Photography Q&A by Zack Arias – Review

The following is a book review, of my now much used and battered copy of Photography Q&A, by Zack Arias, which I wrote back in September 2013. The original can be seen here on The Book Depository (with slightly wonky formatting which makes it hard to read, due presumably to something in their system). You’ll have to excuse the bad joke at the end. Also, obviously some things have changed – a year and a bit later and I do now shoot with lighting and I do spend part of my time as a portrait photographer. I wonder how that happened…

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Who’s this book for? Not me for sure. So, who’s this book for? Me, that’s for sure.

I’m not a professional photographer, and I’m not planning on being one. However, demographics aside, this book is brilliant. Fecking wicked.

Anyone with a middling to serious interest in any type of photography would, in most likelihood, find this book interesting (okay, not anyone – but let’s say, many).

The writing is personable and entertaining, and the advice is to the point and, most importantly, realistic and usable. Even if, like me, you are neither in nor entering the professional photography leagues, both the stories and the insights they provide about the industry are fascinating.

The technical / gear aspects are interesting too, even to an available light guy like me. The business and marketing / branding advice I think reaches outside the target demographic of this book too. If youre planning on starting your own pizza shop say, or a hair salon, or a coffee shop, or whatever, much of the advice within would be adaptable I think. While Arias doesn’t go into too much detail with these matters, he does give you the kernel that you can grab and run with (if you’ll excuse the mixed metaphors).

Another interesting thing about this book is that it is a great ‘inspirational / personal self help’ book. It doesn’t set out to do this, but it effectively does via much of the practical advice about how best to approach and deal with various situations that affect your self esteem (again, it’s that kernel and run thing). In case that puts some off, I’d note that if you don’t need it, then you don’t have to read it this way. Another cross demographic bonus with this book.

The only negative note I have is rather strange. The Q&A format has Arias answering various real world (as in, from real people) questions, and he addresses these questioners directly. However, even knowing this, you feel like he is talking to you. After the last question is answered, you turn the page to find that the conversation has ended, rather abruptly. There are some practical flow chart thingys following this, but it does kinda feel like he just got up and left the bar without saying goodbye. On the other hand, he did get every round.*

Can you please look at my pictures at http://www.ionlywrotethistogetattention.com **

* just in case that slipped through any cultural cracks  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Round_of_drinks

** again just in case – I jest

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