Photography Q&A :: The Book

July 12, 2013 | • Resources Shop Talk



My Photography Q&A book is here! Well, it has been “here” for about a month now but regular readers of my blog know how I roll. :)

This book is built off of my Photography Q&A Tumblr blog that I started last summer. I set a goal to answer 1,000 questions on that blog and I’ve exceeded that goal. To date I’ve answered more than 1,200 questions. I did not start the Q & A blog to make a book. Somewhere around question 700 or 800 I sat back and thought, “I think I just wrote a book.” Last November I sent an email to Ted Waitt, an editor with Peachpit and New Riders, to see if they had interest in this project — they did.  In January of this year the editing began for the book.

A lot of folks ask if this is just a straight blog-to-book sort of deal. Not really. While the content of this book was pulled from the blog, I spent a few months editing the material and adding a lot of visual components to it. I initially pulled 150 questions from the book and Ted and I culled and combined that information down to 106 that made the cut. 



Ted and I spent a full day trying to categorize the answers into sections like gear, technical, lighting, business, life, clients, etc. but we could never find a flow that worked. The Q&A blog on Tumblr is a chaotic brain dump that has never followed a rhyme or reason in the order of how I answer questions. There are times someone asks about gear but the answer turns into a discussion about business. How do you categorize that? At the end of the day, however, we did find an order. The book sort of follows the progression you find in this craft and in this business. 



Essentially I wrote a photography bathroom reader. It’s designed to be picked up and read anywhere you open the book. You can go from beginning to end or jump around. There are questions dealing with gear, shooting techniques, lighting, business, marketing, work/life balance, dealing with clients, traveling with equipment, and so on and so forth.



There’s plenty of gear porn…








There are ten sections that I call Visual Intermissions. Here I showcase images that have had importance to me during my career. They aren’t necessarily trophy images, or the best images I’ve ever shot, but they illustrate certain junctures of my life as a photographer. What I learned, how it changed how I think, etc. These are the types of events that will happen to you as a photographer and you need to be on the lookout for them.




The book begins with me asking a question to Rolling Stone Magazine senior photo editor, Sacha Lecca. The book ends with a few worksheets that are designed for you to cut out, photocopy, and fill in. These type of worksheets are helpful to organize thoughts and information as you try to build your business.


Photography Q&A by Zack Arias

Photography Q&A by Zack Arias


There are a lot of books about photography out there. Many deal with specific topics like lighting, marketing, posing, etc. I see many of those books as the bricks or tiles of your photography education. I wrote this book to be the mortar or grout that fills in the gaps and holds it all together and connects dots.

So far the book is being well received. I was nervous as hell producing this because it’s new territory for me. There are some reviews of it hitting the web right now. You can read Totally Rad’s review here. The Phoblographer review here. The Photo Brigade review here. There’s also an interview with me on the Photo Brigade review as well as on episode 50 of the Musea Podcast.

I would greatly appreciate your review of the book on the Amazon page

The Q&A book is available at most brick and mortar book resellers like Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Amazon UK, the Kindle Store, iBooks (in certain countries), and directly through the Peachpit store. In fact, Peachpit has a bundle that get’s you the hardcopy and ebook version. If the book does well then there will be translations. That sort of thing (in addition to where the book is distributed) is sort of out of my hands so I can’t speak with authority about those kind of things. Even though I make a whole 50 cents or something more on the eBook, I highly suggest picking up the hardcopy if you can. I prefer this book in print than I do on an eReader.  

Also note… That as I am on my travels for work I stop by Barnes & Noble stores and sign the copies that they have on hand. I tweet and IG the location when I do that. 

Thank you to everyone who has been a part of the Q&A blog. I’m still there and still answering questions as I have time to do so. That blog isn’t going anywhere! 

For those who have read the book… if there was a Volume 2 in the future… what would you like to see more or less of covered in that? 



PS – Did I mention I’d greatly appreciate your review of the book on Amazon? I really would. Thank you. :)

PPS – I will be giving away some signed copies of the book soon and talking about someone who needs our help. It will be on the blog here once that’s ready to go.


  • Edmund Mount said on July 12, 2013

    Thank you for the book. Really enjoyed the later half which dealt more with the business side of things. It really helped to to figure out my pricing.

  • David Charles said on July 12, 2013

    I really love the book and thank you, again, for answering some of my questions on the blog and in the book. Hopefully I can thank you properly with a cold one someday. 😉

  • Tor Ivan Boine said on July 12, 2013

    Cool. Just want to buy it because it looks cool :) Looking forward to create my own photo book. Just for my self, not for selling or anything.

  • Jeremy Walpole said on July 12, 2013

    Thanks for creating this book. I’m looking forward to reading it. Looks great from what I have seen so far. Great format!

  • Russell said on July 12, 2013

    Just ordered my copy from Amazon UK.

    Kudos Zack – Every review on the US and UK Amazon sites are 5*. Every. SIngle. One.

    Looks like you’ve struck the right chord.

  • Samantha Evans said on July 12, 2013

    Fantastic read and a great resource — I have gone back to the tumblr posts and posted several of them as teasers for the book in several forums.

  • Corey Woolsey said on July 12, 2013

    Hey Zack,
    Thanks for producing such a great book. I had it pre-ordered very early and couldn’t wait to get it. I have been following your story for quite awhile and it is so so similar to my own story. Its so great to find someone who is just out there pushing gear and promoting a success overnight story. You make it seem possible for anyone from any walk of life can fulfill their dreams. I know in the past I pushed hard to make things happen, and was frustrated when they didn’t. Then my wife became disabled and I pushed harder. Big mistake. My days now are filled with free shoots to work on my craft when I am not working my normal job. I can see the improvement, and I am content now to put the work out there and let it build organically. Maybe it will be a hobby all my life, but who knows. Again, thank you Zack for your story and if we ever meet up, the first Newcastle is on me!

  • TB said on July 12, 2013

    This book is ridiculously great. I have had the blessing (or curse) to have careers in two different creative fields – audio engineering from 2002 – 2013, and in the last couple years I finally had the guts to make a go of pursuing photography professionally, my original creative passion since my 1993 high school photo class. This book elegantly details the stumbles that I’ve been through (and the parallels between audio and photo are very similar especially GAS) and puts up road flares for the ones I haven’t yet hit, never once being dishonest or disingenuous or condescending. It’s written in a frank, conversational style, and reads like a discussion you might have over a couple of frosty adult beverages.

    I can’t commend you highly enough, Zack, and I can’t recommend this book highly enough. A must for everyone from a beginner to a fledgling pro like myself. Well done. Heading to Amazon right now…

  • Chris Belyea said on July 12, 2013

    Bought it … Loved it … Reviewed it

    What more needs to be said than THANKS Zack for providing yet again another brilliant resource for photographers everywhere

  • Victor Tran said on July 12, 2013

    Got the book and read it cover to cover. Great stuff! Now if I could only find someone willing to sell me a used One Light DVD.

  • Jim Cutler said on July 13, 2013

    I was one of the first people to buy it on Amazon. It is SUPERB. A very useful book for this photographer that owns a lot of current photography books. Really different and useful.

  • Kira said on July 13, 2013

    I got mine! Totally will review on Amazon. Thank you for sharing what you know ( and your insecurities) with us. You are brilliant! You inspire! Thank you.

  • Matthew in Oz said on July 13, 2013

    This is a book would have saved me heaps of heart ache, and $$$$ 5 years ago .if people were as honest as you are with your answers.
    Well done mate…great piece of work and a go-to book for any photographer that wants to get a good handle on the lay of the land within the world of photography.


  • Roland said on July 13, 2013

    Sounds like a fantastic book Zack, and I am happy that you put some of your pictures into it, I am a huge fan of your work!
    Concerning photography, you are definitely the one I am looking up to.
    I really appreciate the great advice you give to everybody who aspires to be a photographer and I am sure that book contains lots of such advice!

    I recently asked on your tumblr blog how you deal with the banding noise in the shadows of the 5D files and I am very much looking forward to your answer on this and why that thing (which is much less of an issue with Nikon sensors) didn’t keep you from switching to Canon.

    Hope to hear from you soon!

  • Swade said on July 13, 2013

    Do I have to order it or will I run into the same problem when I bought my X-E1 and have to go to the only store in the state that sells it? Would love to be able to hold the book before I buy it.

  • Zack said on July 14, 2013

    @Swade – It’s available in stores like Barnes & Noble.


  • Jenny said on July 13, 2013

    I just ordered my copy. VERY excited to read it.

    Your book is the #1 Bestseller on Amazon Germany’s Digital Photography section. Congratulations!

  • Kellie Stapleton said on July 13, 2013

    Yep; got it, Half way through it. Love it! Hope you’ll do some more lighting workshops. I just started off camera flash, just about when you stopped the workshops.

  • Mike Kalibabky said on July 13, 2013

    Zack: Read it, loved it. The most TERRIFYING book on photography of all time. A perfect volume on why NOT to become a pro shooter. It should be required reading for those folks in college hoping to bust into the industry. A suicide run! I hate myself for saying that!

    I, too, appreciate and admire the efforts of Jack White (pages 118 and 119) and aspire to use his creativity and drive as inspiration in my own photographic efforts.

  • Marc said on July 13, 2013

    My sister is hunting me for weeks what to buy me for birthday gift, I just e-mailed her the link to :)

  • Pedro said on July 14, 2013

    Did you know it’s actually cheaper by a whole €10 to buy it from instead of and have it shipped to Portugal?

    I can’t wait to get this book on my mailbox!

  • Ector Javier said on July 14, 2013

    Awesome!!! Just ordered mines! Looking forward to reading it!

  • Ferry said on July 14, 2013

    Just saw your post instantly bought it on iBooks and have a free day tommorow toreador it!

  • Matt said on July 14, 2013

    Great work Zack!

    I’ve just ordered my copy for the bathroom… haha.
    Nah, just kidding! I am sure it will sit on my desk right next to my wacom tablet so it’s never far away.

    It’s a shame it takes so long for it to arrive to Australia though… I don’t know how I am going to hold it together until it get’s here.

    Would there be a chance I can send it to you to sign for me? That would be rad!


  • Ferry said on July 15, 2013

    Hi zack,

    I see you use elinchrom and pocket wizards but isn’t the skyport system more easy for you?

    Btw also orderd the book version

  • Zack said on July 15, 2013

    @Ferry – I own PWs and use different lights all the time and the PWs work on all of them. The Skyports would work best with the Quadras since I could control power remotely but that’s just one more expense I feel I don’t need to incur.


  • Hakan said on July 15, 2013

    This seems to be a really inspiring photography book. I’d like to ask you what laws / ethics apply when questions from a web site are being used for a book. At the time they asked their questions, none of the people who visited your site knew that their question would later be used for a book (and neither did you, as you explained above). Did you try to contact the askers and get their permissions to re-use their questions?

    I hope you are not offended by this question. I’ve been reading your blog for a long time (first out of curiosity about the Fuji X series cameras; after getting an XE-1 I have kept reading you – your blog is one of the better photography sites).

  • Zack said on July 15, 2013

    I had the same question. We consulted with lawyers and were given the green light.


  • Evan said on July 15, 2013

    Would there be a Hardcover copy coming in the near future as well?

  • Zack said on July 15, 2013

    @Evan – I don’t think so. :)

  • kate hailey said on July 16, 2013

    congrats on the book Zack, it looks fantastic! I’ll have to order one! :)

  • Brittanny said on July 16, 2013

    Congrats on the book! I can’t wait to get a copy for myself.

  • Graham said on July 17, 2013

    Just ordered. Great stuff Zack. Thanks.

  • craig krizek said on July 17, 2013

    Hey Zack, SIGNAL!

  • Justin Caridi said on July 18, 2013

    Dude, thanks so much for writing this book.

    It is so good, every last piece of advice given in the only way possible, no bullshit. lol, seriously, worth so much more than it costs.

    Really great read, lots to learn about the industry. I love the sarcasm and straight forward attitude.

  • Azahari Reyes @ Jason said on July 18, 2013

    Hio Zack,

    Can I get book directly from you with your signature on it? I’m from Borneo Island… Hehehe awesome work!

  • Zack said on July 18, 2013

    @Azahari – Eventually! I’ll be setting that up at some point.


  • Frank said on July 20, 2013

    Just bought the kindle version off Amazon. USD 10 bucks ! what a steal. Really, love your writing style and no bull advice. Now how can you sign my ipad mini?

  • Bobby said on July 22, 2013


    Ordered my copy earlier this month. OUTSTANDING STUFF!

  • Gary said on July 22, 2013

    Zack, I think you sell yourself a bit short by calling it a “photography bathroom reader.” While you can certainly just pick bits and pieces, I’ve found myself really diving in and being an ACTIVE reader. The book’s weight belies it’s depth. I’m afraid my copy is going to look well-worn all too soon.

  • David Rounick said on July 22, 2013

    Loved the book! Thanks so much.

  • Stu Cosgrave said on July 23, 2013

    Just ordered the kindle version, Can’t wait to get started tonight. Always prefer no nonsense approach. Cheers.

  • Rich C said on July 23, 2013

    Zack, I just downloaded the Kindle version and have already started reading through. So much for focusing on work today!

    I’ve been away from photography for a bit, contracting as an engineer again (paying the bills and such), but found myself missing my old business so I popped by your site today. I’ll be reading the whole book in the next few days out of the office (can’t slack too much). And you’ll get your Amazon review! I can already tell you what I’ve read so far is what I’ve been needing.

    And you’re not cynical, just reality based!

  • Ed Castillo said on July 24, 2013

    I’ve read the book twice, and I keep thumbing back through it. You’re advice is very down to earth and it gave me a good kick in the ass to stop worrying about all the small stuff and concentrate on creating photos and getting my small humble side business going. I can’t wait for Volume 2. Awesome job!

  • Zack said on July 24, 2013

    @Ed – Thank you!


  • Sean said on July 24, 2013

    Hey Zack,

    I stumbled upon the Q&A site the other day and I just ordered the book, it looks awesome on your blog, I’m sure it will live up to that and more in print. I’m sure I’ll have some things to say on Amazon.

    Cheers for all the work that you do for us at the bottom of the ladder, it’s much appreciated.

  • Sheila said on July 24, 2013

    LOVE it! Knew I would, pre-ordered. Love your direct teaching and style of writing. Have learned a lot from you over the years and wanted to support your endeavor. ROCK ON! If we still lived in Roswell would buy you and the Misses a beer!

  • Earle said on July 25, 2013

    Zack: Bought the book on Kindle and absolutely love it. Did the Amazon review too. It sounds like most people here are reading it from cover to cover. I’m using the skip through via the Table of Contents links. Amazon should use your book to sell the virtues of a Kindle (or at least the Kindle app on the iPad).

    To keep your metaphor going, the signal cuts through the noise beautifully.

    P.S. Loved the latest Kelby class on street shooting too.

  • Zack said on July 26, 2013

    Thanks @Earle and @Marco!


  • Marco said on July 25, 2013

    Just ordered…looking forward to reading it! I already know will be awesome 😉
    Cheers from Italy :)

  • Alex said on July 25, 2013

    I am a photography student in Canada, and I am so excited that my local book store has a copy of your book here in Ottawa! Going to pick it up after work, can’t wait to read it!

  • Zack said on July 26, 2013

    @Alex – Thank you!


  • Ben said on July 26, 2013

    Hi Zack!
    I’m from Germany. I purchased your book via Amazon UK and already read it.
    I love it. I know you don’t like to hear it but you’re THE man. Seriously.
    Q&A gave me a lot to think about. Dr. Kelso in Scrubs said >>> “Nothing in this world that’s worth having comes easy.” I feel that’s what your book is about. Thank you.


  • Attila said on July 27, 2013

    I’m off to order the kindle version. Mainly because I’ve been watching all your critique videos and got huge value out of them and would like to thank you for those in some way. Hope you’ll have time to do some more critiques soon.

    love your work!

  • Jim said on July 27, 2013

    Just bought it on iBooks! I am a Fan of your DVD and your work. If I like it enough I’ll buy a hardcover as well! I first got introduced to your work when I saw your Vid on digitalrev TV and was very impressed. Your work always leaves an impression on me. You are definitely my Henri Cartier-Bresson. If you ever plan to visit the netherlands in the future, let me now. I would love a meet&greet.

  • Jon said on July 28, 2013

    Looks like a great read! Any idea if and when it will be available on iBooks in Australia? It’s currently listed as unavailable in this territory.

  • Zack said on July 28, 2013

    @Jon – Not sure. I don’t handle any of that. Sorry!


  • Mike said on July 28, 2013

    Thanks again for sharing, not only of the knowledge but more importantly for me the story which as Im sure you’ve heard many times matches mine. Im at the end of the two year mark following a complete trashing of my life to that point, during the last two years I couldn’t even get the job at kinkos, not even a trainee interview in the business Ive been in for twenty years. Page 300 of the ebook you reference Felix Baumgartner – Jump and maybe die or stay put and die. So I’m jumping, there’s no oxygen left in the capsule – no choice now. The website is almost ready to launch and the batteries are charged, here goes everything!
    Thanks though seriously.
    PS. any plans to do some more site reviews ? Found them very useful and may be brave enough to join the queue if you do. Hope to see you in London in September funds permitting.

  • Zack said on July 28, 2013

    Best of luck Mike! God’s speed sir.


  • Phillip said on August 1, 2013

    Hey Zack. I just finished reading this book and found it to be very informative. I reviewed it on Amazon (5 stars of course), and I also posted it on my blog as additional advertising for it :-)

  • Zack said on August 1, 2013

    Thank you!


  • David McDonald said on August 2, 2013

    Hi Zack,
    So glad to see you’ve released the fruits of your labours on the Q&A blog as a book (and a handsome one at that!).

    And you put in an Amazon UK link yet!! – Bless ツ

    This is one I’ll want on paper.

    Also kinda hoping to make the London GPP gig myself, but not sure if I can make it yet.

    Thanks again, and strength & length of days to ye! ツ

  • Zack said on August 2, 2013

    @David – Thanks for the kind words! Hope you enjoy the book!


  • Paul said on August 4, 2013

    Zack. I’ve just discovered your blog, work and book! Thanks dude. Great stuff.

  • Zack said on August 4, 2013

    Thank you Paul!


  • Robert said on August 6, 2013

    Hi Zack, happy to report your book made it to The Netherlands as well (for quite a while already). Enjoyed it a lot and I am sure I will enjoy it some more when browsing through it again.

    You should publish this website as a book. It has ‘everything’ one needs to know. I have read most posts a couple of times but never seem to get enough of it. :)
    Not sure if there would be any trees left if everyone would order a printed copy though. :)

  • EP said on August 7, 2013

    I can’t wait to pick this up. Looks amazing. Thanks, Zack, for all your hard work on this.

  • David said on August 7, 2013

    Bought your book and am enjoying it hugely.

    Some feedback on my book buying choices:

    I went for it on iBooks format, reasons: This is a reference work, not a narrative and (much as I love the look of it in print) it’s just so much more useful to me to have this instantly available on my iPad and iPhone, especially the iPad. I can dip in, search and write up notes easily on iBooks, even if I only partially remember something I read in it that I want to go back to. So, for functionality iBooks wins. Didn’t buy it as Kindle because iBooks makes for a better reading experience on iOS & your book would lose a lot on my mono Kindle device.
    Also I can read it minutes after purchase on iBooks, even though Amazon would have the physical book here next day. The web and my modern First World expectations have made me dreadfully impatient!
    Anyways, on with the reading – already picked up a lot of useful advice and hungry for more.

    Thank you again for building the blog posts into this reference work, insanely useful.


  • Zack said on August 7, 2013

    Thanks David. Great points!


  • Wes said on August 10, 2013


    Awesome book. Best photo book ever. It cuts out all the blah, blah, blah and answers the actual question. I appreciate your no nonsense style of life. Who has time for that, or the money? It seems like many teachers are leading us forward with the proverbial carrot. Thanks. I appreciate your work and and learning from it.

    Later, Wes

  • Deion said on August 19, 2013

    What’s up Zack! Just bought your book and really enjoyed it a lot. There’s tons of useful information along with a plethora of witty comments. I’ve read some of the Q&A from your Facebook posts but it’s nice to come across them again in print with some supporting images. Your photography is really good but your presentation and delivery is great. I think that is why you are so popular in the photography world…your personality and the ability to teach with real world examples. Thanks for making this book!

  • Nicole said on August 20, 2013

    I thought it was awesomesauce from beginning to end, and in the middle, and all over…..loved it!!!

  • Pete said on August 23, 2013

    I live in Tanzania and listen to ‘the candid frame’ to get my education and connection to photography. Your interview was so much appreciated as I’ve needed a bit of a kick in the ass lately and you’ve done it. Thanks.

  • rpavich said on August 31, 2013

    Got the book….put up a review.

    Love it, Zack…good book; I think it will be a big success.

  • Jonathan Ellul said on September 26, 2013

    DUDE! Thank you.
    Thank you.
    Thank you.
    Cover to cover, like having coffee with a dear friend and talking about THE SHIT!
    I read it looking for tips. I did not expect to fill my heart with inspiration as well.
    I”m gonna brew another coffee and go through some of my images now…..

    Zack,Thank you!

  • Helen Batt said on September 29, 2013

    Zach you were the first person to explain flash in terms I could understand when I watched your one light DVD, it all made sense and I loved your straight talking approach. Needless to say this book is on my to buy list!

  • Nick said on October 2, 2013

    I bought the kindle version and am reaidng it on my ipad. I haven’t been able to put it down and have learnt so much already


  • Anupam said on October 10, 2013

    Just bought your book from Peachpit, im sure i have read each post on your blog atleast twice :)
    its still not available on iBooks in New Zealand.

  • Ashley Versluis said on October 29, 2013

    I started a 365 Project this year. Since January 1, 2013, I have used my Nikon in manual mode and shoot exclusively in RAW. On day 1/365, I put the camera in “M” and had to learn how to use the settings or not take photos! It has been positively the best learning experience of my life. Every day I wake up with a jolt of excitement knowing I get to take photos and then process them in Lightroom. Concerning books and all of the “crap” you can get caught up in, I have been very picky and do my research before spending any money. This book was one of my thought-out purchases and I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT. I am reading it cover to cover. Every word. Thank you, Zack, for blessing the photography world with your humble, no-nonsense approach to teaching and mentoring!

  • Kick said on November 10, 2013

    After seeing the one light dvd and the way you talk about photography I just had to read your book.
    A must read for everyone thinking about going professional.
    Many great tips, thank you.

    I’ll be looking at you’re blog regularly.

    A fan from Holland

  • Phil said on November 19, 2013

    Oh man, what a good Christmas gift for photographers. You may be fooled by the title but there are a lot of come-from-experience explanations that go with each question + amazing photos that illustrated Zack’s points. All answers are explained in straightforward, no-bullsh* styles. I read it for an hour in a bookstore and decided to bring it home :). Thanks Zack!

  • Joe Federer said on December 3, 2013

    Looks great! What great work…

  • Craig said on January 29, 2014

    “Putting the camera down forever.” Best of the book. I wish every striving photographer could read it.

  • Samuel Rossi said on February 16, 2014

    I just finished your book, best money I’ve spent since the xpro1/xf35mm. Thank you for being a great source of inspiration. Sure you might not be the highest paid photographer in the world, but you are touching peoples lives. Not to get all hallmark channel on you but it’s true that there is great value in what you are doing. So thank you for not pulling any punches. Thank you for leading by example. I hope that you remember during your cold dark months that you are giving people perspective, you are making every ramen dinner and every failure a bit easier to swallow, because we now know more than ever that we are not the only ones in a fight to live our dreams.

  • Joe Martin said on March 5, 2014

    Thanks for all you do for the industry. Is there a place we can buy the book and have you sign it before it ships. Looking forward to getting my hands on a copy. Joe

  • Zack said on March 7, 2014

    @joe – Not at the moment there isn’t. Thanks!


  • Brian Davis said on November 5, 2014

    Awesome. I bought your OneLight back in the day and loved it so I might have to check this out. It looks informative and also entertaining. You really are a master of your craft.

  • Mark Davis said on November 17, 2014

    Just read your book in about four days and it’s full of great stuff . Definitely looking at picking up One Light . Picking up my new Fuji X100T tomorrow and getting started . You Tube videos are fantastic . Especially loved the traveling You Tube videos .

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