Unfiltered Podcast: Feat. Travel Photographer Zach Fackrell
This is an excerpt from our new podcast series, Unfiltered, and has been edited for length and clarity.Instasize: Hey everybody, welcome to today's episode of the Unfiltered podcast. We're actually kind of lost in the woods right now, don't really know where we're at. We're kinda lost, but hopefully there's someone out here that can help us out. Just looking around. Oh my gosh, it's Zach Fackrell, what are the chances. What's up Zack?
Zach Fackrell: Hey, how's it going?
IS: Hey, we have some questions we want to ask you. I mean, would you be down, since we're both kind of like lost in the woods today?
So how did you get started doing this photography thing?
ZF: So, back in the day, took high school classes, photography stuff, but once I figured out that I could use photos to travel, I got pretty into it.
IS: Nice. Where has been your favorite place to travel so far?
ZF: Yeah, that's a good question. I feel like I'm an island kind of person. I like being alone, like isolated. So you got Fiji, Maldives, Tahiti, that kind of thing.
IS: Dang, I wish I could go to some of those places. That sounds so cool. Well, do you hike up in these mountains ever?
ZF: Oh, all the time. When I'm not traveling, I'm up in the mountains.
IS: All right Zach, thanks so much for taking us on this cool hike. I mean it's gorgeous up here. I mean, how often do you come up in the mountains and shoot?
ZF: I'm not here for the winter so much, but being outside during the spring and summer, what its all about.
Yeah, come here. Watch this. This place is called Stewart falls, just around the corner.
ZF: Now that it's summertime, a lot.
IS: That's awesome. Do you have a favorite thing to shoot? Do you prefer shooting people or landscape?
ZF: I'd say landscape.
IS: Really? Why?
ZF: Like I was saying, I got into photography to travel, and so seeing the world and different places makes me happiest actually. So I'd say landscape.
IS: Do you do hikes like this often?
ZF: Yeah. I'm from Sandy, a different canyon, but lots of waterfalls outside. So this is where I feel at home.
IS: Very cool. And Zack, you recently just got married.
ZF: I did.
IS: What's her... What's the lucky girl's name?
IS: Anna, what's the story with Anna? How did you meet her?
ZF: All right. So I met Anna on Instagram
ZF: I met Anna on Instagram. I had been following her for three or four years, playing the long game.
Followed her, liked all her stuff, never would comment, until one day she posted a video. Well no, no, sorry. She posted a picture, said she was in Salt Lake, and I was living in Salt Lake, and that's when I told her like, "Hey, come say hi next time, pizza emoji." Then like 10 weeks later, it was a long time later, she replied to me and was like, "Yeah, for sure." So then I DMed her.
I was like, "Okay, for real, let's go on a hike, let's have a tinfoil dinner, take photos of the canyon." And she was into it.
IS: No way. So ladies and gentlemen, I hope you all heard that on this Unfiltered podcast, patience really is a virtue.
So, let's get serious over here. The big debate between Lightroom and Photoshop, which one is your fav?
ZF: I say, for me, Lightroom, because I'm not so much into like retouching stuff or like changing things. Just nice azur filter or kind of touch up stuff. But being able to edit a lot of photos at once is why I like Lightroom.
IS: Awesome. Awesome. And then how long does it usually take you to edit a photo?
ZF: Honestly, not a long time. I got into like photo editing through mobile photography, back when Visco was a thing. The mobile applications now, I don't like editing on the computer. It's all about just the ease of access of the phone.
IS: So your wife also does social media, right?
IS: Do you guys ever... How has it been like transitioning from a solo traveler, a solo shooter, to now being with your wife?
ZF: It's awesome. It's so much better now, I would say. I mean, back in the day I would go on a lot of solo trips, had to be alone, traveling the world or whatever. But having Anna now, I get to bring her on my trips. And so having her angle and her eye, changes the way I see things, and so it's way better now.
IS: So Zach, what inspires your photography?
IS: So what's your biggest insecurity as a photographer?
ZF: That's a good question. I feel like there's gotta be a mix, it's a balance of trying to push myself as a photographer, trying to find new places and then also not letting what I think people will like or what will like perform well or whatever, dictate what I do. So I mean that's the struggle for anyone.
IS: So it looks like, have you done some humanitarian work? I was looking at your feed and it looks like you've gone and done some humanitarian stuff.
ZF: Yeah. Humanitarian stuff is really kind of where I'm trying to take things right now is, I kinda got into, I was really into like the travel and the tourism stuff, and the more experiential kind of thing and then I got into a corporate videography kind of outside of Instagram. Really into ret, like retreats or incentive programs, corporate travel.
IS: So, so cool. Is there like a specific project you're super passionate about right now?
ZF: Yeah, this fall I'm going to Africa, I'm going back to Ghana. So I went there a couple of years ago to document like surgical procedures in the operating room. They let me into the operating room, scrubbed up, just like over the doctor's shoulder. Like filming as he was fixing like a tumor on people's faces, cutting stuff, graphic content, but like being on those types of like video trips is what I really, really like.
IS: So tell me how you got started on Instagram then.
ZF: So like I had my Instagram, I was living, I served a mission in Uruguay and when I came back Instagram was a big thing. And so I had taken photography classes in high school. I liked photography, mostly video stuff, but there wasn't video on Instagram yet. So it kind of was like find a way to take photos with your phone. And that was before I was using DSLRs or whatever. Finding ways to share mobile photography became huge.
And then a company in New York picked me up like they wanted me to document these trips and I had made travel videos with my friends. We went on like a six week backpacking trip through Europe, went to all these different countries, entered some of their contests and they saw us taking travel content and like "we need someone that's willing to go on random trips, who wants to document it". So after that I went to Samoa, went to Iceland and the Faroe Islands went to Tanzania and that's the company that sent me to Patagonia. Kenya, went to Australia.
Cambodia. It was so fun that like turned my world around to like what photography could do for travel and I haven't looked back. It's been fun.
IS: So what are your plans for the future, Zach Fackrell?
ZF: You know, now that I'm married and that Anna can go on trips with me, it's really just finding ways to travel and have fun and use photography and video as a way to build our relationships and to see the world together. So finding meaningful like motivations to travel is what we're all about right now.
IS: Has there been anything awkward that has happened to you at a photo shoot?
ZF: Okay. My first ever video job was, I was hired or I did a trip for a dive company, scuba diving, went to Fiji. I had never been scuba diving before, wasn't certified. So disclaimer, you should be certified to go scuba diving. I had no idea what I was doing and I was trying to follow the crowd diving down below the water you know, and then my air ran out so I needed to go to the top and you're not supposed to just shoot up to the top or like your head will explode. But I did. So I just shot right to the top. All this blackness around my eyes, eyes went crossed, shot to the top. The Fijian boat man was just like, what are you doing? And I was too embarrassed to tell anybody that had no idea what I was doing, how to dive. So just took some tablet or something, laid on the boat and then we went shark diving the next day.
IS: What a story, what a story.
ZF: Just do whatever it takes, is my lesson to you.
IS: Besides that lesson, what is something you wish you would've learned earlier in life?
ZF: I was talking to Anna about this the other day and something that we've, I've come to realize she's helped me understand is don't put a, don't put a limit on yourself. You know, sometimes I guess you have the goals to get somewhere, be something and you think that that's the limit. That's like accomplishment, but don't set limits. You know, she taught me that. Instead of trying to like get someplace, it's don't set a limit and just do exactly what you want, have fun with it and know that you can be successful if you like follow your heart.
IS: That's really inspiring. Dream big and keep going for it
ZF: Yeah, exactly.
IS: So as far as like the coolest place you've been to in Utah, where's that?
ZF: Southern Utah. I grew up going camping a ton. So I would go with my dad, see the arches, we would go Moab, Zion, southern Utah for sure. Desert camping for like two weeks. No one around. Huge bonfires. Southern Utah.
IS: Very, very cool. And what's your advice for aspiring photographers and Instagram influencers out there?
ZF: Remember why you started. I mean, I would hope that you started from like an honest desire to express yourself or to see the world to gain a better appreciation. And don't forget that, you know, if you're inspired by traveling or people or cultures, use that inspiration, have that gratitude and then have action and go do things. Whether it's photography, video, food, fashion, but just go do it, you know?
IS: So I have a question. What makes a photo? Is it the editing? Is it the model? Is it the camera, is it the photographer? Like what makes a good photo?
ZF: The story behind it I would say, I mean just for a photo like for a photo to be effortless and you just, something captivates you when you see it. I love that feeling of just like, you can feel like you're in that moment because some photos can do a good job of like showing off a scene or depicting a landscape or someone's personality, but if it transports you to that moment and you can share what the photographer was trying to convey, that's a good photo in my book.
And obviously editing can play into that. Changing the moods of stuff is, is powerful. And if it makes it more true to what you felt or what you were seeing, then that's the power of editing. You know.
IS: I think that's really cool. Well, Zach, I think we're about out of time.
ZF: Oh, take another look real quick. I mean, there's a tree there, so.
IS: Maybe let's walk up a little around this corner, see if we can take another view.
ZF: I'm surprised you found me out here.
IS: I know, honestly, we were super lost. We were looking for you like maybe the possibility of doing an interview, like you've always been on our bucket list of interviews.
IS: So to have you in the for, oh my gosh, look at that view.
ZF: There it is.
That is incredible. And Zach, thank you so much for joining us today on the Unfiltered podcast. Everyone go follow Zach Fack @ZachFack.
ZF: Thank you. Thanks guys.
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