Here we go! DEDPXL07!

We have done six assignments so far here on DEDPXL. This is your final for the year. The last hoorah until we start back up in 2015. Every assignment up to this point has been just an assignment. None of them have been competitions. The final is different. Someone is going to win this one.

The theme of this assignment is “The world has changed.” Your photo MUST have ALL three of the following elements:

1) A news delivery device. This can be a newspaper, TV, radio, letter, phone, laptop, etc. Something that delivers news to someone. This MUST be in your photo.

2) A human or humans. You must have some sort of human element in your photo. That can be a full person or persons or just a part of someone. Someone just entering the frame or leaving the frame. Etc. Etc. Etc. A note to the Lego and toy photographers — if you can pull this off in your genre then I say go for it, but it better be amazing.

3) Something must be spilled or getting spilled in your photo. That can be a coffee cup falling from someone’s hand or a vase of flowers spilled on the floor. Etc. Etc.

The purpose of this assignment is to tell a story. To build a narrative. As with all previous assignments the exercise is to see how we can have the same elements to work with but how many different ways those elements can be interpreted. People bitch and moan that “everyone is a photographer” these days but go back and look through the previous assignments. Look how some folks did some really great work and others failed miserably. The great photos that were posted, what camera was mostly used in those photos? You can’t say can you? Because it doesn’t matter. Stop, for the love of God, STOP… thinking that everyone with a nice camera can do this. Wake up and realize that it is the person holding the camera. It’s never about the camera itself.

That said — The prize for this assignment is gear. Gorgeous gear. OMG-I-can’t-believe-I-have-this-thing-to-give-away kind of gear.

Someone is winning a digital medium format camera system from Capture Integration.

The winner of this assignment is getting a Hasselblad 500cm camera, a Zeiss T* 80mm lens, a Leaf Aptus 2 22 megapixel back, accessories, and a full version of Capture One v. 8.0. All provided by Capture Integration. It’s about $6,000 worth of gear. It’s effing gorgeous. You should be crapping your pants right now. A big thank you goes out to Dave at CI. Thank you Dave. Thank you. This camera system comes with no strings attached to DEDPXL. Please know that. This system is for you. End of story.


Here is how this is going to work.


You have from October 1st, 2014 until November 3rd, 2014 to shoot for this assignment.

DO NOT post your photos until November 3rd.

Do. Not. Post. Your. Photos. Until. November. 3rd.

If you post a photo for this assignment before November 3rd then you are an idiot. Stop and slap the shit out of yourself. We’re playing our cards close to our chest with this one. If you post an old photo then you are an idiot. Don’t be an idiot. Be smart. K? Pay attention. Follow the rules and then put your spin on them.

November 3rd is the cut off date. At that point you can begin posting your images to the DEDPXL Flickr community, the DEDPXL Google+ community, or to 500px and use the hashtag #DEDPXL07. The winner will have to provide an original RAW image to prove the date. Not like many people have these three specific elements in a photo in the first place. 🙂

You can post your photos from November 3rd until November 5th and then it’s cut off. At that point Meghan and I will critique the images and choose the top ten from the photos that have been submitted. We will post those ten here on DEDPXL and you, the DEDPXL community, will vote for your favorite for one week. After one week the voting will end and the top three images will then be given to Sara Lando to choose the winning image of this assignment. Why Sara Lando? Because she is the inspiration behind this assignment in the first place.


The World Has Changed.

The World Has Changed.

The World Has Changed.


This can be a personal change to someone’s world or a global change. This can be past, present, or future. You can have one person or many people in the photo. There has to be something delivering the news. There has to be a human element in the photo. There has to be something spilling or spilled. No exceptions. No excuses. No apologies. There’s a digital medium format camera up for grabs. Do what you please in post production. However, no sepia tone for period pieces. Unless you are printing it on fiber paper and toning it in a dark room. 🙂 You have one month to work on this.

Use the first week to brainstorm ideas and find the person or people you need for the photo. Start looking at your schedule NOW and put some dates on the books. Use the second week to gather the things and crew or resources you will need for your photo. Watch out for making something too complicated. Think about light, location, directing your subject, post production, lines, shapes, shadows, form, pattern, and all the rest.

Then execute your image to the best of your abilities. Then take it just a bit more from there.

Any questions? Hit me in the comments below. Best of luck to you and good shooting!

10/9/14 :: Update :: Here are some answers to the most common questions I have received…

1. This contest is open to anyone around the world. We will ship it to you as a gift but the value will be declared all the same. Winner is responsible for any taxes, fees, etc.

2. Photoshop and compositing is allowed. The main part of the image needs to be shot during this contest period. I’m not going to disqualify you if part of a sky (or similar) you composited in was shot a year ago. The main subject material though needs to be new.

3. There’s no requirement for having shot for previous assignments for this.

4. If you shoot this on film then shoot a digital version for EXIF data or shoot a frame of the front page of your local newspaper in the shot to prove date. Just provide something that can prove you have shot this within the time frame of this contest.

5. Diptychs / triptychs etc are not allowed. One shot. One kill.


PS – I have to once again thank Capture Integration for giving me this system to give away. I am not receiving any compensation for this in product or in cash. They reached out to me to see how they can support the DEDPXL community because they like what we are doing here. They mentioned they could put a system together to give to a deserving individual and I’m running with that offer. How awesome is that? They are great people.


Zack Arias

A full time commercial and editorial photographer, Zack shoots everything from bands to CEOs to ad campaigns. A gifted teacher and communicator, he has an uncanny ability to meet and connect with all types of people.

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  1. DaniLew

    Gorgeous gear – OMG! That’s a sweet load of machinery, Zack!

    I’ve enjoyed watching – not participating in – the other assignments. I cannot wait to see what folks come up with for DEDPXL07. I might even try something myself.


  2. Andy

    Hmmm.. I think I will just post up in the break room of CNN headquarters and let this one just kind of play out on its own.

  3. Tauseef

    Dear Lord!!
    Man that is so awesome. May the best photographer win. 😀

  4. Paul McCarthy

    This would be my first entry……I have a great idea but would involve heavy post production, is this allowed???

    • Zack

      That’s fine. Do as much post production / retouching as you want. Just do it really well.


      • Thomas

        I have an idea but it’s going to need to be a diptych for narrative reasons, is a diptych acceptable?

        • Zack

          No. One image.


  5. Moritz

    hey Zack,

    can the participants post as many pictures as they like, or is their a Limit?
    Awesome price btw thanks for doing this!
    Cheers Moritz

    • Zack

      Post as many as you’d like but note that more photos does not mean more chances to win. You’re better served to make one great photo than five mediocre ones.


      • Ellen Ingram

        For those who’d like to post more than 2 images, the Flickr DEDPXL site is still only allowing 2 images to per week.

  6. Matt

    Hey Zack, any restriction on location for the winner?

    • Tommi

      Also, assuming the winner doesn’t live in the US, will they have to cover import duties themselves, or will the prize be shipped DDP? I really should be focused on developing my idea for the contest instead of lusting for the Hasselblad, but I think this question needs to be settled well in advance.

      • Zack

        Anyone can win form any location. We will ship as a gift but will declare the value. If your country places taxes on that we are not responsible for paying them.


    • Zack

      No. You’re responsible for any taxes though. We aren’t paying those.


  7. Nick

    Holy Crap. I think Jesus just stained his undies. You’re giving away a free digital medium format right. Halle-fraking-lujah!

    How many entries can we do?

    I’m so stoked right now. Like seriously. You have no idea.

    Right, I’m off to brainstorm.
    And by Jesus some new drawers.

    • Nick

      Apparently, I’m so excited I can’t even proof read.

      ^ “digital medium format right” = “digital medium format rig”
      ^ “by Jesus some new drawers” = “buy Jesus some new drawers.”

    • Zack

      As many as you want but more entries does not mean more chances to win.

      Hope Jesus likes his new drawers. 🙂


  8. Sara Lando

    This is such a freaking awesome price. Future winner, know that I will hate you a little bit, because you’ll get something I want and don’t have.

    I thought it might help some of you to know how I will choose, once I have 3 photos in front of me.

    1) I don’t care about your back story. I will not try to find out who deserves the camera the most as a human being. I love, love, love a great underdog story, but this is not what this is about: if you are an *amazing* photographer who mugs old ladies, you will have a medium format camera to take their picture when you mug them.
    So please, broke ass students and kind human beings: be great.

    2) I don’t need to be shocked or surprised to be won over. I need to be convinced. Between a photo that’s only technically jaw dropping and one that technically really good but tells a great story, I’ll pick the latter.
    Be honest. Be real. 10 lights, a smoke machine and 10 trapeze acts shooting rainbows while they fly around are not going to be enough if they are just visual candy. Give me some substance, put some thought into it: the world has changed. How? Why?
    Photography is a language: tell me a story.

    3) I’m totally fine with photoshop unless is badly done. I started out as a retoucher and I don’t think that the only photo that is good is the photo that has been shot on film and then developed by virgins.
    But if I see photoshop before I see the story, you’re toast.
    Use post production the way you would use a spice: a little bit of the right kind will make a great meal amazing. A little more will be able to cover the taste of rotting ingredient. But please, don’t feed me a cinnamon turd.

    I honestly cannot wait to see your photos and I hope you are going to make it really really hard to choose a winner.

    • Nick

      Are you looking for the image which does the best job of telling a story, regardless of content? Mugging old ladies perhaps.

      Or an image that does that tells a story well, but contains a narrative which you love? Or think needs to be told?

      • Sara Lando

        >Are you looking for the image which does the best job of telling a story, regardless of content?

        What do you mean “regardless of content”?
        I’m going to explain my process in detail, when I choose, but both content and execution need to be there.
        A great idea with a crappy execution will not win. A great execution of a crappy idea will not win.
        There is someone out there with a great idea who will manage to make an amazing photo out of it.
        That person will win.

        • Nick

          Gotcha, thanks.

  9. Waleed Alzuhair

    Great assignment and prize, thanks Zack, DEDPXL, and Capture Integration.

    Are international participants accepted?


    • Zack

      Of course!

      • Waleed Alzuhair

        Wonderful, because I already tweeted about it 🙂


    • Zack

      Yes. Anyone can enter.


  10. Henning Wüst


    maybe a bloody stupid question, BUT

    you write “The winner will have to provide an original RAW image to prove the date.”

    What if i submit an iPhone picture? Just meaning RAW… ?

    Whats your take on that?

    Thanks in advance for your comment on that question.

    Best regards from the arctic-circle


    • Zack

      I just want to see the original image with the exif data. If you shoot an iPhone that’s fine.


    • Tracie

      Haha I just asked the same thing!

      • Christian R

        Also curious about this, maybe we can corroborate the image by shooting a phone photo through the view finder during the shoot?

  11. Brian

    Hey Zack! Amazing prize.

    One question though. Are composites allowed or is this to be one frame only?

    • Zack

      Yep! All levels of post production are allowed.


      • Chris

        If we do a composite, will we have to provide the RAW file for each photo used in the composite?
        There’s a good chance I’ll be well into the thirty or forty range, perhaps more.

        • Zack

          I’m not going to be a total prick on each pixel. Just get the majority of it shot and turned in during the dates.


  12. DLuker

    No cinnamon turds. Got it!

    • Zack


  13. Tracie

    Hey this is a really cool assignment and prize, but I was wondering something. It says we have to have a RAW file too, but what if we are strictly film shooters and not digital?

  14. terrie

    Would it be okay to leave the time ambiguous (past, present or future) as long as doing so does not undercut the narrative/story? Is it necessary for viewers to be able to pin down a “place” in time?
    If answering this question skews things too much, I am happy to not have an answer!
    Thank you for putting together this assignment — really, really exciting stuff – taking a risk.

    • Zack

      Tell a story no matter what place or time.


  15. Patrick

    Thanks to all involved in this – great prize!

  16. Mike

    Is it cool to post before November 3rd?

    of course I’m just f’ing around – I love your matter of fact writing style. BTW, if you haven’t read Zach’s book “Photography Q&A” check it out – good stuff.

  17. Chris

    I know the world’s changed and all but can we shoot film?

    Several people have asked and I haven’t seen a response.

  18. Michael

    You’ve answered the question about post-production once or twice in the comments, but before I begin brainstorming, I just wanted to clarify for certain. When you say heavy post-production is allowed, does that mean I can (for instance) combine 7 or so pictures together into a final? All of those pictures would, naturally, be taken by the contestant, and the original raws provided.

    • Richard Wintle

      That was going to be my question too… I guess one RAW file for each element?

      Also, I am still giggling over Sara’s “cinnamon turd” comment. 😀

    • Zack

      The final image is all that counts. The base of it has to be new work. Don’t overthink this. Go create something amazing!!!

  19. paul hodgson

    So full on compositing is allowed? Please let this be an Aaron Nace free zone.

  20. Garry

    Zack, to enter this contest, would I have had to participate in any of the prior assignments?

    • Zack



  21. Javier

    Is it possible to put more things that thoes Three? Or just what you said?

    • Zack

      It has to include those things. It’s not restricted to those things.


      • Vasko

        Is there a limit of photos that I can post?

  22. Jim Robertson

    Yup! Just pooped myself. Thanks, Zack. I know you warned us.

  23. John Healey

    Hey Zack,
    Loved the past assignments and ideas for the 07 competition are percolating.

    My preferred workflow involves a traditional darkroom and then scanning my prints or film negatives.

    Will scanned exif data be accepted?

    Fist bump to Carl!

  24. jeremy d. meier

    Zack, this is a great challenge! I’ve got dpi many ideas flowing through my head right now… I really look forward to putting something cool together for this challenge and seeing how creative we can all be with it!

  25. jeremy d. meier

    One quick question…. are we allowed to composite as long as all the images are taken by us and can supply the raw files? Just wondering, it’s totally cool if we cannot too! 🙂

    • Scott Talbot

      I’ll save Zack from having to repeat himself again.. Yes. ;-P

  26. Sid Ceaser

    I’m going to be really jealous of whomever wins this package.

  27. Daf

    I’d be interested to know why/how Sara Lando inspired the assignment.

    (Sorry don’t know if she is well known for a specific thing or style – not very familiar with many/famous photographers work)

  28. Larry

    As far as the “A news delivery device” could it be a person?

  29. Grant

    I had a cool opportunity to shoot a photo today, so I took it before I realized that the official dates are Oct 1 to Nov 3rd. I’m not sure I can duplicate this one, but should I be looking to take another photo?

    • Zack

      It has to be within the dates specified.

      • Grant

        Good deal. I’ll keep brainstorming.

  30. jarWoodson

    Hi Y’all,

    I’ve given myself a day to marinate on this, and I’ve come to four conclusions:

    1. I’m going to bring it. My NEX is in the shop, but I would participate anyway I could even if I had to resort to a pinhole camera.

    2. I promise to stay within my own inspiration. I have Philippe Halsman’s portrait elements in my head.

    3. I promise I won’t use “that VSCO sh*t.” But I’ll use Snapseed in my usual ninja style.

    4. Regardless of the sweet prize at stake, I just want to make y’all proud of the DEDPXL community.



  31. Atheer Hamed

    can i use photoshop to combine 3 photos

  32. James

    Is someone like Jeremy Cowart allowed to enter this? If so we’re all screwed!! 😉


    YES GUY!!!
    very excited.

  34. Jan

    I have an idea for that one – but it would be a photo composition i.e Photoshop and layering involved. Will composite photos be accepted?

    • Jason Evans

      Hi Jan, scroll up to Sara’s post, it is allowed, she explains it nicely there.

  35. angelo di candia

    i thought of something like, uh, that apeman throwing some slash of femur to the air and it turns into a monolithic spaceship.. ain’t someone picture it before me?

    • Martin Boss

      This is awesome . I started my inspiration board today. Thank you Zack and Capture Imagination for even giving us such a chance. The more photographers the better I say. I can’t wait to see everyones work and they way they will present this assignment in contrast to my own style.

  36. Jason Evans

    Hi Zack,

    Could you clarify whether or not pouring from one vessel to another constitutes spilling. Technically it’s spilling but I need to be sure it’s acceptable?

    Thanks, Jason

  37. Tessa

    Hey Zack,

    Love the idea and definitely the prize, but I’m worried the voting will turn into a Facebook and social media-driven popularity contest rather than a competition based purely on the merit of the photos. I would hate to see the three photographers with the most Facebook friends making it into the last round, while those without the public relations skills being shut out.

    I’m sure they’ll all be great photos in the top 10, but after that it’s not really about the photography, just who can gather together the most people to vote for them.

    • Zack

      You know what’s a really important part of being a photographer? Building a network. Relationships. Social media and otherwise. The top 10 have to kick ass. Zero thought will be put in to their social media standing. Zero. I don’t have time for that. Then it goes popular vote to the top three. Relationships and networks might give a bump to some. Pure talent and popular vote night help others. Then Sara will choose the winning image.

      We had this same discussion and concluded that this is fair and hits several areas of what it’s like to be a photographer these days.


    • ThatWelshGuy

      Who cares about Facebook influencing the final vote, Yes to win that “H” would be Excellent, But Just getting me thinking , planning, considering a shot in the infinite detail is important. Win or not, top 10 or not , with the available resources its the challenge that’s getting em smiling. But hey if I win NO I wont be donating the camera it will be mine all mine you hear Mwhahahahaha.

  38. Rik

    Pouring count for spilling? That is, can the “spill” be intentional?

    • Zack

      Someone pouring something is one story. Someone spilling something is another story. Pouring, for this assignment, doesn’t count.

  39. Iain

    GAME. ON.


    • Zack

      Yes! Game on! #shutupandshoot!!!!


  40. Mark S

    Hi Zack,

    Is photoshop compositing allowed? Or does it all need to be captured in one frame?

    • Scott Talbot

      Yes, it’s allowed.

  41. Scott Talbot

    I’ve got to say, this is the most amazing competition prize I’ve ever seen!

    I’m not sure that I have a truly creative bone in my body, but I’m going to have a long, hard look for one…

    A massive thank you to Zack and Capture Integration!!!

  42. paul reitano

    How do we verify it? (Just in case I’ve got a print lying around conveying exactly this theme containing all three critical elements. In which case, I should win on supernatural grounds.)

    • Zack

      C’mon! It’s not that hard to figure out! Take a digital shot next to your film shot for exif reference or take a photo of your local newspaper on that day to show the date. Easy as pie.


      • paul reitano

        Remember Zack, there are no stupid questions. Except for all the stupid questions.

  43. johanduch

    Hello, Sorry It is a language thing. Spilling can that be seen as wasting. Or is spilling only accidentical?

    • Zack

      It can be intentional or unintentional. I’m not going to go much more into it as I want you to interpret that into a photo.


  44. broon

    The brainstorming is nailed on, but implementing the idea that`s the tough part

  45. Chris Hood

    You want the RAW. Can the TIFF from the original scan or a photo of the neg work for proof if you shoot MF film?

    • Dan

      Someone asked that on Flickr, and Zack said to get a picture of yourself on the shoot while holding a newspaper from that day.

  46. Chris Hood

    Sorry Zack, I’m a dolt and didn’t read the other comments first. I’ll shut up and shoot now!

  47. Eve

    Great assignment, Zack! I’ll give my best and I’ll certainly win – experience 🙂

  48. Tyler Schmeling

    WOW, just WOW! Wish I had that camera, so I could shoot an image of that camera, while I’m holding that camera, after winning that camera. To protect that camera from the spilled coffee I will use wadded up news paper.

    • Zack

      Hahahaha! Well played!


  49. Martin Qvist Tyron

    Dear Zack,

    Is it okay to compose a picture using layers?

    Kind Regards


  50. Mark S


    Does the news delivery device have to be shown as delivering some sorta news? Or can it just be a news delivery device being “inactive” – such as a newspaper flying across the frame or just lying on the floor?

  51. Dan

    Afternoon All.

    Zac, thanks a lot for this place. Its been great to read over these posts, material and have a crack at some of these things you have been teaching us.

    Honestly, how great is it to have this sort of setup for us; to be able to have some feedback from working artists. I mean. This sh1ts great.

    Thanks again.

    • Dan

      That’s Zack. as apposed to the Zac I confused you with earlier…

  52. Martin Boss

    Good luck guys I was really looking forward to this . I just had all my gear stolen out of my car 45 mins south of Atlanta . Lenses, triggers, filters, and all kinds of misc stuff we all carry in our bags. I can’t wait to see what you guys come up with . If its a big production and need some help and your in Atlanta or a little bit south of the perimiter let me know. Ill come help ya . Since it will be a while till I get this all sorted out.


  53. Johanna

    Ok, I’ve scrolled through the 75 “are composites” allowed questions, but haven’t been able to find a single question about image size. What size should the submitted image be?

    Thanks, and what an INCREDIBLY MINDBLOWINGLY AWESOME prize!!!!!

  54. Duncan

    Hey Zack,
    Just a quick question, does the news delivery device have to be showing news?

  55. Nathan

    Is there any way to prevent spamming during the Dedpxl community portion of the voting? I have seen people use bots to auto vote for themselves in community/ facebook based voting contests.

    • Omar B.

      Gotta Agree with Nathan on that one. It’s always so very annoying when that happens.

  56. Jason Evans

    Hi Zack,

    I uploaded my submission yesterday and discovered it was not appearing in the group in most browsers unless I was logged in. Minor heart attack later I’ve learned that any new user to Flickr needs at least 5 public images posted for “a few days” before there account safety settings can be approved and their image will show in a group. I’m hoping my submission is visible to you, just in case I think I’ll post it up at 500px as well. Here is the link if anyone else is having a similar experience.

  57. KentC

    Zack- I think I speak for a lot of people when I say- Seriously, thank you. I found out about this one on the night of the 2nd, worked my graveyard shift, went home and slept for 3 hours, then pitched my idea to my wife and daughter. The three of us had so much fun doing this, and we did it as a family which is a rare thing.
    Thank you for being a voice in the photo community that pushes others to do well, and challenges us to not suck.
    To whoever wins this amazing prize, you better use the sh*t out of it, because it is a once in a lifetime thing- well deserved!

  58. Dimitiros Kardogeros

    something happen in google plus and is full of pictures of Paulo Coelho words,
    someone don’t like what we are doing here!!!

    • Dimitiros Kardogeros

      when you search with dedpxlo07!!!!

  59. Omar B.

    Hello Zack.

    I’m pretty sure this has been discussed before, so I apologize for being a pain ..
    and If It hasn’t well uh… Jolly Good then! 😉

    Will The critique be presented via Youtube just like the other assignments or not really?