Bradley Cooper digs my work.

I was hired to photograph a movie premiere and blew Bradley away with clear direction, quick and efficient pace. I believe his words were,

'This obviously isn’t your first rodeo.'

Groomsmen, they remember me.
I was walking home, after finishing up a shoot, when a car full of groomsmen, from a wedding the night before, drove by and cheered my name. They insisted I attend the after party. I didn’t, but appreciated the love.

I’m a dog mom.
Our 7 year old German Shepherd, Dexter, is our house horse, my baby and my little king. And he knows it.

First photograph I ever printed was also my very first assignment in a high school photo class.

It was of the tree my cross-country team would meet at every day before practice. I've much improved both my photography and running since then. The print above scored a hot rockin' 73%.

Racing is in my blood.
My father came in first in a marathon when he was 18. I started completing marathons at 24. I love trails, mud and running in the rain. The smell of wet pavement reminds me of weekend road races and cross-country trails in the fall. I plan to run at least 1 marathon every 2 years till I can no longer walk.

My photography is part of New York's history.
In 2011, while on assignment for a local newsweekly, I captured the first same sex marriages performed in New York State at Albany City Hall. That day, I also took a few photos for a sweet couple who didn’t have a wedding photographer. We’ve been friends ever since.

I’m Russian-American.

My mother and I moved to the United States on April 1, 1992. We left behind most of our belongings, including family photos. I snuck back into the country to retrieve them from my grandmother in 2007. Shhhh!!!

I have a slight obsession with MIT.

Ever since Good Will Hunting (one of my all time favorite movies) I've loved the idea of going to school at MIT. I've been able to make that dream a reality by taking some of their online classes offered via MIT OpenCourseware. Not only are they trailblazers of tech and science, they are also pioneers of free online education.

CoachArt has a piece of my heart.

I started volunteering with CoachArt because I fell in love with the organization while working at last year's Children's Benefit in San Francisco as a vendor. A few months later, at volunteer training we did an exercise about "What art means to you?" and I made the very classy drawing below (I don't have a B.A. in Fine Arts for nothing! Clearly :)). By sharing my love of art, I get to connect with people and give a piece of my heart to help enrich their lives through our time together. Beautiful, meaningful and memorable - that's the key to the work I want to bring into this world. Plus, I'm working on raising $37,000 by 4/1/17. Learn more about my photo adventures in volunteering with Samantha on my JZ CoachArt Photo Fundraiser Page.

Ryan. He and I both knew.

We've been together ever since 2007 when we met at a friend's birthday party. And now we're engaged. It's that simple.

Music, serendipity + love.

I met Ryan through a mutual friend who worked in the music industry. This part of my career lasted 9 glorious years. The experience sharpened my eye for perfect lighting, energy, and the ability to capture truly unique visceral moments on and back stage. And let me tell you, it wasn't always smooth sailing - there were crowds, mud, downpours, big scary security guys...Yet, worth every minute. Check out more of that work at

Long term musical relationship.
Back in college, I fell in love with Jason Mraz' music. Since then, I've been lucky enough to capture his live and private performances several times while on assignment.

W Magazine + Barbara Kruger:
W is my most favorite travel companion on long flights. Its badass photography + fashion editorials, + the large format layout makes the graphic designer in me quiver with joy. Then there's Barbara Kruger's cover art. Her signature red on white conceptual statements using Futura Bold Oblique...are one in a million. What other pub would be so brave?

I'm the other 'JZ.'
When I first started my photography business, I wanted to make my mark. So, I used the first four letters of my last name given at birth. That's where Julia Zave came from.

Ballet + Ballet Flats.
Both hold a special place in my heart. As a child, I was obsessed with becoming a ballerina. At one point, my mom even got me pointe shoes from the same store as the prima ballerinas from the Bolshoi Theater got theirs. I spent countless hours practicing at home and attended dress rehearsals at the Bolshoi Theatre as a guest. Today, I wear Tieks exclusively at every wedding — the most adorable and comfortable ballet flats on the planet! All, so I can hover around gracefully pretending all life is a stage.