Category Archives: news


A fresh face

You’ve probably noticed that things look a bit different around here. Years ago I spent most of my time posting articles, images, and updates to the blog. In recent years that’s changed, I’ve spent much more time updating my Facebook page instead. Facebook is great, but by its very nature it limits the quality of the content.

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Guess the scene, win a bag.

I’m in Hollywood for a couple of days meeting with some clients. In the spirit of Hollywood I thought I’d have a little contest. A few years ago I was in a movie with Tom Cruise (yes, I really was). If you’re the first person to guess the movie and the scene you’ll win a cool PocketWizard bag.

This contest is being held on the blog and on Twitter. So I’ll give a bag to the first person who leaves the correct move/scene combo in the comments section as well as the first person who tweets the correct answer.

The bag holds two standard PocketWizards or Two Flex units and One Mini. It’s very cool.


Hint: “You had me at PocketWizard.”


And the winners are…

@wordslinger0044 was the first to guess correctly on Twitter and seraphicimago was the first to guess correctly in the comments section on the blog.

I was an extra in the movie Jerry Maguire. Many of the football scenes were filmed at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, AZ – just down the road from our first studio. I was in the end zone for many of the scenes and was later moved to a section by the 20 yard line. Although I was pretty close to the field I’m totally indistinguishable in the movie. In fact for most of the scenes everyone had cardboard people sitting between the real people in the seats. The entire upper deck of the stadium was cardboard people. It was pretty funny.

Congratulations to our winners. Your bags will be sent out soon.

Beauty and the Beast giveaway!

The Beauty and the Beast tour with Hanson Fong and John Woodward is just about to begin – and we’re giving away 2 tickets in every city on the tour!

Here’s how you win:

  1. Follow Mark on twitter: @jmarkwallace
  2. Post your best “beauty” or “beast” shot on your blog, website, or flickr.
  3. Send Mark (@jmarkwallace) a tweet with the link to your photo and the city where you’d like to attend the tour.
  4. Two winners will be selected for each city:
    1. One will be selected at random
    2. The other will be selected based on creativity. You can be creative with your photo, your blog entry, or your tweet. Tell us why you want to attend, show us how you’d benefit from the tour, or just do something amazing. It’s up to you.
  5. The winners will be announced on twitter. All winners will get a Direct Message from Mark.
    1. Winners for each city will be announced at least 15 days prior to that city’s tour date. That means Nashville people have a bit more time than Portland.

*Travel and hotel expenses are NOT included. We’ll get you in the door but you’ll need to pay for the trip.


If you want to learn how two top, award-winning photographers put their techniques, styles and tools to work you’re in luck. Hanson Fong, one of the premier portrait/wedding photographers in the country and one who holds the degrees of Master Photography and Photographic Craftsman, and John Woodward, voted Photographer of the Year in 2007 by the Professional Photographers of America are embarking on an eight-city tour of the U.S. Cities are:

  • Portland, OR: July 30
  • Boston, MA: August 10
  • New York, NY: August 13
  • Indianapolis, IN: September 14
  • Grand Rapids, MI: September 24
  • Houston, TX: September 28
  • Los Angeles, CA: October 1
  • Nashville, TN: October 5.

Hanson and John are both well-known speakers and educators in addition to being top shooters. Topics covered will include: compositional study, facial analysis, portrait, glamour and modified lighting, lighting ratios, metering techniques, posing family groups, “The Wheel of Self-Assessment,” digital and the power of RAW, color management and its importance, 10 basic poses, flow posing and more. Great stuff! Last year’s tour was without a doubt a hit with photographers all across the U.S.

In addition, the day will feature a mini-expo which will be open for one hour before and after the seminar, during breaks and lunch. Representatives from Mamiya, Sekonic, Profoto, Induro, PocketWizard, Tenba, X-Rite, Eizo, Toyo-View, Creative Light, Benro, Marathon Press, ACI/American Color, Nik Software, Denny Manufacturing, Luma Vue Arts and Graphic Authority will be on hand to demonstrate products and offer special discounts.

Visit for more information and online registration.

DVD series in pre-production

I’ve had many, many requests to offer my Studio Lighting 101 and Digital Photography 101 workshops on DVD. A lot of people just live to far away to attend the workshops. I’m happy to say that we are now in pre-production.

What does “pre-production” mean? Well, I have to translate everything that usually happens in a classroom and studio to a flat 2D screen. There is a lot of location scouting, creating storyboards, planning animations, research, and drinking coffee. Pre-production includes creating shooting schedules, finding local talent (models, camera operators, assistants), getting permits, etc. Oh – and did I mention writing?

The pre-production should be finished by the end of January with shooting starting in February. This is a large project and I estimate it will take about 6 weeks to shoot and edit. Once that’s done it takes another 3 weeks for Amazon to get all their ducks in a row (yes, it will be available on Amazon).

We’ll also need artwork for the DVD set which means I’ll be working with some graphic designers along the way. There may also be a workbook that accompanies the video so you can take notes and have a field manual when you are doing the exercises.

Yes, there are exercises for every lesson on the DVD and we’ll have a Flickr group so you can post your results and discuss them with others who have the DVDs.

Once the DVDs are finished I’ll be working on a teacher’s guide so that schools and photo clubs will be able to use the DVDs.

The first set of DVDs will be focused on basic photography – a translation of my 8-week course. That should be done by the end of March. Once that’s out the door I’ll be working on some studio lighting DVDs.

Along the way we’ll be posting behind-the-scenes photos and updates. We’ll also be posting new Digital Photography One on One videos – don’t worry.

This is going to be a big project and I’m looking forward to taking on the challenge. I’m sure it will be worth the effort when it’s all done.

2008 in review

We just have a few hours of 2008 left and I thought I’d take a moment to review the year from my perspective. 2008 brought some big changes to SnapFactory and 2009 looks like it’s going to be even more exciting. Here are a few of the hits and misses for 2008:

  • We moved in to our new, larger, studio. The new studio allowed us to improve our workshops and gave us a permanent home for our video projector. We added new furniture and finally got a real coffee bar.
  • Diane had a great year shooting for several magazines including Desert Living, Perfectify, and Runway. The 8-page spread in Runway is on store shelves right now.
  • I challenged myself with some architectural photography and was pleased that the photos ran full page in Phoenix Home & Garden Magazine.
  • Our entire web presence got an upgrade. We upgraded our blog, gave our website a facelift, and created a new easy-to-use enrollment system for our workshops.
  • We were able to make it out to New York City a few times where we were able to connect with some great clients, make some new friends, and check out some awesome galleries. We did not go to Paris this year. Boo.
  • Two of our workshops were cancelled due to lack of interest: Photoshop Basics and our screenwriting workshop. Darn recession!
  • Our new On-Camera Flash workshop sold out in record time and we had standing room only; two people had no chairs – sorry Jeff and Craig. The next round in February is nearly full already. Take that recession!
  • Diane launched Red Lion Photo, a company dedicated to her family and kids photography. Families all over America are loving the memories she captured. Her Christmas cards were a HUGE success. Way to go Diane!
  • We created 6 new episodes of Digital Photography One on One. Our series has now passed the 1 million view landmark. With over a million views we’ve had some very interesting comments on YouTube and other sites about our videos. To all the people who sent us great questions and gave us constructive feedback, thank you. To the few who did not like the videos – your refund check is in the mail.
  • Diane was able to invest a lot of time volunteering at the Arizona Humane Society. Many of the animals she photographed were adopted. Her tireless work has saved the lives of dozens of animals this year. She’s a real superhero.
  • I spent many hours talking to artists about a new way to use art to change the world. The Artists Group at SnapFactory was created and will launch in March 2009.

Wow, that’s a lot, and those are just the highlights. Thanks for being a part of our lives in 2008 and we look forward to many more years in the coming years.

A very special thanks goes out to a few people who went above and beyond to help us out this year. In no specific order thanks to: Erin Markis, Jeff Carolli, Craig Bolton, Daniel Anderson, Yasmin Besonia, Phil Bradon, Brandon Bohling, Matt Hill, Ray Vitiello, Ed Hidden, and Bill Crawford.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Fun in New York

We’re already back from our quick trip to New York City.  Diane already mentioned most of the good stuff but I wanted to mention a couple of things.

B&H Photo

One of the first things we did was make a quick trip to B&H to pick up some new gear.  But, as luck would have it, they were all out of stock on the things we wanted.  I ended up ordering the new stuff online and it should be here soon.  What are we doing with all of this new stuff??  Stay tuned and we’ll let you know soon enough.

Hanging out with Shelby Chan was a lot of fun.  He’s a great guy and we were honored that he took time out of his busy schedule to meet us.  If you haven’t seen his work make sure you take a look at his web site.  He has some very cool behind-the-scenes videos too.

The SoHo Photo Gallery

We were also able to spend some time at the SoHo Photo GalleryAnn Marie Rousseau was displaying some of her work and I really loved it.  She was at the gallery when we arrived but was just leaving, so we weren’t able to spend any time with her.  Hopefully next time.

The lower floor of the SoHo Photo Gallery.

The gallery has two floors and is a wonderful space.  Local photographers can become members and display their work.  They also show work from featured photographers throughout the year.  If you’re in New York make sure you stop by and see what’s happening at the gallery.

We are working to bring some workshops to other cities.  New York is on the list and we were able to do some leg work while we were in town to begin to make it a reality.  We’re also looking at bringing workshops to L.A., San Francisco, and Seattle.  For those of you in the middle of the country we’re looking at Denver but are open to additional options.  Please let us know if you’re interested.

Speaking of workshops my next Digital Photography 101 workshop begins tomorrow night.  We have a terrific group of students and I can’t wait to begin.  It’s always a blast.

New York City

© Copyright 2004 Mark Wallace/SnapFactory

We’re leaving early tomorrow morning for New York City.  We’ll be staying at the Westin New York at Times Square.  We plan to have a nice dinner and we have tickets to Wicked Friday night.  We also plan to hang out with Vince Vaughn at the Apple Store in SoHo and of course we’ll be spending some time at B&H Photo.

While we’re in town we’ll be shooting some stock photos and hitting a few galleries as well.  We also plan on having coffee with local NY photographer Shelby Chan.  We’ll also working on some things we can’t tell you about yet.  But stay tuned and we’ll let you know in a few weeks.

We’ll be taking lots of pictures and blogging as we go.  We’ll probably do most of our blogging via our iPhones while we’re on the road and then catch up with better photos and stories once we return.

One of the big goals of the trip is to pick up a few things we need to produce training DVDs that everyone is asking us for.  We’ll be playing with a some new toys at B&H to see what works best for us and then we’ll have those in AZ in a week or so.  If all goes well we should have some terrific training DVDs this fall.

The new video equipment also means faster production times and more Digital Photography 1on1 episodes.  We’re excited to move to the next phase of our video production.

Stay tuned.  I’ll blog from downtown New York tomorrow.