Friday, July 31, 2009

"Crowning Glory"

"Crowning Glory"
©David A. Ziser

Here is another image made at the class this week. The location is Xavier catholic Church in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. It happens to be one of my favorites. The colors and design make for a very dramatic backdrop for the bridal portrait. I chose the low angle and very wide angle lens to accentuate the "design lines" of the church. We were using one of the Quantum Trios that Quantum sent us to use for the week. The worked great. I positioned one of the class members to the right of the bride shooting through my Zumbrella to give the directional light to the scene. Balancing the exposure and underexposing the ambient by about a stop resulted in the finished result. Camera specs: Canon 5D fitted with Sigma 12-24mm lens at 14mm, F5.6 @ 1/20 second, ISO 1600. Enjoy! -David

Finishing Up Friday: What Did I Learn This Week?

Good Evening Everybody,
Yes, today we wrap up a great week of learning, sharing, capturing some outstanding images,
camaraderie, good food, and good times. Sing along with me.... "Now it's time to say goodbye to all the family. M - I - C...." Sorry, I'm really dating myself with that one. Seriously though, there was a lot to be learned by everybody this week, including me.

Sure, we all get to know each other, joke around, and have a great time, but amidst the great times happening, something else happens too. You learn more that the nuts and bolts of digital photography. The class members bring their own experiences, perspectives, and ideas to the mix. It's that kind of experience that can only make the class richer for everyone, - including myself.

So what did I learn this week - here are a few impressions:
1. I learned that my week-long classes want even more time shooting - I've been slow to hear that message - but in October we have planned nearly two days of shooting scheduled.

2. I've also learned with more "coaching" by me or my staff, the better the class enjoys the experience. In October, I'm planning to have 4 additional, well trained team leaders on board who will work one-on-one with our smaller 4-5 member breakout groups.

3. With our rained out Tuesday shoot we stumbled on a new location that offers 5 distinct locations for shooting - inside, window light, compositional backgrounds, outdoors, and urban shooting. I can't wait to put these additional compositional elements into play at the Fall Master Class, October 27-31.

4. I learned that even with my slick PowerPoint presentation, which makes creating outstanding imagry look so easy to do, that it's like learning Photoshop - when you think you've got it, you probably don't. Seeing lots of class images from our shoots pointed out to me other refinements I can bring to my teaching methods and class resources.

5. I learned that the class want to shoot the models and be able to use the images in their portfolio development. We are lining up extra models and securing model releases for the entire class - yes, this fall you will be able to use you images for your portfolio.

6. I learned that with everyone shooting the same lighting gear, thanks to Quantum, the learning curve was ramped up considerably. A BIG THANKS to Quantum for the use of their gear!!

7. I learned a lot about the higher ISO settings on the various camera bodies. Seeing the images from everyone's cameras really brought out a few surprises for me. I was amazed by the lack of noise in some cameras and the heavy noise in cameras which were touted to be low noise wonders. More on this down the road.

8. I like learning how wedding can vary from different parts around the country and around the world. The styles, routines and obstacles each photographer faces can seem overwhelming until experience and practice become the norm.

9. I learned that at the end of the day, there is a lot to be gained just by sitting and visiting with each other. Everyone brings something to the table at my classes. I'm glad we all able to get together and I thank everyone for sharing experiences, interacting with one another and being part of a great week.

These changes are pretty much what my team and I have planned for October. Because of the substantial increase in costs for lots of additional staff, we will be raising the price of the class $100 on August 9, 2009 to cover most of the additional expenses.

So, if you this experience is for you - it's what everybody is asking for - give Jennifer a call next week at 800.292.2994 and you can still reserve your seat at $895 and save $100 till next Friday. After August 7th the price will go to $995. Our Fall Digital Workshop is scheduled for October 26-30, 2009. Hope to see you there.

Hey gang, that's it for me today. LaDawn and I are both looking for a little R&R today, it is our 4 year anniversary, you know. Have a great weekend everyone. See ya' on the flip side. Adios, -David

Thursday, July 30, 2009

"Window Light Beauty"

"Window Light Beauty"
©David A. Ziser

Due to the rainy weather conditions, yesterday's shoot looked like is was heading south. The Plan B we pulled off gave the entire class a wonderful opportunity to enjoy all the photographic aspects of the beautiful Cincinnati Club. Here is one of the images I made of my bride at yesterday's venue. The image is a straight available light image. I positioned the bride in front of the Chinese screen which served as a perfect back ground with it's complimentary colors to the bride's complexion and hair. I simply turned the bride's face into the light to get my ever present loop lighting on her face. That made for a great shot of my beautiful bride. Camera specs; Canon 50D fitted with 18-200mm lens at 100mm, F 5.6 @ 1/40 second, ISO 1600. Enjoy! -David

Business Day Thursday: Fight The Discount, Give A Gift

Good Morning Everybody,
Well, yesterday started out a little shaky. We had planned to take the Master Class attendees to one of the local parks for our morning shoot but the rain was coming down pretty steadily when I looked out the window about 7:00 A.M. So we jumped to Plan B Wednesday.

As luck would have it, I gave a call to one of my vendor buddy's who runs one of the very popular venues for weddings in the City. I don't know if she was expecting an 8:15 A.M. call to her home or not, but she was very gracious and opened the doors to the Cincinnati Club to us for our shoot.

Turns out this was about the best thing that could have happened for us on this rainy day Wednesday. The Cincinnati Club not only offers great backgrounds for incredible wedding images, but the entire class could break out into our 5 assigned groups and work on their own without getting into each other's way. I think everyone loved it. We are reviewing all those images today - I can't wait.

Before I scoot out the door, let me hit you with a quick Business Day Thursday thought. Here we go.

Fight The Discount, Give A Gift
I was reading in the Wall Street Journal last week about how one luxury merchant was handling our current economy. Many of us have felt the down turn in business. Clients are asking for discounts on the products and services many businesses are offering.

This pretty much has never been heard of in the luxury markets. Some photography studios may fall into that group. Regardless of where your business stands in the current business climate, I thought the particular approach from this retailer was good advice for anyone doing business in any business up-hill or down-hill climate.

Here is the bottom line of what they choose to do and why. When a customer wanted a discount, they smiled and offered a gift instead. Here is the thinking. After the client receives the discount, although important for the client at that moment, is long forgotten after they leave.

Why not give a gift instead, worth, say in the neighborhood of 5-10% of the value of the discount. Now when the client leaves, the gift will always be a reminder of the nice customer experience the customer had with that particular merchant. All memories of other discounters will have fallen by the wayside.

But, the merchant who provided the gift, and a nice gift, in lieu of the discount will be long remembered. And it that kind of impression that one leaves with clients that gives them a reason to return to our businesses.

Food for thought.

Hey gang, I got to get moving, images to review, questions to answer, students to inspire. Today happens to be Business Day Thursday for my class, too. It's always one of my favorite days of the class. This evening we have everyone back to our home for a fabulous dinner so look for tomorrow's post to hit later in the day. Hey gang, I'm out of here - See ya' tomorrow, -David

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

"Love Is Blue"

"Lady In Blue"
©David A. Ziser

I know , I know - I'm in my blue period these days. Heck, Picasso had a Blue Period, why not me? Hey, just kidding. It just turns out that over the first day of shooting with my class, we captured a lot of images with blue backgrounds. I still think they look kind of cool - no pun intended. This image was made yesterday at the Phoenix. Shooting at the Phoenix during daylight hours puts a whole new look to images that are usually aglow with warm tones throughout. The sun floods through the window from the third floor area pretty much washing out all the warm tones. Yesterday, I choose to enhance the effect. I used my Z-Ray, in actuality is my Brinkmann high intensity flashlight, to illuminate my bride. I set the camera's color balance to 2800K to balance the warm light tonalities of the Z-Ray which then push the already cool tones to an even more blue. A quick tweak or two in Lightroom finished the result. Camera specs; Canon 5D Mark II fitted with 24-105mm IS lens @ 45mm, F5.6 @ 1/30 second handheld, ISO 1600. Enjoy! -David

The Wednesday Post That Never Was

Good Morning Everybody,
Yesterday we worked from 9 A.M. till 10 P.M. in the evening with only a sort break for lunch and dinner. The class was whipped I was whipped get back home about 11:30 P.M. Batteries needed to be recharged, bags repacked, and cards downloaded before today's class.

I always like to print up and show the class a few images from yesterday's shoot so I've been working on them this morning - the image post for today is from yesterday's shoot. So, yes, today was another early wake up call. Add to that a computer crash today to slow things down even more.

Wait, there's more. We were supposed to be on an outdoor shoot all morning, but we are socked in with rain. I've also been on the phone setting up my Plan B for the day - more time trickling through my fingers. Now, I am now at the point where I've got to get heading out the door to catch up with my class in a few minutes so I'm bailing on my normal post today. I'll have to catch everybody again tomorrow. Sorry about that.

So gang, I'm out of here, -David

P.S. Did I say that the goldfish died and the dog pied on the carpet too - what a day;~) Have a good one. I'm heading out the door right now singing, "The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow, Tomorrow, Tomorrow..." -David

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

"Love Is Blue"

"Love Is Blue"
©David A. Ziser

I made this image while we were in Chicago presenting a day-long seminar a few weeks ago. This is one of the last images I made for the day. I gelled the flash and placed the camera on 2800K color setting. This made the entire area surrounding the bride go quite blue. Since the flash was "tungsten flavored", I was able to obtain the correct color balance on my bride. Since the ambient light was so bright, I had the strobe only about 6 feet away from my bride. That let me use a very small aperture and fast shutter speed to darken the blue sky. The problem was that my assistant was in the shot. I put him a "Photoshopable" area of the scene (the sky) so it was easy to remove him from the shot. Camera specs; Canon 5D Mark II fitted with 12-24mm lens at 19mm, F 22 @ 1/250 second, ISO 200.
Enjoy! -David

Technique Tuesday; Dancing In The Light

Good Morning Everybody,
The class got off to a good start yesterday. We wrapped about 5:30 P.M. and then headed over to our home/studio for our getting-to-know-each-other-better Welcome Party and a little R&R. R&R this early in the week - what was I thinking - we've got a 13 hour day planned today! That's right, we are meeting at the hotel at 9:00 A.M. then starting the day heading out to the Phoenix. The Phoenix, by the way, is featured in last week's and today's Technique Tuesday. Check it out below.

Anyway, we have a BIG day planned with several locations and opportunities to shoot. I'll plan to fill you in tomorrow along with some images of the day.

Oh, I almost for got to mention it, but we are running another SPECIAL over at the DPT Digital Resource Center for the next two weeks. Here is the deal - 1 Zumbrella, 1 Shooting At The Speed Of Light DVD (60 minutes) , and 1 Location, Lighting, Lenses, and Composition Webinar (97 minutes) all for the one low price of $59 ($107 value) plus shipping and handling. Only 37 cents a minute for lots of solid info on lighting, exposure, and composition. I think you'll love it. The Webinar attendees last week certainly did. Here is the link to the special offer right here.

Hey gang, let's get on with today's Technique Tuesday. Here we go.

Dancing In The Light
Today's tutorial is a continuation of last week's lighting/photography lesson entitled, "Love Lines" [link]. The bride and I knew we could get some great shots at this wonderful location - the Phoenix in downtown Cincinnati. Here is the trick though. You don't want to be pulling you bridal couple away from their guests and their reception for too long. It's their wedding, not our photo shoot.

I asked Grace and Chris if we could break away for 10-15 minutes, just long enough for the guests to finish dinner. They had finished first, so if they agreed, this would be the perfect time to slip in and out with their absence only being minimally noticed.

They agreed, of course, and now the clock was ticking. I had to get all the shots I wanted in less that 15 minutes and get them back to the reception and their guests. This tutorial walks you through the next set of images I created for Grace and Chris. Backlighting and cool compositional lines make for some pretty dramatic images. This week's tutorial shows you how quickly we put the shots together and the great result we got. Hit the PLAY button below and enjoy the show!

Hey gang, I've got to get moving. Class begins in about an hour and it's a big day today. Check back tomorrow and see what we were up too. See ya' then, -David

Monday, July 27, 2009

"Summer Serenade"
©David A. Ziser

This is a variation on a theme. Last week I posted, "Dancing On The Square", a beautiful image of my bride a few weeks ago. Here is another image from that shoot. I just went in close. The larger aperture isolated her nicely from the background. The lines of the canopy structure lead the viewers eyes right to her face. Lighting is from the left - Quantum T5d shooting through my Zumbrella which gives the very soft quality of lighting on the bride's face. The summer colors give a really nice feel to the image as well. Camera specs: Canon 5D Mark II fitted with 70-300mm IS DO lens at 265mm, F5.6 @ 1/125 second, ISO 200. Enjoy! -David

Quick Hit Monday: Book Update; DSLR Info Galore: Free Publicity; and I Can See For Miles

Good Morning Everybody,
Today we begin my Summer Digital Master Class 2009. We have an international class one more time. One of our attendees hails all the way from Aruba and another attendee comes to us from our northern neighbor, Ontario Canada. I'm looking forward to another great week. We contracted some great looking models and some fabulous new locations scoped out in which to shoot this week.

My good friends at Quantum also sent four of their brand new Trios for the class to have the opportunity for some hands-on practical experience. If you haven't heard about the Trio, it is about the most accurate TTL flash on the market. It has a built in transmitter and receiver which means it swings both ways when it it comes to wedding photography. I've only mentioned the tip of the iceberg when it comes to their versatility. We plan to run the units through their paces several days this week. I'll keep you posted.

Wedding Book Update - I spent the entire day with Mr. Kelby on Friday. What can I say, Scott knows what he's doing when it comes to writing books. We walked through my book step by step finessing the final product. We met with Jessica who is working on the design of the book and Cindy, who is completing the edit on the book.

By 6 o'clock on Friday, we had hammered out what needs to be done for the necessary refinements to get to the finished product. Then it's on to Peachpit for publication. I know it seems like a long process but now I can see why. Thanks for being patient to all those who pre-ordered the book. I have to say, the draft copies really look good. I can't wait to see the final product in the not to distant future. I'll keep you posted as it moves through it's final steps.

Hey gang, Get your reading glasses on, curl up with your laptop, and hope for a rainy day - I've got lots of good reading for you today.

Check them out below:

Digital SLR Photo - [link] OK, folks, this is a pretty darn nice site. Lots of good info to browse through. You will need to bookmark it because you're going to want to go back for more and more.
Publicity Insider - [link] I found Bill Stoller following me on Twitter and decided to check out what he was up to. He's got some down to earth suggestions on how to promote yourself. You'll have to navigate you're way through a pop-up or two - but not too bad. Worth the visit. - [link] A few weeks ago I was following the news on Michael Jackson. The LA Times had a very cool panorama of the memorial service at the Staples Center [link]. One thing led to another and before long I was over at - all panoramas, all the time. Head on over - very fascinating stuff.

Hey gang, that's it for me today. Class starts in a few minutes, so I'm out of here. Students to meet and information to teach!! See ya' tomorrow. -David

P.S. Facebook Issues: Occasionally I'll get a Facebook message saying someone can't see my image of the day or see the Technique Tuesday videos. My buddy, Steve Bitter, and my very first assistant ever, has been helping out with the solution. All my Facebook friends need to do is hit the link after the note that says "View Original Post". It will take you right where you need to go.

By the way, don't get Steve talking about the old days. He has more stories to tell then anyone about the start of my business. Some of those stories are pretty funny, many very embarrassing. Thanks for the heads-up, Steve.

How To Make A Legal Phone Call From A Plane At 30,000 Feet Without A Phone

Wait, there's more! So there I was at 30,000 feet. The captain made an announcement that we were going to be about an hour late getting into Cincinnati, Ohio because of bad weather. How would I get the word to my wife, LaDawn and let her know my predicament?

There it was, in the seat flap - yes, this Delta flight was wired for the Internet! I fired up my little Acer netbook, logged on, paid my $6, and I was on-line. My next step was to download Skype - one of my favorite apps - to my recently purchased netbook.

After a few minutes, Skype was installed. I attached my Plantronics "bluetooth" headset, switched it on, logged into my Skype account, and made the VoIP call - TOTALLY LEGAL FROM 30,000 FEET!!! I managed to reach LaDawn - clear as a bell, by the way - and let her know about my flight delay.

Isn't technology wonderful? So what are the possibilities available to us? My head is spinning - it was so good, so clear, and so cool!

Anyway folks, that's how I killed about 30 minutes of my flight delay, and how, you too, can make legal VoIP calls from 30,000 feet on your computer;~) I sure hope the TSA doesn't read this. OK, I'm out of here for good this time gang. See ya' tomorrow, -David

Friday, July 24, 2009

"Love Lines"

"Love Lines"
©David A. Ziser

This is one of the images I made at my wedding shootout in Chicago last Thursday. My host who set up our location was a bit disappointed that he couldn't get us into a more spectacular location. When I walked into this church, I knew I was going to love it. I'm just a "design line" kind of a guy and this location had plenty of exciting compositional elements happening within the sanctuary. I'll plan to get a few more images posted over the next few days. What I like about this image are the two leading lines in the ceiling subliminally leading our eyes directly to the bride. I have two light sources working in this image. The key light is coming from my off-camera flash to my left. The tungsten gelled hidden light directly behind the bride is being held by my assistant and is pointing at the ceiling. It's a Quantum Trio which has been dialed down to give just enough illumination to the scene to separate the bride nicely from the surroundings. I really liked how the image turned out. Camera specs: Canon 5D Mark II fitted with 24-105mm IS lens at 24mm, F5.6 @ 1/100 second, ISO 800. Enjoy! -David

Food For Thought Friday: Are You A What If Person? Maybe It's Time To Change Your Thinking

Good morning Everybody,
Wow - can you believe it, a morning post coming out of DigitalProTalk this week. I have to say, it was nice to get down to Tampa yesterday and just catch my breath. R.C. Concepcion of Layers TV fame and I had dinner last night at City Fish, in my opinion, the best restaurant in town. It you ever get down to the Tampa/Oldsmar Florida area, City Fish is definitely a place to visit. It was also great to catch up with RC.

OK, gang - time to get on with today's post.

Are You A What If Person? Maybe It's Time To Change Your Thinking.
Every now and then I receive an email or read a comment about one of my posts which asks the "What IF" question. So what is a "What IF" question? Let me explain. Have you ever been really excited about something? Are you just burning to give it a try? You share your idea and they get pretty fired up too. Then it happens, somebody in the crowd starts poo-pooing the whole idea - "It won't work because of this or because of that", or "I don't think...", "I wouldn't try...", "I can't...", "You shouldn't...." Negativeness all around. You get the idea.

The thing you were really excited about starts getting shot down right out of the gate. I wonder, sometimes, why people take that tact in the discussion. Why don't the "What IF" people first get excited about the concept and add to the positive energy of the discussion. Once the idea or concept starts to blossom, then take a more critical look at the possibilities, positive and negative. To lob the negative "What IF" comments into the discussion early on is to pluck the new buds off the idea before it even has a chance to blossom. What's the point of that?!

I might post a new idea or a creative concept that I think would be very beneficial to our readers. Sure, we might have to work out the bugs as we do with anything new, but with the bugs worked out, all these new doors of opportunities open up for us. But then the occasional negative response is posted.

Let me be more specific. A few weeks ago, I posted about how we are using the GoToMeeting software to stay in much closer touch with our out-of-town clients. It works like a charm, by the way. There was a p00-poo comment posted after the article. I'm not trying to step on the commenter's toes, but the comment raised the question about what happens if during the client presentation the GoToMeeting server goes down?

What happens if the client is at my studio and we loose power? We had that happen before, by the way. Simple - apologize, reschedule - no big deal. Anyway, on with my rant.

It's this negative "What IF" thinking that I find such a limiting way to approach new ideas and methodologies. Why do some people find that expressing the "negative" is "positive"? Wouldn't creative position discussion offer much more efficient, creative, and profitable opportunities in our businesses and also in our lives?

How many times have you been guilty of throwing roadblocks up in your own lives with the famed "What IF" response to an idea or a possible solution without first considering the positive aspects of that idea or solution? I guess it's a bit of the "glass half empty vs. half full" way of thinking. I feel it's a self defeating way to approach something new, a new concept, technique, new idea.

I'm not suggesting a "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead" way of thinking. I'm not suggesting disregarding any lack of common sense prudence before implementing new ideas. I'm just disappointed that so many people seem to set up their own road blocks to success with what Zig Ziglar called "Stinkin' Thinkin'". Want a further peek at what I'm talking about - check out the link right at Phych Central.

I think that at the very least, the "What IF " responses should be reserved for the later part of any meetings or discussions when the topics revolve around new ideas, new possibilities, new options that could make things more beneficial in our lives and our businesses. The first blush of any discussion should always embrace the positive. It's this positive energy that breeds more exciting off-shoots from the original idea. Kicking in a negative "What IF" statement early on in the process is tantamount to snuffing the fires of creativity, creativity that could make the original idea even a better than ever before. The early idea needs to take root and grow into something viable and possible. Only at that time should we invite the "What IF" questions into the discussion.

This is not to say that the "What ifers" should be denied their say. LaDawn prefers to play "devils advocate" quite often to explore all possibilities. Everyone brings something to the table when discussing something new and exciting. I think the "What ifers" should also contribute to the positive aspects of the discussion early on. It should be a preferred requirement, a standing rule - in the creative process of discussion. The creative process can get derailed early on with the "What if" grenades tossed into the discussion too early.

What's the bottom line? I think any business meeting or discussions meetings whose purpose it is to explore new ideas, new technologies, new solutions, and new possibilities need to thrive in a healthy, live sustaining environment of positive discussion and interaction. These kinds of meetings to be inclusive of everyone that's come to the table with the stipulation that all positive aspects of the new idea are discussed first.

Only after the meeting has prospered with the positive aspects of the discussion should the "What IFs" be introduced. Let's explore the "What IFs" and see if the new idea really is a great idea. Let's not pull the rug out from under the idea, concept early on. Be patient with the process and many more ideas will be fostered in your business and your lives.

Please don't be an "Early on what IF" person. It slows down positive energy; it disguises possibilities; it hampers creativity; it slows down life. Living a "What IF" life is only living half a life, because that's all you have left when you take the "IF" out of LIFE.

End of rant #72.

Food for thought-

Keep smilin' everybody - it makes people wonder what you're up to next;~) See ya' next week, --David

Thursday, July 23, 2009

"Daisy Chain"

"Daisy Chain"

©David A. Ziser
I made this image during last Saturday's Scott Kelby Worldwide Photowalk. What a great time we had. We meandered our way through a beautiful little park which was decked out with all the lovely summer flowers. I was walking with my brand new Canon 50D fitted with my 18-200 IS lens - about the only "walk around" camera-combo you could ever need. The close focusing characteristics of this lens really let me get some cool shots of these cone flowers. Yes, they did get a tweak or two in Lightroom, but I love the very colorful result. Camera specs: Canon 50D fitted with 18-200mm IS lens at 200mm, F5.6 @ 1/125 second, ISO 320. Enjoy! -David

Business day Thursday - Do They Know Who You Are

Good Afternoon Everybody,
I'm coming to you live from Oldsmar, Florida today where in just a few minutes I will be heading over to NAPP World Headquarters. I'm meeting with Scott and Cindy to wrap the final details about my wedding book, Captured By The Light. I hope I have good news for everyone about it's release date by next week.

If you caught yesterday's late post, you know that I was pretty "juiced" about my Webinar presented yesterday early afternoon. I spent two days putting it all together and was even tweaking it yesterday morning. I know a lot a people will be asking if I'm going to re-broadcast it. We are working on those details right now, so stay tuned.

One last item before we get to today's post. You still have a few days left to take advantage of the two specials we have available over at our Digital Resource Center. Sale ends Sunday at midnight EDT. My Zumbrella has been extremely popular and bundled with my "Shooting At The Speed Of Light DVD" which is included at less than 1/2 price, you can't go wrong. Here is the Zumbrella/DVD info link. My first Webinar is still available at half price too. Use code DAZWEB1 to get the special pricing. Here is the Webinar info link right here.

I've gotten a few emails asking if we can ship internationally. The answer is YES! We are still working through the learning process so if you have any suggestions, please let me know.

I've got a short and sweet Business day Thursday post for you today so let's get right to it.

Do They Know Who You Are
While in Chicago last week, I met Larry Englehart who owns and operates DejaViews Studio. Larry runs quite the studio in the area with a client list that would make anybody's mouth water. You can check out DejaViews web site right here.

Anyway, Larry was in my Wedding Shootout class on Thursday and we had a few minutes to visit. He asked me if my staff and I wear name tags at our events. I replied; "no, we don't and that I never really thought about it much or gave it any consideration". He proceeded to tell me that he and his staff wear name tags to each and every event they photograph. I thought maybe he was on to something, that maybe that might be a good idea and I knew I was going to give it further thought.

Anyway, here is the idea I wanted to share with you thanks to the conversation I engaged with Larry. They wear a name badge to every event. But, these are no ordinary name badges. Larry's name badges have 3x3 inch LCD screens in them.

OK, you probably know will this is going - yes, Larry places a few of the images from the day's shoot on the name badges - about a dozen. These dozen images rotate through the viewing cycle with his name and the DejaViews studio name coming up as well. He will also include a message like, "Ask me how to have DejaViews at your next event." Pretty cool, eh? I got thinking that this kind of name badge could be really fun at a Bar/Bat Mitzvah. Larry loves it for weddings too. And he really loves it for corporate events.

Where do you pick up these clever name badges? I found a few options at Here is the link right here. The larger items are $89 while the smaller ones are only $29. I also checked in with Larry. He tells me he just googles digital photo frames and buys from the place with the best deal. Here are a few I found while cruising the net today. I found one over at B&H for $29.00 right here and another at Amazon Associates for $24.99 right here.

There are all kinds of ways to create customer "buzz". When he is shooting corporate events, he will rotate the client's name and their promos into the name tag slide show too. His clients love it. He feels that his digital name tags breaks the ice more quickly between he and his customer. And, they are intrigued with the concept. Larry may have hit on a pretty fun concept here. I just may give it a try myself at our next job.

Hey gang, that's it for me today. I'm slowing things down a bit for the rest of the day. My plans are to have a great dinner at one of our all-time favorite restaurants, City Fish, in Oldsmar. Then it's just chillin' a bit for me. I'll plan on seeing everyone tomorrow with another provocative post that should really get your "brain juices" flowing. See ya' then, -David

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

“Dancing On the Square”

Dancing In The Park-1042-DZ_McCaanW09“Dancing On The Square”

©David A. Ziser

This is another image I made at last Friday’s wedding. I mentioned that it was one of the prettiest weddings I photographed so far this year. I think one thing that makes the wedding coverage really beautiful is the amount of variety in locations of the shoots. Last Friday we started out with the groom at a beautiful downtown hotel. Then moved up to the Phoenix which is another great venue in Cincinnati. This image was taken at one of the city parks just across the street from where the wedding was taking place. When shooting outdoors, I have one main rule – use a long lens.  I had the bride positioned about 80 feet away with the lens racked out to 200mm. My aperture of F5.6 was wide enough to still blur the background. The main lighting was supplied by my radio controlled off-camera flash. My assistant was able to get close enough to the subject for me to be able to use my shoot through Zumbrella. The rest is history. I had a beautiful bride in a gorgeous location with great lighting - that all combines into a really nice bridal portrait for her wedding album. Camera specs; Canon 5D Mark II fitted with 70-200mm IS lens at 200mm, F5 .6 at 1/125 second,  ISO 200.

Enjoy! -- David

Portrait Day Wednesday: The Presentation Appointment - My 14 Step Plan For A Successful Presentation Experience

Happy-Hooray_000001999168XSmallGood Afternoon Everybody,

Well, it's been a pretty exciting day at the Ziser Studio. I just wrapped my second webinar just a few hours ago and, by the comments we received, everybody sure enjoyed the presentation. We went on longer than our scheduled 90 minutes but, to me that's always a good thing -- just more bang for the buck. I'll plan to get another webinar scheduled in the next few weeks and hopefully many of you will be able to join us for it. If you missed it---stay tuned later this week for information on a download that will be available.

Hey gang, it’s getting late so let’s started with today’s post.

Portrait Day Wednesday: The Presentation Appointment – My 14 Step Plan For A Successful Presentation Experience
Well it’s been looking like this post was never going to make it on line, but this is finally it’s lucky day! This will be our second last post of our Portrait Day Wednesday series. But, pay attention , this is probably one of the most important posts of the series.

Okay, where  did we leave off a few weeks ago? We talked about preparing images for viewing. We talked about creating suggestions with the clients images in which to show them for their  consideration. We should be totally prepared - now it's time to make our presentation with them.

Let me walk you through my 14 step plan for making this a fruitful experience.

Hit The “Read More…” link below for the rest of the story.

Here we go…

1. When making a call to schedule the client appointment, we always check to be sure that the selected time is convenient for mom and dad – the key decision makers - to come to the studio. If there's young children in the family, we always verify that the parents have arranged a babysitter while mom and dad are at their appointment. There is nothing that can ruin the sale quicker than having young children distracting mom and dad while they are trying to finalize purchasing decisions for themselves and we are trying to put our best foot forward showing the best images from the shoot.

DAZNOTE: This reminds me of a personal experience I had a number of years ago when my children were quite small. We headed to the car dealer to look at a new car for the family. The salesperson wanted my undivided attention but I was a bit preoccupied with my young children.

Just as the salesperson was trying to give me his best deal, my daughter was running through the showroom putting her fingerprints on all the shiny new cars. Now I not saying my daughter was misbehaving, I think it was more about her being impatient with the long time it was taking to close the deal in the car. Everybody knows buying a car can indeed be a long process.

Just as were getting one more “pitch” from sales manager #3, my daughter filled her diaper.  All I could do was smile.  Thanks to the inopportune “diaper dump” the salesperson made her last and best offer.  I accepted and got a good deal on the car.

I learned an important lesson on that day. It's important to have only the key decision-makers present when holding your appointment with your client. That would be mom and dad and you. All the kids are back home with a babysitter.

2. We welcome our clients in a warm and hospitable way asking if they would like a refreshment and being sure that they have the select seating in the studio for viewing images. We first reminisce about about how well the shoot went. I let them know that they look great and can’t wait for them to see them.

DAZNOTE:  During the early part of our meeting I always ask them if they thought about which part of their home or in which room(s) they might hang their family portrait. What I'm doing is introducing them to the concept of owning a family portrait. It's a very interesting thing that I've learned over these many years of being in business.

When somebody walks into a client’s home, the first thing they’ll comment on will be a beautiful family portrait hanging in the family room or over the sofa in the living room. The client may have just bought all brand-new furniture, but the house guests will still comment on the family portraits. The wall portrait is indeed the most eye catching and most pleasing home decor in the room.

3. After visiting with them for a short while it's show time. My studio is ready to go. The screen is down, the projector is fired up, and the first title image is on the screen.

4. I learned a long time ago that people get pretty darn excited when they watch photography with music. After checking that mom and dad are comfortable and ready to go, I fire up the music and start the slideshow in Lightroom. As the slideshow is playing, I watch and listen to mom and dad’s expressions. It's easy to spot what some of their favorite images are during the presentation.

5. At the end of the show the lights come back up and I just wait to hear what they have to say about the presentation. I have to say, the comments are always overwhelmingly positive. You know, there is just something special about seeing your family, your kids, your husband, your wife and  all those beautiful images with the musical accompaniment.

6. After the slideshow, we have really broken the ice with our clients. It's at this point I basically lay out our very simple viewing procedures. I let mom and dad know that we will be working through each of the images one at a time with them selecting their favorites.

I let them know that after they have selected their favorites, we will go through them again and “fine tune” the order. I also let them know that nothing is “etched in stone” and that they can change their mind on any of the images at any time during our meeting. 

7. We then move through the images one at a time. If they love it I give it a two star rating in Lightroom.  This part of the process is  simply to narrow down their favorite image selections from the larger presentation. We may show them about 100 - 120 images from which they will select 35 – 65 or so favorites.

8. After they have selected their favorites, we're now going to try to pick the absolute best for the featured portrait. During this process we end up with the client's favorite and also a couple of runners-up images. I'll make a couple of suggestions as to which one I like based on where the image is going to be displayed  and how it might be framed in their home.

9. The next thing is to determine what is the appropriate size of the wall portrait. A quick rule of thumb is that a framed wall portrait should accommodate at least 50% of the wall space over the furniture where it will be displayed  That means that if the portrait is to hang over an 84 inch long sofa,  then the framed portrait should be at least 42 inches on the long side. 

10. After selecting the final image for the wall portrait, it's a simple matter to pick out the rest of the images for their home, office, god- parents, grandparents, and any other relatives for whom mom and dad might want to purchase photographs.  Many times our clients have summer homes so, of course we should suggest which and how many images they need for their other properties.

11. At this point in the presentation you might think that you're finished. Well, you're not.  Why, because our clients have told us they loved 35 - 65 images from the presentation. They’ve only picked out three or four of the key images for themselves and family members.  There are still many, many images that they told us they loved. We need to suggest how they may display the rest of these favorite images.

I usually suggest a portrait album or a “Treasure Box”.  Both items offer a wonderful way to feature several more images from the portrait shoot. Family portrait albums are typically 10x10 inch or 8x8 inch leather bound albums. 

It's the album that truly captures all the nuances and all the variety of the family portrait shoot. Are clients that have opted for the family album have thoroughly enjoyed and treasured their albums.

12.  Be sure to share with your clients the other suggested image possibilities that you prepared for them before they arrive at your studio. Multiple image presentation, groupings, clusters of images, special effects such as black and white, water color………

13. All we need to do now is to make some minor decisions as to framing and album cover colors. At this point we are getting close to the end of the presentation.

14. I'll quickly calculate an approximate cost of the order and let my clients know that my office will be contacting them with the final invoicing and requesting a 50% deposit to start processing the order.

Our meeting usually takes about 90 minutes.  At the end of that 90 minutes, I feel that we've done the best we can do in presenting our images to our clients and helped them make their best decisions so that they can enjoy and treasure their family photographs for many, many years.  We say our good bye’s and I’ll notify my staff as to the selections, sizes, special instructions….so that my staff can then get the order into production.

Hey gang, that pretty well wraps it for today. It's getting a little late and I think I need an adult beverage. Tomorrow I jump on a plane for Oldsmar, Florida to meet with the man himself, Mr. Scott Kelby, and wrap details of my wedding book which, should be published and available in the near future.

I'll give you an update next week on where the production and time expectations are on it. I’ll see everybody tomorrow for a short and sweet Business Day Thursday probably posting later in the afternoon. Have a good one and I'll see you tomorrow, -- David

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Royal Beauty

Royal Beauty-0667-DZ_McCaanW09-Edit-Edit“Royal Beauty”

©David A. Ziser

Here's another image I made at last Friday's wedding. My subject does look like a regal “Royal Beauty” in this shot, doesn’t she. The bride had just finished getting ready and I just completed photographing my bride in the silhouette image I posted yesterday. I now wanted to move in close and use a white background to see if I could create a  very cool high key image of my bride. The bright, sunlit window screen gave me just what I was looking for. This is just a simple window light photograph but I think it really captures the beauty of my subject. Camera specs; Canon 5D Mark II fitted with 24-105mm IS at 35mm, F5 .6 at 1/60, ISO 1000. Enjoy! -- David

Technique Tuesday: Love Lines – Another “Live” Wedding Shoot!

Good Late Afternoon Again Everybody,

We continue to be too darn busy around here.  Hey, I just want to give everyone a heads up about tomorrow's Webinar at 2 PM. I've been working on it most of the day and, man, is it shaping up to be a good one. I know I'm only scheduled for 90 minutes they think there's about three hours of information.

Webinar 1995-220pxI pulled some great images and lots of detail shots to help make this a great learning experience for everyone tomorrow.  Here is the direct link to register right here . Be sure to use the code; WEBLLC09 to receive the special discount pricing of $19.95.  After registering you will receive your confirmation email tomorrow by noon with the login information for the webinar.  It’s all pretty easy to do.

My assistant, Damien will be standing by to monitor your questions forwarding them to me during the program. We will try to provide as as many answers to your questions as possible. I suspect this will be one of my "million mile a minute" presentations. I hope to see everyone there tomorrow.

Remember, if you can't make it at 2 PM program,  still register for the Webinar and I'll point you to a link where you can hear it at a later time. We are doing our best here to be sure that everybody who wants to hear the information can do so at their convenience.

0006-TTues - Love Lines-2079-DZ_McCaanW09-Edit

Love Lines – Another “LIVE” Wedding Shoot!

Hey gang, be sure to check out today's Technique Tuesday episode entitled, “Love Lines.” Once again I'll take you with me on a “live” wedding shoot presentation. You will witness how I produce my signature images “under fire.” The video runs about nine minutes and I posted nine images from that short session.

Another highlight of the tutorial shows how quickly we work at a wedding getting that “Exciting Lighting” on my clients. In this short tutorial, you will watch me shoot through my new Zumbrella, bounce light off of the back wall, and use the flash pointing directly at my bride. Each method was used in order to obtain the desired proper lighting characteristics on my subject.

This tutorial also touches a bit on composition as well. Watch how I use the framing elements and the leading lines to lead the viewer's eye directly to my subject. Anyway, it's time to sit down, relax, and enjoy the show. Hit the play button below for the rest of the story.

Zumbrella Special Extended

Since this tutorial covers off-camera flash and umbrella lighting, we have extend the special pricing on my Zumbrella, and Zumbrella bundles till midnight Sunday.  Here are the links to the Zumbrella alone, Zumbrella with lighting DVD, and the entire Zumbrella/DVD/Bracket kit.

Hey gang, it's getting late and I've got to go. I'm wrapping my presentation for tomorrow's webinar and I'm pretty darned excited with how it's coming together.

I'll plan to see anybody tomorrow for Portrait Day Wednesday. We have two more posts in the series and I think they are probably the most important posts of all. Why, because they're about sales. And, nobody can run a successful studio if you don't know how to close the sale. So, on that note gang I'm out of here. See everybody tomorrow, -- David

Monday, July 20, 2009

“A Moment In Time”

A Moment In Time-0594-DZ_McCaanW09-Edit

“A Moment In Time”

©David A. Ziser

Here is one of the images I made at Friday’s wedding.  The bride had just finished putting on the gown. The blinds were drawn and provided a very clean background for the images I had in mind. For this image, I just wanted to see the bride’s silhouette against the triangular shape of the drapes around the window.  The train of the gown in the foreground leads the eye to Grace’s beautiful silhouette making a striking image for her wedding album.  The black and white rendition of this image, I think, adds to the presentation of the final image. I was shooting some low light images right before this image was made  which explains the somewhat unorthodox settings below. Camera specs; Canon 5D Mark II fitted with 24-105mm IS lens at 32mm, F4.0 @ 1/1600 second, ISO 3200. 

Enjoy!  -David

Quick Hit Monday: Weddings Bells (Alarms); Cincy PhotoWalking; Canon 50D; and More

Good Afternoon Everybody,

I hope everybody had a great weekend. Our weekend around here would be hard to top.  After getting home late from Chicago Thursday night getting a few hours of sleep, we were back at it again on Friday and Saturday.

Had A Great Wedding On Friday!

I have to tell you, on Friday I had the honor of photographing one of the most beautiful brides for 2009. As I mentioned last week, this beautiful young, lady that worked for me a number of years ago. I was flattered when she said that when she got married, I would be the only photographer she would consider. Anyway, making a long story short, I think I got one of my best collection of wedding images ever this weekend.  I can't wait to show you some of the photographs in this week's posts.  I’ve posted one today.

Scott Kelby’s Worldwide PhotoWalk Recap

Wow, what a great photo walk we had on Saturday. When the Scott Kelby Worldwide PhotoWalk was originally scheduled for July 18, the first thing that crossed my mind was high humidity and high temperatures. I thought we would be “cooking” for the entire walk.

Cincy PW Group-0004-DZ_Cincy PhotoWalk Z09As it turned out, our weather was perfect. When we finally pushed off at around 10:00 a.m., temperatures were hovering around 72°. We had white puffy clouds filling a beautiful blue sky which really added to the vistas that we got to photograph from some very cool vantage points along the way.

They were actually three photo walks in the vicinity so I hope the other other walkers had just as good of a time as we did.

I did learn a lesson this year in planning my photo walk. Last year I planned a 3 mile walk -- but it was in a straight line! Much to my chagrin, after the walk we had to walk back again.  Oh well, live and learn. This year I lead the group in a circle – this made much more sense!!

Anyway, this year's Photo Walk took us through one of Cincinnati's very picturesque historical neighborhoods, then on to an overlook from which you could see the entire Ohio River Valley, then through a beautiful little park, and then back to our starting location.

PhotoWalkZ09-0200-DZ_Cincy PhotoWalk Z09In my opinion, I thought we had one of the most visually exciting PhotoWalks anywhere.  I think everybody had a great time and I sure hope we get a chance to do it again next year.

A few of our walkers come up with a few ideas for the next time around. I particularly like the idea suggested - the Photo Pub Crawl – now there’s an idea;~) Just be sure the cameras are on auto focus for that one!

I do have one suggestion for the Photo Walk planners for next year. Last year everyone uploaded all their images to a Flickr group. On that next Sunday morning following the PhotoWalk, LaDawn and I  fired up the laptop, connected it to the big screen TV, and sat fascinated seeing the hundreds of images posted from the other PhotoWalks around the world.

It was an exciting peek into the life and times of photographers, people, and places. I sure hope next time around we all get a chance to do that again because it was a very exciting experience to take the virtual world tour of photo walks around the world on Flickr.

My buddy, and Ace #1 assistant, Nicholas Viltrakis (more on Nicholas later in this post – a must read, by the way) did a nice job covering our PhotoWalk here in Cincy. Here is a link right here to a gallery of images he posted this morning.  I’ll plan to post a few images later this week.

Sirens, Police Cars, Fire Trucks And More – Oh No!!!

There we were in the middle of the wedding the wedding ceremony Friday night. The minister, with his well-chosen words, was building to a wonderful climax which captured the beauty, and joy of this very special wedding day. The 150 guests listened attentively hanging on each holy word.

That's when it happened! The fire alarm went off all over the building! The shrill pitch of the sirens surprised everybody.  The wedding guests didn’t know what to do.  The loud shrieks of the sirens caused many of the very young children present to start shrieking and crying too. It was chaos!!! What happened? Nobody knew it first except for my assistants Mark and Nicholas.

It seems that Nicholas had just grazed the emergency exit lever on the fire exit door and that was just enough to set off the alarms. So now we have the babies crying, the sirens screaming, and a  "What am I going to do now?” look on Nicholas’ face.  The the laughter began.  So here we were – sirens, crying, laughter during the most solemn moment of the wedding ceremony. 

Nicholas - Fire Alarm-1707-DZ_McCaanW09I had Nicholas find the management personnel who could turn off the fire alarm which he did quite promptly. Within a few more minutes everything was quiet, peaceful, and sort of back to normal. The rest of the service proceeded pretty much as expected.

Needless to say, Nicholas was the butt of many jokes for the rest of the evening. The bride and groom along with their parents were great sports and actually insisted we reenact the event so actual photos could be captured. We still captured some great shots of the wedding ceremony and reception.

Want to read Nicholas’ version of the event – here is the link to his post about it right here – a pretty funny read. So, what's the worst event, catastrophe that has ever happened to you at a wedding? I think setting off the fire alarms during the most solemn part of the ceremony is definitely one to beat.

Shooting With My New Canon 50D

I fired up my brand-new Canon 50D for my wedding shoot on Friday. There were two main reasons that I finally made the jump to the Canon 50D.  The first reason was the higher resolution viewfinder. I had been enjoying my 5D Mark II since last October but every time I switch to the 40D I just couldn't get used to the lower resolution viewfinder on the back of the camera.

The second reason I switched was because of the lower noise capabilities of the 50D. I wanted to see for myself if I would get one or two more stops of low light capability out of the camera.

Here are  my first five impressions of the Canon 50D.
1. Yes, looks like it will give me another stop or two of low light shooting. Yippee!!

2. I love the new high resolution viewfinder. The viewfinder also seems to give me fairly accurate exposure feedback on my shots too. I thought that the Canon 30D did a terrible job and was not very accurate, but the 40D and 5D MkII have been a big improvement in that department.  I'll have to plan to do a post on that topic down the road.

3.  My Canon 40D allowed me to set 3 custom settings for the camera. I was disappointed to find out that the 50D only allows for only 2 custom settings.

4.  I noticed that the focusing in the dimmer, softer light of the reception seemed to hesitate a bit. Here me out on this one. I'm not completely blaming the camera for this unexpected experience though. I did most of my shooting with the 18-200 MM IS lens that came with the camera. I'm thinking that because of the long zoom range of my optic, that the camera had a bit more difficulty focusing in the lowlight. That's my first guess anyway. I'll do a bit more testing but I suspect it should be as good as the lowlight focusing of the 40D.

5. The resolution of the new camera looks very good.

This was a quick first look - I’ll give you more in-depth comments as I go through the images over the last few days and continue to work with the camera.

Another Cool Technique Tuesday Heading Your Way Tomorrow!

Hey gang, look for another very cool Technique Tuesday tomorrow. I handed the Canon 5D Mark II to Nicholas to video a few of the images that I made for my bride and groom this weekend. You get a nice peek at how I use my off-camera flash in about three different ways and see some pretty cool images to boot. Be sure to stop back tomorrow.

Learning, Learning, and More Learning 

I want to remind all of our Kentucky readers and Ohio and Indiana readers that I will be doing a daylong program on lighting on August 18.  Here is the link right here. What's nice about these one-day sessions is the fact that the class size is quite small which really enhances the learning experience. I hope to see a few of you there.

Before I wrap the day, I want to let you guys and girls know about another great daylong program coming to a city near you in the next couple of months. My good friends Hanson Fong and John Woodward are presenting daylong programs in select cities around the country. When it comes to outdoor wedding imagery Hanson is one of the best teaching today. His programs always receives  rave reviews and I think if you get a chance to attend you will quickly see why.

My friend John Woodward is one of those digital master gurus that can really light up your brain cells for all things technical.  He will be bringing his expertise and insights into this informative daylong program. Here is the link for all the information. Want to take a peek at what goes on at their program? Then check out this quick video excerpt from one of their past programs right here.

Hey gang, on that note, I'm out of here. Once again, we have a pretty busy week around here. And, later this week I head to Oldsmar, Florida to visit with my buddy, Scott Kelby, and wrap the final details of my wedding book. So stay tuned and I'll fill you in on the details of our meeting. Got to go -- have a great one everybody -- David

Friday, July 17, 2009

Hangin’ At The Hotel

Hangin' At The Hotel

“Hangin’ At The Hotel”

@David A. Ziser

This image was made a few months ago at the Marriott Hotel  in Northern Kentucky. I love the background behind the bride. The repeating wood columns behind her, I think, offer the viewer wonderful lines leading right to my bride in the foreground.  They also offer some wonderful color for the composition. The challenge, once again, was to get the proper light on the subject. If I had been using my shoot through Zumbrella, the very shiny wood would have  flared, the granite base of the pillars would have flared the reflective light dramatically. I chose instead to use my Z-Ray, which I've talked about so many times here DigitalProTalk. The very small cone of light emanating from the Z-Ray let’s me focus the illumination directly on the bride face. The expression, the pose, the location, colors, and composition combine for a very nice portrait study of our beautiful young lady. Camera specs; Canon 40D fitted with 70-300mm IS lens at 80mm, F5.6 @ 1/15 second, ISO 800. 

Enjoy!  -David

Quick Update Friday

Good afternoon everybody,

Well, it seems that there's no rest for the wicked. We arrived home late last night, or was it in the very early morning hours, we woke-up early this morning and were back at it again. I've got an early start for the wedding shoot today -- 2 PM. I hope that the weather continues to cooperate and I have an opportunity to capture some great outdoor photographs. What that means in photo lingo is that the clouds continue to hang in for an overcast, cloudy day. So far the temperature is on my side for a reasonably cool day, (at least for July in Cincy). I can't wait to get some great shots of my beautiful bride . This week we're at  the Phoenix which is my second favorite location to shoot in Cincinnati. I should have some good images to show our DigitalProTalk readers next week.

PhotoWalkin’ Through Cincy

Can you believe it – has the year flown by. I’m leading another Scott Kelby worldwide photo walk tomorrow. Why in the world did I schedule us to meet at nine o'clock in the morning – not much sleep again it  looks like;~)   Photowalk09I checked the weather and we are looking forward to a very comfortable, overcast day which should make a great day for photo walk. I can't wait to see the photographs that my group captures and the hundreds of images from around the world. It was such a kick last year. So for all the rest of the 25,000 Photoshop walkers out there…….. have a great time too.

Trying Out The New Canon 50DCanon 50D -2  

I almost forgot to mention - I ordered my new Canon 50D on Monday and it arrived while we were in Chicago. After getting in late last night ,I couldn't resist opening the box and checking it out.

I'm really looking forward to checking out the low light capabilities of the camera. I don't expect it to be as low noise as the Canon 5D Mark II but from reports I've read around the web and from photographers I talked with, it seems that we should  be able to get another stop or two from this camera in the low light department.  I’ll give you an update of my impressions of the camera on Monday.

And Finally…

Don't forget to check out my new Digital Resource Center which I mentioned in Tuesday's post [link]. We've got a couple great deals running, especially on my new Zumbrella, so check it out. Here is the link for the Zumbrella/DVD bundle right here.

Webinar 1995-220pxAlso, we still have some seats on next Wednesday Webinar – Creating The Dramatic Bridal Portrait. It's going to be jam packed with information on lighting and composition and how to create that dramatic bridal portrait on location in a church.

Don't worry, I'll show you how to create a great shots in fancy, dancy locations and also locations that might be a bit more challenging. Anyway, hope to see you there. Here is the link for the direct registration.  Hit the “MORE Information” button for all the info. Be sure to enter DISCOUNT CODE WEBLLC09 to get the $19.95 pricing.

Folks, that's it for me today. I'm meeting my team in just under one hour from now.  Everybody have a great weekend and I'll see you on Monday. -- David

Thursday, July 16, 2009

"The Organist"

"The Organist"
©David A. Ziser

This image was made a few years ago after the completion and installation of the new Noack pipe organ you see behind the organist. The image over at the Noack Organ Company is my image also. Anyway, Thom, the organist, and whom I work with many weekends at Plum Street Temple, ask me to make this image of him for his portfolio. The composition is my of my favorites for executive portraits. I like to show the subject within their surrounds. Lighting was was quite straight forward. I lit Thom with my shoot through umbrella and balanced the flash to the ambient. The tungsten lighting on the pipe organ added a certain warmth to the overall portrait. Camera; Nikon D1x fitted with 24-135 Tamron lens at 40mm, F5.6 @ 1/30 second, ISO 400. Enjoy! -David

Business Day Thursday - Almost But Not Quite

Hi Folks,
Welcome to the Portrait Day Wednesday episode on Business Day Thursday that was not meant to be.

Right now I am coming to you “live” from I- 80 south of Chicago. We are flying down the road at 78 mph heading back home. I’m looking at the clock and it’s 8:04 P.M. - E.T.A. to Cincy – about 5 hours. Add the time change and we and will land in Cincy about 2:00 A.M. tomorrow morning. I think get the idea there hasn't been a spare moment since we got to Chicago yesterday afternoon to get much done today -blog wise that is.

After I posted the blog yesterday, we continued our trip to Chicago. After making great time heading into town, our progress was promptly brought to a halt as we turned onto I-94 N. The planned meeting with Neil Enterprises did not come off. We were traveling at about 5 miles an hour for about 45 minutes and decided to go to plan B.

Plan B was to head directly to the hotel, change clothes, head for the venue, and set up for the evening program. We had about an hour to get setup for the program. We grabbed a quick dinner and the program started promptly at seven o'clock. By the time we wrapped the program and had a cold adult beverage it was about midnight.

Early wake-up call 6 hours later and a 90-minute drive cross town where we arrived with 15 minutes before the daylong program was to launch. I have to say, we had a great class and a great shoot today. I can't wait to show that some of images in next week's “Image Of the Day” posts.

So, that sort of explains why the post did make it today. They're just simply weren't enough minutes in the day to get fit today’s post up. Don't worry though I'll plan to have it back on the air next week.

Hey gang, on that note, excuse, explanation – whatever you want to call it – I’m calling it a day. I’ll see you tomorrow after a good night’s sleep. Until then, Adios, -David

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

"Evening Fantasy"

"Evening Fantasy"
©David A. Ziser

This image was made several months ago. We headed to the park to see if we could capture some great sunset images. We didn't get a great sunset but we got some great cloud features in the sky. The secret to a great shot here is to get the subject,my beautiful bride, to pop out of the background. I did that with my off-camera flash coming in from the right hand side. The bride's beautiful profile against this magnificent background made for a striking image. Notice how the warm tones lead to her face and how the cooler tones compliment her gown. I did "goose" the clouds and the sky with the Vibrancy slider in Lightroom and then added the very soft, ethereal effect in Photoshop - just havin' some fun. Camera specs; Canon 40D fitted with 70-200mm IS lens at 145mm, F5.6 @ 1/200 second, ISO 200. Enjoy! -David

It's Whirlwind Wednesday and Urban Wedding Photography Today!

Good Afternoon Everybody,

We are flying up the road to Chicago as I blog this post - yes, LaDawn is driving;~)  We should land in Chicago at around two o'clock this afternoon. We are meeting my friend Ted Suss who is planning to give us a tour of Neil Enterprises. Neil Enterprises markets many, many promotional items for professional photographers.

I happen to be a BIG fan of their self stick albums. We keep several albums on hand for a quick vendor promotional sample album or gift sample for friends and family. Neil Enterprises prices are always super reasonable and I'm always surprised at the new products continue to develop and promote. Here is the link to their site.

I'm changing up the post today.  Tomorrow, time permitting, I'll plan to wrap our Portrait Day Wednesday series. Since the main topic of this week's post is dealing with how to proceed with the sale to the client, I thought the topic would be best served in tomorrow's Business Day Thursday post.

So if you’ve been following along the weekly series - you're right, I'm doing Portrait Day Wednesday on Thursday this week. Is that confusing enough for everybody? But, don't despair I've got good things coming your way today. So let's get right to them.

Update On Next Week's Lighting, Lenses, and Composition Webinar

Webinar_1995-220pxHey folks, we still have plenty of good seats for next week's Lighting, Lenses, and Composition Webinar [direct registration link].  Be sure to use DISCOUNT CODE WEBLLC09 to receive the special $19.95 pricing. Hit the "more Information" button for additional    program details. 

I've received several emails from our DigitalProTalk readers with a few concerns about the 2:00 P.M. time slot. No problem!

Here's what I've worked out. Still plan on registering for the webinar even if you can't attend. You will receive a email within 24 hours confirming your registration.  For all those attendees registering but needing to miss the broadcast because of scheduling, I'll forward you a link where you will be able to hear the webinar again in its entirety at no charge.

In 90 minutes, we should be able to cover lots of very solid information on lighting and composition.  I hope you will plan to attend.

Wedding Photography - A Different Way To See

You know, I’ve spent quite a bit of time on this blog talking about lighting, lenses, and composition. I always enjoy designing the images around the various compositional dynamics that I've learned over the years.  We've discussed many of those compositional rules here at DigitalProTalk.

I've also enjoyed using of my dramatic lighting on my signature wedding images. Exciting lighting and good composition always seems to make them stand out from the competition and have consistently allowed me to differentiate myself from the crowd.  But today I want to discuss with you another style of imagery that may help your photography stand out from the crowd. The topic today - Urban Wedding Photography.

I know what you're thinking, "What is Ziser talking about?" Do he mean running through the streets of downtown Cincinnati with the bridal couple?"  Well, yes, that is kind of what I mean.

TiffanyI got the whole idea a couple weeks ago when we were invited guests in Dayton, Ohio for LaDawn's nephew's wedding. The wedding was being photographed by my good friend, Mark Garber.  Part of Mark's coverage included a trip to a nearby community where he had previously staked out some very colorful and dynamic locations.

These locations were full of vivid colors and textures.  After seeing some of the images, I thought what a great way to create a different stylized look and capture a change from traditional wedding imagery. I think Mark must have found about the brightest colored buildings in the area.  With these backgrounds, the images take on almost a fashion shoot appeal and look.   Mark seems to use these locations for not just weddings but also for his high school senior portraits too.  Here is the link to Mark's blog that feature many images from  Jason and Tiffany's wedding.  You can check out his studio website right here - enjoy.

Sure, you compose the image with the rule of thirds. Sometimes you can add dramatics to the image with very dramatic lighting. But Mark's photographs show that we can also bring bright colors and vivid backgrounds in our imagery to give them a look that is far different from what we typically see in everyday wedding photography.

Steve ZI decided to cruise the Internet and see if I could find any more samples of similar "Urban Wedding Photography".  I simply Googled "urban wedding photography" and  I found some very interesting sites available. Take a look at our second site - SteveZ Photography blog [link].  Steve has some very unusual and exciting urban images on his site.  Be sure to scroll down to see them all - I love his use of light - lots of good ideas here.

Andy and AngieAndy and Angie Wood also have some nice images over at their blog too [link].  Lots of examplesimages showing some very good examples of the urban wedding photography look.  Another great find was over at Utah Bride blog [link].  They are showing some very cool images using not only locations but also some very creative use of lighting - I find the "hard" shadows in some of their shots especially refreshing.  Be sure to take a peek.

You may be asking, "What in the world do these kinds of images have to do with wedding photography?"  Well gang, you could make the same argument about bride's standing on hills with the wind blowing. Or, how about all the outdoor bridals we see so often - mine included?

Isn't the bottom line this - the goal is to produce exciting wedding images for our clients.  Nobody has ever said outdoor bridal portraits had to taken in a park.  Outdoors can be anywhere - anywhere that provides exciting colorful, compositional photographic possibilities for your client.

It's time to do your homework.  Hit the road, search your neighborhoods and communities and see what kind of cool urban locations you can find.  Make color one of the main criteria in your search.  Visit the links above to give you some good ideas.  Now let's make it interesting. 

Let's have a contest. Post your best bridal images to DigitalProTalk's Flickr group right here.  Be sure to tag each image with the word "urban". If we have 25 or more DPT readers submit their best images, I'll pick a winner.  The prize - a $50 gift card from B&H.  I’ll let the challenge run till August 15 - about 4 weeks from now and see what exciting new creative images are submitted.

I think this will force all of us to see a bit differently and as a result, bring some brand new creativity to our photography.

Hey everybody, that's it for me today. I've got to put a few finishing touches on my program for this evening.  I hope to see a few of our DPT readers there this evening. See everybody tomorrow for our Portrait Day Wednesday on Business Day Thursday;~)  See ya' then,  -David