Zack Arias in Marrakech with the X-T1… and a few tips and tricks for street photography


Zack Arias spent three days in Marrakech, Morocco with the FujiFilm X-T1 and shared a few tips and tricks on getting the best out of your camera for street photography. All still images are from the Fujifilm X-T1 using the following lenses: The new XF 10-24, 27mm F2.8 Pancake lens, the 23mm F1.4 lens.”

So that’s the travel kit of Zack Arias: X-T1 + the 10-24mm, the 27mm and the 23mm. And what would be your choice? Keep up voting the poll.

Between an X-Pro2 and X-E3 I'd buy...

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  • Evil Ted

    Nice pics but I don’t like either technique you are advocating. Sneaky pics make you look cheap (or scared) and “camping” isn’t really street photography because you are setting the stage and therefore influencing the scene…

    • Franky

      Did you already go too Marrakech to say this kind of words? He made it very clearly: Culture does not allow too take images of people ! I went over there too know how difficult it is !

      • MakoyX

        Try it here in the UAE and you will see how the people react when they caught you taking their pictures and you and up in jail.

      • Richard

        I did not really enjoy trying to capture some scenes in Marrakech, I came back with very few images. It is culturally unacceptable, although you can ask people (with a fee). But even then, there is so much poverty right in your face, it just doesn’t make you feel great. It would be nice to revisit one day though.

      • Evil Ted

        If it’s culturally unacceptable, he should accept the culture of the country.
        Sneaking shots when he knew this to be the case is even worse, sorry…

    • Berglenerf

      With “camping” He’s not really setting the scene that scene was already sort of there so how is he influencing it? He just found a place he liked the look of and waited for something interesting to happen. Many many many street photographers do that.

      It’s not a technique I really love, but it is pretty accepted.

      • Evil Ted

        I don’t know if it’s accepted any more than digitally manipulating images beyond recognition.

        There are days off plenty and days of nothing.
        Any street photographer who has pounded the streets knows this too well.
        Baiting a trap and waiting is not the same is hunting ;)

    • Hal

      There isn’t really much left then, when it’s not ok making yourself visible nor trying to be candid? What kind of street photography technique would you prefer?

    • Aunt Sally

      The problem here is the desire to pigeon hole everything into a genre. It’s human nature but it is also very counter-productive. Once you say it is street photography there is instantly a ton of rules baggage you assign to the photos. “I don’t see any tarmac, this isn’t street” etc.

      Would you prefer people shoot nothing rather than to take shots in which they are visible? Some of the greatest “street” photographers out there (William Klein for an obvious example) interact as they take photos all the time.

      For the record I don’t like Zac’s non-studio work very much at all, but the reasons are different than “streetog” dogma.

      • Evil Ted

        I’m on a ton of Facebook street photography groups.
        The interaction with people I’m OK with but you lose the candid nature and head more into portraiture. Klein is a master and his style is not one that many can copy…

        My main gripe is with camping. There seems to be an over abundance of this technique, that and mirror reflections in pools of water. It’s not creative to me.
        Its boring.

        There are some people who come back to a scene day after day shooting the same thing until they are happy.
        Is that really in the spirit of the genre?
        I feel bad if it is…

        There are some truly amazing street photographers out there.
        I think they are spontaneous (at least I’d hope they are).
        With camping, your hit rate goes up tremendously, because like a spider waiting for a fly, sooner or later, one will come.

        This may be art, but it’s not street photography.
        When you don’t rely on camping and you get a truly spontaneous “god shot”, maybe you’ll understand better…

  • Pantechnicon

    Fuji’s approach wins points from me: this is how the camera works in the field.

    No need to mention how many hours were spent ‘polishing the body during production’ when the images are that good.

  • noob

    anyone know his flash setup? i’m new to this and trying to figure out what’d work for x100s.

    • Skydawg

      He is using pocketwizards to trigger his off camera flash. He’s a manual flash guy, so no ttl for him.

    • Pantechnicon


      You might be interested in this:

      After the ‘camera walks into a bar’ section, he writes about how he used an X100s and OCF to photograph promo portraits.

      I enjoyed reading the article… but I really wish he had talked more about Apple – that improves any discussion.

      Arias also has [paid] training videos downloadable from

      I downloaded these: I thought they were priced fairly. (No, I’m not on commission).

    • Basics – you work in manual mode with off-camera flash.
      Step 1 – take photos for the ambient. You can see some shots he did in daylight yet they look like they were taken at sunset. Simple, use manual settings until you get the light level you want (in this case it was underexposed about 2 stops).

      Step 2- Add flash, find a way to trigger. Outdoors, daylight, best use radio triggers. Adjust the power of the flash until you have a good exposure.

      The x100s is great because it’s not limited to the slow sync speed of other Fuji cameras. This means you can capture fast action better, and manipulate ambient light levels using shutter speed (up to 1/500). However, if there is too much light, you need to increase aperture until you get the amount of ambient you want to mix in.

  • marco

    what an ethic for a photographer :/

  • EJPB

    Interesting, but I’m not immediately a fan of Arias. Like a few other X-photographers they owe a part of their business to Fuji. I know also Canon and Nikon are playing this game. Not to discuss Leica, they have almost made a religion out of it. I appreciate those not stuck to a camera brand and burried in a ‘one logo fits all’ kind approach, understanding pictures are 99% about creativity and 1% about gear. That applies to a lot of this street-stuff the ones that truly made an art out of it are not on every corner of the street.

    • That’s the silliest thing I’ve read. Seriously? Zack Arias owes his success to himself, not Fuji. In fact, for a company to approach you for a marketing deal you already have to have a successful business. And most companies would approach you if you already use their gear (though there are exceptions, especially with new product launches).

      • EJPB

        You didn’t read very well what I wrote – part of his success. The fact that he slips into this forum, and a lot of other Fuji-related blogging, tells enough. The fact that he needs for his own hype stories ten times the word Fuji also. In this world nothing ever happens for nothing or you’re very naive. But in photography, whether a picture is made using a MF, DSLR, any MLIC in the market or Fuji is completely irrelevant, there is nothing silly about that except for the gear heads.

        • Pantechnicon

          Are we to gather that you run a totally unbiased, non brand referencing blog?

          • tim

            So long that when he gets dragged away from his blog to do photo shoots and promotional videos and participate in vendor meetings … several times a year … for a fee and at a huge cost to his hosts … he remains totally unbiased.

            Who can have a problem with that ;-)

    • cppguy16

      He was a living legend way before Fuji had any serious digital camera. He became famous for his top notch studio shots, using the lowest quality scrap gear, and teaching others how to do it with his DVD and workshops. He built a successful business from literally nothing. He’s an educator who answered a 1000 photography questions for free to share his knowledge.

      • Arnold Newman

        I have nothing against Zack though I think “living legend” is a massive overstatement. He is a decent photographer and seems like a nice, thoughtful guy. Kelby put him on the map with a guest blog post years ago.

    • Qamuuqin

      I don’t understand your point. Yes, Zack owes a part of his success to Fuji, but Fuji owes some of theirs to industry personalities such as Arias, Hobby, and Stephani, just to name a few. Companies such as Leica, Sony, and Olympus have been successful with people such as Eric Kim, Steve Huff, and Ming Thein, to name a few more. Photography never has been, nor will it ever be, *only* about art—it is also recreation, business, science, etc; that is to say, not every photographer is trying to “truly [make] an art out of it.”

  • CoolVid

    Wow, amazing video, excellent images help bring this video and the people of Morocco alive. Well done!

  • Brad Husick

    This is the most helpful set of street photography tips I have encountered in years! Thank you Zack!

  • diforbes

    I wish he had talked about the lenses he used as well as the flash set up. BTW, which bag he is using?

    • Stephane Jemelin

      Must be the think tank retrospective 5

      • Fly Moon

        It might be retrospective 7!

  • davidqmoser

    Yes, living legend is a bit much. But Fuji found him, because he put himself out there sharing information. He comes from a good place, and while not yet an amazing photographer, he’s earned his reputation and good living through hard work, being open and being truthful. Props to Zack.

  • Fly Moon

    Thanks Zack for a great video and tips. One of the best I’ve seen. The music and the video are awesome. Thanks Admin for sharing.

  • Peter

    At 6.04, new Fujifilm camera? Does not look like a X100S, right?

    • ddayan

      it’s the instax mini 90

  • Steve

    Inspirational. Stunning photography, video, thoughts and reflections. I just came back from Morocco (at Easter), hiking in the Atlas with a few days also in Marrakech – wish i’d seen this before I went!

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