Wednesday, June 16, 2010

My new man crush... Zack Arias!


I often write reviews for items/products that have something to offer photographers, sometimes it's a good solid product, other times it's so good it's hard for me to sit still.

This is just such a time, I am wiggling in my seat like a kid on his way to Disney.

Before I get into the seminar itself I am going to do something I have only done one other time in the entire history of this blog, take money out of my pocket to guarantee someone else's product.

I wrote about the Zack Arias 3 "Studio Photography" seminar that happened over this past weekend (here and here) to recommend that folks attend, let me tell you it was freaking incredible.

First, a few words about creativeLive, there is a reason you don't see much live TV, it's hard to do, and even harder to do well. Sure there was a couple (production) warts and foibles over the 3 days, but what a great job they did presenting this seminar. I think the folks who attended the seminar via the internet had a better seat than those that were present in the building.

They sent out reminder emails to seminar attendees each day reminding us that the seminar would begin in an hour. If you pre-purchased the seminar video downloads (I did), you got an email that the high def videos of the previous days seminar were available for download. For anyone who has done video work, that is a phenomenally fast turn around.

I can't even imagine how hard that crew worked to provide the product that they did and they have won me over, I am a creativeLive fan.

Second, the Zack Arias seminar. I don't even know where to begin.

The first day (about 4 1/2 hours) is lecture, it lays the foundation that days 2 and 3 are built upon. Zack covers exposure beautifully. He then covers lighting considerations, what you need to think about when getting your first studio space, and takes a bazillion questions from his live and internet audience.

Just as important (for me) was that I learned about Zack the man, how blessed he believes he is and the importance of giving back to others.

Q & A was a major part of the seminar all three days, chances are very good that questions you have been carrying around were asked by someone and answered (thoughtfully) by Zack.

Another theme that was carried through all 3 days was money, the financial considerations that we are confronted with when purchasing gear and supplies and how we can do it wisely and without wasting a penny.

I would call him "intelligently frugal".

Days 2 and 3 were all about shooting, first Zack would set up his lighting by using the back of the camera (for those who don't have light meters) and then did it again using a light meter.

And there was nothing taken for granted, he started with hanging up his white seamless, demonstrated how best to unroll it and even covered what the "swoop" should be as it comes down onto the floor.

Speaking of seamless, do you know how it should be stored? Why you should not use it over a rug? Or the best way to keep it clean? Zack covers that.

Zack demonstrates great posing tips, techniques for interacting with your clients that will help them be at ease, and respectful ways to deal with women in the studio with even the smallest of things like an exposed bra strap.

Another great demonstration was when he showed that if you set up your lights correctly you could shoot a person in all white then another in all black without changing a single thing and have a great exposure with both.

Wanna know the (shooting) difference between a softbox, beauty dish, octabank, shoot through, or reflective umbrella? Not only does Zack give you a good explanation, he gives you an even better demonstration (see sample images from the seminar here).

Should you shoot at your cameras max sync speed? It will probably depend on the kind of lights you are using (again, see seminar sample images here).

It would be impossible to touch on all the useful information that Zack covered over the 3 days.

Nothing was assumed or taken for granted regarding what viewers knowledge or what their skill level may be. Zack started at the absolute begining brought us through to the very end, never missing or skipping a single step.

If you are considering purchasing a DSLR camera or have owned one for years and have a studio this seminar is for you.

The downloads are available for purchase for $129 and if you are serious about taking a good picture, if you want to make good decisions when purchasing gear, or want to interact with a client in a way that makes them comfortable while demonstrating you know what you're doing, you MUST purchase the videos of this seminar.

I have no relationship with creativeLive or Zack, I don't get a penny if you make a purchase, and I was not given the videos (I purchased mine just like everyone else), so I have no incentive for promoting them other than the goal of this blog which is to make our readers aware of the resources that will help them become better photographers.

And I am such a huge fan and believe that this is one of the best instructional/training resources I have ever seen that the first person who purchases these video downloads and doesn't think it was worth every penny will get their money back. I will reach into my pocket and give you back your purchase price.

In closing I want to say that prior to watching this seminar I had a lot of respect for Zack the photographer, I now have a lot of respect for Zack the man.


5 comments:

Baltimore Portrait & Wedding Photographer, LaKaye Mbah said...

I was glued to my seat for day 1 & 2, but had a shoot on Sunday. The info that I learned from the first two days improved my shoot by leaps & bounds, and I bought the download as soon as I got home.

I have so much respect for him and other photogs, such as yourself who don't mind sharing your knowledge.

photography tips said...

yes, i have seen Zach's One Light DV and i must say that strobist is easy. Zach's explanation is clear and easy to understand.

JW Stovall said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JW Stovall said...

Funny that you mentioned this;

"Speaking of seamless, do you know how it should be stored?"

As I heard Zack say, "store the roll of seamless standing up or at the very least leaning, and not laying down....as you will see the ripples that causes..." My seamless was in its' shipping roll laying flat in my garage....aaaaggghhh. Lesson learned, among many others.
Thanks for bringing my attention to the class. My weekend was dedicated to watching all three very informative days of training.

Michael Palmer said...

Great review Scott!!

I have a ton to catch up on, this is on the list