Hey everyone. I’m making my way out from under this rock that I’ve been living under.

I’m working on a series of vlogs to get my muscles working again. Have a question? Comment? Some random something to say? Hit me up in the comments.

I’m back.


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. Thiagones Pereira

    Hi Dude! Good to see you! So… there is the signal! haha Just wondering, where is the rest of the people? TSoGS? Megan? Sid? Caleb? Anyone? Can I help you somehow Zack?

    • Zack Arias

      Everything is scattered to the four corners of the earth right now. I’m just trying to get something going and we’ll see how everything else shakes out. Shakes down? Shakes up? Shakes. Something.


    • Sid Ceaser (@sidceaser)

      I’m still here! I’m letting Zack catch his breath, but I’m here when things are ready again. 🙂

  2. Luke

    Hey Zack. Sorry to hear about the rough year. Seems a lot of turmoil at the moment in the world. New lenses make us feel good for a while : ) Your space looks amazing, and having family working together looks so good. I’m keen to see Caleb’s fuji video…

    • Zack Arias

      New lenses do help! 🙂 Space looking amazing? Currently it looks like a tornado went through it.


  3. C.C. Chapman

    Good to have you back.

    Sounds like you’ve had a rough year. It showed on your face when you talked about it.

    No matter what went down, hang in there and keep on pushing. You keep me inspired even if you don’t know it.

    And don’t worry about recording every little minute. No one needs that much of anyone 🙂

    • Zack Arias

      Hahahaha! Thanks CC. When are we ever going to meet IRL?

      As for vlogging, this sure won’t be a daily thing. You spend half of your day filming your day and half of your day editing your day. 🙂


      • Wes

        I feel like this leads to some kind of inception of you editing your footage you shot of you editing your vlog of footage of you editing your vlog…

  4. Daf

    Maybe most V-loggers ARE self-obsesses ass-holes….?
    I sometimes wonder.

    • Zack Arias

      I wonder the same thing but I do enjoy some vloggers out there.


    • Daf

      PS Missed ya
      PPS Bought myself a X-T10 for that black day (significantly influenced by yourself) and getting a pancake for Christmas. 🙂 In the hope that it will be a carry-everywhere camera. My D800/pro kit certainly isn’t.

  5. Jens Peter

    Hi Zack,

    I just want to say, that you have been an inspiration to me, and a reason for ditching my huge dslr and getting a x100t. It has changed the way I shoot, think, and act with a camera. I hope ’16 will be better for you!

  6. Scott Stebner

    Hey man, hang in there. I appreciate your honesty. I remember being in a funk when I was a teacher; I felt like I poured my life into something and just wondered “what the heck is the point of all of this.” Well Zack, I view you as a teacher.

    Last week my book came from the printer (I”ll get to the point in the next paragraph). I just finished a year-long documentary covering Kansas farmers and ranchers with mostly one light…just like your DVD taught me that I’ve watched over and over and over again. During the project I made sound financial decisions on my way to being a working photographer, just like your video taught in your Creative Live series.

    My point is…as you crawl out from under your rock, I hope you see everyone you have impacted cheering you on. I know my passion for photography wouldn’t be where it is without ya dude. And if it is possible, I’d love to send you a book just to say thank you for the guidance and direction in the form of a DVD, an MP4, and a blog (blog now?).


    • Zack Arias

      Thanks Scott. Sounds like a great project you’ve been working on! Would like to see it.


      • Scott Stebner

        Thanks. I sent your team an email about shipping. Hang in there man.

  7. Outis

    Good to see you again! You’re pretty great. Just wanted to say that I really appreciate how even if you weren’t producing interesting/meaningful posts, you weren’t making a ton of contentless stuff just to stay on everyone’s radar.

    • Zack Arias

      Thanks Outis. I’m a big believer in… if you have nothing meaningful to say, just wait until you do.


      • Damon

        Amen, brother

  8. Constant Brousseau

    Hey Zack!

    So glad to see you are back! 2015 has been similar for me. Lots of near misses and sound effects with lack of motivation. I love watching your video instruction in your studio. If you are ever in Orlando, I would love to meet you for coffee. Take care!

  9. Frank Grygier


    Good to have you back. You are a source of endless entertainment for me. That is what sets you apart from the vlog crowd. Happy belated B’ Day.


    • Zack Arias

      Thanks Frank! Hope you are well.


  10. Tom

    I have to say this left me a bit confused. Highs and lows? Bi-polar disorder? Without some details I’m left wondering what is truly going on. I have to be honest…..the smoking is a personal disappointment to me. Keep in mind….you have been one of my photography idols since the 1st one light video. I love you man.

    • Zack Arias

      You want a two hour long video where I detail everything? 🙂

      2015 has been a tough year but it had some good moments as well. You’ll have to read between the lines here and there and some stuff I’ll open up about as I feel comfortable to do so.

      Sorry that I disappoint you. I disappoint myself. Trying to quit. It’s a nasty monkey on my back.


      • Tom

        A two hour video detailing everything is something I would watch with zen like focus. I’m a super fan of yours from literally the days where you posted as just a regular guy in photo forums. I watched you grow into a photo-centric-celebrity. I once saw a man in Mystic Connecticut who looked exactly like you. I enthusiastically ran up to him to introduce myself and I started talking to him as if he was you. This guy had the hat, same beard, glasses, body type, style. Then he says to me, “I am not who you think I am”. I look at him, study his face…..realize I’m wrong then slink away. So yeah…..I’m interested. Of course….I understand privacy and issues too personal to share publicly. Either way….you have been deeply missed. If you ever dropped off the web completely and disappeared from photography it would have as much negative impact on me as when Bon Scott was found dead. That still hurts. I’m my mind you are THE voice of sanity in the world of photography.

  11. Torrey

    Zac I am glad to see this. It’s nice to see some real life and no fancy hollywood editing. Those first 2 minutes are exactly what I fell and do every time I try to give vlogging a go (what to say and what are people thinking). So refreshing to see real life on video and not some prettied up version. Keep it up, we do love it.

  12. Aaron

    My 2015? Let’s see… I fix cell phones as a side income and make a backup of them before I fix them. I didn’t delete a handful of them from over a year ago. My now ex-wife finds the backups one day and mistakes the photos in them as being sent to me, even though I had the backups in a non-searchable volume of my work computer, and had never even looked at them. Sure enough, one of the phone backups belongs to an underage girl, and my ex thinks the photos she found were sent to me. Does she ask me? No of course not. She colludes with the pastor of our church and has me arrested because teens these days don’t know how to behave. While in jail for “production of child pornography,” a charge I am later cleared of, she divorces me. BUT I am still found guilty of possession of the images because of the way the law where I live is written, even though I never saw them or even knew of their existence, I am guilty. So now I’m a registered sex offender for the next 15 years of my life. I am now in a battle to see my own children because legally I am allowed to, but the ex is barring me from seeing “for their protection because my arrest was so traumatic for them.” The arrest she brought about. For the original charges I was cleared of.

    Yeah. 2015 can suck it as far as I’m concerned.

    • Outis

      Holy crud, that’s awful. So sorry, man.

    • Ines

      Wow man. That’s evil. So sorry 🙁

    • Zack Arias

      OH. MY. GOD.

      I’m so sorry. 2015 can just eat a bag.

      I hope 2016 turns around for you man.


  13. Thomas

    Good to see you back! My year have been kinda high\low regarding photography. The low is that I haven’t been able to shoot because of my daily job. Well sometimes life is like that.

    When it comes to the high its a different kind of story. Cauz that is meeting you and attending one your classes in Dubai. Even drowning at my day job the things I learned through those days are worth a billion dollars.

    Take care, dude! I really hope our roads crosses again sometime 🙂

    Regards from Norway!

  14. Dallas

    You and me both, brother.

    On the upside New Year’s Eve marks the 20th anniversary of my quitting smoking. So there’s that. As a highlight.

    Glad to see you’re still alive.

  15. Traian

    Well, this is pleasantly unexpected. Usually this was the time of the year when you took a break from social media. Happy to see you’ve been missing us too 🙂

    • Zack Arias

      Seeing as I took a break last year and never really came back… 🙂


  16. Carlos J. Matos

    Man, you just missed a golden opportunity to title this post “Hello, Is It Me You’re Looking For?”

    Seriously though, real glad you’re back and and at em’. There’s been a dire lack of genuine, honest, and useful content in the photo world lately. No pressure, though. 😉

    • Zack Arias

      Adele’s new single is, obviously, the inspiration. 🙂 That song kind of hit me between the eyes in my own personal interpretation of me trying to get to the other side of depression and shit like that.But you are right… That would be a great title as well. 🙂

      • Carlos J. Matos

        Just goes to show how little I know about what the kids are listening to these days. XD

        On a slightly more serious note, there does seem to be some seriously bad juju going around. I personally (and almost everyone I know, it seems) has felt it in some way. Maybe it’s the near endless stream of god-fuckin’-awful news we are constantly bombarded with as of late. Or maybe the world IS coming to and end and we’re all feeling the electricity in the air, like horses getting spooked when there’s a storm brewing.

        Then again, maybe it’s something else entirely. Like how in quantum physics the act of observation or will changes the outcome of an event, maybe our collective feeling of despair is manifesting into an increasingly hopeless reality. Yea shit is quite bad already and there is a lot of suffering, but maybe focusing on the positive can help turn things around. Like you said in your video, you gotta push through and create but all your ideas for creating something are negative. Does the same apply for reality in general? That might be some good (if heady) subject matter to explore in a future video. 😉

        And if the world really is ending, well hell, I’d rather not sit around sulking about it. To quote the great Idris Elba in my favorite movie of the past decade:


        • Zack Arias

          Agreed about all the news as of late. I’m trying to consume less news these days.


  17. Don


    Could you post some portrait work using just fuji’s. I would love to see what can be done with the mirrorless camera. I am still using a large dslr and want to make the switch.

    There will always be good days and some bad days but as someone said to me once, “no matter what you will survive it.” Good luck to you and your family.

  18. Mervyn

    Hey Zack, Good to see that you’re back!

  19. Wes

    Welcome back. I hope everything begins rebounding in 2016 for all of us.

    When you’re getting back to pushing out content, I’d really like more insight into your adventures with video. Fusing photography and videography is going to be so important moving forward. You paving the way for some of us with your GH4 could be very enlightening.

    As always, truly appreciate the inspiration to keep pushing.

    Right now though, just more signal…a lot more signal. 🙂

  20. Matteo


    Are you finally back? With more noise than signal, i see…but that’s ok! I’ve been checking dedpxl every single day hoping for a post…I new something wasn’t going well with you and I’m very sorry about that!

    I’m glad to hear from you but I’m totally ok you had to take your time…! Life first, job and blog second, always!

    Now get ready for an awesome 2016, I wish you the best luck!

    PS: Quit smoking!!! (I now you’ll hate me for this)

    • Zack Arias

      I don’t hate ya! I gotta hear it! 🙂


  21. John

    A little vague on the highs and lows, Zack. Personal or creative? Happy or upset clients? Your fans feel invested in your struggles and successes… Hilarious and sweet video, though.

    • Zack Arias

      I’ll talk more about stuff as these videos go on.

  22. Jeremy Hall

    Good to see you back and interested to see how you work your way out of the black hole. We’re watching…always watching.

    • Zack Arias

      Hey Jeremy! Hope you are well. Good to hear from you.


  23. Sterling

    Thanks for documenting the struggle. Nice to see you back! This is a process that sometimes gets me out of a creative rut, which I think is somewhat analogous to what you were describing, and thought I would share in case it helps (though sometimes, the only thing that helps is time):

    – clean. Everything. Sort of like buying a blank canvas.

    – second, I repair something in the house. I’m not particularly handy so just replacing a light switch feels like a big win to me. That usually motivates me to repair something else and in the process of doing so, I start to want to work with creative implements again.

    – but at that point I often still don’t have ideas, so I’ll choose a recipe I’ve never made and cook it, but force myself to make one change to the recipe. This is difficult for me because when I’m given a map, I tend to like to follow it precisely. Sometimes I make more than one change. That’s a big win for me.

    – finally, I just bite the bullet, grab the camera, and start making really odious, amateur art, snapping away until my creative mind gets fed up watching me drown and fires up an idea or two.

    • Zack Arias

      Great ideas Sterling. I will say that my house is CLEAN. My studio is a total wreck but I have cleaned, organized, and reorganized my house. That felt awesome. Got a lot of projects done there that I’d been wanting to do for a long time. Now for the rest of my life.

  24. Michael Coakley

    Zack…..while you’re concerned/worried about what to do next, know this; This one, itsty, bitsy, post, has brightened so many days, including mine. There are many that “lurk in the shadows”, finding joy in what you do. Seeing you back makes me smile.

    You’re a rock star, even if you don’t feel like it. Carry on. We’ll be watching.

    (Re-reading that, it seems slightly creepy. Was that creepy? I’m really not in THAT many shadows.)

    • Zack Arias

      🙂 Thank you for the kind words.

  25. Todd

    Zack! so happy to have you back dude.Going on the internet was not the same without you!

    My 2015 was pretty crap. I started off great doing lots of photo work, had a side job I liked(working in a record store, the best) but then the record store closed and my work slowly faded away. I had to move back in with my parents. 32 years old and back at my folks. I felt and still feel pretty depressed about everything. I fell into a huge rut. watching tv, smoking pot and living off savings/selling gear. I lost the will to shoot, the want to shoot, hell I lost the will to get out of bed in the morning.

    I’m back to shooting a few jobs here and there and trying to get back on my feet. My old manager opened another record store(vinyl only) so I’m working there a couple times a month. selling gear has actually turned out nice as I got rid of so much crap that was tying me down and grabbed a couple fuji cameras. Not that that is going to get me work but It’s helped me creatively.

    2016 is my chance to turn everything around so I hope I can. Hoping 2016 brings you lots of great moments!

    again, glad you are back


    • Zack Arias

      Best of damn luck Todd! I know it’s tough. 2016 is going to be better. I can feel it.


  26. JoanaLou

    Hi Zack!
    I don’t think I ever commented on any of your media, but I do follow your work avidly.
    I’m sorry to hear about your year. Is it too bad that I feel a bit better for having a bit of company on that bad side of life? Hope not.

    Hope you can come back and fuel your creativity. I have been starting really small and trying not to over criticise myself. I still don’t know where I am going but I’m trying to enjoy the journey, which means some days I just try to enjoy my bed!

    See you soon!

  27. Kevin Elison

    Good to see you again, Zack. I was just talking about my day at your studio last year in December. Great time!


    • Jim Robertson

      Are you talking about the portrait workshop? If so, I was there too. Wish that had been two days!

  28. Adam Favre

    Glad to see you surface! Hope things line out for you soon. Editorial Video and workflow was a great piece of work. Appreciate your work! Hang in there!

  29. Donna Luker

    Always nice to see you come out from under for a bit. I’ve noticed that 2015 was a turd for a bunch of folks. I slept through most of it, but am determined to make 2016 my bitch. Har. Har.

    Wish folks would stfu about the smokes. You could be doing worse. Much worse.

    I got my third Fuji. I now have the 100T to go with my E1 & E2. I don’t care if I have GAS. It makes me happy.

    Question: Do you think you’ll fire up DEDPXL Assignments again? I know they take a shitload of work & energy on your end, but lots of us enjoyed them.

    Take care of you!

    • Zack Arias

      Hey Donna!!!

      I’m going to take things slow and easy for now. Assignments are awesome and I’d like to fire that back up but I can’t commit to it right now. Trying to stay focused on little things at a time until I’m back in full swing.

      Hope you are well! Glad you got that T! If you still have GAS, get that Instax printer! 🙂


  30. BottleofBroon

    Well, nice to see you back, my high GPP 2015 without doubt and the inspiration that I left with. Job promotion! not being committed not in a mental sense! The lows, my breakdown of my relationship, having to move house (slight bonus spare room for small studio and a cellar begging to be turning into a dark room arrr yeah) being uninspired because of lack of free time owing to my day job and creative thinking!

    But but but but I`m still here still breathing and shit son 2016 is going to be a whole lot different and positive minus GPP 2016 (sad face)

    Come to the UK spend some time here drink some beer!

  31. Simon

    Thank you! For smoking on camera! And not caring who sees you!

  32. Paul Hodgson

    Great to read that you’re back…been a while.

    Decided to leave wedding work behind, got jaded and there’s others out there better than me. Want to concentrate on images I want to make, for me, not for others.

    Here’s to re engaging with photography again and regaining my love of making any taking pics I like…people and animals, that’s what I like.

    Zack, couldn’t be happier to read that your back. Wear your heart on your sleeve my friend and enjoy your return.


    • Zack Arias

      Thanks Paul. I was really happy when I could finally leave the wedding industry myself. I loved it for awhile but got to a point where I had to find something new to do.


      • Ben

        I would rather wash my car with my tongue than photograph another wedding

  33. Brad Barlow

    Zack I’m aching for you right now dude. I had no idea 2015 wasn’t huge for you. I bought the book and OneLight 2.0 and I tap into your guidance many times per week. You are my number one or number two mentor from afar. I love your work, your personality and the way you treat people. https://youtu.be/SgR6F-iYeDY

    My news: I’m not taking the leap 100%. But January 1, 2016, I’m going 50/50 with my lifelong career (top 40 radio host) and my go at paying the bills by making photos.

    Question 1: As a photographer, do you always need to have an idea to make something? Why not just keep the feelers open for a person, place or thing that your heart tells you must be documented?

    Question 2: Do you want to take photos of super-fascinating subjects that have already been covered? Celebrities, for example. Or would you rather take the best photo ever of a subject no other photographer stopped to recognize?

    • Zack Arias

      Jack Black for the win! Thanks for the questions. I’ll get to those.

  34. Jay Yeager

    Great to have you back Zack! Sorry to hear about your year. My year had it’s highs and lows also.

  35. Steve

    Hey Zack,

    Glad you’re back. I have to say your openness and candor when things aren’t “pro photographer glamorous” is refreshing. Especially to people who are just starting out in this field and constantly see so many people are trying to fake it till they make it. There is a lot of value in people being willing to admit sh*t can be hard sometimes and share the good and bad to learn from it and be supported when we need it most. You seem like a genuine and honest dude and I seriously respect that.

    Ok, a couple questions to maybe get some creative juices flowing:

    What’s the one idea you’ve had in the back of your mind to shoot that you have never gotten around to? For me it’s a holiday calendar project I’ve been “perfecting” in my head for several years.
    Do you schedule personal work on a regular basis into your production calendar?
    Ever volunteer your skills for a charity you believe in?

    Anyway, try and remember that we learn the most from the hardest times in our lives. They suck in the moment but looking back they are what refine us and make us the best version of ourselves we can be.

    P.S. If you come to Seattle in 2016 I’d love to buy you a beer….or three.


    • Zack Arias

      People who only show their highlights reel of their life kind of bug the shit out of me. No one’s life can be THAT effing perfect all the time.

      Whenever I make stuff like this I think about all the times things weren’t going well for me and I looked out into the industry to see if other people were having to deal with shit too. Everyone always had a smile and things were always going great!

      One reason I love Joe McNally so damn much is he has always had the courage to share about the hard times in his life. Both professionally and personally. Joe makes me feel like I can achieve great things because he has and has done so with plenty of turmoil in his life. He’s a hero of mine.


  36. I.

    Hey Zack.

    I can relate. More than I’d like to. My year went south pretty quickly. I have never done a vlog before so my response is maybe sloppy.

    Take care! 2016 is going to be great. At least that’s what I hope 🙂

    Best, I.

    • Tyler

      Wow. Powerful video, and sad at the same time. I’m sorry you have struggled and are having to change things. For what it’s worth, as a husband who has a wife that often speaks the same things you do, I can attest to his comments being real and honest. Marriage is a team effort. And though I don’t know your situation, I know that when I’m down my wife is there for me, just like I’m there for her. A day job may not be what you want to ultimately do, but think of it as a temporary thing.

      Not sure if what I say holds any meaning for you, but ultimately I wish you all the best.


    • Tyler

      See below

    • Zack Arias



      Thank you so much for making that. Really. Thank you. That was awesome.

      Here’s to 2016!


    • Bill

      Fantastic video. You’re clearly very talented. I hope your day job is with a production company or some other such outlet for your skill and creativity.

    • Christian

      *sends virtual hugs to ines*

  37. Tyler


    Glad to see you back in action. Not sure what happened but I understand more than most how life happens and sometimes shutting out the noise is important. You are unique in the fact that you have been in the public eye for a while now and your fan base is hungry for more. I can only assume there is a bit of pressure. I think we tend to feed off your love for the art of photography, mostly because it mimics our own. Your video “Transform” made many people understand that we are not all that different. It’s your honesty that keeps people like me coming back, and keeps me checking in. Thanks for being real. Be safe and I hope all is well. Have a very Merry Christmas!

    • Zack Arias

      Thanks Tyler. There is quite a bit of pressure to keep up the blogging and tweeting and all of that. I just couldn’t do it this year and the emails and tweets and comments and, hell, even phone calls just kept coming and coming.

      “When are you blogging again?”

      “Is DEDPXL dead?”

      “Why aren’t you making videos?”

      The kind people asked if everything was ok. The assholes just want the content. Keep making free content Zack. Where the fuck are you and where is the content? Jeeeezus.

      Thanks again for your kind words.


  38. Kevin Mullins

    Stuff that Works by Guy Clark.

    Go listen.

    Come to the UK and I’ll buy you a gallon of Scrumpy.

    Chin Up’

    • Zack Arias

      I’d love to get back to the UK soon!!!

      Hope you’re well my friend!


  39. Voltog

    In your year have you come across Andy S.? Welcome back.

  40. Keith

    Even though you had a rough year- your influence and advice continues to play itself out in the lives of many others. You just don’t always get the joy seeing it, but it’s there! Thanks for everything!!

    2015 was a lot of applying what I’ve learned (mostly from you). Downsized the house (to cut expenses), getting rid of noise in the business (quitting going after weddings), focusing on creating some personal work (street *sortof*- photog. in Haiti) and keeping things clean in post. What I really need is a good ass whooping critique. I’m doing “me” as best as I can, and can’t seem to move forward on my own. Let me know if you ever offer that option again. I’ll sign up first!

  41. Jim Clark

    Havent been shooting as much as usual. Mainly due to medical issues with both my son and wife. Son in Jan 2015 had colon surgery almost fully blocked with a cancerious tumor. thought they got it all. three months later turns out they didn’t get it all has now spread to liver and lungs. This is his second fight with cancer. First one when he was 12 with testicular cancer and now again at 33 with the colon cancer. The wife has been fighting high Liver enzymes for about a year and no one seems to know why. My brain is fried and I have gained about 20 pounds. Oh and I don’t smoke but Jesus is getting me through this and this will last into 2016

    • Jim Clark

      I should add I will pray for you

    • Zack Arias

      Best of luck to you are yours Jim. That’s a tough year.


    • David Peake

      Hey Jim.
      My wife had secondaries, and bowel cancer etc.
      We found good help at the biomedical clinic in Tijuana, Mexico .
      Wife nearly died 4 times in last 12 months.
      But she is alive today because of the remedies we got there.
      We still have a way to go but we are making progress and the tumours are shrinking.
      All the best .

  42. Jillian

    Welcome back! Glad you took the year to survive, and you did in fact survive.

    Perhaps we could make suggestions on what creative project you should do to get going again? Such as …choose a member of your team to tar & feather (perhaps use honey instead of tar), and photograph the result.

    Hope you’re feeling more like yourself soon – your voice has been missed, but we totally understand the hiatus. Cheers!

  43. simon

    Hey Zack!

    Glad to see you’re alive! (Although, not glad to see those smokes but one thing at a time!!).

    I really enjoyed your partners on DEDPXL. I was wondering if they had any signals to share while you’re fixing up yours! 😉

    Everyone can get in and get stuck in a funk, but with more people collaborating on this site, it could mean more content.

    So far, ALL posts were massively inspiring and fun so you definitely know how to pick em!

    Stay alive and well, and take car of yourself!

    • Zack Arias

      Thanks. More to come!


  44. Frank Grygier

    Got some cool new modifiers from Germany the “Strip Tube”.


    Have a workshop and show me how to use them.

    Make “Transform” part 2

    • Zack Arias

      Start your own damn workshop Frank!!!

      😛 😛 😛

      How’s life?

      • Frank Grygier

        Great Idea! I was thinking of doing the “Last Great Meeting of the Light Masters” in Austin.
        I will turn 65 soon. My health is good.
        I consider you one of my mentors. Your influence both in person and on the web has been an inspiration to me.
        Part of what makes learning from you is the unique way you weave your life into your teaching. I think we all just miss it when you crawl under the rock.
        Let me know if there is anything I can do.

  45. Rob Timko

    Good. Now go make cool shit.

  46. Brian Fletcher

    Hey man, glad to hear you digging out. Thanks for all you inspiration along this crazy journey. You have helped me find my voice. I look forward to seeing what your new project will bring.

  47. Matteo

    Zack! Read THE CREATIVE FIGHT, by Chris Orwig! It’ll help you

    • Zack Arias

      I’ll put it on my list! Thanks!


  48. Rob

    I feel you Zach! 2015, the year I realised shooting for money wasn’t for me, yet had some of my most successful shoots. Personal highs & lows, but just a couple of weeks off a whole new year! Money really isn’t everything, spending time with my family is. Life choices 🙂

  49. Dustin Diaz

    So basically, we tell you a little about our year and send it to you in a video? Will you accept me taking a shit on my phone while I record it? I could do that. Just let me know. I’m here. 🙂

    • Zack Arias

      Ummmmm. I think I’ll pass on that kind of video. 🙂

      Good talking to you the other day!


  50. Ivette

    Wellcome back!
    Not a happy 2015… But thanks to your come back, it may mean a rough challenging 2016! Hate Xtmas so… stay in touch, make Xtmas about Images! ?

  51. Jeno

    Let’s see, I’ve been struggling for 3 years and now I’m jobless. Anyway, good to see ya!

    • Zack Arias

      Ugh. That sucks. Sorry to hear that.

  52. Dominic

    Welcome back to the interwebs!

    I doubt 2015 went as planned for anyone.

    Went full time in Aug 2014…by May 2015 I nearly lost everything.

    If you find yourself in the S.Philly/Jersey/DE area, I’ll buy you a newcastle

  53. Ian

    Hey Zack,

    Transform was brilliant, but this video is so much more than that.

    I am a mid 40’s paramedic, who has had recent experience with PTSD, and who struggles to balance being a creative with being a father, husband, and health care provider. I have encountered some of my own bumps in the road this year, and I see others suffering often when I am at work.

    This year you took some time for you. That’s awesome. Now you are slowly re-engaging with social media. That’s awesome too. Most importantly, you have gotten up each morning and cared for yourself and your family. Nothing matters more than that, and if you do it long enough the clouds will clear just like you said in Transform.

    Like others have said here today, if you ever need anything please ask… it would take days to explain to you how much your work has meant to me and my creative life and it would be the least I could do. Just keep going, at whatever pace is best for you. The clouds will clear.



    • Zack Arias

      Thanks Ian. I appreciate the kind words. Hope you have a great 2016.

  54. Jeremy solesbee

    Howdy. Welcome back! Glad you’re up to giving us some more content. I know it’s hard just to get around to posting a blog of recent stuff I’ve done, even when I want to. But you’ve got a pretty solid following of people here that want to see you succeed and be happy. Anyways, stoked to see you back in action.

    • Spyros

      Hey Jeremy and Zach! 🙂

      I agree. it’s great to see the vlog. Creating has always been a way to get me going again, and I’m really looking forward to your vlogs Zach!

  55. holly

    as shared on my FB ~ didn’t really mean to sound as sycophant-ish as this appears, just that it nails things just beautifully as the evening (and year) draws to a close.

    So appreciative of this brilliant photographer & his life/family/work/teachings (he seriously turned THE light on for me when I was learning about strobes/flashes).
    Love his message here: Sometimes you just gotta Hunker Down & Stay Alive. And Make Something.
    Thank you, Zack.
    ‪#‎zarias‬ ‪#‎onelight‬ ‪#‎hunkerdown‬ ‪#‎stayinalive‬ ‪#‎makinsomething‬ “

    • holly

      p.s. Zack, any chance that you’d consider a Carl Silhouette car sticker?

      I do adore Carl, but eschew t-shirts that have stuff on them. Stuff like writing & graphics, but I’d put a Carl sticker on my car.

      2015, done; thx for the lessons.
      2016, let’s go get it.

    • Zack Arias

      Thanks Holly! Hmmmm. Stickers. Yeah. Let’s make stickers.


      • simon

        Or Carl as a patch so we can slap this on a camera bag?

        • Zack Arias

          Thumbs up emoji!

  56. Bernard Brand

    It’s 2015 and people still get your name wrong..

    How. On. Earth.

    Welcome back man. You’ve been missed.

    You know what project you need to work on, do I even need to say it? Passion of the Mariachi. In your famous words. GOYA!

    • Zack Arias

      Killed that idea already. Not sure I’m going back to it.

  57. Matt

    Hi Zack.

    Glad to see you’re back. I’ve missed your signal a lot…

    2015 has been crappy for me as well. Another year to forget about, and I do not expect 2016 to be any better. I’m in my mid 40’s and on a downward spiral for years…

    “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to loose”. I getting closer to that…

    Best regards

  58. Adam Rasheed

    Zack, lets talk about your absence in the photography industry,specifically the working man’s absence in the photography industry. Warning. This is a long, long rant.

    Lately, all I’ve been seeing in this industry is one pro after the other selling some sort of course that you probably don’t even need, showing you shit that you already know, but you buy because you think its going to somehow make you a better photographer or get you more shoots.


    The reason you’re buying these courses or workshops in the Bahamas (won’t mention any names), is because you’re looking for these pros (who now make more money from internet marketing than actually doing photography jobs) to give you their validation and permission to let You go make something of yourself.

    You even see big creative course companies (again, won’t mention any names), get a shit-load of VC money and market toward stay at home moms wanting to shoot a few weddings a year instead of people who are actually trying to become pros in the commercial industry who want the specific advice that only the pros can answer. Instead all they can find is the “How to Use your camera 2015 course, because so much has changed since the 2014 course” course, or the “how to shoot weddings from this quirky wedding photographer” course.

    Your presence, the perspective of the working man’s photographer who show just how rough the journey can get (but how it’s still all worth it in the end),is missed.

    And I can wholeheartedly say that honest opinions like yours will make the photography industry a much better place.

    • Zack Arias

      Thanks Adam. I too am tired of all the bullshit out there. That’s why I’d rather just bow out, crawl under a rock, and let all that run it’s course for awhile until I feel I have something decent to offer again.

      • simon

        Don’t forget that “decent” in this scenario is subjective.

        I personnaly don’t think you are wired to produce shit content so even your reject pile must be worth something IMO.

        Even that somewhat “ok” vlog was made with you own spice to it and I enjoyed it.

        Don’t be so hard on yourself,

        Keep it up!

      • Mark

        I’ve sifted through all the crap out there. Of the few instructional videos I’ve purchased I have never regretted the money I have spent on your work. You have a way of teaching that gives the viewer legit info to work with. It’s not fluff made to sound profound with flowery words. It’s not just “what I was thinking when I shot this.” It’s real teaching.
        We all understand if you need a break. All of us need downtime to reinvent ourselves once in a while. But please never underestimate the value and quality of your work. Even if people purchase your videos and never say “thank you” back, it still has changed lives, given a new shooter confidence, changed the way another photographer looks at things, etc.
        Hang in there, Buddy!

        • Richard Wintle

          “Of the few instructional videos I’ve purchased I have never regretted the money I have spent on your work. You have a way of teaching that gives the viewer legit info to work with. It’s not fluff made to sound profound with flowery words. It’s not just “what I was thinking when I shot this.” It’s real teaching.”

          +1 to that. I’ve watched OneLight v2 and Art of the Editorial multiple times, and the retouching video that goes with AotE is pure gold, too. Always something more to see in those videos. You are, as your bio blurb here somewhere says, a gifted teacher.

  59. Tom H.

    Good to see you again! Hang in there, things will get better.

    I had a rough patch last year, and when I hit rock bottom, I decided I needed some picture therapy to get my head out of whatever was troubling me. Your videos, among others, have helped me see light(ing) again and find happiness in small things. So thanks for that!

  60. Gavin

    You have been missed, but you have to look after you and yours first and foremost, and always remember “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” may not feel like it right now, but when you get chance to reflect maybe?

  61. Adam

    I’ve never written here before, but, I should tell you this; I’m a not a photographer, but love looking at photos and I shoot sometimes. But if I had your gear, especially a medium format cam, i would not let that leave my hand for weeeeks. I would F’ing shoot everone/everything all time everytime, and just go home and watch those beautiful photos. I mean, in my opinion, nothing looks as good as it can do on a medium format camera.

    F’ck, your lucky, hardworking and successful.

    • Zack Arias

      Hey Adam…. Medium format is the bomb. It sucks when you just don’t give a shit about photography though. That’s where I got to this year. I’ve been on auto pilot.

  62. Loiare

    Hey Zack,

    Peekaboo I see you.

    Welcome back, you have been dearly missed.

  63. Dusan

    Hey…love to hear from you again..that´s all for now 🙂

  64. Richard Wintle

    Add me to the list of people whose day was made by seeing a new post from you. Got to say that the Art of the Editorial video was great to see earlier this year, and I’m glad you were able to produce that in among all the other things you’ve been dealing with.

    2015, for me, didn’t suck. Thought it might be good to have at least one person say that here. 🙂

    [obligatory comment about smoking redacted]

    • Zack Arias

      Hahahaha! Comments welcome. Shame me to quit!


  65. Nikki

    Hi Zack. I too check your site everyday hoping to see something new but as time went on I realized you must’ve been having a tough year. Your pain was clearly evident in the honest video you created. I could feel your sadness/frustration.

    Somehow we all have to get through the shit to carry on but it’s not easy. Pretty sure I’ve been battling depression for the last couple years (lost my mom and our baby girl last year and then had cancer before that). Gotta admit I’m a little tired of people saying ‘next year will be better’ and then it isn’t!

    All we can do is pull ourselves through each day and consider that a win and then move onto the next day. Take care Zack and do what you need to for yourself and your family … at the end of the day, they are all that matters.

    • Zack Arias

      Thanks Nikki. Day by day we go. But yeah, here’s to next year being better! No really. It needs to be better. 🙂

  66. Andrew Feller

    Glad you are back!

    2015 was roller coaster of a year for everyone. Medically a very trying year for my family, and then ended as a big year for me as took plunge and am now 100% independently earring a living with photography (its terrifying), highs and lows all around… Hope you had a fruitful 2015… stepping away from the online world is something that everyone should do to clear the head space and avoid the BS/GAS/noise

    Heres an idea for your blog/vlog/signal… I’ve been doing a lot of yoga photography this year, that community is big on social media (mostly Instagram) challenges where no one really wins anything but rather is about creating a community of support. Their “challenges” are more like a daily post of “this is what I can do”… but not meant to be show off-y or negative, more like this is what I am able to do with my body/mind/capabilities given the parameters of the “challenge”… So, similar to your assignments you did last year(?), but instead of you critiquing and consuming your time with videos you could just be the hub or stating point for the weeks idea and then the community would sort out the rest… or the content just exists for the sake of the creator of it and thats ok too because it could lead to an idea or a new way of approaching something. None of this is a new idea, but its could be a way to connect without pulling you away from real work.

    • Zack Arias

      HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! You’re going to like the next vlog. 🙂


      • Muse


  67. Brad Davis

    Great to see you back out from under the rock Zack, we’ve missed you on the ‘net! Still shooting Fuji and loving it? Looking to build a nice Fuji travel kit–should I be selling my X100S and going X-T1 or keep the X100S and grab an X-T10 with a kit lens, maybe add a wide angle?

  68. Kimberly

    2015 was a b*tch and a half. I’m ready to see her go. Here’s to 2016 having more laughter and creativity and less screaming and tears- for all of us.

  69. Matthew Blocker

    Hey Zack, it’s easy to relate and the “give a shot a video blogging because we’re stuck in our own prison” seems to be in the air… The best thing is to keep on creating.

  70. Owain

    Hello Zack,

    I’ve been reading this blog for about a year now but am pretty new to posting below the comment line, you might even say brand new. I’m pretty much brand new here.

    The content has always been really interesting and gets to the point of what’s really interesting about photography in a really humble way, no matter the author. So thank you all for that.

    Sorry to hear that you have had a rough year, and I hope that this video means that things have started to turn around for the better.

    My experience of 2015, and perhaps a good deal of 2014, has been pretty similar but I think things are starting to pick up now. I still go back behind/under the rock occasionally but I don’t seem to be living there anymore.

    In the past year I’ve decided to quit chasing photography work. At the time I had next to no free hours, and trying to promote my photography was something I could ditch and save myself a lot of stress – as you said, hunker down. I had my day job and some other responsibilities I couldn’t ditch, chasing after photography work and trying to keep up presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. was something I could. I can totally understand why Dedpxl has gone on the back burner this year; it’s essentially what I did.

    I barely did any personal work either during the first six-eight months of 2015. The darker times gave me an idea for a personal project; that in turn gave me an idea for a workshop to run in the secondary school where I work … I’ve started shooting again in the last two-to-three months and am actually happy with what I’m producing for the first time in ages. I had had “negative ideas” (in more than one sense) for a long time before that … maybe something will come to you based on your struggles. If not directly, then you’ll definitely grow from them.

    I love my job teaching; I think day-to-day it makes me happier than working in photography … or struggling to work in photography. But, photography’s still important to me and I’m glad to be feeling happier about it again. I’m selling my 24-70 (I remember reading that you hated those lenses so I thought you might like to know another one has bitten the dust) now I’m only doing photography for myself. I’m now using a 50mm and have just dipped my toe into the Fuji waters with a bargain on the X-Pro with 18 and 27mm lenses.

    I’m still getting used to it but it’s served me for taking some nice images in the first few days, and the idea is it’ll be a camera I can carry around more easily and therefore take more pictures with … “the best camera is the one you have with you” and all that.

    Sorry for the ramblings of a complete stranger to this blog. I hope you’ll be appearing here more regularly … as long as that is a sign that things are improving for you. If I’ve learned anything from my past year and a half, it’s been to do with not expecting myself to give more than I have at that moment. Take care of yourself, and the family.

    All the best,


    • Zack Arias

      Glad you’re here Owain! More to come.


      • Owain

        Thanks! So I see, in fact there’s already more here!

  71. Jerry

    You have been missed. I have thoroughly enjoyed your Instagram post. Curious if you have received a Fuji 35mm 2.0 to compare it to the beloved 35mm 1.4?

  72. Michael

    Hi Zack,
    good to see the troglodytic you comming out from under to catch some rays of sun. You had me almost worried there.
    Not so glad to hear your year hasn’t been about roses and … you know, rainbows. Leaving your derrière. Stuff.
    I sincerely hope 2016 will make up for what hadn’t happened in 2015. It better!
    For me, I’ve been caught running the treadmill, in my day job and let it carry over into my photography. Same sh**, different day. Both sucked when looked at by the light of the next day.
    However, the bright side: as of Jan 1st, I’m starting on a new job, loads more $$, but in turn loads more work and responsibility. Ain’t no such thing as a free lunch, eh?
    But I’m really looking forward to the new job, and then I’ll try to rethink my photography: shoot less. Think beforehand. Plan each shoot meticulously.
    Like we used to in the days of film – 36 shots a roll, 38 if you got lucky, and when you hit 40 you’d better start trusting those hair which just popped vertical on your back…
    So here’s to 2016 and 2015 can go have a cow.

    • Zack Arias

      To 2016 Mike! Best of luck with the new job!

  73. Jonas Rask

    A brief shout out from the other side of the pond. Keep working on that melancholy. Don’t let it eat you up. Believe in your privileges from being.

    You’re an inspiration.


  74. Jim Robertson

    Sorry about the smoking thing. You look cool, though.

    How’s the FJ Cruiser working out for ya?

    • Zack Arias

      LOVE the FJ. My most favorite vehicle I’ve ever owned. It’s like my own personal fortress. I love it.

  75. Dustin

    Understand the scattered feeling Zack launched a studio in Northern Arizona, and it has been up and down left and right trying to find the niche that needs to be filled in this region…

  76. Jermaine

    Hey Zack!

    Good to see you back in action! Follow-up on the Phottix Odin. Is it the one light to rule them all?

    • Jermaine

      Oops. I mean Indra.

  77. Keith

    Hi Zack

    Really great to see you back! You are the inspiration that rekindled my boyhood photo buzz which got me through during some dark days over the past two years. Some days it’s still pretty dark out there, but with my Fuji I can bring some light back in… thanks to you. Handshake and hugs…

  78. Joe

    Hey Zack, It’s my Birthday today (10 Dec ) and you’re back. Thanks for the B.day present.

  79. Sam

    I dont know what you’re going through… My year was going good. Most things got better. Buisness was going a lot better from the summer and on… After a couple of years really struggling with it… Then, a couple of months ago, I remember actually thinking “Finally, everything is going to be ok!” That same week my wife told me she did not love me anymore. And now I’m renting a room in a friends apartment. But yey, business is kind of good… (2015 sucks)


    2014 sucked period (studio closure, depression, no motivation) . Crawled out of that hole. Besides stalking the DEDPXL site daily, I was kinda sorta’ unproductive this year,but kept positive made some waves shot some projects and currently shooting and location scouting for some music videos all in between while I work the day job. Glad you back homie.

  81. Cynthia Valdez

    my husband loves you and he doesn’t even know it. do you have ANY idea how much money you’ve saved me (and by extension, my husband) with your One Light 2.0 videos? every time my mind starts to wander into the “i probably need new/different/bigger [insert gear here]” territory, i stop, watch One Light, and save a shit ton of money.

    i don’t need new gear, i need to practice and practice some more. and then practice again.

    what i’m trying to say here is, you’re money and you don’t even know it. or maybe you do.

    either way, glad you’re back.

    p.s. i apologize for the stale swingers reference.

  82. Paul McComb

    We have all had a terrible year, or sometimes it feels like a terrible decade. Was glad to see a post from you. As someone who suffers from being bipolar, I understand being in a funk. My camera bag hasn’t been touched in so long that I had to get the air compressor to blow the dust off.(Seriously!!!) But seeing your post, I got it out and am making myself take pictures of something. Nothing earth shaking or ground breaking, but I am using it again. You are one of the photographers that I admire for their truthfulness, don’t change that. Here’s to a better year next year and many more afterwards.

  83. Edward

    Hey Zack…Did you ditch the field guide?

    • Edward

      Also, you’re cool.

  84. Robin M

    Glad you are back! Enjoyed the Instagram of your camping rig. The husband and I spent every weekend this past summer traveling in our 88 Airstream seeing if we could survive in 200 sq ft full-time. Still a couple of years away from chucking everything (except my X-T1, X100S and his guitars) but the dream to aimlessly wander the US is getting closer to reality. Keep the positive vibe going!

  85. SF SLIM

    My 2015 has rocked! Thank you for all of your inspiration Z! I don’t know you personally but I do understand hardship. I somehow make a living in photography while being a single father and while it isn’t easy or always rewarding I am forever humbled by my highs and lows.
    More posts please!

  86. Frank

    Hi Zack,
    Good to have you back!

    Looking foreward for more news.


  87. Ansell Tan

    Hi Zack,

    Like many people here, I admire your honesty and sincerity. You’ve inspired and emitted positive energy that helped us crawl through our own rough days! I had a pretty rough 2015 too. Starting off anything new is harsh, and I received too much criticisms with no compliments in the progress of completing creative work. Finished 4 TV documentaries this year, I have no idea how I managed it.

    Year end, I’m just glad I pulled through and hopefully still able to feel a sense of accomplishment if I’m not dead inside yet.

    Sometimes you just need a bit of positive energy man! You’ve gave so much, I really hope you can receive some in return. Seriously recommend some exercise. Jogging really helped me pull through some very stressful days.

    Merry Christmas in advance!

    (from Singapore)

  88. Spyros

    Hey Zach!

    Super cool to see you vlogging. I recently started vlogging myself, and it’s been a hugely rewarding creative outlet for me.

    I know that feeling very well. 2010 was that kind of a year for me, so much so that I almost gave up photography. I’m so glad I didn’t, because the rewards photography has given me have been well worth the effort I’ve put into it.

    2015 has been an up and down year for me. Up in my work, both in my photography and in my YouTube channel. Down in some personal things including my mother in law passing away. We knew that was coming, but that doesn’t make it any less sucky.

    Glad you’re back. 🙂

    p.s. sorry if this is a double comment. I swore I commented yesterday, but it seems the internet gremlins ate it.

  89. Ellen


    It’s so good to have you back in whatever capacity you choose. Your presence has been missed by so many people and by me in particular.

    Everyone’s life is a story waiting to be told and you are the hero of your own story. As with all great stories, the hero inevitably goes through trials and tribulations; through the dark night of the soul; from the known into the unknown. But, eventually the hero’s odessy leads him back home, but with a renewed sense of hope and a deeper appreciation and understanding of life.

    I don’t know the details, or the meaning of your journey, but I can validate that it’s an important part of your story. Back in the ‘80’s, my story took me to the edge of a cliff that looked into a deep, dark pit and I was tempted to jump. Looking back, I’m truly glad I didn’t, because life still had some amazing surprises in store. Wouldn’t it be boring if we knew the end of the story before we got there? Zack, you have many chapters yet to go and it is, after all, your story to write. Try not to be too hard on yourself. Courage resides in us all; patience is a little harder.

    Through your videos, comments, and interactions, I have come to know that you are a kind, dedicated, talented person with a strong voice that people need to hear. You have the gift of being able to connect people from all over the globe. You get them talking and thinking; you challenge them to go beyond the confines of their boxes and to try new and daring things. I’m truly grateful that you took the time and energy to create the DEDPXL community; it’s one of a kind and has pushed me in so many ways. But above all, I appreciate your honesty, authenticity and sense of humor.

    Whatever you decide to do with DEDPXL, please know that it has touched so very many lives.

    Wishing you and your family a blessed and joyous Christmas season.


    • Richard Wintle

      Also, that.

      Another thing about the DEDPXL community – it is full of people who are able to express things eloquently. Nicely said all ’round, Ellen.

  90. Dave S.

    Hey Zack,

    Great to see you posting again. I won’t say I know what you’re going through, but creatively I feel like I’ve been going through something similar this year.

    I feel like I’ve done fuck-all with my photography in 2015. Objectively that’s not true and I know it – I’ve shot lots of stuff, some of which I am very pleased with and very proud of and it helps me remember I’ve still got some talent at least.

    But subjectively I feel like I’ve done fuck-all. I have somehow found myself wrapped up in a warm blanket of my comfort zone that I have been unable to leave for some reason, despite desperately wanting to.

    At this point, I think I just need to retroactively convince myself that my emotional state dictated I needed to stay in that blanket this year. That it was necessary for me to do so, as a prerequisite step for breaking out and really pushing myself in 2016. That without having withdrawn a bit first, I wouldn’t have the capacity to do more and expand myself creatively. That I had to put some pieces in place and make some connections before I could really move ahead.

    That’s what I’m telling myself, and for once there are good signs that it may even be true. I’ve got some things in motion now that I wanted to do earlier this year, and I’m excited for those things to come to fruition. I’ve made connections that I think will help me with my goals. It just took more time that I though to get things rolling.

    I sincerely hope that’s the case for you as well, Zack. You’re fantastic, dude.


  91. Chris

    Great to have you back. You seem to be one of the good guys.

  92. Carlos Sandoval

    Good to have ya back, Zack What kinda coffee was that? Looks good. Come to visit the other f++++ side of the world: Culiacán, Sinaloa. The land born for street photographers; everything is so strange and surreal here. More than welcome to drop by. Peace and cheer the hell up, bro.

  93. Dustin

    ? Is this thing working ….lol anyway Zack hang in there totally dig your style if it wasn’t for you I would have never made the switch to Fuji a few weeks which has allowed me to reinvent myself (was in a deep rut) this year. Looking to buy a medium format soon would love to twist your ear about that if you have the time…. It will get better this year has been a struggle for my studio as well

  94. Rex Gigout

    Zack, It is good to see you posting. I know a few things about being under a rock, though, of course, your rock and my rock are likely to be quite different. I will pray for y’all.

  95. Mars

    You’re too hard on yourself Z, feel like going over there and bitch slapping you myself:) Would love to take you and your family to the country ranch here in Australia. I know you love horses, you can even name a horse of your very own if you like any suggestions?.

    Take care Z
    BTW yes 2015 has been a shit of year


  96. Tom Bricker

    Zack, I’ve admire you because you’ve always seem like a person who would feel like a self-absorbed asshole shooting video of yourself out in public.

    As for me, I can honestly say that I have not bought a single piece of photo gear all year long. And I’m proud of it. I’m pretty much okay with what I have. I rented the Canon 11-24mm f/4 back in November so I could shoot our condo to put it on the market. While we expected it to sit on the market for at least a few months, nineteen days later the third person to see it made an offer very close to our asking price. So, we’ve been packing up our stuff to put in a storage unit because the start of 2016, we’ll be living with my in-laws until my wife and I can find a house we like.

    I have not been shooting in the same capacity I had before. Over the summer, I would take my toddler to the park in the mornings since I work in the evenings. I would take along one camera and one lens. I have many great memories and photographs from his early time walking to running mostly with the original Canon 5D and 85mm f/1.8. It is the most frustrating combination to focus on a moving subject, but I managed.

    I let my Kelby membership lapse because I haven’t the time nor energy to focus on some very amazing instructors. I don’t check in on photographer websites as often as I once did, especially when I first picked up a DSLR several years ago. It’s not that I don’t have the passion, but I just needed to tune out and focus on my family.

  97. Mal Sanders

    Awesome!! Welcome back and really looking forward whats coming next.

  98. T Whyte

    You are not alone..I remember a long time ago these messages;

    1. “First and foremost you dig your fighting position, (this occurs before you eat, shit or sleep) and everyday after you keep improving it, no matter how small or large you simply keep improving it.”

    2. “You can do many great things as one man, but as one man you cannot do everything”

    take care of your self…you only get one ride on the train of life


  99. Jon Barnes

    2015 has been the year where I’ve really felt like I’m getting some things together as a photographer. Through the help of guys like David Hobby, Joe McNally, David Tejada, and you, I’ve been able to make strides in lighting and portraiture that I never would have imagined. It’s a scary journey sometimes but I’m thankful for guys like you who inspire me!

  100. DWP

    Zach- I’ve been shooting with an x100 and now a X-E2, which I prefer, but I still somehow feel removed or restrained in my shooting with this camera system vs. a nikon DSLR where I feel a more direct connection to the process/shooting (e.g. shooting Shutter priority, and adjusting, honing in shot to shot, when walking through a city). Is there a fairly straightforward, practical way to fully transition to the Fuji X cameras? (2) I just feel like I can never see soft focus/autofocus issues in the small screen on the back, and even with firmware updates you get stung by this on occasion, especially in less than straightforward interior shooting situations. Are there situations where one should just assume the AF of the 24mm lens or these camera systems is just going to lag? Perhaps the lack of detail in the monitor, and focus is at the heart of comfort with this shooting system vs. a D700.

  101. Sid Ceaser

    So happy to see you posting again.

    I agree with you that 2015 has just been a really harsh year. Since I last saw you things have just been piling on more and more for me.

    In October, I found out that the building I’ve based my studio in since 2004 is being sold and will be gutted/turned into apartments. The four floors of artists/creative businesses will be displaced. It’s an opportunity for me to see if I can find a home where I can build-out a small studio in a backyard, but the stress of trying to find something just keeps building and building. Luckily we have a little time to look, since displacement isn’t instant, but it’s still really stressful.

    Then, I had a recent mayoral candidate use a studio portrait I took of *another* candidate for a large attack ad without my prior knowledge, consent or license. When approached, this candidate brushed me aside, avoiding the situation, so now I’m dealing with getting ready to take it to small claims court.

    Then I’m dealing with a local musician I’ve worked with a bunch of times finally signing with a label, but not adhering to our contract and providing the label artwork that I photographed for their use without being compensated.

    Just a whole slew of things piling on top of each other that just makes me want to stay home and play Grand Theft Auto rather than make content and provide services. It’s been a really shitty year.

    But I’m still here; coming up with ideas that I can share with the DEDPXL community. I’m still on the team.


  102. Mike Whitehawk


    Glad you are back,I like the stuff you say. 2015 was pretty good… I’m not dead. Obviously now neither are you!

    Merry Christmas.

  103. Wul

    Greetings from Scotland,

    Zack, looking at your eyes I would say you are not fully “back” yet.

    Be kind and affectionate to yourself. Don’t feel obliged to rush back here to meet our needs or demands on your time. Your first duty is to yourself, then your family. We are way down the list and we can wait.

    Take your time, go slow & restore yourself. You have given such a lot these past few years (maybe too much?). Let yourself off the hook and go whittle some sticks for a while.

    If you need a sabbatical, I’d gladly chip in a few quid to help keep you afloat, as would others.

    Be. Kind. To. Your. Self.

    Have a Merry old time,


  104. Fred

    Hang in there dude… you’re a huge inspiration. I feel the same way about 2015, for sure. Really tough year, lots of highs and lows. Cheers to 2016 man!

  105. Ira Casel


    I’m sorry to hear it’s been a lousy year for you. It’s great to see you back online – your voice has been sorely missed. Please know that One Light really helped me enhance my lighting skills and move my business forward in a major way. It was the best spend I ever made in photography education. Looking forward to hearing more from you in the new year.


  106. Cooper

    Yeah… don’t be a vlogger. You feel like a self-obsessed asshole doing it? There’s a reason for that: Only self-obsessed assholes vlog.
    You’re a photographer and an educator – and fucking good at both. Do that. If you need reminded how good you are, I would suggest you go back and look at your excellent body of work in both.
    Vlogs? Nobody got time for that shit.

  107. Vivek

    Hey Zack,

    Its great to hear from you again.
    I have been a silent fan of all of your work and wisdom over the last few years.
    And… I guess now is the right time for me to crawl out of the world of silence and contribute to this awesome community!!!

    Cheers to 2016!!!
    And also to 2015… for it is the tough times and the challenges that make us who we are!!!

  108. Tara

    First, thank you for just being so fantastically real. As a person that struggles with depression, it’s gets just even more depressing seeing photographer after photographer show their “perfect” lives (I know it isn’t perfect, but you know sometimes the brain is a bit slow to tell that to the heart/soul). So posts like this make me smile because someone I respect doesn’t try to put up a “perfect” persona.
    Second, you have been showing some product photography behind the scenes, could you explain a bit more about it? Why it’s set up that way? And the before and after shot? I’ve been trying to piece it together and want to know how much I figure out right.
    Third, anything about street photography. I struggle with sometimes I see a really good ‘photo’ but do you take the photo without asking? I am going to Thailand and it would seem that to do that is considered rude, but…. to ask would ruin the moment. Also what lens is best? I just invested in a 35 mm (most of my paid work is 85mm or higher so it’s taking some getting use to seeing in 35 mm).
    Thank you for sharing!

  109. James

    Isn’t this the time of year that you go off line for a bit?? What gives?? 🙂

    Welcome Back!

  110. al green

    Hey Zack,

    go hard – good to see you back. Hey really enjoying the Fuji X series you inspired me to buy. And have an exhibit going in 2016 -take care, AG

  111. John Jackson

    Glad to see your back and hope you have a great holiday season with the family. Thanks for being another regular dude with a beard doing yoga lol.

  112. William Payne (BlahBlahMoose on youtube, MooseWilly on instagram)

    Hello Zack!!! Merry Christmas, happy New Year. All those things.

    It looks like I am trying to seek your advice at the wrong time. I have emailed a few times but not heard back but looks like you are in the middle of some personal stuff.

    I will leave this here as a last attempt to make contact and you can answer when you are ready.

    My name is William. I am 27 and live in Wanganui, New Zealand. I am not a pro photographer. In the 90’s I had a film point and shoot which I still have. Then in the 2000’s I would borrow my dads digital point and shoots. Now the last few years I have been a DSLR user. I shot motorsports, I shot a concert. I also would go to a number of car shows, mostly hotrods.

    I will be honest fast shooting got old. I loved the shooting part, hated the going through the 1000 photos from a sports event. Even at my canon 600d’s 3.5 frames a second man so many shots were the same.

    I needed better glass so got a 17-50f2.8 sigma. Still have it and its great. But I started to shoot more fast moving low light stuff without flashes and to get the shutter speed I had to push ISO and my little 600d didn’t like that very much.

    I put the camera away and over this last year I continued to work my day job in an engineering shop and did some training as a welder and thought hey I will start my own welding business on the side, so I got some gear for that.

    That I am still working on and its taking longer then planned.

    I come to you as you give sound advice. Sort of like my dad used to give.

    I lost my dad to cancer in march 2014, I really wish he was still here to talk to.

    My brother came to visit me a couple of months back and we went to a city 45 minutes away from the town I live in. We were in a coffee shop and I saw a sign on a notice board. “50 greatest photos of national geographic” It was an exhibit at a gallery and it was the last day of viewing. I insisted on going.

    Well It ruined me, I love guys like James Nachtwey and Steve McCurry. Also I am daily more and more impressed by guys like Joey L.

    I got to see a huge print of Steve McCurry’s afghan girl. Do you know what that does to you? It makes you question every choice you ever made.

    Now I am stuck, I have a canon 600d with shocking iso limits, a 17-50f2.8 sigma and a 18-55 kit lens. Oh and a partially assembled mamiya rb67 setup.I work in an engineering shop with a side welding business that im struggling to get going.

    But I want to take photos. My 600d has always felt small to me. A 5d mark iii would be awesome, but I don’t have that kind of money. I am a low wage guy. I like wide angle shooting and I want to slow down and do more serious stuff like photos of people and places and things happening. I would love to try studio work. I want to learn how to use lights and flash as I have in the past always done available light work.

    I don’t know what to do. I don’t have any mentors in photography. Nobody to talk to.

    There must be a way to make the most of what I have gear wise, I don’t like debating nikon versus canon and if I see someone quoting dxo mark one more time I will scream and give them the finger.

    Please Mr Arias, give me something.

    • David Peake

      Hi William.
      I’d be interested in having a chat with you.
      I just read your post.
      Although can’t speak for Zack, I think he would be struggling to do justice to a fraction of the requests for his time here.
      I’m in NZ . Call me if you want to .027 2804800.
      I’m 55 , been amateur photog for 7 yrs.
      Been following Zack from the beginning…. 1000 q+a
      Kind regards
      David Peake

  113. Robin Sarac

    Welcome back. 🙂

  114. Heikki

    You know what. I wish there had been either highs or lows this year. The worst thing for me is, I didn’t really succeed in anything, nor did I fall down and fail too bad either. It has been a bland year where my life did not really move into any direction at all. Like, literally. I don’t remember what the f I have been doing the last 365 days.

    Well, at least learning from this, I’ve actually set some goals for the coming months. So… I guess now I have at least a chance of failing them.

  115. Ronald

    Your blog is always my go to site for any photography ideas and I just found out that your does not exist anymore on your website. Are you taking it down for good? Please don’t. 🙁

  116. Craig

    Thinking about making the switch to Fuxi X-T1 / Fuji X setup.

  117. Dave Suggs

    Zack –
    I’m a huge fan of your work and your teaching videos and I’m sorry you are going through a rough patch now for whatever reason. As someone who is 20+ years older, I can assure you that whatever it is, this too shall pass. But I think you need to stop putting out video blogs like this which tell the world you are obviously in a lot of pain but without explaining why.

    Sincere best wishes.

    Keep up with the yoga and add on meditation if you’re not doing so already.

  118. Stephen Murphy

    Had a rough year too bud. These things do pass.

  119. Tim Scott

    Yikes … ZAK . . . yup 2015 went by in a blink, Non motivated, stressed out and . . NOT getting out to shoot. I did pick up an original Fuji X100 (What a freakin cool camera) which did motivate me a bit, but stuck in podunk Ca there isn’t much for street photography (envious of your cuba trip dude) so with that said, my project for the year is more Fuji-fun and some Large Format (5×7) fun. Wish you well, please share some more of your fun with your fave fuji cameras and such. best wishes for a New Year.

  120. gabe sturdevant

    2015 has sucked for me. Father in law passed away, family basically tore apart, among a bunch of other s#!t. So I can not wait for it to end. The shining light in all this is I have a camera in my hands again, which has really helped get me through all this.

    Your words of “just make something” always ring through when a bad day rolls around. Thank you for the signal Zack. My ship lost track of the lighthouse for a few.

  121. Bert McLendon

    He’s BACK! Good to see your mug again. It’s always fun to giggle at the awkwardness of someone Vlogging and realizing how awkward they look in real life. Keep kickin ass and livin.

    p.s. 1960 called and wants it’s cigarettes back. =)

  122. Ryan Williams

    Smoke up. Used to smoke a day. Quit. Now I drink more than I should. Some days. Get rid of the chemicals and I over eat. What are you going to do? Make something. I’m in. Keep moving forward. Some days.

  123. Tim

    Great to see your head above the parapet Zack and hoping that 2016 delivers you and yours a much better time than 2015 has served you up, I assume. Take care and I very much look forward to anything you manage to get up online. You’re an inspiration & were certainly missed.

    • Tim

      I meant to mention in my earlier comment that taking part in the DEDPXL assignments last year really helped to pull me out from under the rock I had been trapped under for some time and got my creative juices flowing. So thank you sir for putting yourself out there and selflessly sharing yourself and your knowledge.

  124. Becca Watkins

    I don’t think I could agree more with how 2015 has just been all over the place.
    I have also been living under a rock. I’m currently trying to claw my way out from underneath this boulder, but I have a feeling I’ll still be hiding there for part of 2016.
    I’ve been in pure survival mode for most of this year and am not looking forward to finally trying to figure out how to revive the things I have neglected for so long (like my photography).
    In June, I quit my job that I absolutely loved and absolutely hated at the same time to help take care of my dad who had cancer. My boyfriend proposed and then promptly married in October to make sure my dad could be there. August-November was a total landslide in my dad’s health. He passed away the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
    That’s the main storyline, but it has been riddled with so many subplots that are hard to keep track of.
    Now, I’m sitting here wondering where the hell do I begin?

    2015, I won’t miss you.

    I’ll be interested to see what you’re up to these days and see that Fuji video.

    I saw a comment somewhere about someone being disappoint about you smoking. Eh? Do what you need to do to get through whatever is going on. Right now, it’s a only minor blip in the grand scheme of it all.

  125. Holden Wesley

    My 2015…

    Began with depression and pretty much is going to end that way I think.

    Last year, from Sep. till August this year, I was studying abroad in Kyoto Japan, kinda isolated but not. Was a great time, and looking back wish I had shot more, but then I can’t look at the photos I did take without suddenly being sad that it ended. Haven’t really even looked at my camera since coming back but already wanting to get started maybe just building out some portrait-whatever stuff while I am here.

    Looking forward hoping to be accepted into a program that will let me return to Japan, just loved being there. Hoping to get to a place in my photography where if not happy with it that I feel like I’m making progress. Anytime I show anyone my photos they just lavish praise on them and I’m so tired of it, because I don’t think they are worth a damn.

    I really liked shooting in Japan, I pretty much left to my own devices and covered stuff at my own pace, though I grew really tired of tourists, despite being one myself for the most part. Nothing like going to something and having shots messed up by hundred people holding up ipads and the like, or using on body camera flashes from distances that wouldn’t help anyone.

    What kept me going through my downtime, besides cheap scotch, was coming to dedpxl, watching your videos (the number of times I watched that first video you did for Kelby is absurd).

    So thanks for that

  126. Kyle

    Sorry to hear this year has been less than pleasant Zack. Thought I’d drop you a line to let you know how mine was. Bear with me.

    2015 was insane for my commercial photography. It grew. Grew more and grew even more. I worked with big name Fortune 500 companies for the first time with mostly good results. I worked with a lot of small but new clients as well who kept me motivated. And of course I dropped the ball a few times. But overall, 2015 was a wild success. Today, the last day of the year, I picked up the keys to my new (and first) studio.

    I am writing all this to say thanks. You were the first photographer out there that got me thinking of commercial photography and explained some methods to the madness. You even answered one of my questions in your photography Q&A book you wrote (based on the question I submitted to you on the blog concerning what size softbox to buy).

    I feel like if anything I needed to say thanks. Even though your year was crap, you played a large role in shaping mine into the great year it was.

  127. Kylie

    Hi Zack sorry to hear you had a rough year I hope 2016 rocks for you guys 🙂 My year had up’s and Downs too lots of financial and personal stress and job stress but hopefully it will turn around for me as I have been offered a dream job working part time in a camera store while I work on my photography work too.

  128. Christopher

    I sat at my desk editing the final job of 2015, saying to myself “I can’t do this anymore.” I’ve been shooting professionally for over 24 years. As much as I’d like to chuck all my gear into the gutter and walk away, I know I can’t. Gotta press on and dig deep for inspiration & creativity. For myself. For my family. Your video says a lot, without revealing too much. You mentioned in one reply to read between the lines. When I got to DECEMBER 10, 2015 AT 10:40 AM, something jumped out at me, but in a different format and wording than what was actually written. Here’s the paraphrased version:
    [Where have you been and where is your heart?
    I believe this will bring you some comfort. Jeremiah 29:11-13 Please read it.
    God bless you, man.

  129. Jeff

    Hey Zack,

    Good to hear from you, man. I’ve missed your blogs. Interesting post… from the heart (as always). I really hope your ’16 goes a lot smoother for you. Hang in there… you will persevere and emerge “into the light”…

    I just finished watching your Editorial video that was the key video in my purchase of the 5-Day-Deal…. really informational. Was good to be on-the-scene. I’m hoping I absorbed some of that for one of my first shoots that I’m doing Thursday… 🙂

  130. John the dslr impaler

    Maybe do a photo essay on all the photogs (in clown suits) that have had a rough year. Portraits of hell boys and hell girls. Put a deposit on a pHase One 100 mega misery pickles body without any lens and use it as a prop just to make em feel better. Spill coffee on it then set it alight. I’m feeling better already. Maybe a little better. Not really, it’s been a bad year too, but your story beats mine and that helps 😉

  131. Scott Robert Collins

    It’s excellent to see you out from the stoney floor. I sympathize. My partner and I have both been living in the same shadow of rocks and life. She has the wherewithall to realize its not forever, but me, I have a HARD time letting shit go.

    We decided to sell off or put in storage all the belongings (mostly books) and strike out for Thailand with nothing but a backpack of clothes and and backpack of photogear.

    Now we are here in Bangkok, after a hellish and exhausting year (living next to a psychopath in MTL makes for, shall we say, less than a stellar existence) and beginning to decompress, and are wondering, truly, WTF are we doing with ourselves now.

    We have no plan, no aim, other than a faint whisper of a thought to blog our journey, but not a damn clue where to begin. Honestly, this cafe I am sitting in is like the first time in near 5 years I have felt like, ok, what now? It is a strange feeling, like a leaf in the middle of black lake at the edge of twilight, where the sky melts into the horizon.

    I am curious, how did you go about setting up a blog? I feel out of my depth, and at 34, my mind is not as spongey as it once was, so I need to hammer shit into this damned skull of mine to get things moving.

    Its exciting for sure, but its almost like being a teenager again, self-conscious and second guessing your own motivations.

    Any words of wisdom form your own under rock crawling event that may apply?
    Cheers from the sweaty streets of Bangkok.


  132. Gordon

    Sorry to hear that you had such a down year Zack. Going and making something is certainly great therapy and so is helping people. You’re such a wonderful teacher and communicator (in addition to being a great photographer) – maybe you could combine these two things. Photography IS empathy for your subject. Perhaps you could teach and encourage people to express themselves with photography instead of with anger or violence (lord knows we need a break from both right now). Get cameras into the hands of kids who might otherwise carry guns. Get them to shoot their neighbors in a whole other (and infinitely more positive) sense. Teach kids to make great images that build connections with others rather than destroy them. Open Carry a Camera instead of a gun. Your unique voice would be great for such an endeavor 🙂

  133. Joe Graf

    Since you’re looking for ideas, why not make some images showing how the highs (and lows) made you feel? Not the subjects that generated the highs/lows, just the feelings. Might even be cathartic. Definitely should be interesting for the viewers to see how you turn emotion into images

  134. Shannon Christopher

    HI Zack,

    I doubt you’ll remember me, but I bought you a sixer of New Castle at Joe Dallas’ workshop in Columbus, GA several years back to say thanks for all you’ve done to inspire and influence me over the years.

    Wanted you to know that it was your underlying message to be yourself that helped me see I wanted to photograph relationships in a visceral way and I went out and did just that. I’ve gone from OCL weddings to now mostly families and just a 50mm. I remember someone telling me that vision doesn’t come in a box. They were right, it comes with hard knocks. Took me several years to find my style…was right after I found me.

    You matter and mean so much to this community. Thank you and take all the time you need to take care of yours. We love you for how you make us feel by your own example, not your free content. If you’re ever in Savannah, GA you have a friend. Chin up and much love!

  135. nordhaus.basel

    Hi Zack!
    Your honesty is your strength, was before and is now. Even through the internet you still can connect with people (and make me want to leave a reply). Maybe it does not matter what you do, as long as you are connected to people. I was wondering what was going on, when I’ve heard you switching to sophisticated technologies in photography. Whenever I do so, it’s usually a bad sign, I my case a creative crisis. For the moment I’m buying new lenses like crazy, if you know what I’m talking about. Sometimes a trip far away works better than that. But whatever you do, stay connected.

  136. mirko

    Good to hear (see?) from you again Zack! Thanks for putting yourself out there in such an honest way, no BS, no fancy photo-stuff, no self-absorbed asshole, just the real deal. I hope 2016 kicks ass for you!

  137. Britt Else

    You have made a positive impact on more people’s lives than you’re likely aware of (mine for one), and that’s something most don’t achieve in this life. Glad you still remember to “dance with the one that brung you” as they used to say in our parents generation. Meaning, you’re still 100% honest and letting it all hang out, and that’s what separated you from the pack in the first place. It’s always good to return to the safety of that when the way forward gets difficult to see.

    Not an endorsement, but as a side note: in Europe, they would be disappointed if you did not have a cig hanging out of your pie hole. So there’s that…

  138. Dean

    Welcome back Zack. Looking forward to new content from you

  139. Jarrah

    You should just come back to Australia. We’ll sort you out.

    My 2015 started off with a real bang when I realised at about 10:45pm on 31 December 2014 that my 52yo partner was in a relationship with a girl younger than our daughter – 22yo.

    Now I know that she gave me a gift – my ticket out of there. Should have done it a long time ago. It’s a wonder our kids aren’t screwed up and on drugs.

    I’m going to make his 2016 when I start the financial settlement proceedings.

    I lost my phojo but feel it coming back and came by to check out your latest musings on Fuji as I dust off my Fuji gear.

  140. Stanley-Carl du-Pont

    Zack, that’s what I love about you, you’re real.

    No #bs, just pure and real.

    Thanks for being just that in an industry and time that is so jaded.

    Love your work and look forward to seeing you back on top of your game again.

  141. Lorna Lovecraft

    Hey, good to see you! Sorry to hear about your rough year.

  142. John

    My 2015…hmm…I had my first child…I purchased your one light DVDs so that I could capture those awesome moments with my wife and daughter and I have some awesome pics to prove it. All because of learning how to shoot great photos with one light from you. If what happened in 2015 happened, it too will pass and the only question is what man will you decide to become because of it, more humble and grateful for the little moments of happiness or more bitter because things didn’t turn out the way you planned. Thanks for the lessons. Weird but I consider you a friend even though we’ve never met.

  143. Aaron Srader

    Glad to see your alive.. You truly brought me back into Photography after many,many years. I am forever Greatful for you introducing me to the FUJI Brand.. Bye,Bye Nikon.. I still only have the EX-1 and a 35mm. 1.4 along with the 60mm. But boy do I love it. I am looking forward to seeing what else you have up your sleeve ..

  144. Don Harrington


    I miss you, where have you been. I hope you will give a review of your beloved new fuji x pro2.

    You are a rock star in the photo blog world. I hope we can here from you soon.


  145. Paul Griffiths

    Well without wishing to sound ‘smug’ 2015 was a pretty ‘OK’ year for me … On the work side non-photographic we remained busy although I think/fear the bosses are looking to retire very soon…
    On the photography side my show went down well with increased viewers
    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLHN7b6x-MTgFYkM1sKDztFmfOX710Tm4R and then decided to start an online workshop for beginners (seemed that everyone was asking for some help – locally – so I thought I’d stick my neck on the block LOL and offer it out) https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLHN7b6x-MTgENtspdN84ojl75dIkwv27Z I don’t wanna get to technical with it at the start – just doing the basics, but that seems to of started off quite well…

    Just a thought I’m always looking to get some new guests online for my chat show – would you be interest Zack? I’m a keen fan of your work, especially since its your fault that I bought into Fuji LOL – glad you did by the way.. How about it…? Let me know…

    2016 could / might yes it will be a better year…

    Regards Paul ( Hope to hear from you…)

  146. Jason

    I enjoyed your last vlog on youtube. When is the next one hitting?

  147. bryan romero

    missed ya!

  148. Edwin BongSan

    Hey Zack. Still there? I was happy when I saw this video appear a few months back. But to my surprise the line went dead shortly after. Now the FUJI world is rocking again. With the introduction of the X-Pro2 and X70 and all.There is still no Zack on the horizon. I’m sure you have good reasons. But I hope you wil soon rise like the phoenix, because the upcomming FUJI-party is not as much fun as it should be without you there. So, hope to hear from you soon. Don’t miss the party!!

  149. Jose

    Ok Zack…

    I need to start with a big: thanks for sharing.
    If there is something that made you win followers (me first in the list, please) is your honest direct style. You are RAW: you say black to black and white to white… There is grey but you justify why.
    I fully respect your opinion from the day you shared your second start as a photographer. You kept a lot of guy motivated to follow their dreams and even more to think twice to enter on it.

    I wish you luck with this Zack 3.0 version that is coming… I’m sure whatever your steps are will drive you to a better version. That’s were you excel mate!

    Waiting here as patient as needed, and open for support -no need to say-

    All the best,
    A serious follower

    Ps. Get your hands on that new Fuji xpro2 !!! I won’t buy that one without your candid opinion

  150. Carrie

    I’m sure you already know this – but maybe not….. Georgia has a list of the 7 natural wonders of Georgia. I know you took the kids camping a few times so thought you might also enjoy these adventures when the weather warms up and maybe find some inspiration in the beauty/quiet… show us some interesting pictures done with a Fuji? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_the_seven_natural_wonders_of_Georgia_(U.S._state)

  151. Wim

    Sometimes living under a rock is not that bad I guess? Hmm or maybe only for Patrick (best friend of SpongeBob).
    What kind of life would it be if there are no ups and downs? We could never appreciate the ups and learn from our downs. Hmm oh my god I am a bad talker when it comes to life advice! Haha…! Anyway Zack happy to see you again and don’t think to much… Just keep doing what you love!
    Cheers from Hamburg!

  152. Mikey Huang

    Hi! First and foremost, I’m a fan, especially since you use the Fuji X system. I’m so sorry to have to do it this way but it has been over 2 weeks and I have not heard back from your support page re: redownloading my purchases from last year for OneLight 2.0. I still have the e-mail with the now unusable download links. My e-mail is [email protected]. I really do hope that your support staff can rectify the situation. More power to you.

  153. Fede Cabrera

    Hola Zack,

    I’d been struggling through 2015, too… but I think it’s worth it as I’s able to start a little personal project.
    I sold everything I thought I didn’t really needed and hit the road… one month later I broke my camera and realized I already sold the back-up to fund the Project 🙁

    I’d been stuck at home for a month but I’s able to put some money together to get an used camera and with some luck I’ll be back on the road pretty soon 🙂

    I know sometimes things don’t go as planned… the important thing is to stay afloat and not to give up!

    I hope 2016 is awesome 🙂


  154. Brian Surguine

    Hey Zack! Glad to have you back. Sorry last year was so rough – as for ideas, I always like to refer to what Joe McNally says: Shoot what you love. (Not sure if that helps, you know the guy better than I do.) It helps me when I’m in a rut.

    2015 was a foundation year for me. Completely switched to Fuji – thanks to you – and am well on my way to reaching my 2016 business targets. Using the “B” word is kinda lame, I know, but I’m hoping my momentum right now lets me pick better projects and keep my creative side alive.

    Hoping you get some rest and inspiration, and looking forward to what you do next.

  155. Alex Leon

    Glad to have you back, long time no see-write-shoot.

  156. Ed

    and that Vlog is basically why you are Yoda… or maybe Obiwan… maybe a bit of both.
    Personally I had a rollercoaster year too.. travelled overseas and shot some stuff for a NFP, got home, got sick… Booked jobs, lost jobs… But watching your total honesty actually helps me deal with it. Man, I gotta remind myself to keep going back to Q&A when my head is spinning from all the noise.. I seriously doubt I would still be shooting if it wasn’t for that book, and your attitude of no BS honesty. Heres to 2016 kicking the crap out of its predecessor!

  157. Zack's Inner Voice


    This is your inner voice.

    It is time for you to reclaim control of your life.

    That means it is time to start staying NO.

    And if it means shutting down this site, so be it.

    Your health and family are worth it.

  158. Aditya Bengali

    Hello Zack,

    Don’t let one year bog you down too much. Heck, if you’ve taught a photographer in India on how to take that Vivitar 285 off the camera, you’ve definitely done something very, very right overall.

    Come down to India again man, clear your head. Hit me up if you’re ever down here again! I’ll make sure you have a cracking time

    Cheers brother
    Aditya Bengali
    Mumbai, India

  159. Stephen Wratten

    Hi Zack
    Welcome back. Bit late to notice your return as no signal for such a long time I stopped scanning! Just remember that there are a lot of people out there that love you man! Words can’t really express it all but hang in there and things may work themselves out for you again. Your’e a great inspiration to many of us and the fact that you wear your heart on your sleeve in my view makes you more human. Anything I can do to help just ask.

  160. Robert

    Just shock the system with some good ole change. Coffee and cigarettes are ok to help distract the mind. Vlogs are awesome to help get things in perspective, both with reflection on your part and comments from others. Take a couple days to get your physical space in order, and the mind will follow.

  161. Anders

    2015….well. I finally gave up on full time photography, we had a son, we left southamerica and moved to southamerica, my daughter moved kindergarten twice, my wife is stuck without a residency, I effect making her a paperless immigrant without health insurance in the most expensive country in the world, I am back working in an office for a seriously difficult boss (again), my two years of chronic runs and severe weight loss ended and I gained all the weight I lost plus some so none of my suits that I need for my office job fit anymore and on top of that I downsized my photo gear to be point of now not having a computer powerful enough to edit raw files which really doesn’t matter cause I haven’t taken a decent photo in over a year anyway. On the upside, i have a fantastic family, roof over our heads, a steady income, and much fewer illusions. Oh, and I didn’t have to swim in to Europe over the Mediterranean Sea, losing half my family along the way. Perspective.

    • Anders

      Moved to Scandinavia. Typo. Sorry.

  162. Daniel

    I hope this isn’t too personal, but I notice that your left-hand ring finger is nekkid. Next topic.. wanna critique my work? I could use a kick in the pants and you could get some good scream therapy? Think about it.

    “Head in a clean spot” has more than one meaning…….

  163. Valentin

    Rumble in the jungle! You have the cuantum support of all the community Zack! Like your humanity. Did you clean-up your mess? Have a question for you: Any new book out there? (A text one. Not a technical one) yours or from others. Thinking about, why not to write a new book?
    Lots of cheers!
    I’ll be watching you

  164. Ben

    I retired in 2015.

    I have a small pension that will not get me to my retirement income quickly enough. In the mean while, I thought I would surf the internet for inspiration to resurrect my hobby in photography which I ruined back in the 1900’s by trying to make a living doing weddings and other event photography with a manual Norman flash and a Hasselblad medium format camera. I discovered that photography, while never has been an inexpensive hobby, has become incredibly expensive.

    My biggest inspiration initially in photography came from a class (and lunch) with Dean Collins sponsored by Wolf Camera. Later inspiration was provided the likes of Monte Zucker after which I began to acquire studio lights, soft boxes, etc to pursue portrait clients.

    Now as I inventory my gear, most of this stuff is obsolete. Before I retired I invested in a Canon 5d Mark II and a Fuji X-T1 because I am conflicted about the best way to enter the digital age. In many ways, the tools are better now. What can be accomplished is exiting ( and fairly instant). No more Poloroids or waiting a week and a half to discover bad focus or lighting issues.

    I found some of your material and I found your philosophy and methods both informative and refreshing. I am excited about getting out and making pictures for my personal pleasure. I wish you the best in 2016 and to thank you for taking the time to share your photographic knowledge for someone like me to stumble onto.

  165. Susie

    You crack me up, love that your being real… That’s therapy in its self

  166. Steven

    Welcome back! Its been some time since you have not written anything. Have you checked out the new X-Pro2?

  167. V. Paul Bowers, Jr

    Welcome back. We’ve never met, but if you need to talk, let me know. We’ve all walked similar paths. Same road…different dirt.


  168. c.d.embrey

    You seem to have lost the commitment blogging you once had. I won’t be back to see your vlogs. I find your work entertaining, but infrequency is killing you blog.

    • andrew F

      that’s helpful, asperger boy!!!

  169. Stephen Scharf

    We miss ya, Zack! Not a whole lotta signal here since December 9th. When will the Zack make a return?

  170. Rob

    Okay dude… So 2016 is 1/2 way over and I just got back to checking what your up to – what does that say about my 2015 year? If I could get me some of those 70’s drugs to just mental blank the entire year, I’d share. Let’s see; the usual family noise, effing great insurance claim and was outsourced / downsized / rightsized / fired so spent some time unemployed. No idea what burnt your 2015 year but hang in there….. as someone once said – whatever does not kill you, makes you weaker so the next thing can get ya… or something like that; I might be misquoting :-).

  171. Glenn J. Spiro

    Hi Zack, I ho you can do some kind of usage, opinion write, post photos, video about the Fujifilm X Pro-2 . I am guessing you have one now and are using it ?

  172. andrew F

    I’ve just watched and read, Zack and I feel like I know more about you than everything I’ve read, viewed, listened to from you over the years.

    I had a similarly convoluted and ragged 2015, preceded by a 2014 that was even more pear shaped; the thing to remember in the clouds and cludge of the slump (and ironically the most difficult of all) is to know that you have remarkable talent and charisma and that that doesn’t just disappear.

    I hope to see (and hear) more from you this year – the world needs more eyes and minds like yours documenting it, so keep pushing…..you have a lot of support, that’s for sure.



  173. Rckstflbn

    Hi Zack,
    Currently in the process of swapping from Sony to Fuji. Sold everything last week… buying Fuji this week.
    Your comments along with other helped me feel comfortable moving over this way.

  174. Jim Shaw

    Its Sept 2016 and I haven’t even started my 2015 Video , I cant really remember what I did in 2915 ….. Fuck

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  176. Phil

    Thinking about it honestly, I think I’d say that my own personal battle with depression, self-doubt and low confidence has done more to damage my photographic journey/business than anything else. Emerging from the black cloud takes considerable effort and I’m f*cking glad that you are making things again. Keep going!