Zack Arias, is an awesome photographer based in Atlanta, Georgia. Zack’s work focuses on musicians, editorial, and commercial work. He describes his style and approach as simple, bold, classic, and true. As the man himself would say, “one of my greatest talents is the ability to mix with any class of people and to get nervous subjects to relax in front of my camera.”
Zack is someone that I highly respect and look up to in the photography community. Not only have I learned a lot from him, but his ability to always speak from such a raw and honest place has been inspiring. I would love the opportunity to sit down over a beer and thank him for the impact he has had on me.
Here are 10 reasons that Zack Arias is at the top of my list of photographers that I’d like to buy a beer:
1. TRANSFORM VIDEO. Zack refers to this video as the best thing he’s ever created. If you haven’t ever watched it, do yourself a favor and take 10 minutes out of your day, sit down, and pay attention. The honesty that he is able to express about the doubts that plague all artists is so refreshing that you can’t help but feel a bit better about your future when you are done watching it.
2. ONE LIGHT. If you are a photographer trying to learn about off camera lighting, I can not recommend the One Light DVD enough. I love lighting and experimenting with different lighting techniques, but back when I was just getting started I was so intimidated by learning lighting that I shied away from it for quite awhile. Everything I watched and read only confused me further. Then one day I watched the One Light DVD and it was a game changer. The way that Zack presented information and talked about light made sense to me. Then I watched the DVD again. And again. And again.
3. Q&A. In July 2012 Zack started a Tumblr where he would take questions, mostly photography related, and answer them as openly as possible. Every single thing you could think of about the photography industry is buried in this site somewhere. He answered 1500 questions before retiring it last October, but has kept it up as an archive. This is an invaluable resource. He also released a book last fall, Q&A: Real Questions. Real Answers. (Voices That Matter) which has become massively popular and immediately became one of my favorite photography books the moment I got my hands on it.
4. SOCIAL MEDIA BREAK. Zack takes the month of December off from social media every year. He utilizes this time to focus on family and personal projects. By doing this, he’s able to start the following year refreshed and ready to tackle the world come January. Being continually connected nonstop is so draining, you are exposed to a constant flow of information from all angles and it’s hard to focus on what you need to do. Maybe you can’t take an entire month off, but scheduling some time away from social media is good for the soul.
5. INSPIRATION WALL. Zack has a wall in his studio that he has dedicated to being an Inspiration Wall. There is a big benefit to collecting things that inspire you in one spot, Pinterest’s popularity is a prime example of this. The only downside, at least for me being a visual person, is that I collect loads of pins on Pinterest, but rarely go back and look through my boards. As Zack has explained, having the inspiration wall forces him to see it every day repeatedly and motivates him to be creative.
6. HIRING AN ACCOUNTANT. Zack has said that if he were to restart his photography career today, the very first thing he would do is hire an accountant. He would talk to someone about getting his numbers in order, before even buying a lens. Too often photographers jump into this industry not having any idea what goes into running a business. Photographers can save themselves a lot of headaches and wallet aches if they get off to a good start from the beginning.
7. GAS – He’s not a victim of GAS, short for Gear Acquisition Syndrome. It’s so easy to spend hours online drooling over a bunch of fancy (and expensive) gear. I have an extensive wish list on Amazon of things I might get one of these days, but probably not. The thing is, as Zack mentions, your gear is never going to make you a better photographer or bring you better clients. You can have the most expensive gear in the world and still be a terrible photographer.
8. BE KNOWN FOR ONE THING. Zack has said, “If you could ever be known for that one thing you do than you’ll be very successful.” There’s a mixed bag of opinions when it comes to specializing in the photography industry. Some people will advise you that casting a wider net will bring you more opportunities for business, some will tell you that the only way to get ahead is to specialize and focus on one thing. There are valid points that support both options, but Zack said something that has really resonated with me, “If you know who you are as a photographer, then you know who your clients are and how to market to them.”
9. HUSTLE. Zack is not afraid to get out there and hustle. Whether it is opting for a tiny studio over getting a more reliable vehicle, or volunteering on the weekends to make relationships in the community he hoped to gain clients from. He’s never been afraid of working hard to reach his goals. I have a ton of respect for someone who gets out there and goes after what they want. It’s hard to establish yourself as a photographer if you aren’t getting out there with your camera in hand.
10. BEARD. Self-explanatory.