone knows any foolproof methods for keeping business/marketing momentum going, then I’m all ears. :)

  • Hank James said on August 17, 2009

    Momentum…… Well today I received a phone call from a friend. I took portraits of her son recently. Yesterday I adjusted them and emailed them to her for her review. She said that she cried, because she was moved by one particular image. That is momentum if I ever felt it. Reading the blog posts over the weekend prompted to step off the dock and start over with my web sites. I tweaked a few photos for review for my friend and shipped them to her. And thats the response I received, she cried. Talk about motivation to continue. I never thought I would move someone like that through one of my images! I would agree with Ben that I too can get wrapped up in the blogs. I have to remind myself that I can review the blogs regularly, but if I’m not out doing then why am I reviewing the blogs. I am thankful that guys like Arias, Jarvis, and McNally share their “How To” with us all. Each one of us have to figure out where we are in our own visual media world. What ticks for me may not tick for you, but one thing is for certain if you are not out there doing how are you possibly going to make it no matter where you want your photography to take you. Whenever I get down in the dumps, I often refer to Teddy Roosevelt’s quote, The Man In The Arena. Today I know victory, because I evoked emotion from one of my creations. Thanks to you all and keep on keeping on.

  • Matt B. said on August 17, 2009

    I’m not trying to be harsh with saying this, but I keep hearing the same thing with many people writing on this blog (as well as others), that they are too busy with their current schedules to pursue their dream/passion of photography.

    But why is everyone so busy? I understand that people have kids and families and such, and all that takes time. But most people who are professional photographers haven’t gotten to their position overnight, or by only working weekends. They have to sacrifice, something that has been mentioned many times before. But what does that look like?

    I think it looks like cutting out things from your schedule that you don’t really need. It means buying a used car rather than a new one, so you can save money for that lens/camera that you need. It means giving up season tickets to the sporting event you like in order to save more money and to use that time to practice your shooting skills (photography, not basketball). It means not renting that movie, and instead spending those two hours learning about post-processing. And if your job takes up all your time, then get a new job, one that takes up less time. And if you can go without the bigger house, newer car, and plusher lifestyle in order to pursue your dreams…then do it. If you are unhappy with your current job and it’s not your passion, then why are you doing it? I understand that it might not be possible to quit right away, but by degrees in learning to live without certain things, you might be able to eventually make the move, and then you would be more free and less busy, and actually have the time it takes to pursue your photographic dreams. Or, you can stay where you are, being an enthusiast. I know it’s not easy, but by baby-steps, you can do it. If you want. That’s where I am now- on my way, bit by bit, to be content with the used car, with the small apartment, to be content with cooking at home more often, and spending the time learning everything I can about photography, and practicing as much as I can.

    The truth is, you always have time for your priorities.

    Please don’t misunderstand me. I don’t mean to sound harsh, or put anyone down. And I do understand that not everyone is in a position to hurry up and make a big change in their life. Many people are indeed stuck. But I also believe that, especially in America, our lifestyles often get in the way of pursuing our dreams.

  • Ben said on August 17, 2009

    @Zack — A fellow hip-hop lover! Amen to that! 😉 I’ve always said: I found a whole new kind of self-confidence the day I let go and admitted I loved rap. HA! It’s true! Those dudes know how to swagger, and swagger is half the game.

    (Thanks again.)

  • Sandino said on August 17, 2009


    Thanks for starting this….Derrick thanks for answering it.

    I am off my ass once again and it’s lots of fun just knowing I am going to do it.

    Thanks again.

  • Mike said on August 17, 2009

    “When you get motivated you need to act. You need to move. You need to get that spark on to something flammable so you can start a fire.”

    Zack, this advice is extremely valuable to me, so thank you for it. I just hope that I can put it into practice, because I have a history of merely planning to act, instead of acting.

  • sunith said on August 17, 2009

    I remember the part in the “transform” video where you say; I am going at 100 miles per hour… At that moment I was wondering how the hell does one go at 100 miles per hour? I haven’t even touched 50 miles. There are always roadblocks; priorities, mouths to feed, roof to build. When you have something that you are passionate about, you will have millions of things that will pop up in your life to distract you from that passion. (this should be added to the list of Murphy’s laws)

    @Matt B. I agree with you with your view on priorities, though I doubt any photographer following this blog would spend a lot of cash on a fancy car than a bunch of lighting equipment and lenses. Every dime I save from my 8-6 job is spent on my photography. I have my goal listed, short term and long term ones. The long term goals would guide me and give direction to my effort. My short goals are the toughest, it makes me get off my a** and do something. I admit it is hard to follow when you are in a grueling 9-5 job. I leave for work at 7 in the morning and return by 8 in the night, I have only one day free on the weekend. I can easily give valid excuses that I don’t have time or the energy, but I am not accountable to anyone else for my passion. So I stay up late at night till 12 or one, learning online, and implementing it. I try to max my one day off on the weekend by making it my photoshoot day. I have a huge list of things to do:

    1. Build my portfolio and get it printed, print business cards, mounts, promotional material.
    2. Build contacts from scratch (shifted to this place a month back) peers, suppliers, referrals.
    3. Start knocking on doors, wedding co-coordinators, hotel managers, event co-coordinators, model agencies, social organization, corporate organizations, music and art communities and the market is huge, the only limitation one has is the time to invest in it.

    Since you have asked us not answer your question now, I have stated only generic stuff. To put that into action, I would need to decide on the how, where and when.

  • coldtoad said on August 18, 2009

    the onelight dvd gave me loads of sparks. Your vid on the kelby blog was touching and also reassuring…but nothing made me want to grab the camera and start making pictures more than watching you out in the field doing really cool stuff with just one affordable light.

    All this emotional and spiritual stuff is ok every once in a while but it is really taking overhand lately here on your blog. I just feel like all this collective crying is really putting out my sparks…

    …so lets all get off our butts and back in the game! It sounds corny but nike said it best:

    JUST DO IT!!!

    Zack, I would love to see you get back to more technical advice in future and maybe even a Onelight DVD Part 2. I’m sure that would give some sparks!

  • Matt B said on August 18, 2009


    That’s what I am talking about- you ARE making the time! And that’s awesome! I know that not everyone can so easily cut out large chunks of time or jobs etc., just to make more time and money for photography, but the point is to do what you can with what you got, and put your priorities in order. I have some friends who always say they want to do certain things, but always complain about not having time or cash to do it. Then they invite me over to watch a movie on their new high-def TV. I’m not trying to put them down (I would love a TV like theirs!), but obviously their priorities are different from what they say they are, simply by their actions. I really do think you’ll turn pro, simply because you are indeed setting your priorities straight and going after them. After that, of course, requires more of the same, and more creativity, etc. But that’s awesome! I wish I saw more of that in my own life! :)

  • darryl said on August 18, 2009

    Greetings everyone just trying to get a little momentum…. Does anyone have any good resources (books, websites, etc) on the topic of branding?

    I was considering one of the ‘Dummies Series Books’

  • marcus said on August 18, 2009

    One of the traps I think people tend to fall into, is thinking that in order to do your best, you have to be the best. Ben hit in on this point. Following the photography “rock stars” is a great way to learn and improve, but if we compare ourselves to them, especially if our skill isn’t there yet, we are setting ourselves up for disappointment. I sometimes fall into this trap and have to remind myself to resist the temptation to compare my work to those of the brightest stars in photography. The only person I should ever compare myself to is me. If my work is improving, and I’m advancing toward my goals, then by my definition I am succeeding. At the end of the day, the question that I ask myself is “am I closer to my goals than I was yesterday?” If the answer is yes, it was a good day.

    So what am I going to do? I’ve been trying to figure that out, but whatever I do, it will be done with a renewed passion for photography.

    Thanks Zack.

  • Andy Q said on August 18, 2009

    Echoing most of the voices here, I also said what the heck, what am I afraid of? If I mess up I mess up but at least I am trying. It’s time to set the wheels in motion and begin testing, experimenting, and taking a hard firm step towards learning. I needed warm bodies so I booked two families that I will donate my time to, hoping to keep gaining experience. Gotta start somewhere…thanks Zack !

  • Karen said on August 18, 2009

    I finished reading a book last night called “Art & Fear” by David Bayles and Ted Orland. I highly recommend it. I want to share the last paragraph as it really seems to fit with the discussion on this blog from the past few days.
    “In the end it all comes down to this: you have a choice (or more accurately a rolling tangle of choices) between giving your work your best shot and risking that it will not make you happy, or not giving it your best shot – and thereby GUARANTEEING that it will not make you happy. It becomes a choice between certainty and uncertainty. And curiously, uncertainty is the comforting choice.”

  • Kels said on August 18, 2009

    I’m so glad that you posted these videos, I’ve been going through some hard times too and it’s always nice to know you’re not alone when it seems like you are. It’s not just taking photos, photography is my sort of hobby, my problem is music. I’m a music major, and after going through a tough year, I’m questioning my future and have lost my motivation. I’m trying to get it back, step by step! Actually I had a rehearsal last friday and I discovered I was so excited to play music. And in this last year I haven’t gone to church either, religion was always a huge part of my life. In the past two days I’ve actually gotten excited about life and church, and I don’t know where it’s going right now, I don’t know where anything is going, but I’m still excited. I don’t even know if this post has made sense haha.

  • Sean McCormack said on August 18, 2009

    Yeah! The feed is working again! wonderful.

    Actually I was just thinking about a great book I read called ‘The War of Art’. Very good on breaking down the excuses we make for ourselves.

  • Kelly Heck said on August 18, 2009

    Zack! I felt like my spark had extinguished and that I was only going to go down. I felt I had to have everything to do anything and you show and remind us that you only need a little to create something amazing!

    I heard about your OneLight Workshop and bought the DVD. I watched it last weekend and was suddenly ablaze and itching to get up half-way through! I’m about to purchase a few pieces of equipment to complete lighting set-ups and am having a flash repaired that’s just been sitting around for years. I’m getting models lined up and outfits chosen. God, I can hardly wait to start clicking my shutter.

    Lee Silber has a series of books ‘for the creative person’ that are quite good. Lots of great ideas for anyone that is interested – check them out.

  • James Roberts said on August 18, 2009

    @Matt B.

    I agree with what you’re saying about priorities, but only to a point.

    We all have things which we do, that we would prefer to swap out for the stuff we’d like to be doing more of.

    Something I suffer though is that fear that B talked about in his original email. That fear for me ranges from exciting me at risking something for something new, to paralysing me so much I look for excuses.

    One of the the best excuses I find is to do the stuff I’d like to have “done” that would allow me to spend more time on photography. The DIY, cleaning the house, whatever it might, usually stuff I can do, or don’t need to think about, but crucially, stuff where there’s little risk of failure.

    So yes, we all have the option of making choices, but having the choice and taking the step are two very different things.

    What am I doing to maintain the momentum….

    Printing out the post, along with a few others I’ve kept for future reading – shake your tree by Chase Jarvis a month or so ago spring to mind.

    The most important stuff I’ll be trying to do though, is to Stop all of the things I don’t want to do.

    Easier said than done, we’ll see!

  • Scott Webb said on August 18, 2009

    simply amazing amazing comments here. amazing. how can we make photography work for us and our hectic lives? how can we take out passion and go after it with everything we’ve got. I am so glad that i recently found an evangelist that’s helping me beyond my wildest dreams. and in turn I am going to try and help people like the ones here too. This gets my mind racing. amazing comments.

  • David duChemin said on August 18, 2009

    YES, @Sean McCormack’s recommendation of the War of Art is dead on – how it slipped my mind I don’t know – Zack and others, this book is one of the best and is about so much of the stuff we’ve been talking about.

    War of Art by Steven Pressfield. Awesome times a thousand.

  • Brian Fletcher said on August 18, 2009

    Man, some really amazing blogging the past couple days, Zack. And the comments have been just as insightful. A true inspiration to myself and I’m sure even the most established photographer out there can find a lot of this useful.

  • Derek said on August 18, 2009

    I made the leap from the dock and I’m skinny dipping! :-)
    I’ve had a domain for about 2 years just sitting there doing nothing. Now, after this past weekend, I almost have my website ready and I’m going on Friday to get a tax number for starting my very own business. I’m excited and motivated! Thank you Zack! You taught a man to fish!

  • evie said on August 18, 2009

    I been busting my behind getting all my website & (i had wanted a specific blog) & pricing together to kick start me off nicely.

    Don’t you know I found what I needed (blog-wise) and I know it was directed to me from God! I am so amazed on his timing!
    I am a lil overwhelmed with things I want to get accomplished… but its a process & I am in good spirits still…just tired from long days. Its will be all worth it in the end. :)

    I took engagements on Saturday & haven’t been “un-momentumed”.

    SO much to get done, not enough time… o_O

    ok i must rest… its been a long long week… and yes its only tuesday. I got the rest of my 40hr regular work week + my photography after work each night to get done. LOL
    take care!

  • Jason said on August 20, 2009


    I’m a young developing photographer in Iowa, and I just want to express the inspiration you have given me, and the many lessons you have taught me through your amazing blog. I wouldn’t be here today without the things I have learned because of you.


  • Martin said on August 20, 2009

    I am going to carefully ponder all this while I sleep for the next 24 hours following an amazing One Light Workshop in Atlanta. Huge thanks to Zack, Meghan, and the whole crew who made this a great experience.

  • Rob A said on August 24, 2009

    Well, it took me long enough to answer this, but I really had to give myself time to think (and get through the last week or so of hectic crap)

    Here’s what I plan to do with whatever little momentum I may have going for me:

    1) Finish my most recent marketing campaign, as well as start new smaller one to supplement it (budget reasons kept the first one small-scale

    2) Pay more attention to and utilize more my LinkedIn profile

    3) Challenge myself more often when shooting instead of always doing what’s comfortable and proven. I have a shoot with a band this weekend and I think I’m going to attack it a little differently than originally planned.

    4) See through my new workout plan. After changing my diet drastically over a year ago, exercise is the one thing I never kept up with. But in the long run all the skill in the world, all the equipment in the world, doesn’t mean anything if you’re not healthy enough to use it all.

    And, that’s it for now, but I’m sure if I can keep up with these, then more will come to me.

    Thanks Zack, B., and Derrick. Maybe when you woke up each of those recent mornings you had no idea you would make this much of an impact on this big internet community here, but these posts and stories (and lessons!) have been more moving than How-To posts I see on most websites.

  • Sara said on August 25, 2009

    I have saved my pennies for over a year now to buy new equipment and software. For the past few months the money has sat in my account ready to be used. I would go on BH’s website and fill my cart up, only to chicken out with the reason of “I am not good enough yet”…. well I’ll never be good enough until I start learning.
    Today, I signed up for class at a local art college and purchased, a flash, and CS4. I have a loooong way to go but I am excited for the trip.

  • Gebber said on September 7, 2009


    You are making the World a better place!

    Thank you

  • Casey said on September 9, 2009

    Writing down my ideas… been doing that for ages. Started doing that since I found out Roald Dahl always wrote down his ideas as soon he got it. He said that if you don’t write it down, its gone.

    My problem… I write down lots of ideas but for the most part, I did NOTHING with them.

    My goals for now… simply follow thru. My arse just doesn’t move. Its much harder than I thought it would be!

    Will have to figure out how to get going.

    Thanks for the motivating article.

  • Chris Biele said on October 1, 2009

    I love the thought of writing down my ideas… I have a blog which has had about as many views as I’ve spent minutes working on it. This will be my new way of vocalizing all of my ideas. I full of them, and every one I think of fades off into the land of forgotten soldiers.

    My blog isn’t for me to like, or others to like, or Zack Arias to critique. It’s there to get my ideas into the expanding space of open source thinking.

    I have a head full of potential energy. Thanks for the kick in the ass.

  • John Erdovegi said on October 5, 2009

    I just got to say…
    ONE-Light, ONE-Camera, UMMmmm what’s NEXT??!!!

    You all KNOW, you’ve been to see some awsome moving picture shows in your lifetime. One more time… Lights, Camera… Okay you’ve got it now, I was hinting at A-C-T-I-O-N.

    Having some equipment or money to buy equipment is not the name of the game. Having money is not the name of the game.

    MAKING money is the trick, by satifying other’s needs. I always have said that business and getting contracts is like Dating.

    Creating interesting photos and stirring up others’ interest in your photos. Enough interest and bewilderment, so they’ll match their Oohs and Aahs with their money.

    Click with your camera and click with you mouse. G’Night.

  • Henrik said on October 17, 2009

    Im answering now. I’ve had the same idea in my head for some time now but still havent come around to doing it. Thanks to you Zack and all the others participating in this “global project” or whatever you may call it im FINALLY getting around to doing it. Im starting a local project for the homeless, me and some friends are going to take pictures and write a series of articles that we intend to put in some form of book. We are planing to “sell” this book in some form without a given price. People can donate whatever they seem fit for the book. The money we get of of this we are donating to our local homeless shelter. Thank you Zack for giving me the “push” i needed! Best Regards // Henrik

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