Imagine It, Then Capture It: Creating on the Spot with the Z 9


© Jerry Ghionis

Z 9 BTS – The remarkably accomplished photographer Jerry Ghionis takes you behind the scenes of one of the best weeks of his photographic life. It seems it has something to do with a certain flagship mirrorless camera. In a word, it’s an adventure.

It was obvious from the start that the Z 9, our 45.7-megapixel flagship mirrorless camera, would not only keep up with Jerry Ghionis’s imagination and ability to create on the spot, it could also challenge him to extend his reach.

Here’s the proof: Early on, in the behind-the-scenes video, in the clocktower set, after the tricky silhouette maneuver, Jerry says of the camera, “It grabbed focus, it grabbed the contrast. It actually knew what we were doing.”

We didn’t just keep up, we jumped ahead, and for Jerry and countless other photographers, it’s likely we’re now fueling ideas and providing capabilities that existed only in their imaginations, enabling creativity and confidence for and beyond their assignments. 

On the Job

Jerry’s assignment was a great one: Here’s the Z 9, now do what you do. Push the camera. Let’s see what you can dream up that’ll challenge its capabilities. 

Jerry was testing and discovering not only for us, but for himself. He’s a pragmatic shooter who wants to stay in control of the process, and he is not interested in technology for its own sake. "The camera makes many things possible,” he says, “but you still need a good driver.” He’s concerned with what works for his endeavors, which include weddings, portraits, fashion, performance and, lately, creating and directing music videos. 

© Jerry Ghionis

Z 9 – Music videos have become part of Jerry Ghionis’s photographic repertoire in the last year and a half. Locked Up on You is the fourth he’s directed with singer, performer and entertainer Ashlie Amber, and the first shot with the amazing Z 9, Nikon’s flagship mirrorless camera.

“One of my mantras is, if the magic is there, I capture it; if it's not there, I create it,” he says. “People have referred to me as the MacGyver of photography, in the sense that I walk into a room and see things and possibilities that other people don't see.” Observation, decision, control.

That suited us just fine, and it worked out well for him, too. His sense of discovery is obvious in the behind-the-scenes video. “Oh, we can do this now?” is unsaid, but the realization is prevalent: lightning speed of AF and reliability of tracking; high ISO performance; high-speed shooting at mind-blowing frame rates; dead-on Eye AF under conditions that once would have seemed impossible. 

It was one rabbit after another out of the hat. 

The Z 9 has opened the door to more freedom, more fun, more efficiency and more confidence.

The Confidence Curve

If you sense, while watching the behind-the-scenes video, that Jerry has moments of “I can’t believe what this camera is doing,” it’s not your imagination. “I’m not used to allowing the camera to do the heavy lifting,” he says. “I’m used to focusing, recomposing and shooting—selecting a single focus point—but as I’ve been photographing performers, it was, all right, let’s see how I can make the AF features work for capturing peak performance."

It wasn’t long before he had the confidence to turn the lifting over to the Z 9. Then he pushed further, going out of his way to create deliberate challenges. “I wanted to see what its limits were, so I didn’t play it safe for any test.” He came up with situations and scenes to push the AF system, frame advance and Eye AF. Setting up situations to deliberately pass tests would defeat not only our purpose, but his. He wanted to know if he could depend on the camera to consistently perform its magic. The lifting had to be not only heavy, it had to be imaginative and practical, all at the same time. And time after time, it was all of that and more—more “Oh, we can do this now?” 

“I was a good candidate for the assignment,” Jerry says, “because I’ve never really totally relied on a camera for all its features. To go from what I normally do to what this camera is capable of was a huge step. Basically the Z 9 has opened the door to more freedom, more fun, more efficiency and probably most important, more confidence.” 

You can view Jerry’s wedding photography at

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Widely regarded as one of the top five wedding photographers in the world, Jerry Ghionis’ theatrical and iconic images have redefined modern wedding photography. Jerry's style can be described where vintage glamor meets contemporary fashion. Jerry’s most recent passion is the creation of his non-profit charitable organization named The Soul Society ( View his work on his website at and at his ambassador page.

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