Spotlight Interview … Photographer Maayan Ziv

JRP: She is said to exhibit talent beyond her years but what Maayan Ziv also possesses is a commitment to her photography that can only be admired. Thank you Maayan for sharing your thoughts and images with JRP Blog.

Maayan Ziv: Thanks for having me!

JRP: Where is home for you Maayan?

Maayan Ziv: I’m originally from Richmond Hill, Ontario and now I’m living in Toronto.

JRP: How did you get your start in photography? Is there any formal training in your background?

Maayan Ziv: No formal training at all. I actually didn’t know anything about photography until I started taking pictures four years ago. I started out on a little 3 megapixel camera and it just kind of “clicked” with me. I’ve been shooting ever since.

JRP: What motivates your photography and drives your creativity?

Maayan Ziv: I shoot because I love it and I’m inspired by people, that’s really what motivates me. I find people fascinating. I’m really interested in story telling and I find if you look closely enough you’ll find people are full stories. As a photographer it’s just about capturing that in a frame. I’m always hoping to catch that honest moment in my photographs. There’s always that one instance, even if it’s just for a second … I shoot for those moments of honesty.

JRP: You have a disability that would discourage most but you push past it. Could you tell us about that?

Maayan Ziv: I don’t really see it as something to “push past,” really for me its just part of my life. We’ve all got obstacles that can potentially get in the way of what we are after but I think it’s just about having enough drive and determination to work with what we’ve got and get creative. I love photography too much to let something like my disability get in the way. I actually see it as a challenge to be creative in the way I shoot. It’s good my disability pushes me to try new things with my photographs, keeps me from getting too comfortable.

JRP: When it comes to equipment what would I find in your camera bag and or studio for a typical shoot?

Maayan Ziv: I shoot with a Canon 5D Mark II and for lenses I’m pretty minimal, usually sticking with my 50mm. Weight is always an issue for me and I find the 50mm works really well for my shooting style. It’s super light and pretty versatile. Lately I’ve also been exploring 85mm fixed length, we’ll see where that takes me.

For lighting equipment, I’ve got a pair of Profoto D1s and then I switch up my modifiers depending on what I’m aiming for. I trigger my lights with the Profoto Air Remote. Perfect for me since I can change all my settings straight from camera.

JRP: Could you please describe your digital workflow and the software you use?

Maayan Ziv: I shoot everything RAW and usually straight to the card, haven’t done much tethering. I load my photos in Lightroom for minor adjustments and then into Photoshop for my main retouching. Once I’m done in Photoshop, I usually go back in to Lightroom for some final adjustments.

JRP: Do you ever print your images?

Maayan Ziv: To be honest, I haven’t really done much printing. I’m looking in to printing some of my work now though.

JRP: Can you break down one of your images and explain the lighting and any special concerns you had during the shoot?

Maayan Ziv: The body paint image I shot not too long ago always seems to be one people ask me about. It was a really fun shoot to do as I actually painted a lot of the subject myself! My lighting setup was pretty simple, as is how I usually do (and light) things; Lit with one gridded beauty dish above camera and a reflector. I didn’t really have any special concerns during the shoot, only that we might have a permanently black stained model … kidding … the paint came off fine! The final product came out pretty similarly to what I had envisioned, and overall it was a really fun shoot to do! I’ve got a behind the scenes look at the shoot on my youtube:

JRP: What are some new directions being taken by you in your photography?

Maayan Ziv: Lately I’ve taken an interest in fashion more. I’m drawn to images with narratives and character and I love that fashion has a way of inviting to you into a full story. I really like photographs like that. Maybe it has something to do with my theatre background.

I also really love street photography, especially in black and white. When I first started out I was shooting a lot of street stuff. Recently I’ve started a project where I aim to take and share one street photo a day. I’m calling it “StreetSnippets” and you can find the work on my tumblr, .

The project has been going strong for a bit over two months now, we’ll see how long I keep it up!

I’m also currently working on a few upcoming projects that are pretty exciting but not to be mentioned just yet. Such a tease, I know.

JRP: Would you share some of the best advice given to you by another photographer?

Maayan Ziv: I think the best advice I’ve ever been given actually comes from an old theatre teacher of mine. He’d always say “put the truth on stage” and I think it can really be applied to photography and all art in fact. As an artist I think it’s really important to be honest with yourself and look for that honesty in others and in moments you capture.

Keep things simple and aim for that truth. Whether you’re shooting documentary photography or constructing a highly produced fashion editorial, there’s always a truth in the moment. Those images that capture that truth, those are the truly remarkable ones.

JRP: What advice would you like to share with other photographers?

Maayan Ziv: Follow your heart and your passion. If you are truly passionate about what you shoot, and you stay true to that drive, there’s no stopping you! And again, keep things simple, there’s no need to over complicate things!

JRP: Thank you Maayan for sharing your thoughts and images with us. It has been a real pleasure and inspiration.

Maayan Ziv: Thanks so much for having me! Its been fun.

JRP: To view more of Maayan Ziv’s photography please follow these links:

Official website –

Blog –

Flickr –

Twitter –

Facebook –

StreetSnippets project –


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