Tuesday, March 31, 2009

"Water Dance"

"Water Dance"
©David A. Ziser

Here is another image from my film days - similar to yesterday's post, but with a completely different feeling because of the sky's color. You can see from many of my posts I'm into sunset images. I had almost completely forgot about this shot taken around 1990. I was teaching at the Florida Photography School. Sessions were held at Daytona Beach Community College and I had photographers from all around Florida as class members. I ask if we could arrange an evening photography session and catch the setting sun in the shot. Once again it got quite late, the setting sun lit up the evening sky, and with my assistant behind the couple, I think we got a pretty cool shot. Camera specs: Hasselblad fitted with 40mm Distagon, F5.6 @ 1/10 second, Kodak Vericolor 400 film. Enjoy! -David

Technique Tuesday: Revisiting "Touch Of Color With A Twist"

Good Morning Everybody,
WOW! What a welcome in Jacksonville, FL with our Digital WakeUp Call - A New Dawn Tour. We had a great group of people that just brought a lot of energy to the program. I have to say, giving away $4000 in door prizes sure brought the house down! It was just a great evening. LaDawn and I are looking forward to Orlando tonight.

Technique Tuesday: Touch Of Color With A Twist - Again
Because of our tight schedule today, I'm going to revisit one of my favorite Technique Tuesdays from the early days which many of you may have missed. It's entitled, "Touch of Color With a Twist." It's a nice Photoshop tutorial with an interesting twist and turn at the end. Hope you enjoy it.

Thanks for bearing with me as we get tour routines established, schedules aligned with blogging schedules - it's a bit of a challenge. Hey gang, that's it for me today. Look for a new series to start tomorrow on "Shooting the Portrait - From Booking It To Shooting It."

See ya' then, -David

Monday, March 30, 2009

"Dancing In The Midnight Sun"

"Dancing In The Midnight Sun"
©David A. Ziser
I was trying to get the post up quickly this morning and stumbled across another image from yesteryear. This is another film image I made about 18 years ago in La Jolla, California. We headed to the beach to catch the setting sun which made for some great sunset photos. Well, I like to shoot far past sunset while there is still a faint glow in the sky. What happens is that the sun sets and this "cobalt blue" firmament covers the sky. The bright full moon in this shot supplied the "midnight sun". The strong wind added the dramatic element to the shot with the bride's veil blowing off to the side. The slow shutter speed was negated by the firing of the remote controlled flash from behind the subject. We wrapped the shot, tried to find the camera bags in the dark and headed home - a nice shot, I think. Camera specs: Hasselblad fitted with 40mm Distagon lens, F5.6 @ 1/4 second, Kodak Vericolor 400 film. Enjoy! -David

Quick Hit Monday: Today Is The Day - Digital ProTalk - A New Dawn Opens In Jacksonville, Florida

Good Morning Everybody,
I'm trying to get this post up bright and early this morning before we catch the plane to Jacksonville. We were at it all weekend ever since we stepped off the plane from Boston on Saturday. The prizes are ready, the bags are packed, and the program looks hot - can't wait to see everyone in Jacksonville, Florida this evening. If you haven't registered yet, here is the link to the Digital WakeUp Call - A New Dawn tour right here. Hey gang, before we hit the plane let me point you to some quick hits for the week.

A Few More Quick Hits For The Road

New Canon Rebel Shoots Video
So have you seen the news about the new Canon Rebel T1i - yep, 15.1 mega-pixels and it shoots hi-res 1080p/720p video too. Here is the link to the story right here. Now you can pick up an inexpensive second camera for all your wedding needs and have a back up to boot;~)

Some Good Marketing Tips Over At Graphic Authority
I was cruising Graphic Authority's website over the weekend. They offer about the widest variety of Photoshop templates, edges, brushes, and frames that I have ever seen. I'm happy to say that they are one of my sponsors and we will be showing how to use some of their products on my tour. Check out this link to their site right here. Go to their "Photographers" Corner and it's chocked full of cool design elements. But more that that, scroll down to Karyn Sarganis Fritz's images - she's the second one down - and check out her marketing articles - good stuff - couldn't have said it better myself.

My Kentucky Buddies - Tim and Bev Walden Launch New Site! I have known Tim and Bev for over 30 years. They are two of the best photographers in the country.

They are also two of the hottest lectures in the country and have traveled the world sharing their knowledge and expertise. Here is the good news - that are bringing their expertise to photographers everywhere and making it easily accessible through their new site. Check it out right here. Lots of good stuff coming down the pike from Tim and Bev.

Hey gang, that's about it for me today. We've got planes to catch, people to see, and programs to give. See everybody in Florida! -David

Friday, March 27, 2009

"Surrounded By Beauty"
©David A. Ziser

Here is another shot from my pre-con from Photoshop World Boston last Tuesday. I had framed this image both horizontally and vertically and, while both looked good, I preferred this horizontal rendition. I like seeing the couple flanked by rising stain glass windows on both sides. Those windows add a sense of the "dramatic" to the image. Again, it was the wide angle lens - always one of my favorites - that pulls off this composition. My off-camera flash from the left through a translucent umbrella. Camera specs: Canon 5D Mark II fitted with Sigma 12-24mm lens at 15mm, F5.6 @ 1/20 second, ISO 1600. Enjoy! -David

Saturday - Looking For Help In Florida

Good Morning Everybody,
As you know, we are heading to Florida on Monday kicking off my Digital WakeUp Call tour [link]. I am putting out a call today for two people in each city - Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa, and Ft. Lauderdale - who can help us set up and tear down the show and help LaDawn with miscellaneous duties in the back of the room.

I will comp your registration and throw in another goodie or two for your help. Please email LaDawn at ladawn@ziser.com with your contact info including phone number so we can get things arranged with you. I've never tried this before, but I thought I'd give our DPT readers first crack at participating in the adventure. I was suppose to post this earlier in the week but with Photoshop World going on - I missed it. Thank, -David

Soap Box Friday: To Much To Learn - I Don't Want To Learn Anything Else!

Good Afternoon Everybody,
We wrapped the whirlwind Photoshop World today. LaDawn and I were in the Tech Expo till 2 p.m. We are demo-ing some of the software magic bullets that bring a lot of efficiency to our studio operation. I plan to do a series on this as the tour progresses so stay tuned.

I also gave my first PeachPit program in the Tech Expo yesterday. Now you have to understand, my presentations are typically not from behind a computer. I think a lot of people were wondering, "What in the world was going on over at Peachpit?" - I had grabbed a microphone, jumped down in front of the audience and started to talk about lighting and composition - no mousing around here. Anyway, I think the audience enjoyed the presentation. My thanks to everyone for sticking around.

We had a great time in Boston this week but are looking forward to getting back home and hitting the trail with my Digital WakeUp Call - A New Dawn on Monday. Look out Jacksonville - here we come.

And speaking of Photoshop World one last time, I've got some thoughts about then whole educational experience. Please read on...

To Much To Learn - I Don't Want To Learn Anything Else!
I heard this remark from a photographer just last week. We were discussing all the new things happening in our digital world including cameras, software, digital products, in fact all things digital. He made the remark near the end of our discussion, "There is to much to learn - I don't want to learn anything else!" - I've been thinking about his comment all week.

Hit the "Read More..." link for my thoughts on the topic.

Is there too much to learn? It's my opinion that in this day and age, if we take that attitude, the competition will go whizzing right past us. There are a lot of people that really enjoy all the new digital technologies/latest greatest happenings out there. I have to admit, I'm one of them. I love checking out the new stuff really trying to see how it may save me time. Hey, none of us have enough time anymore, so anything that saves time is a really good thing.

But what's important here is that we MUST take the time to try the new things that may be beneficial to our business. If we become an "Old Dog" who can't be shown any new tricks then we will fade into the sunset with all the other "Old Dogs".

We need to think of these times as exciting times not trying times. Sure there may be some additional effort to get the new technologies under our belt, but we have to know that it is worth it - that our efforts will reap the rewards for our businesses.

As far as learning the new technologies, that's the easy part. Today the Internet provides VAST resources for training and knowledge - it's just waiting to be plucked from the vast regions of the Internet and put into our brains -so much of it is there for the taking for free. And, heck, for a few dollars a month, you can head to one of my favorite sites - Kelby Training - and learn just about anything you want to learn about photography, Photoshop, Lightroom, etc. Heck, you can even enjoy a "cold one" while you watch! That's better than my old school days ;~)

Most of the software manufacturers have available lots of tutorials showing how to use their products right on line. Take NIK for instance - everything you ever wanted to know about NIK software is right at your fingertips! That's my point - sure you might need to learn something new, but the resources to learn are readily available, and we need to take the responsibility and to make the effort.

So many times I see someone purchase software at a show and then come back to the booth the next day for a little hand holding even when there was available an hour of tutorials sold with the software! A little extra help is fine, but the answers were already at the person's fingertips if they would have only put forth a little effort.

Maybe it's just because our lives are so fast moving these days that people are looking for the quickest shortcuts to get up and running - most of the shortcuts are right in the box - we just have to make the effort to look. It's interesting to me that we have time for Facebook and so many other Internet diversions. Let's spend our time where it counts - learning what's out there that can save us time.

Folks, if we don't want this fast moving digital world pass us by, we have to make that effort and accept that responsibility to embrace the technologies that can save us time and free us up for enjoying a little more free time for ourselves, our family, our community.....

If we choose the alternative; if we choose to stop learning, then we choosing to let our businesses begin atrophying and dying. That's not and alternative for me. So set aside a little time each day to learn something new. Those hours a day will turn into a new found proficiency at what you study. A friend of mine told me he wakes up an hour a day to study something new - in this case it was Photoshop - he is now an expert on the program. Again, it comes down to each of us accepting the responsibility for our business's future - or let the others pass us by.

End of rant #17

Hey gang, I'm out of here today. Hope to see you on the road next week in Jacksonville. Have a great weekend! -David

Thursday, March 26, 2009

"The Executive"
©David A. Ziser

I captured this image as we were leaving the church heading back to our meeting room. This view down one of the corridors of the Hynes Convention Center offered a dramatic background for my executive portrait. Notice how the wide angle lens renders the leading lines quite prominently in the scene. I placed the executive, my groom, directly in front of the intersection of the leading lines which, by default, leads the viewer's eyes directly to our subject. Camera specs; Canon 5D Mark II fitted with Sigma 12-24mm lens, F5.6 @ 1/40 second, ISO 800. From Tech Expo Boston 2009 Enjoy! -David

Business Day Thursday: Bundling For Better Sales - Part 3

Good Afternoon Everybody,
What a day yesterday was at Photoshop World Boston - non stop from 8 till 8, but a good time was had by all. The thing about Photoshop World is that it truly is non-stop all the time.

Tonight they have an event called Midnight Madness which has nothing to do with Photoshop but it just a good party time for all that attend. Needless to say, when you give a program at 8 a.m and are walking out of Midnight Madness at 1:30a.m. it's a full day. If you want to follow all the Photoshop World action, head over to the PSW blog right here.

There are a lot of cool things to see here. NIK [link] have some really exciting things happening in BETA right now that I saw at their booth. It's kind of a Preset "Dashboard" for using their products I'll try to report on it as soon as I can. I also saw their Viveza plug-in for Lightroom - really cool [link]. I"ll show that on an upcoming Technique Tuesday.

Wacom was also showing their brand new Intuous 4 tablet [link]. I received a personal demonstration - maybe it's time for me to give up the mouse. Anyway, hit the links to check them out.

Hey gang, let's get on with a quick Business Day Thursday. Here we go...

Bundling For Better Sales - Part 3
We have talked about bundling coverages and bundling albums. Today let's talk about bundling images. So many times we photographers just wait for our clients to buy something. We too often are simply order takers instead of order makers. Our goal is to find out what our clients want and then helping them get it - that's really what selling is all about. Selling is not a dirty word! Selling is a service we offer our clients to help them enjoy what we have done for them with our talent as photographers.
Hit the "Read More..." link below for the rest of the story.

That said, our clients our looking many times for more than just an 8x10 so instead of us waiting for them to order that one 8x10 why don't we suggest some options. Why don't we bundle a couple of images together in picture packages.

Follow my logic - we know the mother of the bride wants a photograph of the bride and groom.
But instead of just taking an order for one 8x10, why not offer your client - let's call it - a "For Your Home" special. The bundle includes an 8x10 of their favorite image, and 2 5x7's - one for their bedroom and one for the den all nicely framed and ready to go.

The individual pricing on all 6 pieces (3 photographs and 3 frames) totals just for an example $150, but when purchased together, the cost would only be say $119 - a $31 savings. Heck, that's about a 20% allowance.

What's happening here is that you are suggesting to the client some options they probably haven't even considered. You are showing them how they can more fully enjoy the photography of the wedding day. It's a win-win for your client and for you.

My suggestion to you is to produce several different multi-image bundles. You have to think it through and decide what works best for your clients and your photography. Here are a few quick suggestions:

1. "For Your Home" special described above.
2. "Don't Forget Dad" - 2 framed images for dad's office - one of the entire family and a second of the bride and groom or even one of dad with his daughter.
3. "Thinking of Grandma" - 1 5x7 of the couple with gram and a second image of just the bride and groom.

I think you get the idea. If the frames bring the costs in a little high, then swith to plan B and offer the same image combinations in less expensive folios easily available from many vendors.

Now you have three levels of pricing to sell to; bundles of images in frames, the best value, bundles of images in folios for the more budget concious client, and the individual prints for the clint that wold prefer to purchase their own frames. In any case, the sale has the possiblity of beening much more successful than just waiting for the client to buy and 8x10.

Hey guys and gals, that's it for me today. I've got a presentation at 12:00 p.m. and I get to do a quick 1-hour demo in the PeachPit booth at 3p.m. So until tomorrow - have a good one. See you on Friday, -David

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

"The Pianist"
©David A. Ziser

I made this image as part of yesterday's Wedding Shootout during Photoshop World Boston. The stain glass window, reflection on the piano, and organ pipes all combined to make this very striking wide angle portrait of my groom. Camera specs: Canon 5D Mark II fitted with 12-24mm Sigma lens at 12mm, F5.6 @1/40 second, ISO 1600. Enjoy! -David

Wednesday: A Cool Flash Trick From My PreCon & Photoshop World Opens Today

Good Afternoon Everybody,
Yep, I'm in late blog mode again today. We wrapped the PreCon yesterday had a great group of photographers attending, and got some terrific images. I have to say, shooting in the Old South Church was quite a kick. The place is gorgeous. We even pulled of a cool shot off outside. I'll post it tomorrow.

Anyway, I got to get scooting pretty quick as I'm in the middle of the The Tech Expo/ trade show trying to get the post on the air today. Let's get to it.....

Cool Flash Trick Wednesday
We came out of the church yesterday which was right down the street about two blocks from the Hynes Convention Center - can you believe it - we took a bus. Anyway, we came out of the church about 4:15 p.m. Across the street was one of those slick steel and glass buildings flanked by a beautiful blue sky with white puffy clouds - what a great background for a portrait. In this case, think executive portrait.

I had my executive who really looks like a groom step into the shot. Only one problem - he was standing in direct sunlight. I decided to shade him with a 36 inch panel I had with me. Now his face was in the shadows so I had to get light on his face. The problem was the bright surrounding light - I needed a low ISO and fast shutter speed to to get the sky a dramatic shade of blue.

I tested the shot at 1/400 second at F16 - now the scene looked great. I just had to get the light on my executive. I brought my Quantum in close - remember my small aperture and low ISO. I needed a lot of umph coming out of my flash. My assistant, a class member got the light just right on the subject.
Next problem - my Canon 5D Mark II only syncs at 1/200 second. That means only 1/2 of the sensor sees the flash during the exposure. Look at the first image - only the right side of the image area received the light. But, the groom was on the left side. Here is the easy fix - flip the camera 180 degrees so that his part of the image area catches the flash during the exposure. Check out the next image above- it worked. Pretty cool, eh? I love the shot.

Anyway gang, on that note, I'm out of here. See everybody sometime tomorrow. -David

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

"Man Of The Moment"

"Man Of The Moment"
©David A. Ziser

I made this image last year. We were doing a beach shoot in Florida. The plan was for a gorgeous sunset to happen with me getting all these cool sunset pics. Well, the best laid plans.... as they say were not to happen. We were presented with just a small sliver of color on the horizon and I had to make do with it. The challenge was to make that small sliver of sunset a very large sliver of color. The only option was a long focal length lens - say my 70-200mm lens at 200mm. By using the long optic, the background of the scene, in this case the sliver of sunset is magnified dramatically thereby creating this wonderful image of our groom. Light from the right, of course, from my off-camera flash. Camera specs; Canon 40D fitted with 70-200 F2.8 IS lens, F4.5 @ 1/160 second, ISO 200. Enjoy! -David

Technique Tuesday: Parents' Albums - A Cool Alternative

Good morning Everybody,
We arrived safe and sound yesterday, took in the city a bit, caught up with some of our Boston buds (not Budweiser's) and are ready to go with my Pre-Con today. We are headed to the Old South Church of Boston - man, looks good to me - I can't wait to get there. I'll give you the low down tomorrow along with a pic or two.

Just a quick note - yesterday I mentioned Gavin Seim's 3 Day Incrediable HDR workshop coming up October 19-21, 2009 In Central WA. I posted the incorrect link - since changed. Here is the correct link to the workshop info.

Hey gang, I went with a different kind of Technique Tuesday today. I targeted the topic to sales. Let me know what you think. Anyway, on with the show...

Parents' Albums - A Cool Alternative
I have to say, the wedding world - it is a changin'. The fact that many clients for all their images burned to a DVD - never to see them again - is in opinion, a cryin' shame. The fact that any images printed from the DVD, most of the time lack any kind of post production or enhancement, would totally be a disservice to my clients. Oh, Oh, I feel myself climbing on my soapbox again - let's save this "rant" for another day.

Back to the tutorial - today I discuss how to offer your client a very cool parent's album that is a very nice, elegant, and classy alternative to what many photogs have been offering over the years. The reason we can offer this new product is simply because of the new printing/binding technologies available today. Listen to how we position this album product in our studio and see how it might work for yous too. Hit the PLAY button below and enjoy the show.

Hey everybody, that's it for me today. I'll see everybody tomorrow with a quick re-cap of today's shoot and a note or two about what's happening up here in Boston. See ya' then, -David

Monday, March 23, 2009

"An Easy Afternoon"

"An Easy Afternoon"
©David A. Ziser

I really like the soft beautiful feel of this image. The soft lighting on the couple's was created with my flash through umbrella technique. What makes this shot work is the exterior foliage that completely filled the window in the background. That gave me the nice soft, higher key tonalities against which I placed the bride and groom. The trick was to balance the density of the daylight of the exterior with the axillary lighting on them. Too fast a shutter speed, the exterior would have been rendered to dark. Too slow of a shutter speed and the exterior would have been blown out. It's always about the balance and how that balance relates to the subject matter and the interpretation of the image. Camera specs; Canon 1D MkIII fitted with 70-30mm IS lens 230mm, F4.0 @ 1/100 second, ISO800. Enjoy! -David

Quick Hit Monday: Heading To Photoshop World; HDR Webinar; Understanding AI Servo Focus; and More

Good Morning Everybody,
We are on the plane bright and early this morning heading for Boston and Photoshop World. We get in early enough to have time to get settled and stroll around the local neighborhoods for a bit. Although checking the weather it looks to be a bit cold. That's one thing I love about Boston it's neighborhoods - it's the city's small little centers of energy like Back Bay or Beacon Hill spread throughout the city that make it such fun to explore.

Anyway, we should be good to go for my class the next day. But before we head to the airport, let me point you to a few things I found quite interesting on the net recently. Here we go...

HDR Webinar; Understanding AI Servo Focus; and More
Just a quick note - blogging buddy, Gavin Seim, has an HDR Webinar coming up soon. Gavin's work is outstanding, particularly his HDR work. His webinars are reasonably priced so this might just be what you're looking for. Anyway, you can check it out right here. Heck, I wish I could go, but the tour calls, you know.

How To Use AI Servo Focus
I tripped over this article last week while looking for something on the Canon website. Know in advance this article targets the Canon 1D Mark II user but most of the info is quite informative about how AI Servo Focus works and how to obtain the sharpest pictures with this feature on any camera. So many people want to know when and where to use the AI Servo focus mode on their cameras and how to get the best results, etc. Well even though the info is available on the Canon site it's a good source of information for anyone wanting to be enlightened on the subject. I read it and enjoyed the info - I think it's a good read. Check it out right here.

Testing And Anything You Wanted To Know About Any Piece Of Gear
That's right and it's right here at TestFreaks.com. I got an email from these folks last week asking me to check out their site. I thought it was just another one of those test sites that are all over the net. After my visit to their site, reading the press reports, and seeing their Alexa rating - these guys look like the "real McCoy" to me. It seems they aggregate over 4000 test sites from around the web and consolidate all the results on their site. Their site is not just cameras - they consolidate tests on everything from LCD TVs, PlayStation's, Computer gear, just about anything electronic. I think your find this a worthwhile visit and definitely worth a peek - here is the link. I've now have them tagged as a favorite on my browser.

Levitation - It's Real!
Yes, it true. My buddy, tech support guru here at Photographic Resources, Inc, and my ace second shooter, Nicholas V has pulled off the unbelievable feat of levitating himself for his series of images he posted on his blog last week [link]. I couldn't post them earlier because I was still in shock over his results. His photographic documentation proves beyond any shadow of a doubt that with the right scientific ingenuity, anyone can levitate themselves.

Folks, this is not trick photography; this is not super Photoshop, this is the real thing. The images prove it - just look how natural he looks - well, Nicholas is looking as natural/normal as he ever looks - just kidding Nicholas. Look how his clothes are showing no signs of weird manipulation - he is levitating. How did he do it? I had to know. I made a call to him hoping he was earthbound and I could track his location. He answered - I asked - he told - mystery solved. All kidding aside, Nicholas has decided to emerge himself with photographic assignments each week, each with a different photographic challenge. Last week was levitation. I thought he pulled it off quite well!

Here is how he did it - his blog is a no-tell sight which is why DPT is the only place in the universe where you will find out how it was done. It seems Nicholas owns a remote control camera trigger. He would jump into the air and just at the moment his upward direction started to transition downward because of the pull of gravity - literally when he was weightless - he made the exposure.

His timing is what gives the images such a natural look - except for the element of levitation of course. Here is the rest of the story - he took over 300 images to get the 7 he posted! He was telling me how little kids in the park were looking at him strangely as he tried to get it just right. Here is the link to his blog one more time right here. You can check out his outtakes right here in the short slide show at the bottom of his post.

You know, sometimes you've got to just go out and play. This idea of play can lead to learning and it looks like learning can be a good time. Hey gang, that's it for me today. I hear the jet engines firing up and we don't want to miss our flight. We are jetting out of here right now. See ya' in Boston tomorrow morning, -David

Friday, March 20, 2009

"Toes Of Giants"

"Toes Of Giants"
©David A. Ziser

This is another one of my 30,000 feet landscape portraits. We were crossing the country one more time and this was the view as we were approaching the Rockies. The contrasts of the highlights and the shadows rendered the foothills so interestingly that I could only think of what they might be - "Toes Of Giants." A final tweak or two in Lightroom and changing the image to B&W led to the final result. Camera specs: Canon 30D fitted with 17-85mm IS lens at 70mm, F14 @ 1/400 second, ISO 640. Enjoy! -David

Squeaky Clean Friday: Keep It Running In Tip Top Shape - Camera Stories and Gear Maintenance

Good Afternoon Everybody,
Man, it was a bear yesterday getting the post to view properly. Sorry, to all you folks using RSS readers - I think it popped about 6 times before it posted properly. Anyway, hope you enjoyed the info.

We are wrapping the week on a full run as we head to Photoshop World on Monday. LaDawn and I are looking forward to the visit to Boston - and get this, I get to do a guest appearance at the Kelby Media booth - I'm stoked!! Oh No! I just realized - I've got to get another presentation prepared for my visit. OK, no problem - I'll be featuring content from my book - Captured By The Light.

The book totaled about 80,000 words and about 500 images - Whew! I love the piece of advice I just received from another author - It's best if you can write your second book first - it's a lot easier. I would definitely agree with that;~)

Keep It Running In Tip Top Shape - Camera Stories And Gear Maintenance
This topic or a variation has been popping up on my Skribit Widget on the right of this blog. Yes, I do review your suggestions and I thought I would discuss one of them today. A little footnote here - I know I need to clean up the suggestion listing over at Skribit since so many of the questions have been previously answered at Digital ProTalk over the recent months. I'll see what I can do to point you to the suggestions that have already been answered. More later.

So how do you keep your gear in tip-top shape? Nothing to it really, just take good care if it. Sounds simple doesn't it? I have to say I was pretty abusive on my Hassey gear. One time I lost a $1200 penta-prism when I picked up camera and tripod, placed it on my shoulder, and the penta-prism slipped right off - I forgot to replace the film back which kept the prism in place - OUCH!

Hit the "Read More..." link below for the rest of the story...

Anyway, I take much better care of my gear now. I use a Lowe Pro Pro-Roller #2 bag which is sturdy and let's me fit all my gear in it quite compactly. When on the job, we are disciplined to know that each lens has its own home and nothing else hits the hole from which another lens came from. Just this little tip lets us work efficiently and much faster during the heat of the wedding with all the "lens swap".

Before each wedding I polish all the lenses - front and back. I remember back in my film days, I had an assistant hand me a lens and without me seeing it had placed a big finger print on the REAR element. Needless to say, several shots were highly diffused. A thumb print or smudge on the rear element is a MUCH bigger problem than one on the front element.

There was another time when one of my assistants was shooting a wedding and didn't remove all of the paper wrapper from the roll of film he had loaded into his Hassy. That little piece of paper floated all around the camera box inconveniently blocking out various portions of the image. I had a headless bride walking down the aisle with her father - little things like that. Fortunately, this photographer took so many shots, we had one image that was acceptable. The small piece of paper dropped out when he changed film after the roll. You new digital guys and gals have no clue how easy you've got it now ;~)

Lesson learned - I try to clean out the cameras before each job carefully blowing the dust out of the camera cavity. Here is another tip - when changing lens, always point the lens opening downward so dust can't settle easily into the camera. Also, keep your cameras wiped down to remove any cling dust that could find it's way into the camera.

Sensor cleaning is always a great topic of discussion. Check out this link I posted last year about cleaning the sensor at ByThom - here is the link right here in case you missed it. Thom went into quite a bit of detail on sensor cleaning. He made one remark which I think is incorrect. I've always been a fan of the "Artic Butterfly" by Visible Dust. In his article he references that the Artic Butterfly is used to clean the dust from the sensor by spinning it on the sensor - NOOOOO! Spin the bristles first, that charges then up, then carefully brush the sensor. The static charge of the bristles pick the dust right up. Luminous Landscape has a great review on the Artic Butterfly right here.

I will agree that the brush may sometimes pick up some of the lubrication as it brushes up against parts of the camera innards - so be careful. Spreading camera grease on your sensor is not a good thing. It that happens, you have to resort to Sensor Swabs which I have used too and like pretty well.

If I ever have a problem with a camera or lens, it gets sent to Canon Professional Services for quick turnaround at reasonable prices.

Gang, that's about it. Handle your gear carefully, a place for everything and everything in its place gear bag philosophy, keep lenses clean, sensor cleaning is not brain surgery so keep it clean (but not squeaky clean - that what I do around here - hope it helps.

On that note, folks, I'm getting ready for Boston. Come on up and say HI if you are at the show. See ya' in Bean Town on Monday, -David

Thursday, March 19, 2009

"I'm Ready"

"I'm Ready"
©David A. Ziser

Preparing for one's Bat Mitzvah celebration takes many, many months. It is always a joy for me to watch these young 13 year olds give it their best on their big day. The young lady featured in this image is literally "Rabbi for the Day." She is the one who will lead the Saturday service with nearly 200 in attendance through the entire morning celebration. I have been photographing Bar/Bat Mitzvahs for over 20 years and I'm constantly amazed by the poise, confidence, and character these young kids bring to their Right of Passage into Jewish adulthood. This image was made on a Saturday morning about an hour before the service was to begin. One of my goals in this series of photographs is to capture the confidence of the young Bat Mitzvah against the beautiful surrounds of the magnificent Temple. Lighting is simple as always. My assistant is holding my Quantum off-camera flash shooting through an umbrella just to my left. Shutter speed is adjusted to pick up some of the ambient light and details of the temple. Camera specs: Canon 40D fitted with 10-22mm lens at 14mm, F5.6 @ 1/30 second, ISO 800. Enjoy! -David

Selling - Business Building, Adding Value, & Bundling - Part 2

Good Morning Everybody,
Wow! I can't believe the week has gone by so quickly. I was ready to do a Wednesday post today until I realized it was Thursday - I think I was thrown off by my Technique Tuesday actually being posted on Wednesday. Yep, some weeks it seems the days run together. This is one of those weeks.

About 4pm yesterday, I get a call from my team to head on over to the production area - my office is in an "Ivory Tower" you know ;~) They told me I had to see this really cool thing they wanted to show me. Well, it turned out LaDawn and my team of "angels" had popped the cork on a bottle of champagne to celebrate my book being finished and coincidentally, the Tour Handbook as well.

Jennifer had been working hard to complete and prepare it to specifications for the last several days. It was uploading to Marathon as we were enjoying the champagne and snacks! Anyway, lots to celebrate - might explain the late post yesterday. Anyway, how about on with another Business Day Thursday episode. Hit the "Read More..." link below - I know you will enjoy the read.

Here we go...
Selling - Business Building, Adding Value, & Bundling - Part 2

Last week I started a short series on how to sell more effectively in these trying times of our economy. A lot of photographers are feeling the budget pinch these days. Hey, it's not just because there are so many new photographers entering the market - even those new guys are feeling the squeeze, too.

It's always struck me over the years that businesses that are truly successful are businesses that are always on the move - one way or the other. It may be in new product offerings, enhanced customer service, or pre-packaging and polishing up their current product offerings.

How can we, the small studio owner learn from the big guys? Easy, copy what they are doing. What can we do to polish up our own product offerings. This is easier than you might think and I'm not necessarily talking about lowering the price. I'm talking more about raising perceived value for what you are offering.

Hear me out: Let's say you are a wedding photographer and the client is looking at their purchasing possibilities. One of those possibilities is a family album - notice, I didn't say parent's album. Why? Because only parents will buy parents albums. Any family member in addition to parents - godparents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, maids of honor, etc. - may purchase a family album. You get the idea.

OK, so we have some interest in someone wanting a family album - how do you "close the sale?" They may think the price is beyond their budget at this time. Heck, we all think that from time to time when we are buying things. What makes the decision "to buy" easier for us many times - it's that "perceived value". Yes, we will make a buying decision if we think it's worth it, don't we.

The deal is that when it comes to this family album, your client has to believe that the purchase is worth it. So, why not do this. Why not offer the client your new "Studio Special" - remember re-packaging and polishing your current product offerings as we discussed. What is that "Studio Special?

Let's give this a try. "Thank you Mrs. Smith. I thought Mary's images were beautiful too, I was really excited to have you see them. Have you thought about a family album for yourself?" We have a few new items together at my studio that we think our clients are going to be excited about." With this sentence, I am doing what the sales books call "building expectations." I say it not to trick anybody here - I really do believe our clients will like what I'm going to offer.

Back to my client conversation. "With the purchase of twenty or more images, we will include the leather cover at no extra charge. That's a $200 value." Value add #1. "Something else we are offering is one of our "Platinum Series" images with each family album with a minimum of 25 images - don't worry about the odd number of pages. Do you have a extra invitation? I'll be happy to mount it in your album with my compliments. Our new "Platinum Series" B&W images are printed to our exacting specifications and looks beautiful. (building expectations again.) We are even including our Onyx frame at a 50% savings."

How many times have I done a "Added Value" to my offer?
1. 20 or more photographs means the client receives a $200 value with the complimentary leather. Added value - $200.
2. We are including a beautiful 5x7 or 8x10 "Platinum Series" portrait. This is a new product offering. It's a B&W image printed on the Kodak "Metallic paper". It looks very contemporary, especially in B&W. This is something they probably have never seen before from any of the competition either. The image just shimmers in a black frame - Added value - $45.
3. Mounting the wedding invitation at no charge. Added value - $20.
4. 50% savings on the Onyx frame. Added value - $20.

So in all, if the client decides to make the decision to purchase 25 image family album for herself she will be paying for the 25 images plus $20 for the Onyx frame, but will actually be receiving a total of $285 in added value with everything else mentioned above. Now it does look like a really good deal - and better yet - it is.

So in review, what have I done? I've added substantial value - $285 - for the purchaser, offered to enhance the look of the family album by custom mounting the wedding invitation, introduced her to our cool and different new product offering - the "Platinum Series" B&W print, and gave her a convenient and stylish solution to framing her new "Platinum print."

Folks, I think you get the idea. But you have to develop your product offering, and develop more than just one. You need to rehearse your offer Value Add presentation being prepared with answers for any objections the client may raise, and lastly be confident and happy that this one business building process will add to your bottom line. You know, one of my favorite sales mantras is. "Stop being and Order Taker and start being and ORDER MAKER!"

Digital WakeUp Call Note:
My Digital WakeUp Call 58 city tour [link] is more than just about photography. Part III of my presentation is focused on "Business Building" for your photography business. The 20 ideas I'm presenting will have worked for photography businesses everywhere, large and small. Many of my attendees enjoy my business building sessions the best. I hope you will too. Here is the link to the tour's content right here. Hope to see you there!

Hey gang, on that note, I'm outta' here. See everybody tomorrow, -David

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

"Sunset Beauty"

"Sunset Beauty"
©David A. Ziser

Yes, this is exactly what the sunset looked like on the evening I captured this image. We had just finished a great series of images with the bride and groom and were getting ready to pack things up when the sun burst into this beautiful, exciting sunset. I asked my clients if we could just get a few more shots. Seeing the newly appearing dramatic sunset, they gladly agreed. We don't get sunsets like this too ofter in the Mid-West, but this one sure was a beauty and a nice bonus for our photography session. My assistant is out of range to the left of the scene with my off-camera flash. Camera specs; Nikon D1x fitted with 16mm Fisheye lens (I'm considering picking one of these up for my Canons - I still like the look of the image); F5.6 @ 1/320 second, ISO 640. Enjoy! -David

Wednesday Wonderfulness: Technique Tuesday On Wednesday

Good Afternoon Everybody,
And welcome to another late post Wednesday - or if you rather, a very late Technique Tuesday post. Regardless, Technique Tuesday is back on the air - and a mighty cool episode it is. I used cool here because I used "cool" about a 100 times in the video. Actually, I had some "roll over cools" left over from last month that I was trying to use up - so I used a lot of them today;~)

Hey gang, I think you are going to like my little Lightroom tutorial today. I've been using my Photoshop "Paint With Light" technique for years. In fact I featured it in a Technique Tuesday episode, "Our Emerging Future" right here. So I finish this baby shoot last week and after importing the images into Lightroom, I get thinking, "Can I make it work in Lightroom?" Well, the answer dear friends, is a resounding -YES! And now I can do it non-destructively - pretty cool. (Yep, I still have a few left.) Anyway, hit the PLAY button below and enjoy the show - "Painting With Lightroom."

Hey everybody, I'm back to the real world which means I'm back to real work here at the studio. I'll see everybody tomorrow afternoon and hopefully will be back on the normal schedule in the next few days. See ya' tomorrow, -David

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

"The Feeling of A Lifetime"

"The Feeling of A Lifetime"
©David A. Ziser

I usually don't post many reception images but this image is one of my favorites for the book. Yes, it's the father of the bride dancing with his daughter on her wedding day. What a joy this dad is feeling as he is dancing with his beautiful daughter whom he has watched grow into a gorgeous women over the years. I don't think that thought hits many dads till they are on the dance floor with their daughters on their daughter's wedding day. Look at dads expression in the shot - you can see the joy in his expression. (Just click on the image to make it larger) I made several images with my flash at a safe, non-intrusive distance, but the special lighting on the dance floor was calling for an additional treatment of the shot. I turned off all strobes - mine, my assistant's, and the room light. I kicked the camera to one of my preset "custom modes" and fired away. I love the shot. Camera specs; Canon 5D fitted with 24-105mm IS lens, F4.0 @ 1/15 second, ISO 1600. Enjoy! -David

Technique Tuesday: NOT--- How About Tomorrow?

Good Late Afternoon Everybody,
Well, I thought all I had to do was pull the set of images for my wedding book today. I thought it was going to be a piece of cake. It turns out - no way. Exactly 13 hours later without much of a break, I started uploading the first half of the 242 images. Man, it was like getting a wedding order out - everything needed to be fine tuned and cropped. Whew! It's finished. Anyway, my plate just got a whole lot lighter so let me plan on getting Technique Tuesday together for tomorrow. Hey, I did get the image of the day posted. On that note, folks, right about now, I think it's "Miller Time" ;~) See everybody tomorrow a bit more refreshed, -David

Monday, March 16, 2009

"Berry, Berry Beautiful "

"Berry, Berry Beautiful "
©David A. Ziser

I stumbled upon this photograph over the weekend while doing screen grabs for my new book on wedding photography. The image was mixed in with several things from a trip we did about three years ago to the Washington, DC area. When it popped up on the screen I was really taken by the vibrant and rich colors of the scene. It's a simple still life taken outside the National Cathedral on a fairly overcast day which is the reason I believe that the colors are so rich and vibrant. I think the contrasting colors also work beautifully in this particular image. Camera specs Canon 30D. fitted with 17to55mm F2.8 lens, F5.o @ 1/200 second, ISO ISO 800.
Enjoy! -- David

Quick Hit Monday: Quick In and Quick Out Today

Good morning everybody,
I'm in and out pretty quick today because things are really ramping up around the studio. It's a week before Photoshop World and my book deadline is due this afternoon. I've got the last five chapters uploaded to Kelby Media over the weekend and things are sure to start shaping up really quickly. I'm pretty fired up about the whole project! I just need the screen grabs for the last two chapters and we are good to go. I can't wait for all of you to see it. Anyway, lets get on with a quick quick hits for Quick at Monday.

Quick hit Monday
Pro Photography Show Podcast
I mentioned last week that I was a guest on the Pro Photography Show last Thursday. I just received an e-mail from my buddy and fellow blogger Gavin Seim who said that the podcast is live. He's got it setup that you can download it to your iTunes and listen to it at your convenience -- pretty cool. As I said last week it was quite a lively conversation and a very enjoyable experience.
One thing I've noticed that Gavin has done is also to include the favorite links from all of us participating in the discussion along with the links to all the things we discussed. I think you'll find a good set of resources available. Fellow blogger, Kerry Garrison, liked the Lens Pen which is a new device for cleaning your lenses and also cleaning your CMOS sensors. I checked out their site [link] and it looked like a nice product.

Anyway, cruise on over to the Pro Photography Show [link ] and give it a listen and give it a read. I think you'll enjoy the trip – lots of good stuff.

Heading To Detroit - Day Long Program
I also want to give a quick mention about my upcoming program at the Detroit PPA. I'm presenting an entire day in Detroit on April 6, 2009 9am - 5pm. This program is quite a bit different program for my Digital WakeUp Call tour which starts two weeks from today! In Detroit I’m talking about composition, lenses, and cameras. What is really sweet about this program is that they have lined up models and a church. We’re all going on location where I'll be shooting and then projecting the images as I'm shooting them – very cool!

I've been doing the same kind of thing at Photoshop World for the last couple of years and the attendees just love it. We’ll head back to the hotel review the images and discuss the images. I’ve got a few more surprises in store too so I hope to see you Michigan guys and gals at the program. You can check out the program PDF right here just scroll down a bit to read all about it.-- or contact Scott Green at 248-388-6947 to register.

Look at Florida here we come.
That's right in just two weeks from today will be landing in Jacksonville, Florida to kick off the Digital WakeUp Call tour. LaDawn and I are pretty fired up about starting. It's always great fun to meet the photographers that we meet on the road and share stories. Our first four cities from March 30 through April 3 include Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa, and Fort Lauderdale. Hope to see you Florida guys and girls at one of the four cities. Check out all the info right here. Don’t forget to use PROMO CODE DWCDPT09 to save $20 on registration. Did I mention we are giving away $250,000 in door prizes!!

Photoshop world is right around the corner
That's right were heading to "Photoshop World 17 - Game On" in Boston next Monday. I love Boston because of the great people in that part of the world and also the great food which is probably why they're such great people. I've got my Pre-Con kicking off on Tuesday and then I'll be presenting again twice on Thursday.

What's exciting for me this time around is that I'm presenting a brand-new program on Lightroom 2. I'm targeting the program to those people who want to see how we use Lightroom with regards to a wedding/portrait studio. I'll be showing you all the tips and tricks I picked up in the last year working with the program. I'm pretty excited about the program so please come up and say HI if you're in Boston next week. LaDawn and I will also be available Wednesday, Thursday and Friday in our booth at the Tech Expo. See 'ya at the Game!

Hey gang that's it for me today. I've got to get back to pulling prints for the book. I promised I have things totally wrapped today. I hope to see everybody tomorrow for another episode of Technique Tuesday. I'm not sure when its going up but it will be up sometime tomorrow. On that note everybody I'm saying Adios, -- David

Friday, March 13, 2009

"The Eyes Of Our Hope"

"The Eyes Of Our Hope"
©David A. Ziser

I mentioned yesterday that I had 2 good friends and past clients come over as I had promised to photograph the newest member of their family - 8 week old Ms. Lily. This is one of the images from yesterday's session. Photographing these very young babies is always a kick for me because you never know what is going to happen or exactly what you may get. Heck it's not like they are going to follow directions! It's always a process, a process that yields something different and exciting each time. I absolutely love this image. The beautiful bright eyes, grasping mommy's finger makes a compelling image, an image that's speaks first to a mother's love but secondly to an optimistic future seen in those big, bright eyes of young Ms. Lily. Camera specs; Canon 40D fitted with 18-200mm IS lens, F9.0 @ 1/100 second, ISO 400. Enjoy! -David

Food For Thought Friday

Good Afternoon Everybody,
We're still jammin' here at DigitalProTalk world headquarters. I uploaded another 18,000 words and 150 images to the publisher this morning. By the way, did I mention that Kelby Media is my publisher -- I'm thrilled to have them involved in the book project. I know everyone is anxious to know when the book will be out and I'll be the first to tell you as soon as I know. The whole project has to be wrapped by this weekend which explains why time has been sooooo tight around here.

Last night I was invited by Gavin Seim to be part of his round-table at Pro Photography Show. I always have a good time during these podcasts. You get a bunch of like-minded geek types together and we're all in heaven talking about things geeks like to talk about. Both Kerry Garrison from CameraDojo.com fame and Gavin had attended the PMA show last week and pointed us towards their most interesting products at the show. Anyway, when a link to the show goes live and I give you a heads up. It was a lively and entertaining conversation by all of us involved and I really enjoyed the experience.

How about on with...

Food For Thought Friday...
You know, today's topic came about because of some of the comments that I read from some of my daily image posts. It's always enjoyable to see what other photographers think of your images. What's interesting to me though is that many photographers are more interested in the f-stops and the shutter speeds. I understand why that is important, but sometimes not most important.

I many times am asked why I use a higher ISO as opposed to a lower ISO, or I may be asked why I use a higher shutter speed instead of a lower shutter speed with that lower ISO. Anyway, you get the gist of what I'm talking about.

Hit the "Read More..." link below for the rest of the story.

So as I was reflecting on how I see and how I shoot, it occurred to me that I mostly never really chase the f-stops and the shutter speeds as much as I chase the image. That's the essence of why I raised the camera to my eye.

I see the scene, I'm intrigued by the possible composition, color, and design of the shot. The camera goes to my eye, I recompose, take the shot, recompose and take another, and then maybe a 3rd, 4th, or 5th tweaking the composition along the way. It's the thrill of the chase to get the image I see developing in my mind's eye that excites me about my photographic process.
But, folks, what is it about in the first place? It's always about getting the image, isn't it? I think so. And, those moments to capture the image are fleeting - a peek at a f-stop or shutter speed may mean I'll miss the shot. But, it's more than that too. Chasing the f-stop and shutter speeds means that I have to interrupt my creative process as I chase the shot. To my way of thinking - that's like throwing a "wrench in the works", sticking the broom stick in the spokes, pulling the carpet out from under, or truly hitting the brakes of my creative process.

Sure, after I know I've got the shot, I may then tweak the numbers to fine tune the shot if I think it needs it, but mostly I don't. So I know what you're thinking, "So, if Ziser is shooting first and asking questions later, he must -- here it comes, folks -- have his camera set to "P" for "Professional!!!!" I hear the global "cringe" from my DPT readers right now. Heck, let me add to the "cringe in motion" - I'm thinking of setting the camera to "auto ISO" too.

Heresy, heresy you say. Well, not really. A lot of my landscapes and fine art images are taken for fun - remember fun. I'm still trying to remember fun in this economy, but, you know what, the market is up 630 points in 5 days and this is even Friday the 13th ;~) Anyway, I digress. I do take many of my images for fun and that means I've got the camera ready to go on a moment's notice - nothing wrong in that if I get the shot.

I'm not lugging tons of gear with me on my shoots most of the time. Yes I do occasionally, but not most times. For me, it's mostly about chasing the shot, the image, the composition, the colors - it's about the thrill of that chase. That explains why my ISOs, f-stops, shutter speeds, etc. may not be perfect. I'm not chasing perfection all the time, I'm having fun with an image and how I see the image. F-stops and shutter speeds are secondary.

But, wait, before the emails start flying, let me say that when it comes to my wedding photography and some of my fine art photography - lens focal length, F-stops, shutter speeds, ISOs ALL come into play. In that case, I have to "nail the shot." I know what I want my composition to be, where I want the light to come from, how I want the background rendered with respect to the subject.

I've been training for that for many years and the tools of the trade to craft my finished images are the f-stops and shutter speeds, et.al. In this case I really chasing the image, but using every tool and technique at me disposal to get it.

On the other hand when I'm shooting for fun, without a care in the world, I chasing the image only and let the f-stops and shutter speeds fall where they lie. A lot of my favorite images are captured that way too. Food for thought.

Hey gang, that's it for me today. Duty calls and I'm back to the book. Everybody have a great weekend and remember one thing - "A pixel could care less about an f-stop or shutter speed - it's just enjoys playing catch with photons." See everybody on Monday. Adios, -David

Thursday, March 12, 2009

"It Will Be Our Turn Soon"

"It Will Be Our Turn Soon"
©David A. Ziser

I made this photograph about 10 years ago back in my film days. I remember I was photographing the wedding of one of my Bar Mitzvah boys whom I had photographed in the mid-1980's. It was fun to be with the families again and catch up on what everybody had been doing in the last several years. Anyway, I was keeping my eye on the action and then I saw the three little flower-girls leaning close, whispering and smiling, and watching the other bridesmaids walk down the aisle. They knew there were only moments to go before it was their turn to walk down the aisle. I love how the bride's dad flanks the left side of the photograph just barely and how one bridesmaid flanks the right side of the photograph also just barely. The playful little flower girls make the shot. Camera specs Hasselblad 500CM fitted with 50mm Distagon lens, F4.0 @ 1/30 second, Kodak Vericolor 400 film. Enjoy! -David

Business Day Thursday: To Bundle Or Not To Bundle - Better Selling Through Science

Good Late Afternoon Everybody,
Boy, I have to admit I almost bailed on the post today. We are still pretty jammed up around here with tour, book, and regular studio clients to photograph, interview and sales consultations going on. Whew!!

One of the highlights of the day was a good friend of mine came by today. I promised to photograph her brand-new and first granddaughter and today was the day. After visiting, we spent about an hour getting some really beautiful photographs of her little eight-week-old granddaughter. I might even run the experience on Technique Tuesday next week. Anyway, it was nice to visit but once they left it was back to the "salt mines" for all of us.

Oh, one thing I forgot to mention on Tuesday was another milestone here at DigitalProTalk - Tuesday was the day for the 1600th blog post. As I said, I'll keep writing as long as you keep reading. On that note let's get on with our Business Day Thursday...

To Bundle Or Not To Bundle - Better Selling Through Science
Today I'm going to begin a new series on how we might improve our sales if we rethink how we sell our products. So many times, me included, us sell the way the supermarket sells things -- we see an item on the shelf and we put it the basket. We see another item on the shelf and we put it in our basket. We photographers do the same thing. Our products, whether it be wedding albums, frames of many different colors, parents albums, wall portraits, and any other number of things are just sitting there waiting for our clients to just pick them off our shelves. Many times I think we miss the point, me included again, that we can create additional products by combining them with others we already have -- by bundling them.

Hit the "Read More..." link below for the rest of the story.

This week I want to talk about bundling your wedding coverages. I was just visiting with a client yesterday who interviewed me to photograph her wedding. I went through my entire enthusiastic presentation, reviewed all the pricing of our various coverages with her, and waited for her response. After we more or less settled on the level of coverage for her event I asked her if she was planing a rehearsal dinner or maybe even Sunday brunch. She mentioned that she had several out-of-town guests coming into Cincinnati, about 50% of the guest list, and that they had several festivities planned for the extended weekend.

Well, once the wedding is booked, we shouldn't necessarily stop there. We have been offering rehearsal dinner coverages and Sunday brunch coverages for many years at David A. Ziser photography. Now granted, these extra coverages are reserved for the more elaborate events taking place in town. But, please, don't be shortsighted enough to think that you can't sell multiple coverages to the right client for their special weekend.

So you may be thinking, "What can I bundle with the wedding coverage?" Well, there are several things you can bundle with your wedding coverage. How about an Engagement session? Maybe you have an engagement coverage already priced in your product listing. At my studio, if my client books a Level 1 coverage -- our best -- we bundle the engagement session with the pricing of that level 1 coverage.

There are times too, when my client books a Level 2 coverage that I may bundle the engagement session in at a reduced price. The reason for the bundling at the reduced price may be because I need to fill the date or maybe the date falls on a slow time of the year and I can afford to bundle the engagement session in with my level to coverage. In any event, it's an incentive for the client to make their buying decision with you and not the competition.

When ever I hear that a client is planing festivities for the entire weekend and they have selected our Level 1 coverage, I'm quickly going to offer to photograph the Friday rehearsal dinner and the Sunday brunch. Instead of selling the client two additional coverages for the two additional events, I'll combine both the Friday rehearsal dinner and a Sunday brunch into one event and offer to bundle my Level 4 (lowest) coverage with their Level 1 coverage. Basically, the incentive is that there is only one charge for one additional level of coverage instead of two charges for the two separate events.

Again, these selling options are generally only available for the larger events happening in town, but never overlook the possible opportunities here.

Another thing you need remember when offering rehearsal dinner coverage and the Sunday brunch coverage is this. Generally the rehearsal dinner cost is covered by the groom's family. That means that the cost of the additional coverage many times may not come out of the brides budget. So by offering to bundle the additional coverage in with the wedding coverage means not only a substantial cost savings to the client but you may also be able to stretch the wedding budget just a bit because someone else usually the groom's family might be picking up that part of the additional cost.

I think it's important here to mention that were not trying to sell the bride and groom everything including the "kitchen sink". What we are really trying to do is make them aware of all the photographic options they have available through my studio. Don't be afraid to give this idea a try. Just remember, "selling" is not a dirty word. "Selling" is finding out what the client is looking for and then helping them to get it.

Hey folks that is it for me today, I've got to get scootin'. I'm scheduled to do a podcast with Gavin Seim over at Pro Photography Show. In just about 15 minutes. I'll keep you posted on the link as soon as it becomes available. I plan to see everybody here again tomorrow for an interesting post entitled "Are We Chasing F-Stops or Images?". See you then, -- David

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

"Having A Senior Moment"

"Having A Senior Moment"
©David A. Ziser

Here is an outdoor portrait I did of this high school senior a few years ago. She just wanted a carefree almost model portfolio type portrait out in the fields. No problem, we headed to one of my favorite locations, Aimee wondered into the field, and I took the photograph with the available light present - no flash. There is plenty of light in her eyes and the feel and look of this image worked for her. She loved it!! Did I mention it was only 30 degrees that day and she had to hold her breath so it didn't show in our shot. Camera specs; Canon 20D fitted with 50mm F1.4 lens, F2.5 @ 1/640 second, ISO 800. Enjoy! -David

What's Up Wednesday: I'm Not Sure - Fusion Video or FaceBook

Good Morning (Uh, Afternoon) Everybody,
I had a few comments on yesterday's Technique Tuesday. It seems some readers were getting some hesitation when trying to play it. It sounds like a band-with issue to me.

I have the last two videos hosted at Vimeo.com. I wasn't a happy camper with the ads being added to my videos over at Viddler. So till I get the ad thing sorted out at Viddler, here is a quick fix. Hit pause, let it download a bit, then hit PLAY again. That should work - let me know. Thanks for watching.

One reader remarked that my last two Vimeo videos won't play - I have no clue why that is. That sounds like a Vimeo issue to me - why not email them and see what's up.

Another reader asked if I could caption them for the hearing impaired. I would love too if someone could get me a deal on 30 hour days. Unfortunately, there are only so many hours in a day. Yesterday's video took four hours to complete and get up on line - longer than most. I like the idea of offering a transcript of the videos. If one of our DPT readers wants to transcribe the videos and host them, I will be happy to provide a link. Just a thought.

So What's Up Wednesday? How About...
Hey gang, we are really jammed up around here today so I going to get in and get out - clients land in 10 minutes then more and more clients again all afternoon. Let me quickly point you to two really good resources that have me pretty fired up.

Bebbs Got It Nailed - The Fusion DVDs
Last week in my Business Day Thursday post, I talked about how Jen and Steve Bebb have been exploring the whole Video/Still image Fusion idea. Wait don't leave - this topic seems to be pretty polarizing these days among lots of photographers - but that's another story.
Here is my advice - If you want to explore the possibility of offering this kind of product to your clients, the Bebb's have got it worked out. I purchased their 2 DVD set to see their entire process. It is the most thorough and well thought out DVD set I have seen on the subject. I'm giving it my highest recommendation. Check it out right here - tell them I told you to visit.

Are You On Facebook - Or Can't Figure It Out?
On another note, how many of you participate on Facebook? I know I signed up and I am such a new-by about it. I thought my brain just didn't get it. I mean, when Facebook wants me to type..."What are you doing now?" I want to type, "None of your darn business." I think that kind of shows that I don't get it. But I'm still trying.

I received a note from Rod Evans last week. Rod is one of the most talented and creative photographers working. Check out his blog right here. His galleries are worth a peek too. His specialty is high school seniors and he is very good at what he does.

Another thing he is very good at is marketing himself. He took the "Bull" named Facebook, grabbed it by the horns and learned everything he could about it. He is an expert in my opinion. He used his new found expertise on the Facebook to leverage that into 70 additional high school senior sessions for his studio - not bad for $1 worth of advertising.

Included with his note was his DVD where he explained all the Tips and Tricks to making Facebook work for you. I watched the entire tutorial and think he packs a lot of wisdom into his 50 minute presentation.

I asked Martha, one of my team members to watch it too and give me her feedback. She's so much younger than me;~) I thought her perspective would be good input. She too thought it got you up to speed quickly on the social networking possibilities. Anyway, that's why I mention it. You can get more info on his Facebook tutorial right here complete with video intro. And wait there' more - I just reread Rod's letter and he says that if you are interested and enter coupon code "ziser", it will save you $30 bucks off the price.

And, on that note gang, I'm out of here - I see my clients coming now. See everybody tomorrow for another episode of Business Day Thursday: Bundled Or Unbundled? See ya' then, -David