Month: September 2016

How to Tuesday #38: Creativity abounds at the Louisiana Photography Society in Baton Rouge. Watch my talk on "Using the Free Light First" to get your best portraits yet..

September 20, 2016


There is a vibrant, engaging, and creative photographic community in the Baton Rouge area. I was honored to be the guest speaker for the Louisiana Photographic Society’s monthly meeting in Baton Rouge last week and I was blown away at the amount of folks that showed up and filled the Goodwood Library theatre on a Thursday night. After my talk on “Using the Free Light First” I stuck around and took part in their photo contest, something they do every month, and saw some truly wonderful photography. 

Over the last few months Baton Rouge has been tested. From the police shooting deaths, riots, and recent flooding that devastated so many homes and business and uprooted lives, the people of Baton Rouge have been through so much. So seeing that many photographers, image makers, and visual artists in that room made me feel very special. Photography is powerful as a storyteller of all things external and internal.  Photography is a communicator, reaching out amongst a community to help, heal, and create. Thank you LPS for letting me see the strength of our community…

I hope you enjoy my talk, I had the sense to Facebook Live the entire talk and the camera didn’t stop, fall, or take a call from a salesman. Go figure! Go enjoy “Using the Free Light First” and SUBSCRIBE to my YOUTUBE Channel!



Preservation Hall. They do it Right. Every. Damn. Night

September 19, 2016
 Jeffrey Hills of the Preservation Hall Brass Band knows. He

Jeffrey Hills of the Preservation Hall Brass Band knows. He’s got his hand on the window…

Alive in New Orleans right now
can’t be explained by science
it must be felt inside us

I love history. I love reading about it, I seek out documentaries about influential personalities and world power, wars and renaissance. History is alive in New Orleans yet l feel we only get a glimpse through a small crack in the window of the words of our old city. We never see the whole picture of the past and even in the present, we don’t always get the full story.

Really being alive in this city and getting to tap into it’s pulse now and again is something I truly miss and enjoy it when I can. I felt that pulse again while watching The Preservation Hall Brass Band last Friday while documenting a birthday party. The staff and the musicians there do it right…they have an assuring grip on the window to the past, and know just how to hold it open enough and let us see a truth that they know so well. 

Do yourself a favor…see a show at The Hall…they do it Right….Every. Damn. Night.

St. Charles Avenue sunrise and City Park Photo Gallery

September 12, 2016

This last week I have been all over New Orleans photographing her most glamorous avenues and rich colorful green spaces. My first goal was to try and lock down a few key locations for a client I am shooting some marketing work for. In the midst of shooting location photographs I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time when the light was just perfect, and the players of this great city were in line. You all know when the angles come together, the people file in, the bell rings, and you know it’s time to shoot? Well, it was one of those weeks…I hope you enjoy this photo gallery from City Park and St. Charles Avenue.

 No flowers here..but I had to add this image of a construction worker at Oretha Castle Haley. It

No flowers here..but I had to add this image of a construction worker at Oretha Castle Haley. It’s moments like these when I wish I had my camera on me at all times!!!

Zack Smith Interview: Coffee with Kevin of Coast Roast in New Orleans, LA

September 5, 2016

I had the pleasure recently of sitting down with Kevin Pedeaux of Coast Roast Coffee to talk shop. I enjoy talking about my photographic journey with those that are following similar paths. Kevin was an avid photographer in New Orleans years ago, even so much as doing the weekend art markets around town and doing well. Here is the full interview from our talk in early September of 2016.

Sept 29th New Orleans Photo Alliance Portfolio Share Happy Hour with, yours truly!

September 2, 2016

I am honored to have been asked by the New Orleans Photo Alliance to kick off their first Portfolio Share Happy Hour and Critique.

from the Alliance….

“We’re taking our portfolio sharing events in a different direction this month. NOPA member and professional photographer Zack Smith will host this event for photographers wishing to take their work to the next level.

Participants will present a body of work and Zack will address specific questions and concerns then lead the group in discussion of the work. This Happy Hour is intended for emerging professionals and experienced amateurs to get open and honest feedback from an Alliance Member with many years in the fine art, commercial, and photography education business.”

$25/members; $35/Gen. Public. Space is limited. CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP

But 1st…I have to say I have always been a sponge around other photographers…

Ever since I could remember picking up a camera, I was always asking questions about this SLR device I couldn’t seem to get away from. When I first began taking pictures with a serious passion, back in the fall of 1997, I would gravitate towards anyone making images. In the restaurant I worked as a senior in college, I sought out the photographer whose beautiful black and white still life photographs were hanging in the bar and asked him: “can you teach me how you made that print?”

…and once you convert your only bathroom to a darkroom you’re in deep

So after learning how to roll the film, process the film, mix chemicals and make a print – (whew!) I converted my bathroom into a darkroom and began experimenting. (AKA wasting money learning)

I assisted photographers for MAXIM, NIKE, NBA, commercials, movies and anything I could grab a light or a C-stand and be a sponge. My life changed forever when I was hired to work with the great portrait photographer Herman Leonard in New Orleans. As his studio and field assistant I did everything: loaded film, unloaded film, carried lights and set them up, learned about gels, grids, and how to roll cable. I learned how to be human, and listen, and still be creative behind the camera…

What I am getting at is that at this point in my careers after teaching for 12+ years and mentoring other photographers and creatives I STILL LEARN from looking at photographs and talking with photographers. I love looking at work and critiquing, challenging, and asking the hard questions of the artist to help them grow.

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