Thursday, January 31, 2008

"Classical Elegance"
© David A. Ziser

This image was made during my KPPA Masterclass Workshop this past Tuesday. We were just wondering through the Marriott RiverCenter looking for locations that would make for some cool compositions for a bridal portrait. As I went up the stairs to the second level of the hotel, this view presented itself. I loved what I saw, put the 10-22mm on my 40D and shot away. I love the soaring lines in the composition. Illumination was supplied by one of the attendees holding the Quantum flash to the left of the bride. I thought we pulled off a pretty exciting image. Camera specs; Canon 40D fitted with 10-22mm lens, F5.6 @ 1/12 second, ISO 800. Enjoy! --David

Back Again Thursday

Good Morning everybody,
First of all, let me thank everyone for their very kind expressions of sympathy in your comments, thoughts, prayers, desserts and flowers at the passing of my mother, Janet Ziser. She was laid to rest yesterday in a beautiful full mass ceremony that brought tears to many eyes in the house. Growing up - I always told my mom she needed to stop and smell the roses. She reminded me of my own words many times as my business continued to grow and prosper over the years. When my cousins laid two roses on the casket, all those wonderful memories came flooding back. Maybe we all need a reminder to stop and smell the roses now and then. Sometimes the work, hectic schedules, and families responsibilities tend to make us take our eye off that target, but I still think it is good advice and we need to make time to just stop and smell those roses!!

The passing of a parent is pretty hard to take for all involved because of the hurt and the loss, but the wonderful eulogy for my mother given by a close family friend let us all walk out of the service yesterday feeling sad of course but happy for my mom too. Here are the last few sentences from the eulogy. "You know Janet (my mom), every time we left your house after a visit you always reassured us with your gentle words, 'Go on now, have a good time, don't worry about me, I'll be just fine.' So we say to you today, 'Go ahead now mom, have a good time, and don't worry about us. We'll all be just fine." You know, as I write this, I know we will be just fine, and knowing my mom, I know she be having a good time too.

You know over this past weekend, although we missed Mardi Gras, the KPPA photography convention was taking place and we participated in some of those events that we hadn't planned to attend. The wonderful hugs and time spent with many of my friends this past weekend was a well needed diversion from all the personal weekend circumstances. It was also a great convention with a talented aray of speakers presenting "tons" of ideas and information. I had the honor of presenting Friday and doing an all day on-location workshop on Tuesday. I'd like to share with you just a few tidbits from the convention. So, give a read below, I hope you enjoy. --David

A Quick Peek At Some Very Cool Photography

You sure don't see these kind of "baby pictures" everyday. My good friends, Bev and Tim Walden, operate the very successful Walden's Photography studio in Lexington, Kentucky. They are two of the most creative and most forward thinking people I know.

Years ago they started the "Relationship" portrait. They presented the concept, sales and product concepts around the country at many national, regional, and state conventions. Needless to say, the idea caught fire with many photographers around the country including us. It was copied widely, even in their own community of Lexington, Ky. Then a few years ago, they added a tag line to all their promotional pieces. I believe it was a stroke of marketing insight. They said "Instead of having something that looks like a Walden image, why not have a "Walden Original." I love how the tag phase really does say that they are different and really offer the best. Keep the idea in mind for your own promotions.

On a more important "Walden" note - while visiting with them at the end of the day, Tim was telling me about their new blog - You know we bloggers need to stick together - bloggers like talking to bloggers. Anyway, I checked it out and it was pretty cool. They are using it as a promotional tool to enhance their senior business. That being said, let me tell you about the really cool idea they have cooking right down the road (about 75 miles) from me. It's called Studio B - B, like in Babies. It is truly a brand new kind of baby photography. It's eye catching, unique, and typically "Walden." They are placing their little subjects in what appears to be a light tent, illuminating the baby form all directions and coming up with images that are really fun to see. Check out the link to Studio B right here and their Baby Gallery right here - really cool stuff.

And Speaking of Baby Photography

How would you like to win $5000 for your best baby portrait? That what Beverly Toves did last year with Millers Labs "Baby and Child" portrait contest. The folks over at Millers have been my buddies for well over 20 years - they are one of the best labs in the country.
Each year they hold their annual "Baby and Child" portrait contest - here is the "Baby Child" link for all the info. All portraits taken January 1 – June 21, 2008 are eligible for entry. Participants may post one image per child from each photography session. However, there is no limit to the number of images a participant can post. Approximately ten judges will be selected in the upcoming month. First, Second, and Third places, as well as two Honorable Mentions, will be announced for each category! One portrait from the Final Round will also receive the highest of accolades – $5000 Grand Prize winner! Check it out, but also check out the winners from last year right here - some beautiful images and strong competition.

A New Salesflow For Your Studio - ProSelect

So how can you really increase you sales at your studio - a peek at my Friday program? Many of you know I was very much involved with the ProShots, one of the finest studio sales tools on the planet. Well, Kodak discontinued supporting the ProShots software at the end of last year.

But no big problem, because the folks down under" at Time Exposure Software had been quietly developing and promoting their ProSelect software for the last few years. It's been on my radar for the last year or two, but when I want back to visit them at the PPA convention held in Tampa just a few weeks ago, I was "blown away" with the feature set, no, let me say sales feature set that had been built into the ProSelct software. For a studio owner, it is a must have. It not only let's your clients view the images, but you can even show your client what the image looks like hanging in their own home with their new "Frames/Rooms" feature.

The software will even let you print out your invoices with the ordered image attached thereby reducing misunderstanding and studio mistakes tremendously. Here is the Link to the ProSelect software right here. Please be sure to check out all 19 of their tutorials covering all facets of the program right here. They are thorough and well done. You can even try a 30 day free trial right here - definitely worth a peek.

Another Peek Into My Friday Program - LightRoom

One third of my Friday presentation at the Kentucky Photographers Convention was exploring the digital studio's new Salesflow and Workflow options. To get straight to the point, I think Adobe's Lightroom offers one of the best workflow solutions available. In the course of my presentation, I discussed the key aspects of the software that I believe work best for the typical wedding/portrait studio. In putting the program together, I scoured the Internet for Lightroom resources. One of he finest is Adobe's own Lightroom wiki. This is about the coolest software resource on the planet. I wish we could see more of this kind of support on line. Anyway, check out Adobe's Lightroom wiki right here - it is a dream to explore for all things Lightroom!

Matt Kloskowski also has one the best Lightroom resources out there, too with his Lightroom Killer Tips site right here. I literally looked at each and every one of his posts since his first post on November 1, 2006. and selected those that best fit the working portrait/wedding studio.

Here is the link list with each link preceded with the the link topic. Adobe's Lightroom wiki and this condensed version may ease your Lightroom learning curve as you fine tune your digital workflow at your studio. But wait, there's more - Jack Davis, Photoshop and Lightroom guru, has 80 Lightroom Presets you can download right here and has even more right here. Enjoy the info - it's a fun sea of info to sail.

Hey, gang, that's it for today. I'll see you tomorrow for Technique Tuesday - this week on Friday. So until then, have a good one. --David

Monday, January 28, 2008

"Into The Sunset"
© David A. Ziser

I made this image while in the Tampa area last fall. It was at the very final stage of a beautiful sunset we had just watched. There was just a few boats still on the water. This small fishing boat was one of the last to leave. I love it's position against the colors of the water and sky which I tweaked a bit in Photoshop. The color harmony and composition, I believe came together into a quite beautiful image. Camera specs; Canon 40D fitted with 17-85mm lens at 22mm, F4.5 @ 1/40 second at ISO 800. Enjoy! --David

A Sad Weekend Heading Into Monday

Good Morning everybody,
I am writing this post on a sad note today - Saturday (for Monday's post.) In fact, I've been struggling with how even to write the post. Does it fit in with the overall message of the blog? Should I mention it at all? Do I move on without sharing too much personal information? etc. etc. etc... After thoughtful consideration, I've decided to make the post.

Here is what is going on. My mother was admitted into the hospital for what appeared to be a routine procedure a few days after Christmas. Complications set in a few days later and she was still in the hospital after 3 more weeks. When I visited her Thursday evening, it looked like she had taken a turn for the worst and LaDawn and I cancelled our trip to New Orleans for Mardi Gras, even with the bags nearly packed, so that we could be in town with family keeping watch on my mom. After 87 years of a wonderful life my mom passed peacefully about 3 a.m. this morning. We are all doing "mostly" fine today.

So you ask why did I make this post to a photography blog? Please read the next post as it shows how photography is playing a special part in my family's lives as we move through these next few days. I'm taking two days off from the blog as LaDawn and I move through these next few days with my family.

Look for my program recap on Thursday and Friday from my two KPPA presentations - one of which will include all the the link references made in my Friday program on two of my favorite Workflow/Salesflow programs - ProSelect and Lightroom. I'll sneak Technique Tuesday in on Friday. It's going to be a very cool Photoshop technique, so be sure to tune in.

So until Thursday, all the best to each of you and your loved ones, --David

A Gift of Love

This post is about photography to some extent but more importantly its about a "Gift of Love" given innocently this past Christmas.

My mom was in her 88th year as she moved into 2008. By now, she was kind of worried about her age. I can remember her saying to me on one of her past birthdays, "Boy, I've always prayed to the Lord for a long and healthy life. Well, He's given it to me and I'm really worried now!!" Another great "Momism" quote I heard as we were all just sitting around reminiscing one day was, "I'm getting even more worried now, you know, I'm down to single digits now," referring to the years left to live. She always said it with a laugh and we all laughed with her. I admit, I still giggle, albeit through a tear or two, as I write these words. My mom had more sayings, more stories, more observations on her long life - how many - well, enough to fill a book.
That's exactly what my sister did with them over the summer and fall of 2007. She had a friend interview my mother about her life, times, and experiences over the eight decades of her life creating an oral history of my mom's life and times. My sister collected several family photographs going back many years, interspersed these images, along with other memorabilia, and the now transcribed her best stories as told by my mom into a wonderful keepsake album. The finished presentation given to my other sister, my brother, and myself at Christmastime.

Also included was an audio copy of the interviews on a CD. Little did she know how perfect her timing would be for this wonderful treasure. Her project was a great tribute to my mom and a wonderful gift to each of us that will help our memories of her survive even more indelibly in our hearts and minds over the rest of our lives.

I hope this post encourages some of you to do same for your siblings, your children, your spouse, even yourself. Don't wait until tomorrow, find the time to do it now!! It is truly a "Gift of Love" to whomever you present it.

Friday, January 25, 2008

"Sedona Ridge"
© David A. Ziser

I made this image during my first helicopter ride over Sedona, Arizona. The airport removed the door for me as the plan was to hang out of the helicopter, still strapped in of course. That plan quickly turned to "plan B" as the wind of the blades beat past me. I was still able to get this shot as we flew past this beautiful ridge of cliffs and stone. The wide angle lens added a dramatic element vastness to the landscape as we made the flyby. Camera specs; Canon 5D fitted with 12-24mm lens, F10 @ 1/160 second at ISO 400. Enjoy! --David

Frenzied Friday

Good Morning everybody,
This is going to be a quicker than usual post today because of the hectic schedule going on around here - convention, early program, catching planes, etc. but I still think you will love today's posts. Many times I like Friday to be a day to view something beautiful, exciting, creative, and awe inspiring. So you can take into the weekend with that imagery on your mind. I'm a firm believer that when you do that - some of those creative juices seep into our own brains and presents itself in its own unique way down the road. Think of this Friday's post as as exercise in creativity - so off we go...

Gorgeous Wedding Photography From Around the World

From Manila we have the beautiful work of wedding photographer Terry Uy right here - really nice images. My buddy, Joe Buissink has several beautiful and provocative wedding images right here Be sure to check both sides of his web site - really cool images. And and my friend, Bambi Cantell has some really beautiful images premiered right here. From Australia, wedding and portrait photographer, Marcus Bell, has a great site and great images right here. Another Aussie favorite is Gerry Ghionis, but his site is currently under renovation - check back when it's up and running, it's worth it - Gerry has some stunning images, too. That's your first big scoop of creativity for today.

National Geographic's Best of the Best

Always good for a treat are the National Geographic images, four photographers were chosen from 148,203 images submitted to the International Photography Contest. Here are the links to the best of the best:

Quite inspiring collections!

Mesmerizing Creativity

I saved truly the best for last. I caught this over at the Photo Diva's TopProDog blog a few days ago and decided to save it for today's post. Sometimes images outside of our profession can motivate us to be more creative in our own style of photography.

Take 5 minutes to watch this video, then sit back and reflect on what you have just seen - the precision, the artistry, the creativity - truly a high benchmark for excellence. Reflect on this just for a moment and ask yourself how something like this presentation could inspire you to something substantially better, perhaps pushing your own creativity to a higher level. Food for thought.

Have a great weekend everybody. See ya' after the Mardi Gras party. Adios, David

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Free Downloads Forever

3.2 billion images could be yours and so will those free downloads, but it's going to set you back about $1.5 billion dollars. Yep, I just heard Getty Images is up for sale. They are one of the icon companies in photography so it came as quite a surprise to me when I heard about it. Check out the Getty story right here.

Well gang, I'm are off with one more Power-Point tweak and to set the room for today's KPPA presentation. It's bright and early - make it a good day. --David
"Rhapsody In Blue"
© David A. Ziser

This is one of my favorite macro images from my Cabo shoot in December. Illumination was supplied by my Canon 580EX2 flash positioned above and slightly behind the Bird-of-Paradise plant. The small aperture and fast shutter speed darkened the background considerably there-by isolating the plant in the composition. Camera specs; Canon 40D fitted with 100mm F2.8 Macro lens, F14 @ 1/200 second, ISO 200. Enjoy! --David

Thoroughly Thursday - Another Mini Technique Day

Good Morning everybody,

My good friend and our local Canon rep, Mary Mannix, came by the studio yesterday and is allowing me to borrow the WFT-3 wireless transmitter for my shoot on Tuesday at the KPPA convention. Man, it that easy to set up. I've been using the WFT-2 with the Canon Mark III and really loving it when I can get my hands on Mary's demo unit. But the unit for the Canon 40D is soooo simple to use - I highly recommend it. I'll post some images from the shoot next week.

This is my last day to get my power-point presentations wrapped for my programs at KPPA convention and then get packed for Mardi Gras celebration in New Orleans. I hope to see a few of you at the show and my presentations either Friday morning or Tuesday all-day. So let's get right to it... here we go.

Every Color Of the Rainbow In Your Camera bad for Free (Well, Almost)

OK, how about a penny - That's what the Roscolux Swatch book costs over at B&H. Adorama had them for shipping only a few months back, but now is charging a wallet crippling $2.50 for them. So what are the good for? Please read on to the next article.

All Things Filtered

...Or how to balance the on camera flash with ambient light. Well, these little Roscolux gels happen to be just the right size to put on your on-camera flash. They easily cover the flash head. So what are they good for - again? How about creating a properly color balanced "fill flash" in a portrait setting where the key light source is a tungsten bulb.

Look at the first image, I managed a good "direction of light" on my bride, but the shadows were way too dark.
So I grabbed my little Rosco gel, popped in under the wide angle diffuser of my on-camera flash, dialed down the power a bit, and bounced it off the ceiling to get the perfect fill and a nice bridal portrait.
Why not use them for creating some cool color effects on your images. When used, ala the Strobist off camera flash techniques, they can be used to create any colored accent light. The list of creative techniques available is as long as your imagination... and they are nearly free!

So Are You Sick And Tired Of All the "Same Old-Same" Old Snapshot Wedding Images These Days?

Maybe it's time we give the the classics a look-see again. Check out this article over at Slate. Slate has been recognized with numerous awards, including the National Magazine Award for General Excellence Online.

I was particularly interested when I spotted their story entitled, "A Defense Of Traditional Wedding Photography." You can read the story right here. This is a slight follow up to my post yesterday about the "Difference Making the Difference" right here.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

"Looking to Tomorrow"
© David A. Ziser

I'm presenting this image exactly as it was shot - no enhancements whatsoever - it's beauty, I believe stands on its own. Composition, color, location come together to make a beautiful sunset that just needs to be enjoyed just as it was seen. Camera specs; Canon 40D fitted with 17-85mm lens at 17mm, F10 @ 1/200 second, ISO 200, Jpeg. Enjoy! --David

Wild and Wooly Wednesday

Good Morning everybody,
Well, we are getting closer to our big weekend - KPPA, Print Competition, Mardi Gras - and I'm still pounding away at my Power-Points presentations and even they are coming together. I'll share one of my favorite marketing portions next week. So, how about... on with the News!

Photography Inspires Lionel Trains and EverReady Batteries!

Bet you didn't know that was true - did you? But true it is and in this only "slightly related to photography" story, here is how it came about. LaDawn and I were sitting around the other night watching - are you ready - The Antique Roadshow - I know, we don't have much of a life, do we? But, a guest brings on a collector's Lionel train - it was the appraiser's story that floored me.

It seems Mr. Joshua Lionel Cowen was quite the inventor and invented an igniter for photographic flash powder in 1899. This went nowhere so he used the same technology to win a contract from the Navy for supplying 24,000 underwater fuses that same year. With the money Mr. Cowen made from the Navy, he started Lionel Trains the next year in 1900.

He also invented a contraption consisting of batteries and light-bulbs that was supposed to illuminate flower pots, but this idea never went anywhere so he sold the technology to Conrad Hubert who ditched the flower pot and went on to start the EverReady Battery company with the technology. You can read the whole Joshua Lionel Cowen story right here. Hey, with this kind of scintillating news you get here at DigitalProTalk - why would you ever go anywhere else?

It's Always the Difference That Makes the Difference!

I've said it before, not only on my blog, but in articles for many trade publications, and from the lecture stage - wedding photography is looking pretty much the same these days. It's kind of "run and gun" and "If you can't shoot them good, shoot them fast." I'm not trying to step on any toes, but I am striving to make the point that with so many photogs moaning and groaning about the state of the profession and their lack of business, maybe we need an "examination of conscience" about our own work. How is it the same and how is it different from the competition's.

We need to change as many of our "samenesses" with the competition into "differences" so that clients will be anxious to seek us out for the differences. Remember, you can sell your "Differences" for a lot more money than "Samenesses!" End of soapbox speech #97. Along those same lines, check out this story over at Blackstar right here where discusses photography why more than just showing up. - a good read.

Dan Margolis - Shakespeare and Photoshop

When we were down in Oldsmar last week, it turns out Photoshop super guru, Dan Margulis, was there at the same time doing some videos for Kelby Training too. The talk of the town was Dan's intro to his series of DVDs. Everybody was raving that it was the best yet. Yes, Dan literally tied Shakespeare and Photoshop together in the same breath. All joking aside, its a great insight to how some creative minds work. Scott Kelby posted to his site last week so if you missed it, you can check it out right here.

Photographers, Check It Out - It's Resource City

So how much time do you have today for a little web surfing? If you got too much on your plate today then save this link for a rainy day. DIYPhotography is a great site to hit now and then because of it's wealth of info and cool ideas. They had a post a while back listing their favorite 85 Photography sites - here is the link to the 85 sites. It's a great resource for anything photographic. I know, DigitalProTalk is conspicuously absent, but we were still youngins' in the blogsphere when he put the link list together - maybe next time ;~) I'm still working my way through all the links - good fun and good info.

I want to wrap the post today by thanking everyone for their very kind comments on the blog - it very much appreciate out loyal readers. I promise to get around to commenting back when all the craziness slows down around her - hopefully in a week or two. Hey gang, it's time for me to hit the road and get back to work. See you tomorrow. --David

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

"The Eiffel"
© David A. Ziser

We walked from the Louvre reached the Eiffel Tower about 10 p.m. just in time to see the "strobe lights" dance across the entire structure - it was quite cool. The super wide angle lens puts quite a unique perspective on the 1063 foot tower especially when photographed from such a low angle with this very wide angle lens. Camera specs; Canon 5D fitted with Sigma 12-22mm lens at 13mm, F5.0 @ 1/25 second at ISO 1600. Enjoy! --David

Tuesday's a'Hoppin'

Good Morning everybody,

Hey everybody, its Technique Tuesday again, so lets get moving. I'm still defrosting from my portrait session yesterday, but we got some great images. Check out the image below - looks pretty good. So you ask, how did I get it to look like a Fall afternoon on a 9 degree January morning?

The secret is in the focal length, aperture, and background selection. The "secret sauce" was finding a background that had a bit of color in it. I found this row of slightly lit pine trees - that gave me the green. Plus, they were interspersed with a little leftover Fall colors in the brown pine needles on some of the trees and on the ground. Now take that background, get it as far behind the subjects as possible, take a long lens - 70-200mm IS racked out to 200mm and set at F4.0 and, voilà, you have a really nice "Fall" background. The clients loved the image, albeit, a bit shivering during the shoot.

Also, check out the marketing story - hey, you don't need a PR firm or ad agency to use any of the ideas suggested. And don't miss the follow-up story to last week's post, "Technique Tuesday - Saving About $50 On a Bounce Flash." Mr. Peter Gregg has taken the Bounce Flash to the next level - see the story below. Now, on with the show...

Technique Tuesday 01.22.08 - Artists Have Been Doing It Right for Years; Classical Lighting - Lighting Patterns

Two weeks ago I posted a tutorial on Classical Portraiture. It was entitled "Classical Views of the Face" - here is the link again for reference. Today I want to discuss the classical portrait lighting patterns.

When I use the word "classical" don't get the idea that I mean"old fashioned". What I'm really talking about is illuminating my subject with a beautiful light that really flatters them in the final image. This is something that is sorely lacking in much of wedding photography these days. Unfortunately, most current wedding imagery is pretty flat and two dimensional.

Take a peek at the tutorial and see how we can add highlights next to shadows and create images with detail, depth, and dimension that really separates your work from the rest of the crowd. Enjoy! --David

Still Bouncing Around

...Or how to get even more mileage out of your $1 bounce card. Last week I posted how to make a $1 Bounce card for your on camera flash - here is the link again. It got a little buzz across the net. I guess a lot of people like to save a buck or two these days.

Anyway, I received a comment from Steve who enlightened me to the fact that it's all been done before. He wrote, "It's called a better bounce card and has been around for some time," and gave the link to ABetterBounceCard. I was crestfallen. My $1-Bounce "Ziserizer" was nipped in the bud way before I could get global B&H distribution and sock away millions in my off shore bank account.
I finally had some time to check out the link, and there he was, Mr. Peter Gregg, with my idea on YouTube with over 177,000 views! Hey, all joking aside, check out Mr. Gregg's other videos too right here - he has taken the simple "bounce card" to new heights.
I still think mine looks more cool since I've rounded the corners. I guess great minds think alike ;~)

Playing Like the Big Boys - 11 Ways of Getting Media Coverage For Your Small Business

No ad agency or marketing gurus needed - but here are 11 ways to get some attention for your studio. I found these little tidbits over at Inc. Magazine's site - they have some good business information over there. Click here for the entire slide show. Hey gang, this is the kind of stuff we better think about doing in our heavily competitive businesses.

Here are the "quick hit" points right here.
01. Respond promptly.
02. Use distribution channels.
03. Plan ahead.
04. Tell the whole story.
05. Know your audience.
06. Don't send sloppy copy.
07. Establish yourself as an expert.
08. Show your face.
09. Perfect your elevator pitch.
10. Get online.
11. Be reachable.

Hey gang, that's about it for today, it's back to my real job. Have a great one and I'll see you tomorrow. --David

Monday, January 21, 2008

"Irish Morning"
© David A. Ziser

This is one of my "drive by shooting" images made while touring the Irish countryside one bright morning. I loved how the low lying sunlight was hitting the bright gold and green fields creating so much texture. The sharp contrast of two large trees and their subordinates standing as sentries over the fields finish off the interesting composition. Camera specs; Fuji S1 fitted with Tamron 24-135mm lens at 61mm, F9.5 @ 1/350 second at ISO 800. Enjoy! --David

Monday Again, and What a Week!

Good Morning everybody,
This week is shaping up into a busy one, again. I have a portrait shoot this morning at 10a.m. - OUTDOORS!!! - it's 10 degrees out there. And my client wants it to look kind of warm - yep, warm in mid January in the Midwest. I'll post one of the images tomorrow - the Lord willin' I get one.

I'm working on a brand new lighting program - "How to Flash for Fun and Profit Without Getting Arrested" - for Photoshop World coming up in Orlando this April 2nd-4th. The tough part is getting the 10 page+ article completed for that phonebook sized information treasure trove call the Photoshop World workbook - hopefully by Wednesday, it will be wrapped.

Then Friday, we have the start of our KPPA convention right here in Covington, Ky and I'm one of the lead-off speakers. If any of you are in the neighborhood, this is one of the best photographic conventions to attend. Our speaker lineup is always first class. You can get all the KPPA convention info right here - maybe I'll see some of you there.

My program wraps at 12 p.m. and LaDawn and I head to the airport and catch a plane to New Orleans. Why, my good buddy, Ralph Romaguera is KING of the Carrollton Krewe this year at Mardi Gras and I'm one of the guys on the krewes throwing the beads - the weekend should be a hoot! I'll report back next week on this one. Anyway, on with today's news...

A Story You Can Share With Your 2008 Wedding Clients

Give it all away, but for a good cause. That's what Miriam and Jake, two of my wedding clients from this past November did for their wedding. In lieu of gifts, they asked each of their guests to make a donation to the Save Darfur Coalition and raised $22,000 in the process! Kudos to the both of them for their commitment and unselfish generosity to such a worthwhile cause.

Check out the story in the Savannah Morning News right here. You can "meet" them in their TV interview right here. It's truly an honor and privilege to be in this business and have the opportunity to meet and work with people like Miriam and Jake. Hopefully each of you have such an experience. You can check out a very cool selection of their wedding images right here too.

A Peek Into A Creative Mind

Last week I did a post about the beautiful and creative art of our friend Melanie Feldman. Over the course of the evening, Alan, Mel's husband asked me about blogging and could I show him how to do it. We set up the basics of a site for him and that was it.

About three days later, Alan drops me an e-mail and asks me to check out Mel's new Fine art site featuring most of her paintings. I checked it out and was "blown away" - Alan must have been working on it morning, noon, and night! It shows many of her paintings but along with the art are her thoughts about each of the pieces. It's a fascinating look into the artist's creative mind. I invite you to check out Mel's new "ThePainterOfWomen" site right here.

So I'm Reading This Article Over At Inc. Magazine...

The title is "Better Photos, Better Sales" - here is the link. Hey, it seems right up my alley - photography. I gave it a further read and the article is discussing how to get better product images with most of the product centering around better e-bay images for better sales. It tells me I should be "Blinging" my images and I can make more money - OK, I'm interested. Well, it seems there is this rather unique stand alone program that will easily extract the background from the image, and maybe even easier than Photoshop - it's called "Blingit."

I headed over to the Blingit site right here and watched their tutorials and the software does look fascinating. I know I posted two tutorials on extracting backgrounds; the first entitled, "Winter Wonderland Any Time Of Year" and the second entitled "Designer Portraiture Or How To Fool Mother Nature." Hey, check it out and see what you think.

Hey gang, that's about it for today - I'm heading out for my winter portrait session. See you tomorrow for Technique Tuesday. I'm going to post another lesson on "Classical Portraiture." See ya' then, --David

Friday, January 18, 2008

"Oregon Sunset"
© David A. Ziser

This image was made while touring down the Oregon coast. The sun was giving us a beautiful show and I just stuck around till the sunset was at it's peek. I exposed mostly for the sunset and had to pop the shadows a bit in Photoshop. This is one LaDawn's favorite images from the trip. Camera specs; Canon 20D fitted with 17-85mm lens at 26mm, F5.6 @ 1/50 second, ISO 400, Jpeg. Enjoy! --David

Back Home Friday

Good Morning everybody,
Well, we are back in good ol' chilly Cincy - about 24 degrees this morning - ahh, to feel the brisk breeze on one's rosy cheeks - OK forget it, I wish I was still in Tampa;~) We did have a fine time in the Tampa area these last 11 days, but it always feels good to be back at the old homestead. I'm going to get right to it this morning since I have a mid morning appointment coming up in about an hour. So, off we go...

Lighting, Lighting, Lighting

Without good lighting, you get lousy portraits. It's just that simple!! It's always about that direction of light. Hey, I've been talking about it most of the week for the Kelby Training videos we were working on, so when I found this link over at Tammy Cravit's NicePicsLady blog, I thought I'd point you to it. Tammy has a "ton" of good lighting links in her post. Some really good information here - way to go Tammy.

My favorite is the link to Maurice Mc Duff great article right here with 16 great illustrations and lots of images showing lighting results - two really good finds.

Even More Ways To Train Staff

...Or how to get your team up and running in no time. I recently posted a piece about how to train your staff without the burden of time being on your shoulders. Here is the link to the "Training New Personnel In Record Time" right here.

In addition here is the publisher's description: "This program, allows you to capture your screen and record audio to produce a flash video (FLV). It is intended to allow anyone to easily create their own flash video tutorials and share them with other users online freely." You can even upload it to the V-Tute website for free and share with friends. Get all the info on V-Tutes right here - it looks pretty darn interesting to me.

And In the Only Slightly Related to Photography Department

We have Steve Jobs complete 90 minute Mac World address right here in only 60 seconds! I found this over at The Unofficial Apple Weblog. It's fun to watch and will save 89 minutes of your time over the alternative at Apple's site. Hey gang enjoy, I've got to hit the road and get ready for my appointment. Have a great weekend and I'll see you on Monday -- David

Thursday, January 17, 2008

"Afternoon Delight"
© David A. Ziser

This was one of the last images we made yesterday afternoon at the Marriott Riverside in downtown Tampa before heading to the beach. It's always one of my favorites. My assistant was holding the flash about 12 feet behind the bride and groom and about 4 feet off the ground pointing it at their shoulder blades. The flash in this position wraps nicely around the couple for a dramatic back lit effect. Camera specs; Canon 40D fitted with 10-22mm lens at 10mm, F5.6 @ 1/50 second, ISO 800. Enjoy! --David

Heading Back Home Thursday

Good Morning everybody,
Yep, today is the day we finally head back to good ol' KY side of Cincy - the land of cold weather and maybe a little snow, so I hear. But home is a good thing so LaDawn and I are anxious to get back review information gathered at Imaging USA and the hundreds of images from our three days shooting down here in Florida. We had a great trip and got some great images.

On a different note, my thanks to Scott Kelby for asking us to be part of the Kelby Training Video series and especially for his very kind words in his blog yesterday. It is always a kick to come down to Florida and visit with the entire NAPP crew.

Well, it's almost "bag packing" time, but not before some more hot news and views from the land of sun and fun. Here we go...

Did I Forget to Mention...

...Some hot news tips over at Layers TV yesterday? Last week I did a quick episode with my buddy, R.C. - one of the Layers TV gurus - which aired yesterday. In my section, I gave a few tips on "Window Light Portraiture." Check out Layers TV Episode 18 right here along with a bunch more great information from R.C. and Cory, the Layers TV guys.

Just Wishin' and Hopin' For a Sunset

So what do you do when your out on the beach.... on Honeymoon Island....waiting for a sunset.... on a grey afternoon day? Well, that's where we found ourselves yesterday. Not much going on in the "sunset" department. So what do you do - how about just start playing around to kill some time hoping that a sunset happens.

Here's what happened. I got the "bright" idea to take a photograph of the groom on the boardwalk leading to the beach with the camera set on "tungsten" mode. I know what you are thinking - Ziser, your crazy - it's going to look weird - like really blue. Well, you are half right. Why only half right, because I put a tungsten balanced gel on my flash to get a tungsten "flavored" light source.
This gave me the proper color balance on my subject while letting the rest of the scene go quite blue. It sure beat just standing around waiting for the evasive sunset.Looks pretty cool, doesn't it - it kind of reminds me of one of those Inc. Magazine executive portraits. Anyway, there you have a little mini "Technique Tuesday" on Thursday. By the way, you can try some other filter combos too - kind of fun.

One for the Road - My Art On Display In a Museum

Just for fun today - I found this information in a posting over at John Nack's site - always a good place to find really interesting stuff. He had a link to Museumr, a fun little site that let's you hang your favorite images in your favorite museum. I headed over to give it a try - a nice afternoon diversion. Also, check out the mother site - Dumpr right here . It's a site that lets you do all kind of interesting things with your images. I threw up this quick "screen grab" just to show a few of their image enhancement ideas. Got some time to kill - give it a peek.

Hey gang, we've got to get packing, so I'll see you tomorrow back in chilly Cincy - Adios, David

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

"Afternoon Rhapsody"
© David A. Ziser

I created this image during our shoot yesterday afternoon. The sky filled up with these light feathery white clouds and I wanted to have the bride really pop out of the background. That meant that I had to "underexpose" the sky relative to the proper exposure on the bride. I metered the sky and gave it about 1 stop less light. The bride was properly exposed with my off camera Quantum flash. I was then able to minimize and fill the shadows using my on-camera flash. Camera specs; Canon 40D fitted with 10-22mm lens set to 22mm, F 10 @ 1/320 second, ISO 200. Enjoy! David

Off and Running Wednesday

Today is our last shooting day for the Kelby Training videos. I have to tell you, I feel like I've shot 3 weddings in three days. Exhilarating and exhausting!! We are getting some beautiful images and I'm able to cram the lessons full of practical, informative, and creative information. We had one "party crasher" today though - the man himself - Mr. Scott Kelby came cruising in right before he was to shoot PhotoshopUser TV and took a few shots of us working before heading back to the NAPP offices. I haven't read his blog yet today, but check out what Scott has to say right here.