Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Photo FAVS Wednesday: Captivated By The Light Shipping Soon, DWUC Tour Video Coming Your Way, My Canon 50D For Sale, And PFW - Three Cameras In One

Good Morning Everybody,
Max banner We wrapped the banner project yesterday.  As I said, they look great and should really add a lot of "punch" to the party decor Saturday night.  You know, these banners have many more uses than just party decor. 

The more I think about it, my mind keeps filling up on some cool promo ideas any studio could use in 2010. Next week I'll walk you through the entire process of producing these very cool 4x8 foot banners complete with how we prepare them for display.  In the mean time, you can figure out how something like this might work in your studio marketing plan.

Hey gang, this is a long post today with lots of announcements along with PhotoFAVS Wednesday, so let's get right to it.

My Canon 50D For Sale
Canon 50D Body Only That's right - my trusty Canon 50D body only is for sale.  I purchased it right after it became available, but quickly upgraded to the Canon 7D when it hit the market.
I found that I just wasn't shooting much with the 50D. I've shot about 4-5 events with it so it is in great shape - practically NEW complete with all the packaging!

If you are interested, please email me - - with your offer and email address. I'll keep the bidding open until January 31, 2010. The camera reviews are 5 out of 5 over at B&H [link] where the camera body lists for $929.00 and is even higher priced on eBay.
The best offer over $750 takes it!

Captured By The Light: The Essential Guide To Extraordinary Wedding Photography On Sale Now!
DAZ Wedding Book I've just checked with Peachpit Press, the company publishing my new wedding book and they tell me the book will be off the presses by early February.  We should have it in stock by mid-February at my Digital Resource Center.

Several folks have requested a personally autographed  copy of the book.  I don't know if I'm getting myself in big trouble making this offer, but I'm going to give it a try.

Order your copy of "Captured By The Light" through my Digital Resource Center [link] before February 28, 2010 and I will personally autograph a copy of each and every book before we ship it.

My sincerest thanks to Scott Kelby at Kelby Media and to Peachpit Press for all their assistance, encouragement, and support with my first book project. 

Digital WakeUp Call DVDs Coming Your Way - Bigger and Better Than Ever!
Tour DVD1 We've taken my "rapid fire" 4 1/2 hour Digital WakeUp Call Tour presentation, added nearly 90 minutes more content to the video set and will be releasing the 3 DVD set in 4 to 6 weeks.

Here's the good news - The pre-order pricing of only $69.00 saves you $30 off the regular price of $99.00. You can pre-order the DVD set RIGHT HERE!  We’ve created lots of value priced bundles for you.  Be sure to check them out, too.

As Ron Popeil would say, "Wait, there's more!" ;~)
The first 1500 copies will include a copy of my Tour Bonus Disc! This disc included over 4 more hours of additional tutorials on lighting, photography, marketing, Lightroom, Photoshop, and more!  All 4 DVDs - 10 full hours of high powered training for only $69.00, a $30 SAVINGS from the regular price of $99.00. 100% satisfaction guarantee included [link].

Photo FAV - Three Cameras In One: Use The Custom Settings
I've been enjoying writing this PhotoFAVS series because it makes me think about what I like best about what we do at my studio.  Therefore the "Photo FAV" can be a process, a setting, or anything related not just to gear, but also about anything else we "use" at David A. Ziser Photography to complete the photographic process and get the final product to our client.

Today's post is not just about gear, but how I use the gear during my weddings and events.

I shoot an event with two cameras; a Canon 5D Mark II and my new favorite camera, the Canon 7D. The 5D Mark II is always ready with flash attached and the 7D is set up for high ISO available light shooting, no flash attached.  Hey, we should all be equipped to shoot a wedding with more that just one camera.  That's just common sense - you always need backup gear.
PhotoFav Custom There are times when I also use the 5D Mark II for capturing available light images.  That brings me to my Photo FAV today.

Today's Photo FAV are the three "Custom" settings available on both cameras.  The C1, C2, and C3 settings on the camera dial allow me to pre-set any number of feature combinations I might need during my routine shooting. This feature really allows me to easily work like I have 3 cameras in one when I'm shooting.

My guess is that most people don't even use these settings on their cameras.  Too bad, because they can really convenient "speed enhancers" when I shoot an event.  Here is a typical scenario. I show up at the bride's home (or hotel suite) ready to begin the shoot.
Photo Fav As the coverage commences, I raise my trusty 5D Mark II to my eye and start shooting.  The camera is set to ISO 800, "Manual" mode - my "default" any time I'm shooting flash, aperture at F5.6 and shutter speed at 1/125 second. White balance is set to AWB capturing in RAW mode.

My on-camera flash is generally pointed to one of the side walls so I get a nice direction of light on my subjects. But then I see it, a special moment that needs to be captured unobtrusively with just the subtly of the natural light present.
Window Light FG I quickly switch off my flash and turn the camera dial to C1.  That puts the camera in my favorite "Available Light" mode.  At this custom setting the ISO is kicked up to ISO 1600.

The shooting mode is switched automatically to "Aperture Priority, and the color balance is switched to "Tungsten" mode. Metering also switches to center spot metering mode with me taking the reading directly off the subject's face.

Now I can easily and effectively capture, very unobtrusively, the images I want.  Once I know it is "in the camera", I switch off the C1 setting and switch on my flash and return to my normal routine.  Just the quick switch to the C1 setting gives me virtually a "brand new camera" to shoot with only the flip of a switch. Way cool!!

So what do I have C2 and C3 set to?  Here you go.
C2 is used in really low light conditions. For example; a wedding reception where I want to capture the special lighting and excitement – enthusiasm - emotions of the event.  Settings are preset as follows: ISO 6400, "P" for Professional, Kelvin temperature 2500K, AI Servo focusing, metering mode stays at the default. Now I'm ready to capture those very cool, really low light images at the wedding reception.

PhotoFav2 C3 also is used in very low light conditions.  But, now I'm going to push the ISO to the limit - 12,800 or 25,600 ISO. The camera is switched to JPEG mode because I like the noise reduction algorithms build into the camera. 

I also prefer JPEG shooting at these high ISOs because I am shooting so many images to just capture the special few I need for the client.  Why waste all that card storage space when I only need a few shots? Metering is switched to center spot metering for added accuracy in the changing lighting conditions of a wedding reception.

Folks, I need to tell you - these settings are not "etched in stone".  I'm always trying new combinations of settings trying to tweak my shooting routine.  Whether you shot Nikon or Canon, try these custom settings features and see if it doesn't speed things up for you, too.  I believe there's nothing better than having "three cameras in one" when shooting a wedding, the reception, capturing the excitement, featuring the emotions of the day.
Hey gang, that's it for me today - I've got people to see, places to go, and photos to take ;~) See ya' tomorrow for another business building, profit enhancing Business Day Thursday.
Keep your pixels smilin',  -David


  1. I just bought the 7D and now getting ready to set up the 3 presets. I like the "ISO" ranges you have described. I will be using them but have not settled on a plan. Thanks for the info! I may opt for different AF-Drive settings. Always good, David. (Just bought some Zumbrellas!)

  2. Hi David,

    I just want to say how much I enjoy reading your blog everyday. You have (by far) the most informative photography blog that covers so many different aspects of the business you so love. Thank you for all the time and effort you pour into your blog.

    Also, I have watched all of your videos at Kelby Training and appreciate your enthusiasm for training and have learned so much from you. Unfortunately, I missed your Digital Wake Up Call tour this year and I plan to buy your new book and the New Dawn DVD.

    I wanted to respectfully point out that you have a mistake in a couple of places in your blog about your new book. Your blog has the title of the book as, "Captivated by the Light" when it should be "Captured by the Light". Either title would be good since your images do "captivate" us, but I wanted to make sure that there was no confusion about the name of your new book. Maybe the confusion means that you are already writing a sequel to your current book with "Captivated" in the title. :) We should be so lucky.

    Keep up the great work you are doing in helping so many of us improve our photography.


    Don Pettigrew

  3. David - I love the new book - it is the bible that all wedding photographers new or seasoned should get.

    Ralph Romaguera
    M.Photog.Cr, CPP, API, F-ASP

  4. Awesome information to know David. Thanks for sharing.