Wednesday, March 26, 2008

History of Wedding Photography - The Early Eighties and Monte Zucker

Monte Zucker (1929-2007) was honing his skills as a wedding photographer throughout the early 70's studying with Master photographer, Joe Zeltsman. Joe taught Monte the intricacies of posing and lighting which Monte took to the next level. For a peek at the Master who trained the Master, check out Joe Zeltsman Guide To Classical Portraiture right here. It is a little "blast from the past" but all 16 chapters are a wonderfully detailed course on portrait photography. Read my lips - Joe's Guide to Portraiture should not be missed!

In the mid 70's Monte was asked my Meisel Lab, one of the premier labs in the country at that time, to present his wedding philosophy and style at a series of seminars. This was the start of Monte's teaching career. From these humble beginnings he would go on to reach world class status as one of the legendary teachers on the subject of wedding/portrait photography. Please check out Monte's website which is jammed packed with 6 great articles on lighting, posing, wedding technique, and portfolio images right here. This too is a great find for anyone wishing to seek out the almost lost art of classical portrait photography.

In 1979, I was attending as many wedding photography seminars as I possibly could find the time to experience. I never worried about the expense, because this is what I had decided to pursue and knew I had to get as much education on the subject as possible. That same year, I attended a week long class with Monte which exposed me to the fine art of portrait lighting and posing.

Nobody was doing much of this on the wedding day and it became a big "differentiators" for me in my business. Still today, my Bar/Bat Mitzvah clients want a touch of the classic portrait background coverage added to their celebrations.


  1. David I have to compliment you on your persistance and discipline to this blog. You have some great articles here! When I was first getting into wedding photography in 1993 quality wedding photography was becoming quite the rage. Even up until about 5 years ago I remember going to a guild meeting and talking to the guy next to me and him telling me he just didn't have time for people that were under 5G for their packages. So what is the answer David? Where are we going? Booking the 2G wedding is getting harder and harder especially if you aren' willing to give them the "disk". The market is being saturated with "disk" photographers. I know we have to a unique USP it is getting harder to find it. What is it that brides are wanting? What are they willing to pay for? Heck you could do a whole seminar tour on that alone if you can figure it out! Thanks for hanging in there!

  2. Monte was like a mentor , Back in the 80's and the 90's I went to any seminar and clases he presented in Puerto Rico.I went to a PPA convention with the goal of seen him againand learn more of his sucesfull portraiture , always the same person.
    I had all his teaching literature and my style really was his.
    Wow!!! this was really a master in photography.
    As I remember he was such a good teacher and so easy going , so relaxed.
    It was noticed at the moment that he enjoyed teaching.
    His images were like 3 dimensional.
    The truth is easy to miss him in today's market.Still his style is a influence over me , never fails. What he would be doing in photography?
    The truth I think he would enjoing more than ever...
    God bless you all
    Julio Larregoity