Zack Arias – Photography Q&A – The Book

Zack has a new book out Photography Q&A. Probably not your conventional photography guide, but a compilation of around 100 of the best questions from his great Photography Q&A tumblr blog where he has already answered over 1200 questions.

Zack Arias Photography Q&A

No doubt the book will be just as entertaining, but also whole lot more informative and enjoyable to read through with great images now included, and more detailed explanations, as well as guides to the gear etc used.

Zack Arias Photography Q&A


I’ve always been a big fan of Zack’s work. He just has a great eye, and a no nonsense way of explaining why images are working or not.

If you may not be familiar, Zack Arias was the original One Light man, and for a number of years his lighting kit consisted of just a 60″ umbrella, lightstand, and a Sunpak 120J barebulb speedlight. Zack went on to do the popular One light Workshops with the same emphasis on keeping the lighting simple (but often with powerful results). There is a wealth of great information on Zack’s blog, one of the most popular articles I often refer people to is the excellent series of white seamless tutorials.

Zack was also a campaigner to bring back the 120J barebulb speedlight, which has finally been resurrected to a large degree in the recent CL-180 Cheetah Light. And lets face it, much better now than the 120J ever was.


Looking at examples of Zack’s lighting kit now we still see the same simplicity. And note he’s not afraid to use the inexpensive YongNuo YN-560 II manual speedlites often discussed here. Affectionately referred to as the “Kung Pao” 560 !

The YN-560 II flashes are currently avaialble for a ridiculously low $59 Amazon Fullfilled, and are now the No.1 best selling speedlite on Amazon. The later YN-560 III currently at $78 is still our hot tip though, as that has a built in radio receiver. But sooner or later its highly likely to have remote manual power control also enabled with a new transmitter unit (which is a huge advantage for the little extra price payed now).

Zack Arias Gear


The rest of the lighting kit shown –


Not shown above, but Zack also carries a short length of pipe (about at foot long) to be used as a handle, for hand holding the flash with swivel and umbrella attached.

This is the same reason I wanted to include a handle when designing the Multi Boom. The advantage here is you can make use of a second flash, instead of wasting extra weight holding an umbrella swivel attached. And also the flashes are nicely centered, making much better use of the full area of the umbrella.

I do also have a single flash mount for my own Multi Boom, and Phottix may hopefully also be making that available as an option.

Phottix Multi Boom

A piece of pipe is a pretty simple alternative for single flash use, but the Multi Boom won’t make officials and customs etc as nervous either !

Another interesting item seen there in Zack’s kit is the IR Infrared flash trigger. Now that he is using the Fuji X100s mirrorless camera which has a leaf shutter, its possible to sync at much higher sync speeds. But radio triggers add a little delay, so a wired connection or optic signal is faster, and therefore allows higher shutter speeds. The IR flash trigger is a bit of a throw back in time, and basically what all the radio based triggers seen here are designed to improve upon, at least as far as reliability and line of sight restrictions go. But this is currently a wireless solution with the Fuji, and most manual flashes which have a basic optic slave built in (YN-560 II / III).

When the the IR trigger is not practical a wired connection is needed instead (if you want to retain the high sync speeds). And a simple and reliable way of achieving that is using a long TTL cord. TTL is not needed, but the TTL cord attaches directly to the camera hotshoe, and its much more solid and reliable than many fragile PC sync cords, So the TTL cords make a good alternative option.

Of course a lot of time even with the X100s, you may not need the higher sync speeds, so that why a YN-560 III with built in radio receiver is still a preferable option to have, as a simple RF-602 transmitter provides a reliable radio bases transmitter unit with 100m or so range.


Zack Arias Photography Q&A is available for $17.45 from Amazon.

This ones in my cart now. If you appreciate Zack’s work help him out with a review on Amazon.

Zack can also be seen at Gulf Photo Plus in London – with the appropriately titled “Gear Hacking” seminar. 

Zack Arias Photography Q&A

  1. heiney 8 years ago

    I am about half way through Zack’s book right now, really enjoying it, highly recommended.

    Now for a newbie question, how does the built in radio receiver on the YN-560 III work? I am a Rebel Without a Clue shooter w/ Phottix Odins, could I use the Kung Pao?

    Thanks in advance Flash Havoc…

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 8 years ago

      Hi Heiney,

      The built in receiver in the YN-560 III is only RF-602 and RF-603 radio trigger compatible. So its going to be a bit tricky with the Odin, as you need a second (RF-602 etc) transmitter on the camera. That’s easy if the first transmitter has a pass through hotshoe, but the Odin doesn’t. So you basically have 3 choices to still use the built in YN-560 III radio receivers –

      – Connect the RF-602 Transmitter (TX) to the cameras PC sync port (if it has one)
      – Put the RF-602 TX on an Odin receiver
      – Possibly use a Phottix Dual TTL cord with Odin TX on one end and RF-602 TX on the other

      If you forget the radio triggers for now, you can use the basic optic wireless slave built into the flashes in S2 mode (with the Odin used in Manual). In which case you could get by with the YN-560 II.

      The other most likely option would be to use extra manual Strato II receivers with the Odin transmitter. Again in which case you could get by with the YN-560 II.

      So it can be a little tricky mixing in the Kung Pao III. We don’t know yet if the new YN transmitter unit will work off camera (like a TV remote) to change power levels. In which case triggering the flash could be done separately (as the Cheetah flash does).

      The best option would be more Odin receivers and Mitros flashes 🙂 Thanks.

      • heiney 8 years ago

        Thank you so much for the detailed reply, I really appreciate your time and expertise.

        Odin/Mitros works for me, great products, thanks again….

  2. ALFONSO A TOBAR 8 years ago

    Fair’ nuff! You and many other users/ photographers seem to have a strong case YOUNGNUOphobia AND you did NOT enlisted YOUNGNUO Flash. WHY? YONGNUO produces good quality flash units and other affordable photo accessories. Allow the users choose and judge the quality of products too. To be biased and unethical has never ever been good for anyone. Be subjective in the art of photography BUT please be also objective with camera equipment and photo gear! Thank you.

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 8 years ago

      Hi Alfonso,

      It may be a language barrier, but I have no idea what you’re referring to. If anything the post was the opposite of what you seem to be saying. Thanks.

      • ALFONSO A TOBAR 8 years ago

        No language barrier at all. But thank you anyway!

        • Author
          Flash Havoc 8 years ago

          Hi Alfonso,

          I still have no idea what you meant then.

          Quote” you did NOT enlisted YOUNGNUO Flash. WHY?”

          I listed and linked to the the YN-560 II and YN-560 III numerous times in that post. I’ve discussed YongNuo products countless times on this site. I don’t understand how you could possibly be missing all this.

          Your comments just don’t make any sense. Otherwise they would be quite offensive to be honest. Thanks.

  3. ALFONSO A TOBAR 8 years ago

    May I ask why do you refer to YONGNUO YN-560 III Flash unit as “Kung Pao III?

    • Earle 8 years ago

      Alfonso … I can answer this. Arias refers to the Yongnuo flashes as “Kung Pao” hence the rationale that the YN-560 III would be the Kung Pao III.

      Get the Arias book if you value an enjoyable read presented in an easy to digest format.

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