1,000 Answers Reached :: Photography Q&A

November 10, 2012 | • Resources Shop Talk

Photography Q&A

Well everyone… I’m going on break until 2013! From Tumblr. From Twitter. From Facebook. From IG. From every social media site except this blog. For the past four months I’ve been hammering away to reach a goal of 1,000 questions answered on my tumblr Q&A blog. I wanted to build something with pure signal. No banner ads. No affiliate links. No bias to one thing, person, retailer, or whatever. Just as much information as I could provide. And at 1,000 answers… it isn’t finished. There are more than 1,600 unanswered questions sitting in the inbox. I have not been paid, massaged, or cajoled into “endorsing” a product, a person, or a company. 

There are a ton of topics covered. Things like

  • What softbox to buy?
  • How to ask a photographer to assist them.
  • What lens should I get?
  • How do you archive images?
  • Best thing to own less than $100.
  • My top 5 favorite books on photography.
  • Dealing with social media.
  • Dealing with difficult clients.
  • Personal projects.
  • Growing as a photographer.
  • Marketing.
  • Networking.
  • Advertising.
  • Pricing.
  • Confidence.
  • Lack of confidence.
  • Moving to full time.
  • Weddings.
  • Portraits.
  • Editorial.
  • Commercial.
  • Fashion.
  • DNG vs. RAW.
  • Presets.
  • X x X = X
  • Etc. Etc. Etc. x 1,000 

The search box on the site will do a site specific search via google. It’s a little buggy but it is FAR better than using Tumblr’s search engine which was developed in 1937, I think. I am working on compiling a list… to become… well. The average time spent on this site is about five minutes. I figure… Hey! Bathroom reader! So yeah… That’s happening! I’ll be going through the blog and expanding on some things, adding photos, samples, forms, worksheets, etc. More to come on this book project later.

Some answers are a few lines. Some are a few pages. Some are silly. Some are deep. Some get my feathers ruffled.

I want to thank all of you for hanging out here with me for the past four months and bringing a lot of great questions to the table. You all built this as much as I did. Thanks for that. I’m sorry if your question did not get answered yet. I have about 1,600 unanswered questions right now and I’m not getting back into that inbox until the beginning of next year. You can ask now… But I won’t see it for awhile. Just sayin’. 

What should you do this winter?



One thing. Can you help me with something? Help me as I cull a list of the most useful posts there. If you have any specifically book marked please give me the link in the comments below. I have my favorites. You might have some others.


PS – I will be jumping back on social media for our annual Black Friday / Cyber Monday sale for charity. Other than that though… Meg will be changing the passwords to my social media accounts and that will be that! I have a ton of work to do this winter. I want to cut out as many distractions as possible, put my head down, my hand to the till, and get it done.


  • Kris Mitchell said on November 10, 2012

    Dude. A monumental “Thank you” for the energy, time & effort put into all those posts. I haven’t read them all, but the ones I have read were all answered with the same respect and thought. It would’ve been so easy to dismiss some of the “easy” questions.

    Enjoy the “time off”


  • Ramiah Branch said on November 10, 2012

    I found all the post helpful. Even if it was not something that I might have a questions I was still able to take your answers and apply them in some way to my own personal life and work. I really liked your honesty in all the post even when society tells us that is what we should not do. That is what I respect most about you. Your honesty to tell it like it is.

    Thanks again for being an honest voice to the photography community.

  • Rene Valladares said on November 10, 2012

    Hey Zack, the most useful to me are the ones where you talk about forget the gear, and just shoot. It make me stop my severe case of GAS and start focusing on taking better pictures.

  • Chris said on November 10, 2012

    Geez Zack….I can’t think of a single post that I didn’t learn something from. I think if we all sat around listening to you breath we would some how gain useful knowledge.

  • Ramiah Branch said on November 10, 2012

    Here is the one I have bookmarked that I go back and read on occasion that really helped me the most.

    Thanks again for your time and effort you put into the Q and A blog.


  • Anika Alonzo said on November 10, 2012

    Thank you so much for doing this! This is an insane amount of work that you put into all this, for us. Seriously, thanks man!
    Enjoy your hiatus!

  • Megan said on November 10, 2012

    I thoroughly enjoy your Q&A site, Zack! Even some questions I am not really interested in, I find myself reading. You have a great way of writing that makes reading your answers so enjoyable. There have been quite a few posts that I really liked, but the one on how to separate personal and professional failures is the one that hit home the most with me. I have been a photographer for over 5 years, and this was something I thought might just go away eventually, but this post made me realize it’s all intertwined, and I’m not the only one whose life is like that, and that is okay. :)
    Thanks for all you do!!

  • Willie Dalton said on November 10, 2012

    Love the book idea Zack!

    This is such a refreshingly brilliant idea, thank you bunches for putting in the time and effort to share your wisdom and knowledge with us little people.

    This is something that people will keep coming back to, because the answers are so applicable across not just the many types of photography, but to commercial artists everywhere.

    You the man Mr. Arias

  • Alan Bailward said on November 10, 2012

  • Bernardo Lago said on November 10, 2012

    Hi Zack, this is Bernardo from Brazil. First of all, I really appreciate the time and effort you’ve spent on the blog. I honestly have read the whole Q&A, since the very beginning, and can say the post I have most read and re-read is the one you’ve answered one of my questions sent. The one about what is and what isn’t fashion photography when you go really deep on metaphors on war photography. It made me think a lot and re-think about what I want to achieve with photography. My goals have changed, I really can’t put in words, but I have to thank you, and if I had to state a thought, it would be like “It is not about the hype, it is about the goals you want”. And BTW, I really see myself like the drunk husband, in the way that I’ve been on the blog everyday waiting for new answers, and even though I didn’t start photography with the Q&A, what made me get really really serious with the craft was your One Light DVD.

    The link to the question:

    Thank you again and have a great internet break!

  • Susan Crutchfield said on November 10, 2012

    Thank you so much for taking so much time to answer questions. I have enjoyed every single one. But I think my favorite would be the ones about lack of confidence. I can’t tell you how much that one spoke to me and helped me. I hope you enjoy your time away from social media!

  • Eleanor said on November 10, 2012

    Hi Zach I only came across your Q and A a couple of days ago, so I’m gonna need your downtime to catch up on all your musing, sharing, insight and knowledge. Thanks so much!

  • Girish said on November 10, 2012

    One of the places on the internet to search for a photography related topic. Thanks for taking out time and helping so many people. Thanks for taking out time and answering each question not in detail but also sharing your views and thoughts in relation to that point.

    Keep up the good work. Have fun. Hope the media break will get more ideas and 2013 we will see Zack back into action new more ideas. Look forward for the book as well.


  • Matthew Sinclair said on November 10, 2012

    Hey Zack. Must say the info you have put here has been fascinating. While I`ve been taking photos for a while I only started taking time to learn about photography since spring. Wow. So. Much. To. Learn.

    Any-hoo, probably my favorite that I`ve read was about learning to work on my eye.

    Also enjoyed this one. Wedding Photographers Deserve Our Respect.

  • Yann said on November 10, 2012

    Hi Zack,
    Thank you so much for the colossal efforts you’ve put in sharing your knowledge be it on technical elements or on your feelings towards photography and your quest for excellence.

    I have bookmarked so many of your answers and posts but if I had to pick 3 favorite ones:
    1. http://zarias.tumblr.com/post/33298404374/do-you-use-and-would-you-suggest-any
    I like when you talk about being consistent and when you explain how to do so: consistent exposure, consistent color, consistent B&W, “head in a clean spot”…

    2. http://zarias.tumblr.com/post/34835034455/who-are-your-5-favorite-photography-books-i-mean
    As, for now, I haven’t had any type of formal course, workshop or any education in photography, I’m more than happy, first to have found you and second to know photographers that are references to you. I find it important to have at least a basic culture of photography and to start on a solid ground: know some masters and study their work instead of reinventing the wheel and getting lost into the ambient noise that seem to concentrate on massive photoshop retouching (which can be nice but should not be my starting point in photography), and photography with no soul of everything and nothing.

    3. http://zarias.tumblr.com/post/26503956904/any-advice-ref-creating-personal-projects-plus-more
    Because consistency and study have to be put to some use.

    Now time for me to practice, read some more of your posts on your Tumblr and see you hopefully on next year.

    I wish you all the very best for your break and all your projects!

    Yann, France.

  • Morgan Moller (@morganmoller) said on November 10, 2012

    I loved this one about retouching fees : how they’re calculated, who pays for them and such.


    Thanks for being so awesome!

  • Rob said on November 10, 2012

    lol Good for you… Make sure she does NOT give you the password back :-) No go and do some damn work and cut out some family time for the holidays – thx for the info from one of the anonymous hoards listening…… Rob

  • Alex said on November 11, 2012

    Dude, you’re AWESOME!

    Can’t believe someone spent so much time and energy putting together a 1000Q&A – simply amazing!
    Love your writing style too btw.

    Good luck and enjoy your time “off”.


  • Matthew said on November 11, 2012

    Thank you for the effort and the wealth of knowledge you have so freely offered…
    I feel I’ve read nearly every post you have trapped out…all because I stumbled onto your “Transform” video a year or so ago…
    I have so many of your post in my favorite list but the following three are the ones that I get the most “push” out of…




    Enjoy you break… Go it drink beers with some mates and find time to breath…

    Cheers Matt

  • Mike said on November 12, 2012

    Zack thank you for your efforts in sharing your knowledge and experience. Hope you and yours have a great Christmas.
    Cheers Mike

  • Max Almonte said on November 12, 2012

    Hey Z-man! Max here, jesus man i feel like a stalker now. lol! First let me congratulate you on your 1k post on your tumbler. I been following you for quite a while now ever since i stumble upon you watching some youtube clips of creative live and once I heard you speak – it was like i struck gold with you, your one light DVD has help me plenty, your clips on you tube have given me plenty more to up my game in photography, but MAN! I gotta say since I saw your twitter post about your Q&A when you were on STU i been reading until you transition to Tumblr. I have to say I never missed an episode and have read your answers multiple times. Its fun reading, is gold, is what working photographers need, someone sincere in their answers, someone who really wants to teach (Hopefully you go for that masters and teach photography, cus if you do I think i will enroll for a term or two). The questions that resonated the most with me (am not posting any links) are the one that deal with the hustlin, the business aspect, the gear, the useful links to other photographers that i didn’t know about, the personal view from everything you have gone through to make it in the photo radar. The upmost respect you have for some and the honesty of your opinion about others. I can’t think of any other photographer who has taken the time to actually do something so crazy, as to take their personal time to give back so much in form of questions and answers to so many struggling people out there. I really appreciate it from the bottom of my toes to the top of the universe. You are the man! Enjoy your time off with the family, have a great thanksgiving, a super christmas and a very very happy and successful new year 2013. I keep popping up here and there, i’ll be shooting some personal project, brainstorming and putting to play some of your advice about creating a book, updating and rebranding my whole look and promo materials from business cards, to promos, to leave behinds. 2013 is a great year and hopefully everyone who has read your q&a still follows it… CHEERs to you my man.

  • Derrick said on November 12, 2012

    Hey Zack,

    Thank you for all this awesome work you been putting in. While I am a very new Zack follower, I just wanted to thank you for all this information and advice you so willingly share. I have met quite a number of photographers and many if not all of them are always so secretive about what they do, and how they manage their workflow and their techniques, then while they keep their secrets, they smugly watch you fail. I appreciate that you are willing to share, and while doing that still manage to be an awesome photographer. Thank you again.

    Love from Australia.

  • Stefan said on November 13, 2012

    Thank you Zack for sharing your knowledge and passion about photography with us. Your work is awesome. Thank you!

  • jk said on November 15, 2012

    Even the question you pointed out here- tell me a lot! Thanks!

  • Mark said on November 16, 2012

    Hey Zak. My name’s Mark. I’m from Canada. I’ve been in your shoes. (I’m 44 turning 45). I just recently discovered you. I don’t know why not sooner but thats okay.
    Just want to say that whenever you read this…thanks for the help. There is you and two other photographers I’m currently following right now that are saying the same things and its ringing a bell with me.
    Thanks for the mentorship.

    Mark Welsh

  • darryl duling said on November 20, 2012

    I think the best advise Zack has given us all is to just go shoot….LOL…. you can’t learn without exploration

  • Ken Graham said on November 25, 2012

    This is one has helped me a ton….I was having trouble ‘seeing’ photos and this exercise has forced me to work on composition & exposure like no other. Thanks Zack!!!


  • Wil Haub said on November 26, 2012

    Hey Zack! I’ve been reading your blog for a few years now, so the time has come to say a big THANK YOU!!! I have read every single of your 1000+ answers, all of which were not just great information but also inspiring!

    I’m from London and 33y old, but just starting out in photography. I have quite a flexible job, which gives me a save income, but also leaves me a lot of time to work on my craft. So my favourite Q&A are the ones about how to improve your photography in general incl. personal projects, how to get assisting jobs and finally how to get clients and approach art directors,….still a long way to go for me, but I am doing my first steps, one after another :-)

    But I even already learnt a lot from all the “advanced” Q&A, which gave me a preview of whats to come, what questions I might ask in a year or two or ten. I am glad that I can say nothing scared me off, everything just inspired me more!

    Btw, my next plan was to start with off camera flash in 2013, but why not start today on Cyber Monday with ordering your One Light DVD :-) Thank you so much for helping Quinn and me and so many others at the same time!!

    Zack, you and your family are a true inspiration, thanks all of you!

    Cheers from London, Wil

  • Michael Rasmussen (@MichaelRpdx) said on December 14, 2012

    Hey Zack, I found out about your 1000 Questions via the announcement you were taking a break. Since then I’ve read every one. I did “vote” via favoriting.

    Anything where you linked to an inspirational portfolio. Especially the Vivian Meier and Michael Sebastian ones.

    That vision thang. Variations on “you do what you need to do. Get out and hustle.”
    Everyone where you summed up the A with “Somewhere on this planet someone with older gear than I have…
    less gear than I have… is taking better photos than I am.” or variations of that.

    What got clipped to Evernote (probably some fatigue bias here):
    (Meier and Sebastian pasted from their sites, not your referrals)
    soft is size, not ray scatter, big lesson for me.
    new names to explore, inspired me to actually write down my list rather than keeping a hazy mental one

    ¡Cien gracias!
    Mille grazie!
    It was a great read (usually done between 3:00am and 5:00am to avoid cutting into work, homelife, and photo time) and I’m off to shoot and observe.

  • Zack said on December 14, 2012

    Thanks Michael!


  • Jason Grawey said on January 15, 2013

    Zack, I am new to Atlanta and have found as an emerging fine art photographer, Atlanta has much to offer. Sadly and often discouragly Limited by my day job. Which brings me to the serendipitous point. I actually moved from Maryland very near DC. Im assuming that neurosurgeon is affiliated with a university perhaps GW or Georgetown, actually now that i think of it i guess it would be CNMC(Children’s National Medical Center). Children’s is a fabulous facility in dealing with many Not so fabulous situations. They have many resources and i urge you to urge you friend to investigate them. Definitely look into getting assigned to a clinical social worker to help guide them. Also my day job happens to be working for a group of ortho surgeons, as this was what i did in Maryland as well. So I am very familiar with ED syndrome. I just wanted to say i hope the best for your family friends daughter. I don’t know if there is anything i could do to help but don’t be shy. Thank you for your blog! And whatever you do, do it with a smile.
    I am always available to try. Especialy a child. Also, if she needs any rehab i can tell you National rehab is a wonderful facility with some of the countries most talented professionals in their field .

  • Megan E. Doherty said on January 24, 2013

    “Zack Arias = All signal. All the time.”

    Wait, you want me to CHOOSE my faves? BWAHAHAHAHA! That would suggest some posts are less awesome than the rest. Silly!

  • Philip Thomas said on January 31, 2013


    Just a thank you. albeit late for this blog entry I know but I come back here often! Thanks for taking the time and energy, and goodness knows where you get it from, for taking the time to give back to your fellow photographers. An inspiration to do the same for my fellow ‘wedding’ photographers out there in ‘wedding bubble land’.

  • MarkZoetrope.com said on March 19, 2013

    I’m about halfway through and loving it all. So far, this one was one of the better posts: http://zarias.tumblr.com/post/29463777437/not-really-photography-photographer-related-but-any

    So much good advice in this one post! Thanks for what you’re doing.

  • Ken Tan said on April 30, 2013

    Thank you so much for all your great posts, Zach! Been going back and just reading your blog posts lately and finding great information!

  • Chris Keels said on July 11, 2013

    glad you found your mechanical match. nice pics, keep shooting

Speak Up

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *