Month: January 2014

January 2014 - Me? I just make pictures - "Circle Comes Around"

January 25, 2014

As i said in an earlier post, this year has taken off. I was even more psyched to have a visit from my friend and yours Jeff Treffinger a musician, producer/engineer and contractor who recorded  1st album at the Mermaid Lounge of all places. He was at my studio to shed some ideas and whatnot on what i got going – he then sent over NY/NO gator-hunter-photographer Dwight Marshall to draw plans up for my shed. It’s always a testament to where i live when the folks helping me w/ my shed on the construction end are musicians, artists, photographers, and creative folks….why would i pay some one i don’t know, who ONLY does this kind of shit for their pay instead of friends who can give me real life advice, having had studios in NY and London, and created recording spaces out of nothing?

I feel like the circle comes around again – happy to have these guys on board. It’s also nice to have my live-in designer, Shez Crafty, to advise w/ the finer things and feel of my new studio. Also our friend Jensen Killen is helping w/ design and layout. Me? I just make pictures.

Joseph Makkos story

(for Columbia Journalism Review)

Staff at Harriet Tubman Charter School

BB King at The CIVIC

Michelle and Joseph Wedding Party

Joseph and Michelle

All images ©Zack Smith Photography 2013 and 2014. These images may not be used in any way other than for your enjoyment, right here, on this blog. Thank you.

2014 - Spicy Start - New Ways to Turnaround

January 18, 2014

New Work with Tabasco, Seth Walker and Time Warner-Cable…but I see turnaround times shrinking fast!

This year is gotten off to a pretty good start: a nice new round of client proposals and my first product shoot of the year for the McIlhenny Company and a new spice Tabasco is launching..I got to use my new studio out in the Parish as Tamara and I knocked it out in a half day on our way to a 24 hour turnaround on edits..not bad. I’ll send some photos when the ads are in..

I have seen a reoccurring trend happening in the last few years with corporate clients as it pertains to turnaround times. It used to be at least a 1-2 week turnaround time if we were dealing with film, since we had to process, scan, edit and send actual proof “sheets”. In the last 10 years i was getting an average of 5-7 days turnaround with digital for large clients (most working w/ a creative team, and/or Marketing Department). This is ok if you have your digital editing workflow down and you can pump out some selects and low-res proofs to the client immediately after a shoot. Normally if the shoot entails 1 or 2 setups and the edits are not too intense, then 24 hour turnarounds are not too bad but communication should be at an all time high since timing is crucial – and re-edits are often needed.

In this case, I had a great time setting up the product shot in trying to achieve my goal of in-camera editing and leaving not much for me to do in post, and it worked. The only big issue was that the one configuration of bottles I did not shoot was what they wanted …so I had to hire my good friend Saki w/ Lumos Retouching to do some fancy post editing and she killed it in a short amount of time.

Next time I will photograph each and every configuration humanly possible so that I don’t have to hire out for editing, it’s just easier that way. It only takes a few more minutes and you don’t to re-set the lights!

Later on this month I have a job with Time Warner Cable, Jensen Tuna Company, Seth Walker-musician, and starting to gear up for marching in some Mardi Gras parades. 2014 doesn’t stop…Rotary Downs album release March 22nd, playing Jazz Fest 1st Friday, also – my solo photography show at

Scott Edwards Gallery

opening April 12th! More details….

Be on the lookout: i will be announcing my RAW Workflow Workshop at the Propeller March 27th


I just got back from a deer hunt in Luverne, Alabama, and waking up before the sun was a great opportunity for some sunrise photography! Enjoy!

My 2013 Best Of and Worst Of

January 3, 2014

As the year ends, and a new one begins i can’t help but reflect and get philosophical about life, the world, photography and art and culture. So as i make you sit through my rants to get to my BEST OF 2013…enjoy


What is social media becoming? The show flyer pileup on a pole on Frenchmen Street.

First off, i feel that social media is helpful, but is becoming the show flyer wall on Frenchmen St. You know the one, 20-30 flyers tacked to each other that comes off the wall 4″ thick? As one flyer’s date passes, another gets nailed to it – but when you walk back and realize that there’s so much information thatyou can read one clearly…they all become stuck together on the wall: their words stuck together in our heads our brains can’t process them. We now have FB, twitter, instagram, tumblr, vine, and who knows what else that’s competing for our eyes, our time, our $ – i look out at the world and see the tops of peoples heads walking towards me, staring at their phones…Soon you’ll be the smart advertiser and post your adds in sidewalk chalk. Let it rain, Let it rain…

What is Photography? “JPGrapher’s Dumbdown” What is a JPGrapher??

From 2001-2003 i worked the sales counter at Lakeside Camera and saw digital start its slow creep into the local commercial world as local photographers were pawning their old Hasselblads and Mamiyas (i still have 2 from that period i bought at Cost+10%) and “trading up” for the NEW Nikon D1x – 5.4 MP and the Canon D30 w/ a whopping 3.3 MP – read the

reviews here!!!

.What i saw slowly happen, was the dumbdown of what a “good photograph” is being: as our eyes and lives slowly turned more to the backlit world of our now pixelized-life. All the new photographers in the digital age (JPGraphers) know nothing about film, but more importantly about light – their end result of a stunning photograph starts w/ a 2″ LCD screen and ends with a 17″ LCD screen…of course its’ gonna look RAD! – I see more an more every day what people think a good photograph is, and it’s becoming more technically poor, not lit well, and probably would stand the test of time on a wall. Will we be using computers in 20 years? Will we be admiring the prints of Herman Leonard, Ansel Adams? Trust me folks, THE PROOF IS, WILL BE, AND HAS ALWAYS BEEN….IN THE PRINT.

Here’s to 2014. Good intentions, Great content. – Do Good Work, and Stick Around!

See you on the Streets


 Aerials shot during French Quarter Fest 2013

 Chalmette Battlefield Graveyard

 Maggie Koerner

 Kronos Quartet

 Josef Makkos and his Newspapers

 Gambit Weekly Cover shot, December 2013

 PitFire Grill

 Tulane University Marching Band at New Orleans Bowl

 David Batiste at Ponderosa Stomp

 Eddie Daniels

 Chris Clark

 Cindy Scott

 Honey Island Swamp Band

 Kuffa and Ryan

 Marco Benevento

 Best Damn Booze Photographer, Sara Essex

 Sweet Crude

 Young Pinstripe Brass Band

 Zion Harmonizers

I love collaborating with like minded folks to make stunning, creative, and lasting images in New Orleans, Louisiana.

And 2013 wouldn’t have been what it was w/o the excellent client of Krewe du Optic and Stirling Barret. KDO is why i photograph – i love collaborating w/ like minded folks to make stunning, creative, and lasting images. Here are some of my favorite from the 2013 campaign…

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