I don’t think I’ve ever said, “Buy this gizmo.” I’ve suggested it, recommended it and even strongly encouraged it, but I’ve never emphatically said, “Buy it. Period. End of discussion.” That’s about to change. Do yourself a favor and buy the book Photography Q&A – Real Questions. Real Answers. by photographer Zack Arias. Most of you probably don’t know Zack’s name. That’s because he isn’t a landscape photographer. He’s an editorial and commercial photographer. Unless you dabble in portraits or band photography, you’ve probably never heard of Zack but I’d be willing to bet you’ve seen his work.
I stumbled upon Zack’s blog a few weeks ago while researching studio lighting techniques. His 5 part “White Seamless Tutorial” is pretty much the gospel. I read it. Then I re-read it. Then I ordered some white seamless and will soon start putting what I learned into practice. I went through Zack’s blog, page by page, and read post after post after post. I never do that. Ever. And then I found a post in which he referenced a book titled Photography Q&A – Real Questions. Real Answers. I clicked the link, arrived at Amazon and clicked the buy button. Eighteen bucks and two days later, I had Zack’s book in my hands. Three days after that I turned the last page. It was that good.
I’ve never met Zack but I’d sure love to some time. He’s no nonsense. He tells it like it is. A lot of times it’s a pretty harsh truth. Those of you who know me know my personality is very similar. I appreciate people who don’t waste time sugarcoating, beating around the bush and trying to soften the blow. Just freakin’ say it so we can all move on. Maybe that’s why Zack’s blog and book have made such an impression on me.
Photography Q&A – Real Questions. Real Answers. is essentially a compilation of 106 questions fielded from readers of Zack’s blog and his answers to those questions. Not many topics are left untouched: marketing, gear, branding, vision, pricing, lighting and more are all covered. You won’t learn everything you ever needed to know about photography but you will gain insight into aspects of the craft that may never have crossed your mind. There’s a question, an answer and then the next question. There are also a few “Visual Intermissions” mixed in, which is one of Zack’s images and how that image helped him to develop as a photographer. The book is concise and almost too easy to read. Break it out at breakfast, take it into the bathroom with you or digest a couple of the questions before bed. Or try to, anyway. I found myself promising to only read a couple q&a’s, then ten q&a’s later I’d convinced myself to read just one more. I woke up with the book on my chest one night and a wicked cramp in my neck. Zack’s writing style makes you feel like you’re just sitting there with the dude, shootin’ the crap. It’s easy reading with a payoff.
I bought the book because I just spent too much money I don’t really have on a whole studio light set up and I hoped to gain some insight into using all that new gear. I got that and a helluva lot more. It doesn’t matter what genre of photography you practice – you’ll glean some valuable nuggets of wisdom. And, it’s only $18. So, buy the book and soak up some knowledge. You’ll be glad you did.
While you’ve got your wallet out, the Craft & Vision folks are running a brilliant sale that ends at midnight tonight (Nov. 29) – 50% off almost everything on their website. Some of my recent purchases are Making Light and Essential Development Package – both of which are excellent.