You were saying that you scheduled shoots in the Middle East while traveling as "trades" rather than paid shoots... What did you trade for??
Simple trade time / access for photos. I find folks who need photos and they give me their time and access to places and I give them photos. It’s pretty straight forward.
I've been reading the blog for a few weeks now and I need to ask: Are all photographers unbelievably bad spellers? Do they lack a spell checking function in their browsers? Is proof reading too much of a chore? I hate to be "that guy", but often I need to read the questions a couple times to pick through the crappy grammar. This is a semi-professional blog and not a text message.
A) Yes. We can be bad at spelling and grammar. We like pictures. They’re evidently worth a thousand words.
B) This blog gets about 35% of its traffic from outside of the western / English speaking world. I think a number of those issues are just folks who English isn’t their native language.
C) A lot of folks just fire off a question and I fire off an answer and neither party is spending a lot of time proofing. This blog is very informal. I misspell words when talking. :)
Hi Zack, I apologize if this question has been asked before, but how do you find the time to be a husband, a father of 4, a photographer, and answer all these questions, some of which are fairly mundane?
I watch about zero television. I type at a decent speed. I answer questions while C1 or LR is doing its thing or from my iPhone while doing the King’s business. I break the stereotypical artist’s life by getting to work in the morning. I have an AMAZING wife who manages our crazy house and family. I have an amazing office manager that handles the business. I have about zero social life. I have a household of six to clothe, feed, and keep a roof over so I don’t have the luxury of being a slacker. Working half days means 12 hours. I mess things up. I get things wrong. I can’t find balance. I do the best I can. My family loves and supports me through the mess. I come through at the last minute. I stay dedicated until my clients are happy.
Why did you name your son Hawke Danger? It seems like a joke to make you (the parents) look quirky and offbeat. What if he turns out to be a criminal? Just imagine the headline: "Hawke 'Danger' Robs 17 Banks in One Day in Crime Spree". Or worse: what if he wants to be an accountant? Hi, my name is Hawke Danger and I'm here to do your taxes. I'm not going to tell you how to raise your family, but you're doing it wrong.
People ask me, “Do you get a bunch of weird questions on your Q&A blog?”
I do get some odd questions. I’m answering this one just to show as an example!
I would totally get my taxes done by someone named Hawke Danger. I’ve often thought of moving my insurance to State Farm just because there’s a local agent named Betty Leathers. No really. That’s an awesome name!
Well Bob Robert Smith, Hawke was the last child we were going to have. Might as well have some fun with this one! When is your middle name actually used? When you’re in trouble and for your tax forms, so I guess… he’s destined to be a bank robber or an accountant huh?
He’s Hawke Danger Arias. He’s an awesome kid and that name fits the boy.
And damn right you’re not going to tell me how to raise my family. We’re not the typical suburban American family with typical suburban lives with typical middle of the road aspirations for ourselves or our children. We love and care and protect our children but we throw some odd ball things into the mix just to keep things interesting.
And we, the parents, are quirky and offbeat? Check out this kid! We have nothing on him!
He has an interesting life…
<High Fidelity> Let ‘em riot. We’re Sonic Fuckin’ Death Monkey. </High Fidelity>
So go ahead and riot. He’s Hawke effing Danger.
Our other bird, Phoenix, just said… “I’m pretty sure this is a Q&A blog about photography and not our family.”
Hawke. What do you think?
Agreed. Thanks for the question all the same! It’s a good example of the “interesting” questions and remarks I get on a regular basis. :)
Back to post production for me.
PS - Most of these images © Meghan Arias.
Do you have any suggestions for somebody wanting to get into shooting with an 8x10 camera? I've never shot film before should I try shooting a smaller format first? After seeing a few photographers shooting in this format I really like what I see.
8x10 is a beast. I would highly suggest starting off with 4x5. Cameras are plentiful and inexpensive and it’s much easier to manage.
You need a lot of patience when starting with large format film. It can be very frustrating and time consuming. You need a really solid tripod. You need a light meter. You are going to shoot a lot of test images and each time you do so it’s costing you money. You’re going to load a sheet or three wrong. You’re going to forget to close the shutter. You going to forget to pull the dark slide. You’re going to forget to put the dark slide back in. You’re going to put your oily fingers all over the film. You’re going to find your changing room or tent actually isn’t perfectly light tight like you thought it was. You’re going to think you had the shot in focus when you didn’t. You’re going to get everything set. You’re subject is going to be doing their best to not move. You’re going to close the lens and as you load your film holder you’ll have forgotten to lock the back standard and it’s going to move. You’ll have to open the lens. Refocus. Close the lens. Tell your subject you’re sorry. Load the film. Cock the shutter. Pull the darkslide. Click the shutter release only to find out the sync cord fell off the lens as you were dorking around with all of that. You’re praying everything is still in focus.
That’s what life at the beginning looks like with large format. You work through the frustrations because it’s worth it. You get that first piece of film where you nailed everything and you scan it or print it and OMG. You’re hooked. You never want to shoot a digital camera again at that moment. You want everything to be large format. Then 4x5 is too small and you start looking around for an 8x10. Then you wonder what an 11x14 would be like. You start thinking, “Meh. I don’t really need to buy food. I’ll just buy film. Film. Food. Four letter F words. It’s all the same.”
I hope… hope… this summer to build a darkroom so I can dive deeper into 4x5 and 8x10 work for personal work. It’s frustrating as hell but it’s so worth it when you get that one shot. It connects you back through photographic history. It makes you appreciate the masters so much more. You get the feeling of what photography was like then and you realize that, as amazing as digital cameras are, they lack a lot of the magic of film. There is nothing in the digital world that compares to watching a print emerge from a blank piece of paper in the developing tray. Nothing like it.
Hey Zack. Has being a Fujifilm X-Photographer helped your career in any way?
Yes. I’ve been booked on three jobs because people originally found me because they were searching for x100 reviews. Found my blog, looked at my work, and hired me for a job. I’m also starting a long term project for an organization because the person making those decisions was interested in the camera, looked around online, found my blog, looked at my work, called me up.
I have a photo editor I work for on a regular basis who likes my street photography and I only shoot that because of the X cams. CNN picked up my #de_VICE series and I only shoot that because of the X cams. Getting links and mentions on a site as large as CNN’s helps with SEO and all that I suppose.
Working directly with Fuji on projects has been great. I’ve gotten to travel to India, Turkey, Germany, and NYC for them. They pay good rates and usage, they pay expenses, and I don’t have to sign a contract or NDA with them saying that I can only say this or that or that I can’t use a competitor’s camera. I could go buy an Olympus tomorrow and blog about it and Fuji isn’t going to call me up and bitch me out. They’re really good folks.
Some folks have gone so far as to call me a sell-out and so forth. My reply to them is… Look, you fall in love with a camera. You blog about it. They call you and say, “You love our products. We like your work. Can we hire you to go to India?” And you’d say what to them?
If I’m hired by Acme Widgets Company to work for them am I a sell-out? No. I’m a professional photographer hired to go do a job. All the stuff I say about Fuji cameras is on my own. I don’t get paid for that. Fuji needs photos and videos for advertising. Are they supposed to hire a shipping clerk at Home Depot to do that? Or do they hire a photographer to do that? Duh!
Let me go count the number of Fuji banners on my blog… Oh yeah. There aren’t any. :) Let me count the number of banners I have in total on my blog… one, two, three, … oh wait. I don’t have any banners on my blog! :)
Why do I say all the stuff I say about the gear I use? Cause I love the stuff I use. Elinchrom has never paid me to say jack about their gear and I sing their praises all the time. Yongnuo hasn’t given me a dime and I talk about their stuff. Never been paid to talk about Pocket Wizards. Etc.
The folks at Fuji are great people and they make great stuff. I’m honored I get to work with them from time to time. I want them to do well because they are making stuff I absolutely love to use.
Got caught in the pouring rain today with my X100s, kept it in the bag for the most part, however there were a few shots I snagged here and there, and a few shots I wanted but missed being quite frightened as its a $1400 Camera that is not weather sealed... Have you used yours in not so good conditions? or do you have any advice of where to put some Gaff Tape/ Silicone to improve the usability?
My gear regularly gets wet and dusty. I just shot a job outside of Flagstaff, AZ last week at an off road vehicle event. All of me gear was covered in dirt and dust. I gaff taped some edges around my Phase but other than that I just went with it. I’ve had my cameras rained on several times. None of them are weather sealed.
In the past 10 years I’ve only had one camera end up in the shop due to water. I was shooting a job in the pouring rain and I had to had to had to get the shot. It was worth it to sacrifice my D3 for it. I got the shot and the camera stopped working after 10 minutes in a driving rain storm. It was a $400 fix at the shop.
The x100 is not weather sealed. I take risks with it. I don’t just let it hang out in the rain but I let it get wet. I keep a towel on me in the rain so I can constantly wipe it off and I keep it under a coat or shirt or in a bag when I’m not shooting. It is a risk. YMMV and all that. I’ve yet to have a Fuji go down because of water or dirt.
LIGHTS. Is upgrading to Profoto, Broncolor or Elinchrom from a P.C.B. Einstein E640 worth it (as a student)? I have been working in and out as a photographer in my hometown for 2 or so years now with the E640 and I love it. It has its limitations in power and is not weather resistant at all (i'm always extra careful withit). I'm moving two NY in two weeks after 3 years of savings and a lot of thinking and I felt the need to Upgrade to something more "professional". Thought's?
OMG! Do not upgrade if you are just about to move to NYC. You need every penny in your pocket. Moving to bigger lights is not what you need. You need food and metro cards and good shoes more than anything. :)
You upgrade when you absolutely need to. When you are constantly running out of power. When you absolutely need more robust lights. For now… keep rocking the PCB’s. Do not get caught up in “well, I have to look like I’m a pro with my pro gear stuff.” You can always rent if you have to and those will be on jobs that you actually have the budget to do so.
REMEMBER THIS!!! I’M GRABBING YOU BY THE SHOULDERS AND SHAKING YOU!!!! REMEMBER THIS….
You do not walk into a meeting with a potential client with your bag of gear. You walk in with your portfolio. Your portfolio and who you are gets you work. NOT your gear. No one knows what you are shooting with. You are not going to have a client walk off set once you’ve been booked just because you pull an Einstein out of your bag. REMEMBER THAT!!!
Save your money. Buy nothing else. Pour all your time and energy into shooting a new book. Your student book is going to scream “student book” so you need to shoot an entire new book as soon as you graduate. Save every damn dime you can for living and going to meetings.
DO NOT BUY THOSE EFFING LIGHTS!!!!!!!!
Good luck in New York. It’s my favorite city in the world. It will eat you alive but it’s worth it. Go for it.
sometimes i think this whole rejection of DSLR thing you are on right now is more about you trying to be 'different rather than better' being different for the sake of GETTING better is one thing. being different for the sake of being stubborn teeters on annoying. If you "love Canon full frame sensors" than who cares how much it weighs? You are now carrying one giant ass camera and 2 tiny cameras across 4 large bags, when you used to only carry 2 DSLR's. your hate for dslrs seems unreasonable.
First… I don’t hate DSLRs. There’s no reason to hate them. They are good tools. They are great tools. 95% of this industry is held on the shoulders of DSLRs.
When I got my first x100 I wasn’t searching for a DSLR replacement. When I got the X-Pro1 I was thinking it might be the DSLR killer and that wasn’t the case. As time went by though I found myself reaching for a small fuji more than the DSLR. I *enjoy* using the Fujis. DSLRs are appliances to me. Like a stove or a washer or a fridge. They’re just “things”. The Fujis though feel like they have soul. They excite me.
Once I started to see my Fuji stuff getting printed and really saw, in print, that the DSLRs I’ve been using don’t give me a substantial jump in image quality I began to realize that the DSLR is dead. For me at least. A lot of other people are finding the same thing for them.
They are lighter. They are more compact. They are easier to carry all day and easier to travel with. They are less obtrusive. They are more interesting looking than a DSLR. They have sparked more conversations from strangers on the streets to clients in my studio. And who has a DSLR? Everyone.
That brings us to your question of whether or not I’m just doing it to be different. That is part of the equation. Not the main part. Not even half of the equation. But it does factor in. Everyone has a DSLR. From moms to grandpas to commercial clients to teenagers to pro’s, etc. Nikon. Canon. Nikon. Canon. Sony. Canon. Nikon. Pentax. Canon. This thing. That thing. On and on and on.
I’m out in the world doing my thing but I’m firmly planted in the photography industry as well. I’m the type of person who wants to go find his own way of doing things. I want to find my own little path in this world. When everyone zigs I’m going to zag. Etc.
My hotshoe fell off of my X-Pro1 last year and I let it sit like that for a few months. I finally got around to sending it in to get fixed and when it came back… that’s when the last nail in the DSLR coffin was hammered down. I liked the X-Pro1 but I didn’t love it like I did the x100. When I picked it up out of the box when it returned from service… I missed it. I couldn’t believe how much I missed it. I love that camera. And that was it. DSLR is dead. Boom. Done.
Phase? I’ve written about that thing in length. IN LENGTH. I’m not going to go into those details again. I just used it on a job last week. I transferred a few photos to my iPhone and texted a few back to Meg to show her what I was working on while out of town. Meg is around a lot of photography and a lot of photographers but she doesn’t eat and breathe and sleep the stuff. She knew immediately they were from the Phase. She can see it.
It’s big. It’s expensive. It’s heavy. It’s not the most comfortable camera in the hands. It’s slow. It sucks at ISO’s above 200. But…. O. M. G. When you nail the shot… it’s unbelievable. I say that to say again… Quality between my Fuji’s and Canon’s? Not a big difference. Between those and the Phase? Massive difference. Massive.
So I’m Fuji and Phase right now. Completely different working cameras than I’ve used for years. Completely different from many working photographers. Completely different feel and experience when using each system.
Being a pro is about many things. There are many many many things that go into the life of being a photographer. The tools you choose is one of those things. I’m changing tools lately. I’m refining what it is I want to do with my photography for the next ten years and I’m changing the tools in my bags that will get me there.
And being different? It makes a difference. It does. In a number of ways. From the subjects in front of your camera to the client’s hiring you to the way you think as a photographer. It’s not always a HUGE difference or a defining difference… but a difference all the same and one that is well worth it to me to keep going down this path. And as folks bicker and complain about DSLR this and DSLR that… I’ve snuck out the back door and I’m off to do my own thing.
Zack, my website content/portfolio, which is my most public facing image, is years old and not an accurate representation of my current work, but I have no time to update it because I have a bunch of kids, a wife, I'm busy, I stubbed my toe, and Game of Thrones is on. I could wake up an hour earlier a few days a week to find some time or or spend less time goofing off online, or I could spend that hour thinking about why I can't wake up an hour early. In short: should I buy a x100s? Fuji.
Meg. Is that you?