From The Workbook Blog

Zave Smith Joins Workbook, Lands a Photo Shoot Within 3 Hours

Posted by Workbook on 03/06/2012 — Filed under: Features, Headline, Interviews, Photography

Zave Smith is a brand new Workbook Photographer. He just created his portfolio last week and saw positive results pretty quickly…

So you really landed a photo shoot within hours of setting up your portfolio?

My portfolio became active at 7:00 p.m. last Tuesday, and at 9:30 I received an email inquiry from an ad agency in central New Jersey. The art buyer said she saw my portfolio and wanted to talk with me about shooting a series of portraits of their staff. This just happened last week so we are still working out the details on this assignment. Right after I received that inquiry, feeling very lucky, I drove over to the Chester Casino and put all of my savings on black. I really need that gig right now.

What are 5 words that sum up your style as a photographer?

My clients say they are attracted to my sense of color and my ability to create images that while usually highly produced, feel very authentic. Recently a producer I work with said to me, “Zave, your set is your playground and your camera is your toy”. My images tend to make people laugh, smile, or evoke a sense of humanity. Clients also appreciate how much joy we bring to their projects. We are often told that our shoots are the most smoothly run shoots they have ever been on.

What projects are you currently working on?

Well, I am writing these responses from a U.S. Air flight to Florida. We will be shooting both stills and video for a maker of hospital equipment. Yesterday we were shooting two Olympic athletes for a communications company, and next week we are creating portraits of patients for a pharmaceutical campaign. In November, we spent a week shooting both stills and video for an image library for the City of New Orleans Department of Tourism. On the personal side, I have been working with a new model creating a series of false portraits.

What’s the most interesting shoot you’ve ever been on?

That is a hard one. Most of our projects tend to be interesting. Each one has its unique pleasures and challenges. I do love shooting in New Orleans. I have been there about a dozen times since Katrina, and I have gotten to know the people there very well. My client even got me to go Zydeco dancing after the last shoot.

What are the best and worst parts about being a photographer?

The best part of being a photographer is meeting and working with a ton of wonderful, creative and fun people. I love the fact that each day tends to be different. The hard part is running the business and keeping the sales and marketing machine going. Did somebody say “cash flow”?

If you could photograph any person (dead or alive), who would it be?

I would have loved to photograph Steve Jobs and would love to photograph Meryl Streep. Elie Wiesel has a very interesting face. Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, and Tom Waits would also be fun. I have been thinking of setting up portrait booths at various travel destinations, like on the steps of the Museum of Modern Art in New York and at Old Faithful, and doing a series of portraits of whoever shows up. These would be in the style of my New York and Philadelphia Portrait projects.

How do you feel about the current trend of photographers expanding into motion?

I am shooting motion and loving it. I will love it even more once I figure out what I am doing.

Are you using social networking to increase your visibility? If so, how?

I really enjoy hanging out in the social media sphere. I post one or two images a week on various blogs and on Facebook. In some ways I use it to test market new work. I can post a new image and see if people react. Social media done right helps keep me first in mind with clients when projects come up.

If you could change one thing about the way commercial assignment photography is rewarded today, what would it be?

I have been at the commercial game for twenty years. Honestly, the business side has always been a challenge. I remember reading a biography of Michelangelo a couple of years ago. What struck me was how much he complained about the Pope not understanding his work, not respecting his creativity, and trying to dictate what he should be including in his paintings. He also complained about the low pay, hard work, and how the Church was slow to pay him what he considered the meager amounts he was earning. Has anything changed since his time? I do not feel it is that much harder now than it has always been.

One difference I have seen in the last twenty years is that with all our methods of communication it is harder to see, talk with, or touch people. Nobody has the time. Nobody answers his or her phone. We have to use all our marketing tools instead of just a select few. In this day and age a good agent like wswcreative and an aggressive marketing campaign like Workbook’s are even more essential.

Is there any particular era or time period in history that has had the greatest influence on your work?

I am a reader. I watch a lot of film, I have over 4,000 albums in my music collection and I spend time in museums. I take ideas from where ever I can find them. Often the best ideas come from just overhearing a casual remark while walking down the street.

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About Zave Smith

Commercial Photography for Advertising.
This entry was posted in advertising, Art, Commercial Photography, Creativity, digital photography, lifestyle photography, Photography., Seeing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to From The Workbook Blog

  1. Nae's Nest says:

    Reblogged this on Nae's Nest and commented:
    This is another photo I have found today, that tells me a story

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