Olympia Brass Band leads the opening parade to begin French Quarter Fest 2018. ©ZSP Olympia Brass Band leads the opening parade to begin French Quarter Fest 2018. ©ZSP

French Quarter Fest Photo Gallery is Personal…

Wow what a year at French Quarter Fest 2018. Three amazing and beautiful days could not be overshadowed by one nasty, wet, and windy one. The festival ended up cancelling Saturday’s event, but we succeeded in still finding the magic during 3 days instead of 4. You might notice less images this year but the energy and moments are still evident.

Even though I am putting in over 10 miles walking per day for my client, French Quarter Festivals Inc, I always have one of those feet pointed toward my art. In order to capture the essence of an event such as French Quarter Fest, I have to be constantly scanning the streets of the French Quarter and looking everyone in the eye for that magic moment that is ABOUT to happen. I can’t be satisfied with what is happening, because by the time the shutter clicks that moment has left the world. I have to anticipate. 

 Louis Michot of the Lost Bayou Ramblers performs on Day 1 of French Quarter Fest. ©ZSP Louis Michot of the Lost Bayou Ramblers performs on Day 1 of French Quarter Fest. ©ZSP

The compositions I find are actually years in the making. It takes years to understand and anticipate light, backgrounds, and personalities. I take great comfort in knowing I will  never perfect it and every day is an adventure trying to chase…that….one….shot. I hope you enjoy my 2018 French Quarter Fest Gallery and join the chase with me…

 Olympia Brass Band leads the opening parade to begin French Quarter Fest 2018. ©ZSP Olympia Brass Band leads the opening parade to begin French Quarter Fest 2018. ©ZSP  My friend and yours, the amazing Joseph Lastie Jr. on snare drum. ©ZSP My friend and yours, the amazing Joseph Lastie Jr. on snare drum. ©ZSP  Nathan Williams and the Zydeco Cha Cha Nathan Williams and the Zydeco Cha Cha’s perform on the opening day of FQF2018. ©ZSP

I mostly use natural light to document a festival but there are times I need strobes to fill in shadows and equalize the overall exposure of an image. In the image above, and most from the Cajun/Zydeco stage, I utilize two mounted Paul C. Buff 1600 Alien Bees with reflectors. I am able to secure them with grip mounts to the poles on the stage truss. Using a Pocketwizard PlusX system I am fire them off on stage, and even when I am far from the performer giving me a great backlight!

 Sweet Crude pose for a quick group shot backstage after their performance. ©ZSP Sweet Crude pose for a quick group shot backstage after their performance. ©ZSP  Alexis Marceaux of Sweet Crude perform on opening day of French Quarter Fest 2018. ©ZSP Alexis Marceaux of Sweet Crude perform on opening day of French Quarter Fest 2018. ©ZSP  Nathan Williams and the Zydeco Cha Cha Nathan Williams and the Zydeco Cha Cha’s at FQF 2018. ©Zack Smith Photography  Lost Bayou Ramblers perform at French Quarter Fest 2018. ©ZSP Lost Bayou Ramblers perform at French Quarter Fest 2018. ©ZSP  Lost Bayou Ramblers pose for our annual family photo with crowd at FQF2018. ©ZSP Lost Bayou Ramblers pose for our annual family photo with crowd at FQF2018. ©ZSP  Grammy Winning Louisiana artists: Andre Michot, Chubby Carrier, Louis Michot. ©ZSP2018 Grammy Winning Louisiana artists: Andre Michot, Chubby Carrier, Louis Michot. ©ZSP2018

 A MUST SEE set at French Quarter Fest each year: Mario Abney at Royal Sonesta. A MUST SEE set at French Quarter Fest each year: Mario Abney at Royal Sonesta.  John John “Spidey 504” Sanpietro performs with the Red Hot Brass Band at French Quarter Fest 2018.  Big Queen Laurie and Wild Man Smoke of the Red Cheyenne, FQF 2018. ©Zack Smith Big Queen Laurie and Wild Man Smoke of the Red Cheyenne, FQF 2018. ©Zack Smith  Corey Mack puts down a mean show on Decatur St. - this blew my MIND! http://coreymack.us/ Corey Mack puts down a mean show on Decatur St. – this blew my MIND! http://coreymack.us/  Sean Ardoin putting on another high energy positive Zydeco show! Sean Ardoin putting on another high energy positive Zydeco show!  Garden District Jazz Band and French Quarter Fest 2018. ©Zack Smith Photography Garden District Jazz Band and French Quarter Fest 2018. ©Zack Smith Photography

So you might see alot of light that appears “not” natural and you are right, it isn’t. At festivals I usually have an assistant with me holding a Paul C. Buff strobe with a battery pack attached. This year my assistant, photographer/musician Chet Overall, had a 1600 White Lightning, Vagabond Battery, and a Beauty Dish on a stand and we used this when I shot street work. Having the added light to fill in shadows and create contrast really help solidify my style and vision.

 Storyville String Band with Seva Venet at Preservation Hall. ©ZSP Storyville String Band with Seva Venet at Preservation Hall. ©ZSP  NOCCA Jazz Ensemble bassist at French Quarter Fest 2018. ©Zack Smith Photography NOCCA Jazz Ensemble bassist at French Quarter Fest 2018. ©Zack Smith Photography  NOCCA student musicians David and Diji after their French Quarter Fest 2018 performance. NOCCA student musicians David and Diji after their French Quarter Fest 2018 performance.  Paul Sanchez poses with the Film Fest poster promoting his film; Nine Lives. Paul Sanchez poses with the Film Fest poster promoting his film; Nine Lives.  I would definitely buy life insurance from Kevin, but maybe not a tattoo... I would definitely buy life insurance from Kevin, but maybe not a tattoo…  A young fan holds sheet music for Charlie Halloran that was blowing in the wind. ©Zack Smith Photography A young fan holds sheet music for Charlie Halloran that was blowing in the wind. ©Zack Smith Photography  My assistant Chet Overall says My assistant Chet Overall says “dude look at that light” – and he was right. Soft sun reflections from the Federal Courthouse struck this fest goer just right…  Dancing in the Dusk at French Quarter always saves the last dance...for you. Dancing in the Dusk at French Quarter always saves the last dance…for you.

Want to see More Festival Photography?

GO HERE for my 2017 BEST OF FRENCH QUARTER FEST

GO HERE for Best of SATCHMO FEST 2016