Guest Article: Maureen Roy Talks About Her Experience with Zack Arias

It was just over a year after graduating from RMSP’s  Summer Intensive (SI) in 2006 when I was given the opportunity to photograph the Missoula County United Way’s “Live United” capital campaign for the upcoming year.  My initial assignment gave way to a little bit of panic when I realized the enormity of the task at hand, an incredibly tight timeline, and the need to get it right the first time.  Talk about pressure!  After reviewing my class notes, doing some practice shots in my studio, and consulting with several of my SI group members, I was feeling confident, but still a bit nervous.  Then I got an email from one of my SI friends, advising me to check out zarias.com, who had posted a wonderful tutorial outlining how to shoot on a white seamless background.  Cue sound of angels singing HALLELUJAH!!!  Not only did I learn the versatility of shooting on a white background, but I also learned the story of this amazing photographer who has since become one of my idols.

Zack Arias* is not only a great photographer, he is a great person.  He has an amazing story of success, and loss, and resiliency, and reinvention.  When I am feeling down about my level of success in the photography world, I return to his story again and again for inspiration and the reminder of what is important to me.  Zack is a guy who made a blog post for a friend called “Transform” which cuts to the heart of the photographer, the joys and the angst, the struggle to make a living and provide for one’s kids while all the time remaining human.  Zack has heart.  He has soul.  He has chutzpah.  The day after he posted Tranform on his blog, he opened his front door to a door-to-door soap salesman.  He’s the guy who invited this gentleman in and listened to his story.  He posted his story on the blog and assisted with what must have been the largest sale of soap in one day in the history of the planet.  He’s a guy that doesn’t pull punches, that challenges you on multiple levels, but most of all wants you to succeed as a photographer.  As my dad would say, “Zack is a good egg”.

I would have to admit that I’m a bit of a Zack Arias junkie.  I studied his One Light video DVD.  I attended his 3-day seminar on Chase Jarvis’ creativeLIVE.com.  I read his blog religiously.  So when I received an email from a fellow RMSP student (to whom I also introduced Zack), I was ECSTATIC to hear that he was coming for a WHOLE WEEK to Missoula!  I didn’t hesitate to call and register, and I’m already counting the days until he arrives.

Oh…about that shoot.  I pulled off shooting ten people in six hours, edited the photos in two days and got them back to the client so banners could be printed two weeks later.  Every time those banners hang on Higgins Avenue, I swell with pride, not only because it was such an accomplishment for me, but because of the work that went into learning how to shoot with that kind of confidence.  If you haven’t yet been introduced to Zack, check out his website and his blog, and then register as soon as you can.  You won’t be disappointed.  You’ll learn a lot about photography.  And you’ll learn a lot about yourself.  Strap yourself in for a fantastic ride.  You’ll be glad you did.

*Zack Arias will be isntructing for RMSP’s Light it Up! workshop taking place August 27-September 2, 2011.