Customer Reviews: Photography Q&A: Real Questions. Real Answers. (Voices That Matter)
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on August 3, 2013
I can’t recommend this book enough… for the past couple years I’ve been reading books, watching tutorials, buying magazines, pretty much studying like a college kid. Absorbing information, not for a test, but for life, or should I say, what I want my life to be... the Life of A Photographer.

I've studied Exposure, from Bryan Peterson, Light from Pros like Joe McNally, Vision from David Duchemin, and Honestly, I've learned invaluable lessons from them all, but Zack’s book… it’s something altogether different. It literally felt like he was answering my questions, like I was having a conversation with someone I admire, respect, and trust. Where as most people in that position might talk down to you, Zack treats you like an equal, like a friend. His answers are sincere, in depth, and eye opening. Questions I wondered about, he answered. Questions I didn't even think to ask, he answered. I’m a new fan, no doubt. He’s an amazing Photographer, and judging from his you tube videos and this book, he seems to be a genuinely caring and encouraging person… Don’t get me wrong though, He is completely Honest, Brutally Honest, but that’s exactly what you want when you’re learning. Life is Hard, but it is Equally rewarding.

I rarely write reviews, I've read enough bad movie reviews to know I don’t trust them, lol, but when I search for books on Amazon, I always find myself skimming the reviews (that’s how I found this book!), and decided, I might as well add my voice to the choir, maybe it’ll help someone else. So here it is… In my humble opinion, this book is definitely worth purchasing, it helped, it reassured me that the doubts, fears and questions I had are normal... it made me refocus, and honestly, it Inspired me.

Read it, You will not regret it.
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on July 19, 2013
For a few bucks, you get to have "coffee" with a stellar photographer.

Some of what the book offers is useless. Been there, done that. Already knew it. The book will not teach you how to connect gadget A to thing B so that you can get result C. Plenty of BS books out there who want to teach you how to "XYZ like a pro".

What you do get are brief brain-dumps from a guy who knows what he is doing and has tons of experience.

You will find some that are cool. Though provoking. Then there will be the advice that is invaluable. Those are the reason you need this book.

You could pay thousands for seminars and workshops where you learn how to point your lens and have the model turn just right. Whatever. In those seminars, little bits of knowledge and advice will surface from time to time. They are the true bits of knowledge that you need to survive as a working pro and are the real value a seminar or workshop provides.

Zack spills many of those nuggets in one cheap, easy to carry package. No hotel reservation or seminar fee required.

I found value in this book, and I've been a full time working pro for over 30 years.
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on June 13, 2013
In the interest of full disclosure, I have made it pretty clear on Weekly Photo Tips that I am a HUGE Zack Arias "fan boy"!

We've posted about Zack more than a few times, reviewing his One Light Workshop DVD (which we also named "product of the year"), we reviewed his CreativeLIVE workshop, and also shared his tutorials on using white seamless (to name a few).

With that being said, lets talk about the latest book to do the "UPS thud" on my porch, Photography Q&A: Real Questions. Real Answers from, you may have guessed, Mr. Zack Arias.

Now, about the book:

Q: Who is the target audience of this book?

A: Anyone who takes their photography seriously, being an amateur or professional photographer has nothing to do with it, being serious about the craft of photography does.

Q: What was the origin of Photography Q&A: Real Questions. Real Answers?

A: It started with Zack's Tumblr blog Photography Q&A: Ask me anything about photography (where you can still ask questions or read the other questions along with Zack's answers).

Q: Did you like this book?

A: No, I absolutely LOVED this book, so much so that I will find it hard to give away to one of our readers.

Q: Is it really just questions and answers?

A: Yup, a 100 of them, about gear, about business, about the best places to go on the web to get good honest critiques of your work, and I can't tell you how many times I said "oooh, that's a good question".

Q: Did you have a favorite part of the book?

A: Yup, page 62, Zach talks about why we should photograph the people we love.

Q: Anything else?

A: I really liked his answer to the question about building a portfolio (page 216), probably the longest answer to any question in the entire book, really really well thought out answer. Lots of visual cues and examples along with the rational for why. It drove home the point that our portfolio is the most important thing we as photographers "put out there".

Q: Is the book worth the money to buy and time to read?

A: OMG YES! Because of the diversity and range of the questions it would be impossible to cover everything that's in the book, but I can tell you truthfully - not once did I read a question/answer and think "well, that was a waste of my time".

The questions are the same ones I (and I bet you) have, and the answers are phenomenally educational.

Seriously, it's like sitting across the table from Zack Arias and peppering him for hours with every question you've ever had and listening to his thoughtful and insightful answers, how could that NOT be extremely valuable?

The things you'll learn that will add to your photography are priceless, and the time and money you'll save by not making the mistakes Zack talks about will be worth far more than the cost of buying a few cases of this book.

There are educational opportunities that don't require you to ever touch your camera, it requires you to listen, to think, to learn from the experience of others, and if that interests you, you can't do any better than Photography Q&A: Real Questions. Real Answers.
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on June 13, 2013
Zack is someone that has been through hard times and fought back to push himself further than I'd expect he ever would have imagined. For so many photographers trying to pave their way through the twists and turns of the profession this book is a must-have. It really is the no-BS slap to the forehead that many of us need to get through some often confusing scenarios and situations. The questions are those that I have heard fellow photographers mutter often and Zack's answers are backed with wisdom from the field, examples in imagery, and the occasional (and necessary) "You are going to need to find your path in this one man". Its all coming from someone that has been through all spectrums of the industry and still retains a level sense of business, art, creativity and combination of those three (which you have to have to be successful). Simply cannot recommend this book enough!
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on January 17, 2014
I was hesitant to pick up this book because of the title. I assumed it would be another camera-manual-turned-into-a-book thing, but I started looking through it and immediately got drawn in by the imagery and writing style of Zach. I'm a little ashamed to admit that I didn't know him by name before, but between this book, his work in various publications, and his blog, he's quickly becoming one of my biggest influences.

The book is good for photographers who are technically proficient, though perhaps in search of a good stylistic direction, or seeking to get the ball rolling with their first real paid gigs. Zach's tone is very down to earth, and he is able to put into words many of the situations that we all face, bang out a couple of suggestions, and then wrap it up with a personal anecdote. I know that personally, having plowed through this book as fast as a person who doesn't normally like books can, it has changed the way I present myself to clients, and how I conduct myself while shooting.

If you're a photographer who is obsessed with improvement, yet constantly plagued by self-doubt, this just may be what you need to help steady things out... or at least know that it's all part of the process.
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on February 3, 2014
If you have any interest in this book, chances are that you already know who Zack is, and what he's all about. In fact, you probably have already either read or even followed Zack's 1500 question archive on Tumblr. So why this book? What's it really about and why would you shell out any money for something you can get 'for free'?

First, it's important to understand what this book is and what the Q&A archive represents. In the introduction to this book, Zack says his book is about 'filling in gaps', and this couldn't be more true. Having read dozens upon dozens of photography books, viewed hundreds of hours of photography-related educational videos, and followed countless photography blogs over the years, I can say Zack's blog is truly unique, and immensely valuable for exactly that purpose: filling gaps. You'll get answers to questions that you'll surely not find elsewhere. Reading Zack's answers is like having a mentor at your side.

Once you're at the point where you're serious about photography, perhaps even considering making it profession, you'll find honest, insightful, and always colourful bits of wisdom in this Q&A archive. This resource answered questions of mine that I didn't even know I had. Often the answers to questions will also answer secondary questions that weren't even asked, but are totally applicable to the bigger picture where the topic fits in. You'll read about a huge range of topics, ranging from technical, creative, and business-oriented aspects of the craft. Zack's Q&A archive is a truly invaluable resource for the photography community.

The book itself contains a well-curated selection of questions/answers, organized in 10 question segments separated by 'visual intermissions', that contain an image from Zack, and some insights about it. It's easy to find material because of how well it's organized, and the fact that it's curated gives you a fantastic taste of what the Q&A archive has to offer. The book concludes with some useful checklists (mostly about how to focus on the important things to think about for the working photographer) as a bonus. The book makes a great reference, and can whet your appetite for diving deeper into the archive to find more answers.

So while it may objectively seem odd that the book even exists given that *almost* all of the content (and much more) is already available on the web, the curated book format means that there is an extremely high density of really valuable information in one place. The bonuses that are only included in the book just make it that much better. Knowing your supporting all the hard work put into this valuable resource is icing on the cake. I loved every word of this book (and the Tumblr archive), and can't recommend it highly enough.
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on August 1, 2013
This book is great. Zack answers question we've all had regarding photography. Per his usual style, he lays it out like it is, and not sugar coating anything. If you like this book, he also has another book, the "OneLight Field Guide" with photos, diagrams, and explanations on how each shot was setup.
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on March 4, 2014
I had the pleasure of attending a workshop with Zack through RMSP in 2011. I can attest that he is an amazingly honest and REAL person. His writing voice is the same. Just imagine him sitting with you at a coffee shop having this wise older brother telling you like it is (he is a few months older than I). Yes, this book is not for a seasoned studio that has attained it all, BUT there are some good tidbits in here for everyone else. Or the reminders of things you should attend to. It's enjoyable to read, you can read as little or as much as you want, skip around, whatever. But you will walk away thinking of something you can improve upon. And that is priceless from someone willing to share his lessons and wisdom.
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on August 5, 2013
Introduction (Feel Free to Skip):
First of, I'm a fan of Zack Arias and his journey to becoming the photographer he is today. I've been following him for the past 4 years, I've learned a lot from him and I consider Zack to be one of the greatest educators in the photography industry. A little side detour note ... I remember a few years back when I struggled with off-camera lighting and I was looking for DVD that teaches lighting. Every thread pointed to Zack's OneLight DVD. I saw the intro and was actually taken aback by the way Zack look. I ignored him for quite a bit until I found a copy of his DVD in a forum and decided to give it a chance. I was captivated by his teaching in about 5-10 minutes and finished both DVDs in one sitting. I felt embarrassed to dismiss him to quickly purely based on his grungy appearance.

About the Book:
The book itself is based on Zack's Tumblr blog where anyone can ask him anything related to photography. Zack would answer the questions to the best of his abilities and give you straight up answers. Sometimes the answers can sound harsh and make him look like an a$$, but it's his bluntness and non sugar-coating style that I find very appealing. Oftentimes, he would infuse into the answer some humor, which I enjoy (though sense of humor is a very personal thing).

Zack is very straight up guy ... he would tell you that if you want the knowledge and information but don't want to pay for it, then head over to his blog. All the Q&A stuff you find in this book is contained somewhere in his blog. However, the blog is what he consider as "rough draft". You'll have the nitty gritty information, but the book will provide you with some visual references and additional information not found in the blog.

Although I read this book from cover-to-cover, it is designed for you to jump into at any point. This book is not meant to be taken too seriously, but it does offer some great nuggets of information.

For me, this book is a definite buy. I would not hesitate to purchase Q&A Book #2 if and when it comes out.
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on January 13, 2014
As a very serious photo-hobbyist (if that's a thing?) I ask myself 85% of these questions on a daily basis and Zack delivers straight forward honest answers that satisfy. 95% of the the questions are very good and it rekindles inspiration in my work knowing that so many others have the same questions. They are answered with confidence that can only come from experience.That means only one thing- Zack had these very same questions and can't wait to share his insight. Well done Zack- I only wish I'd read this $15,000 ago and developed my vision rather than my arsenal. Bravo!
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