Wednesday, April 30, 2008

"Afternoon Elegance"

"Afternoon Elegance"
© David A. Ziser

I made this image yesterday during my Master Class. Who would have thought you could get such a dramatic image at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center? But that's where this image was created. I love the leading lines and graphic elements of this location which really add to the composition of the image. It was made just with the available light flooding in from the window. I had to tilt the bride's head slightly to her right so that the light would illuminate her eyes. The slight camera tilt also accentuated the final composition. The slower shutter speed raised the key of the background resulting in a really nice bridal portrait. Camera specs; Canon 40D fitted with my 10-22mm lens at 21mm, F5.6 @ 1/60 second, ISO 500.
Enjoy! -David

A Wonderful Wednesday

Good Morning Everybody,
Hey gang, I'm making it a quick post today. We were out shooting way past the time the class was suppose to finish last night. It was pretty late when we all got back to the hotel and I have to say, I was a bit tuckered. I ended up shooting about 750 images yesterday. Not bad for talking thru most of them. We started about 10 A.M. - only took a lunch break and finally wrapped about 7:30 P.M. Whew! Ahhh! But we got some really beautiful images.

It was mostly a grey, unusually cold Spring day yesterday in Cincy. We sort of hesitated going to our last outdoor location which was Ault Park in Cincinnati. Everyone seemed ready to continue so we decided to make the 15 minute trip anyway. Finally the sun broke thru the grey clouds and made an appearance for the first time all day about 6:00 and I was able to capture some dramatic sunset pics emphasizing the long shadows of the late afternoon. Check out a couple of the images in the last post below.

Let's Not Forget About The Mac Guys and Girls When It Comes To Lightroom Shortcuts

Here is the MAC version right here to the most complete set on Lightroom shortcuts I posted yesterday. Sorry.... I missed adding it yesterday to the post. I hit the computer early this morning and found a note from Victoria Bampton over at Photoshop She is the author of the first set of shortcuts. She was kind enough to point me to the other link as well.

Check out her site right here. She has some excellent resources listed for all of us digital photographers. Want a peek at the goodies in Lightroom Version 2? Victoria has the entire list right here. Thanks Victoria.

Maybe I Should Be Backing Up More Often.

Too many people are guilty of not backing up their data on a regular basis and it's kind of scary. But wait, the easy solution is just a mouse click away. We were having a discussion in class yesterday about just that topic.

I have to say, I am not a big fan of backup software that backs up in some proprietary file format. For a photog, I think this is a brain dead solution to back up. Here's why. I run a business and if I have a hard drive fail, I need to get to the backup data as soon as possible. I sure as heck don't want to be restoring 500 gigs to yet another drive to eventually get to my files.
For me, it is imperative that I back up my files in "Native" mode. What does that mean? That means what is on my disc gets backed up to another disk exactly as it appears on the original. So if I ever do have a hard drive disaster - like we did 8 months ago when we lost a terabyte drive here at the studio, I simply grabbed the backup drive, put it on the net work and we were ready to go in no time. No restore process at all since everything was sitting on the back up drive ready to go exactly as it appeared before the "crash". We never missed a beat.

So what software do I use? It's by Argentum Backup which costs a whopping $25 per computer - here is the link. It's been an "Editor's Choice" over at PC Magazine.

Chris, our class computer whiz, suggested another solution as well. It's called SyncBackSE by 2BrightSparks - here is the link. Man, I checked it out and it has won a whole slew of awards. I think it's worth checking out. It's only $30 and you can use it on 5 computers. Both solutions back up in "native" mode and both are priced right which makes it a "no-brainer" for photographers who need to get to their backed up data quickly.

P.S. Chris is blogging the class all week, so if you want some more in-depth info with a different perspective on what's going on, check out his blog right here.

Just A Few More Images From Day 2 of My Master Class

We hit the Rivercenter Marriott in Covington, KY for most of the day. Man, it's a great place to shoot!! From there we headed just across the street to the Northern Kentucky Convention Center. A completely different feel and look from the hotel but I love the graphic features this location provided. And finally, late afternoon, we headed to Ault Park and got a pretty cool sunset to work with at the end of the day. Enjoy the pics below. Hey gang, I've got to get scootin' - Lots of stuff to do before class today. See everybody tomorrow. --David

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

"Man of the Moment"

"Man of the Moment"
© David A. Ziser

This image was made during my Master Class shoot yesterday. The beautiful Plum Street Temple served as the background for the fisheye photograph of the groom. The architecture is so unique in this sanctuary, that the Sigma fisheye really gave an interesting perspective to the image. Camera specs; Canon 40D fitted with Sigma 8mm Fisheye, F5.6 @ 1/30 second, ISO 800. Enjoy! -David

Technique Tuesday 04.29.08

Good Morning Everybody,
Well, the class is off and running to a great start. We had a super shoot yesterday - and are planning more photography all day today. Although the rain put a little damper on the Welcome Party festivities at our home last night. But no prob - we just moved everyone and the party indoors and had a great time.

Thanks to Chris, one of our class members, and computer whiz kids to boot - no pun intended - he was able to get my cranky new Dell back in operation in time for our image review. It hit a major hic-cup right before everybody arrived thanks Chris.

I picked some good ones and they are on the presses as I type. Two of the images have been featured elsewhere in the posts so here are the other two. I'll get a nice sampling of my favs next week after the class wraps.

A Quick Peak At My Composition or My Secret Handshake To Better Pictures

In today's Technique Tuesday, lets discuss what makes a great image. Sure it's color, impact, subject matter, and so much more, but when it comes right down to it, it's the composition of the image. Basically the term composition means 'putting together', any work of art is arranged or put together using conscious thought. I'm foregoing the video tutorial today because of the time constraints of my Master Class this week - not enough hours in the day - but look for one down the road in the near future. Anyway, let's take a quick peek at how I put my images together.

Its all about where you place the subject in the viewfinder. Let's start with the quickest, easiest way to consider our options. First, cut the viewfinder into four quadrants numbered as shown. Now for the first "secret handshake" for good composition - place the main part of subject in one of the quadrants - check out the next image - looks pretty good doesn't it? Now let's refine it - lose the quadrants and replace it with the more precise tic-tac-toe board. I call the intersections of the lines "Nodal points." To yet improve your image with respect to composition - just be sure your subject falls on one of the four nodal points. I've selected number 1 in this case. Now there you have it - a much better composed image - better that just dead center at least in the case of this image. That's my quick hit compositional bit for today - Pixel perfect!

Most Complete Lightroom Keyboard Shortcut List In The World

Last week I did my first Lightroom video tutorial entitled, "JPEG Showdown, Saving The Pixels" right here. Thanks for all the kind remarks. I also posted Matt Kloskowski's "Best Ten Lightroom Shortcuts" at the bottom of the article "I Love Lightroom, But.." right here.

Anyway, the way it works so often for me is that one thing often leads to another. A few of you posted your favorite shortcuts. I love the tip from Daniel who offered, "To toggle between a Before and After view of the image I love the backslash \ shortcut in the develop module in LR. And to switch on/off the highlight warning use the J shortcut." Thanks Daniel - good tip.

Also, how do you jump from one module to another with Ctl-Alt-1,2,3,4,5 of course. OK, enough of my ramblings - where can you find the best list of Lightroom shortcuts in the whole wide world that includes everything? Glad you asked - here is the link to my favorite Lightroom shortcut listings right here. It's PDF so go get it and print it out for yourselves. Memorize it, post it in the bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, dining room, and next to your computer. Before you know it - you'll be the shortcut king/queen.

Suzette Allen Still Making (Template) Waves

Many of my readers may know my friend, Suzette Allen from her posts over at Will Crockett's monthly newsletter and her appearances around the country. She is an Adobe Certified Expert (ACE) and knows her stuff.

Anyway, I just got a note from Suzette on her new very versatile template set. Suzette is announcing her coolest Composites and Templates ever!!! Only $100 per set of about a dozen templates, so you are guaranteed to make your money back in only one or two sales!! Every template is completely customizable for color, style, texture, ornamentation...or keep it as is! See all of Suzette's new templates available right here. By the way, you can check out a sampling of her templates and brushes right here - I still love the Cloud brushes.

Hey everybody, it's time to run. Class starts in a few and we have another whole day of shooting at some pretty cool locations. So, I'll see everybody tomorrow. -David

Monday, April 28, 2008

"A Mother's Love"

"A Mother's Love"
© David A. Ziser

This image is from the same session in which I featured the baby in "Tomorrow's Child" - last Wednesday's post. I like the composition of the photograph. The hinting at the mother's visage in the dark shadows with the baby's face pressed against her shoulder. All we really see in this image is a mother's expression of love. Camera specs; Canon 40D fitted with my 24-105mm lens at 105mm, F11 @ 1/200 second, ISO 200.
Enjoy! -David

Monday Morning - We Are Off And Running

Good Morning Everybody,
What a weekend its been getting the studio and grounds in shape for the class. A large part of it was normal spring cleaning, but removing 4 trees and replanting three more, planting a gazillion flowering plants, and all the mulching is not work for the faint of heart. That's why I didn't do a bit of it ;~) LaDawn did most of the work and directed a few others for some additional chores. But the garden plants in, new mulch is down, touch up painting is completed and thanks to her the place will look great for our Welcome Party tonight. Kudos to LaDawn.

We have 22 students hailing from coast to coast and all of us are all looking forward to a terrific week. I'll try to stay on my regular blog schedule, but look for some bonus reporting from the Master Class, so it should be a good week for our loyal DPT readers.

Forget The Big Screen...

...Put your money in a good monitor and never leave your desktop again. Are you tired of watching all those "low res" Youtube videos, or any low res videos for that matter. The new video technology is amazing. While doing my post on Friday about Joel Sartore, I followed the links over to and stumbled into their HD videos. If you want to see where the technology is headed, you have to check out Vimeo's HD site right here. Or just watch their demo video below. Be sure to hit the full screen button on the bottom - right, it will blow you away!

Death Valley from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

Nobody Follows This Story But All Photographers Should!

US Congress
Originally uploaded by RoloDelCampo
That includes me too. I got this "heads up from one of our DPT readers, Bill Zaspel over at Black Tie Photography - here is Bill's article link. After checking further, I thought I would give our readers the same "heads up." It has to do with the Orphan Works bill now on the floor of Congress. Please read these excerpts from some of the major photography associations in the country.

The Professional Photographers of America warn -
"The Copyright Office has suggested legislation that, in its current form, could have a devastating impact on the professional photographers." Here is the article link right here.
Again, from the PPA -
"In it's present form, the proposed statute creates an orphan works regime that is both unworkable and inaccessible to individual creators." Article link here.

An excerpt from a letter from the general council of the American Society Of Magazine Photographers -
"I am writing this message while on the train to Washington to meet with Congressional staffers on both the Senate and House sides. The subject is the proposed legislation dealing with so-called "Orphan Works." If you write to your congressional representatives only once in your lifetime, I urge you make Orphan Works legislation that "one time" and to take the action outlined below." Article link here.

I could list several other links here too, but these few are our wake-up call for action. This new legislation affects all of us shooting out there as well as all creative types working. You could lose the rights to many of your images if you are not paying attention. Why? - the current Orphan Works bill now back on the floor of Congress. We need to keep an eye on what's happening. Animation Magazine News featured the urgency of the situation for all creatives right here. Give them all a read. Be informed.

A Quick One From The Rumor Mill - New Life For XP

We all use computers, most of us are on PC's. Most of us that use PC's don't want to switch to Vista because of all the horror stories we have heard from many who have switched. I love the Apple commercials with Windows Vista vs. Mac. Anyway, the official "end of life" of XP is scheduled for June 30. Rumor has it, over at Engadget right here, that XP's demise may be put off till 2012. That's good news for a lot of us - heck, I just got XP figured out;~)

Hey gang, that it from me for today, I've got a class to teach. See everyone tomorrow. -David

Friday, April 25, 2008

"First Kiss Of The Evening"

"First Kiss Of The Evening"
© David A. Ziser

I think this is a great image of the wedding couple alone in this magnificent ballroom moments before the guests arrive and begin the reception. The light, colors, and composition all combined to make it a favorite for the couple. Camera specs; Canon 5D fitted with Sigma 12-24mm lens at 12mm, F6.3 @ 1/8 second - handheld, ISO 800. And yes, my remote Quantum flash was being held by my assistant behind the couple. Enjoy! -David

Fabulous Inspirational Fridays

Good Afternoon Everyone,
Here we are again with another installment of "Inspirational Friday." Sorry for the late post today - Blogger has been a little "flaky" today. I have tried to remain calm as it has taken quite a while to get all the images uploaded, but we finally made it about 3:30 P.M.

Anyway, off we go. Today is a wedding centric day, so all wedding photos, be sure to check out the links. Also, don't miss the post on Lynn Blodget. He does amazing B&W work of the homeless. His book is truly a peek at the other side of the tracks that makes you stop and think about the misfortunes of so many people in our country. Lynn is on the radio tomorrow. Also, check out Joe Sartore's video, "Fragile Nature," at the end of the posts - very inspiring! Anyway, let's get to it...

Stop the Presses - Be Sure You Tune In Tomorrow

"Finding Grace" photographer, Lynn Blodgett, will be featured in person on Photo Talk Radio tomorrow - here is the link. I think Lynn has a great message with his stirring photography. I blogged his story a few months ago right here on DPT - here is that link. Lynn is also the President / CEO of Affiliated Computer Services, a Fortune 500 company.

Lynn has been called by some, "An Avedon For The Poor," and Finding Grace was named as one of 2007's top ten best photo books by American Photo Magazine. I really think this is a great opportunity to get a peek into a great project and a creative mind. Be sure to tune in, you might find me there, too.

7 Inspirational Wedding Photog Sites

In one of my Internet cruises I came across this sampling of pretty cool wedding photography sites. I'm offering you the list, not just for the photography which is beautiful, but also for creativity behind the site's presentation as well.

Here is the list:
  1. Jesh de Rox's site right here. I really like how Jesh's site draws you through the navigation process. You actually become involved with the site as you peruse the choices. It's very well done.

  2. Jeff Newsome's site right here. Jeff has about the most creative introduction of any photography site I have ever seen. It's fun, it's clever, and it's engaging.

  3. Jessica Claire has a really popular site right here. Jessica's based in Southern California and runs a successful studio there. Jessica has pulled something off that I mentioned in my blog last November - here is that link. It's a great idea and Jessica has done a good job pulling it off. I really like her "Spread Rumors" link on the bottom right of all of her pages, pretty clever. Check it out and you see what I mean.

  4. Bobbie and Mike site right here is full of images with accentuated color - probably the best use of color I have seen in a wedding photographers website. They hail from Central Indiana - hey, that's right here in the great Midwest. Maybe that's why I liked the web soundtrack - kind of made me feel at home.

  5. Jose Villa site right here has beautiful images. I also like the "PR blurbs" that pop up as you are viewing his galleries.

  6. WhiteBox Weddings right here has a nice site here powered by LiveBooks. The images are juiced a bit with added contrast and color, but they all have a great feel of spontaneity and reality. I also like the ability to download a PDF of the images, too. I think giving the viewer an opportunity to their own sample album of your work is a great asset to booking the job.

  7. Chris and Lynn Jakso's site right here features some of the best wedding photography I've seen. Chris and Lynn hail from British Columbia and are a highly awarded team. They even won an Emmy in 2006. I also like their intro with the script coming up as part of the image presentation. Many of their images are simply stunning. Give a peek.

One thing I noticed on each site was a link to their blogs - this is important marketing stuff gang and should be part of everyone's web site. Again, read my article right here on "To Blog or Not To Blog." Do you have any favorite sites to add to the list? Please share your recommendations so all our readers will be informed by posting your comments below. Thanks....

Don't Hold Your Breath Now, Because These Images Will Take Your Breath Away

Unbelievable Black and White photography!! That's all I can say! It's all related to water scenes. The images, their tonalities and composition all add up to some very beautiful photography.

Wayne Levin has been honored by having his work displayed in galleries around the world. He has also garnered a very large number awards and honors over the last 25 years as well. His impressive black and white images speak to that level of accomplishment. Check out Wayne's site right here - visit any number of his web galleries - I promise, you will not be disappointed.

Thanks to The Online Photographer for the heads up on Wayne's site.

Take Five Minutes and Enjoy Joel Sartore's Video - "Fragile Nature"

What a nice guy and what great photography. I watched a National Geographic special featuring Joel's story, earlier this week. You may remember my reference to Joel in my sales post yesterday - here is the link. After yesterday's post, I trucked back over to Joel's site to see what I could find and came across this very inspirational short video. I invite you to view it below. I know you will enjoy it - it's tickles the right parts of the brain and gives a little food for thought for the weekend.

Anyway, on that note gang, I'm out of here - things to do, places to go, pixels to see - have a great weekend, -David

Fragile Nature from Joel Sartore on Vimeo.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

"The Littlest Groomsman"

"The Littlest Groomsman"
© David A. Ziser

This image was made during a recent wedding. The light was particularly dim so I switched to my 50mm F1.4 and kicked the ISO to 1600. The father's hand on the son's shoulder is more than just one more wedding image. It's the story within the story about "fatherhood." The gentle touch of the dad's hand on his son's shoulder affirms the love the father has for the son as he stands there confidently with the rest of the groomsmen. Camera specs; Canon 40D fitted with 50mm F1.4 lens, F 1.4 @ 1/40 second, ISO 1600. Enjoy! -David

[B]Business Day Thursday 4.24.08

Good Morning Everybody,
We are getting closer to my Master Class next week and everything is about ready to go. We are putting the final tweaks on the class workbooks and CD, wrapping the class schedule and printing up a few new samples. LaDawn makes me do this every workshop as we feel it important to keep things fresh you know.

I am thrilled with our first location for our shoot on Monday. We have permission to shoot at Plum Street Temple - one of the most beautiful sanctuary's not only in the United States but thru-out the world. It just also happens to be is the third largest Reformed Jewish temple in the world. It is simply magnificent and should be a kick for the class to visit. But hey, I'll keep you updated on that next week. How about we hit our stride with Business Day Thursday. Here we go.

"Better understated than overstated. Let people be surprised that it was more than you promised and easier than you said." Jim Rohn

10 Ways To Keep Your Clients Coming Back - Building Your Business - Part 4

Everybody spends way to much time looking for new business by putting their marketing focus on new clients. Hey gang, the new business is sitting in your backyard. Turn around and invite the past clients back into your studio. They know you; they love you; they would be happy to come back if they were only asked.

Too many of us fall way short of staying connected with our past clients and consequently are always in super hustle mode shaking new customers out of the trees. As Jim Rohn said, "One customer well taken care of is worth $10,000 worth of business." So how can we keep our clients coming back?

Here are 10 ways to begin.
  1. Personally deliver and present their wedding album or portraits to them. You have a captured audience who loves your work and this is a great way to re-affirm that they are important to you. We even offer to hang our portraits for them when we deliver them.

  2. Every client should be given referral cards. Each card that finds it way back to you signed by that past client rewards that client with a $25 - $50 credit with your studio.

  3. Every wedding album should be delivered with a complimentary family portrait session. It can be used for portraits of their first baby or any other family portrait needs they may have.

  4. Never put an expiration date on a gift certificate. Why would you slam the door on a potential client by saying, "This offer expires 12 months from date of purchase." I call it Brain Dead marketing.

  5. Send anniversary cards to your wedding clients on their first anniversary. Let them know that you are still thinking of them.

  6. Send every past client from the previous year, every current client, and every new client on the books a holiday card with a hand written personal note inside.

  7. Don't forget to say "Thank you" in a personal note to your client's after you deliver your product.

  8. Follow the local news and specialty publications in your area and be sure to send congratulations to your clients who have received any special honors or awards. Just two days ago, we had two of our best clients named as women of the year here in Cincinnati, OH. Flowers and champagne will be on the way to them by the end of the week.

  9. Periodically follow-up with your past clients with special offers just for them. We talked about this in two other posts right here on DigitalProTalk. See the related links below for those stories.

  10. Stay involved with your clients. If they are involved in any kind of charity event, offer them your services to help with their event. They really appreciate your effort and it also puts your name in front of the other volunteers too.

OK, how about one more for good measure - Try at least 5 of these ideas and watch your business take a jump to the bottom line.

Hey gang, if you have any to add to the list, please write them in the Comments section of this article - Thanks! -David

DPT Related story links:
10 Ways To Blow Your Own Horn - Or How To Build A Better Press Kit - Building Your Business - Part 3
15 Ways to Create Vendor Buzz - Part 2 of 4Building Your Wedding Business Series – Part 1 of 4

Also see DPT earlier articles here :

Customer Service - A New Paradigm
CPR For Resurrecting Your Old Client List

Why To Stay Pro-Actively Involved With Your Client During The Sales Presentation

Earlier this week I had a meeting with one of our wedding clients to review their wedding images. So many wedding photographers just upload their images to the Internet, spin the wheel of misfortune, and hope for a good sales result. They continue doing the same thing over and over and constantly complain about their sales averages not meeting their expectations.

I believe it's really important to be with the client during the selection process, sharing with them what you were seeing in your mind's eye and feeling in your heart as you were covering their wedding. It's only with this client connect that you could ever hope that your delivered album is truly a reflection of your heart, soul, skills, and talents.

Last evening I was watching a National Geographic special on master nature photographer, Joel Sartore. What struck me the most were the words of his editor as he echoed my sentiments exactly. Here is what he said - "If you don't allow the witness to be there with you (the editor) to help you put those pictures into a framework of understanding, when you start making decisions over which ones you are going to use and which one's you are not going to use and in what order, you have lost a tremendous opportunity to elevate the quality of the work."

I couldn't have said it better myself. It is only when your delivered product is a combination of client and photographer effort, energy, and creativity that you are really able to deliver the best of your work to your client and be rewarded for your efforts. End of sales rant #46.

It's Collections Not Categories

Hey gang, sorry for referring to "Collections" in my Lightroom article on Tuesday as "Categories" - I must have been editing too many images that day and was getting a bit blurry eyed when I wrote the article. I've since corrected the post.

Today is studio "catch up day" so I'm out of here till tomorrow. Tomorrow I'll be sharing with you some great wedding sites to inspire with great images and great design. So until then, keep those pixels smilin' -David

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

"Tomorrow's Child"

"Tomorrow's Child"
© David A. Ziser

This image was taken as part of a portrait session on a very young child. I went in close for several images and was intrigued with this crop. What works for me in this image is the gentleness of the eyelashes in the scene. That coupled with the symmetrical presentation of the eyelashes, eyes, nose, cheeks, and mouth, but interrupted by the asymmetrical chin says to me that we are not perfect. Yet the gentleness of the image, I hope involves for the viewer, that our future is hopefully in good hands. Camera specs: Canon 40D with 24-105mm IS lens at 85mm, F11 @ 1/200 second, ISO 200. Enjoy! -David.

Another Hoppin' Wednesday

Good Afternoon Everybody,
We have had marathon sessions these last few days. One of my wedding clients came by on Monday to make final selections for her wedding albums. We sat for about 4 hours but heck, we were reviewing 7000 images. We had a great visit and she is thrilled with her selections. I can't wait to get started on the design. Yesterday, I gave my first presentation with Lightroom as my point of sale program. Read below about my +/- experience. Some more interesting information here today, so read on.

I Love Lightroom But...

Editing is easy, prepping the presentation is easy, the slide show works great, images look wonderful on my 9 foot screen, I love the virtual copies, I love that Lightroom works with PSD files transparently. I love, love, love so many things about Lightroom, but the finger gymnastics to keep it all going while sitting with clients was quite a balancing act not to mention a minor inconvenience.

All in all it was a positive experience but here are a few things I wish Lightroom could do in a point of sale situation. I need to explain that I use Lightroom a bit differently than most. I set up a different Catalogue for each client. This is much more manageable for a wedding/portrait studio generating 100,000 to 150,000 images a year. Having said that, here is a quick 7 wishes for Lightroom;
  1. I would like to be able to grab the image in a neutral zone and drag and drop a full screen image directly into my Collections as I move through the images with my client. Touch it anywhere and it zooms the image.

  2. I wish I could set up standard (default) sets of Collections that I activate with each client for their presentation instead of having to retype the Categories again for each new client.

  3. Why can't I still put the images in the parent Collections into a new user order. The minute you create a subcategory, the parent freezes it's order. The minute I delete the "child" the functionality returns.

  4. Delete a custom crop from the aspect ratio list if I "goof it up."

  5. I wish that when adding music to a slide show, the folder select would persist to each Catalogue till I changed it.

  6. I wish looping the music was an option.

  7. I wish the music would fade at the end of showing the images selected for the slide show.

By the way, here is the list of most of Lightroom's keyboard shortcuts right here.
Matt Kloskowski has a quick video on his favorite shortcuts right here. It's worth watching.

So, Should You Do A Bridal Show?

OK. It's not you typical Wednesday post, but I'm throwing it on the table for it's scintillating implications. Read this photographer's Bridal Show experiences right here and see if it's right for your business model.

I, personally have participated in a few bridal shows over the years, but the show qualified the clients as part of its promotional posture, so we were seeing only the clients we wanted to book. The message here is vendor beware - depending on your target market and advertising budget.

Jamie Hack - a brand new photographer has a few thoughts and insights on the subject right here. The comments to his post are great advice for anyone contemplating the move to weddings. Feel free to share a few of your bridal show experiences in the comments section below.

High Five To The Top Five

Kudos to all the blogs listed on Scott Kelby's "Top Five List." It's a great read right here. DigitalProTalk was listed in the top five blogs to read everyday. Here are the other four;

Five blogs I read every day:
John Nack on Adobe (link)
Terry White’s Tech Blog (link)
David Hobby’s “The Strobist” (link)
Moose News Blog (link)
DigitalProTalk (link)

High Fives to Scott, a master blogger himself, and everyone else in the his very cool collection.

Hey gang that's it for today - we are pretty well booked solid for the day. I'll come up for air long enough to hit [B]Business Day Thursday tomorrow . See you then, --David.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

"Red Carpet Ride"

"Red Carpet Ride"
© David A. Ziser

Another image from my 14 minute photo-walk on Sunday and one of my favorites. I love the graphic components of this image - the rich red colors receding away from me with the top of the image accented with small touches of yellow. It's just a nice image just to gaze upon, and into, for an enjoyable viewing experience. Camera specs; Canon 40D fitted with my 70-200mm IS lens with 1.4x tele-extender set to 85mm, F16 @ 1/85 second hand held, ISO 800 with minimal tweaks in Photoshop. Enjoy! -David

Technique Tuesday 04.23.08

Good Morning Everybody,
Well, we are off and running on another Technique Tuesday today. It's kind of a geeky and tekkie (not trekkie ) day today. So, sharpen up those ole' brain cells and read on...

Size Does Matter - Here's the Proof

Sure RAW is king of the hill when it comes to recovering blown out highlights. We've known that for years, but nobody even wanted to consider the lowly Jpeg's capabilities for highlight recovery - until now, right here on DigitalProTalk, so here we go.

But first to get a little background on dynamic range and CMOS sensors, I'd like you to read Xinqiao Liu's PHD dissertation on, "CMOS IMAGE SENSORS DYNAMIC RANGE AND SNR ENHANCEMENT VIA STATISTICAL SIGNAL PROCESSING" right here . It's only 139 pages long.

OK, just kidding, but you need to know that all the chips in all the cameras out there have differing amounts of dynamic range inherent in their design. This is another way of saying that some cameras do better than others in capturing the highlights without blowing them out. Why is that - it's about the size of the photo receptor - our friend the pixel. A bigger photo receptor, means more light (photons) can enter the photo site during the exposure, and the greater number of photons relative to the inherent noise associated with the CMOS sensor means a higher Signal to Noise ratio - read, higher dynamic range.

You can read a fascinating article on the subject and a lot more on Canon's site right here. Sony's echoes the same claim here for larger pixels. Nikon has a easy to understand article on the dynamic range right here. Armed with this new knowledge, let's see just how far we can push the pixels around in today's video tutorial entitled, "JPEG Showdown - Saving the Pixels" in the next post.

JPEG Showdown - Saving the Pixels!

Alright gang, what is the best way to save those pixels - let me tell you. I'm an adamant JPEG shooter as you know, so this challenge pops up for me on 3 or 4 images out of 3000+ images I shoot at a wedding ;~) All kidding aside, it's not much of a problem at all with my Canon 40D set to "highlight tone priority" enabled these days. (See earlier DPT article on Highlight Tone Priority - Image Salvation right here.)

If you are a JPEG shooter, you know those super bright pixels sometimes rear their ugly head. In today's Technique Tuesday I want to discuss what has become my favorite highlight recovery strategy when this happens. I use Lightroom's magic for my fix. I'll show you all the settings I use in Lightroom's DEVELOP module to get the best results. The "whip cream on top" - I'll show you how easy it is to save those settings as a Preset for future problem images. Hit play below to see what I'm up to. Enjoy! -David

I'm In Recovery Today

So many times in Photoshop, we just click away on some of the Photoshop tools and hope for a reasonable result even without a thorough understanding of the tool in question. I do it, we all do it - so little time, so much to learn. One tool most of us feel we know well enough is the Highlight/Recovery tool in Photoshop, but how well do we know it.

I found this really good article on the subject right here. It's by Andrew Rodney - Photoshop guru and NAPP Hall of Fame inductee - over at The Digital

Want more, check out this Highlight/Shadow recovery technique over at DigitalGrin right here. The author even used the fabled LAB mode to make final tweaks to the image. OK, one more for the road. You walk out of the shadows of your life into some better illuminated detail - then check out this last and final article on shadow recovery right here.

OK, it wasn't the last - OutbackPhoto had a contest on Highlight/Shadow recovery right here. Check it out - you get 8 solutions for the challenge. I've posted the BEFORE here and followed up with my favorite AFTER - give a peek below.



Looking For Something Different In Your Flash Photography?

Then add a little tungsten to make it sing. I love this shot of this trumpet player and I really like the photographer's creativity in how it was pulled off. He used a really slow shutter speed - like 1 second - to blur the highlight reflections combined with electronic flash to freeze the action. Great result - you can read Michael Ray's great article on just how it was done, along with diagrams and F-Stops and Shutter speeds, right here. Give it a read - I'm trying it on my next job. Way Cool Factor - 5 (out of 5)

On that note gang, I'm out of here for today - Have a good one, -David

Monday, April 21, 2008

"Luscious Beauty"

"Luscious Beauty"
© David A. Ziser

While driving home from yesterday, we passed this beautiful field of tulips. Even though there was a slight rain coming down, I still grabbed the camera with my macro lens and headed for the flowers. Fourteen minutes later and a five minute tweak in Photoshop gave me the finished result - I love it. Spring can be so beautiful! Camera specs; Canon 40D fitted with 100mm macro lens, F16 @1/160 second, ISO 800. Enjoy! -David

Monday's Upon Us And I'm Ready

Good Morning Everybody,
Well, we had a slightly rainy weekend, but that didn't stop me from getting the shot above - plus a few more. LaDawn and I were heading to the Cincinnati Zoo for a little Photo-Walk when the rain started and we decided to go with plan B instead and headed home. Oh well, maybe next weekend. Anyway, preparations are gearing up around here with my sold out Master Class next week.

LaDawn spent the weekend putting together our 150 page class workbook, student CD's, and goodie bags for everyone and we are nearly ready to go. The week is shaping up as another good week here at DigitalProTalk with most of the stories almost set. Be sure to check out tomorrow's Technique Tuesday - "JPEG Showdown With Overexposure - How Far Can You Go?" It's shaping up as a pretty cool post. Anyway for today, on with the news...

My Bridal Image Featured In NAPP's Latest Ads and New Brochure

I have to say, I am so honored to have one of my favorite wedding images featured in the National Association of Photoshop Professionals new brochure and ad campaign. You may have seen the image in the latest Photoshop User Magazine and the Professional Photographers of America monthly journal.

If you have seen it published, here is the rest of the story. This beautiful image I made of one of my favorite brides was created in about 5 minutes right before the ceremony was due to begin. Parents and wedding party scrambling about talking, laughing, making their requests for photos, rushing with last minute details......all the normal wedding day hustle bustle. Camera specs; Canon 20D, fitted with a 70-200mm lens at 70mm, F3.5 @ 1/30 second - hand held, ISO 800. Light was supplied, as always, from my off camera Quantum flash, no umbrella this time, coming in from the right and the ambient light supplied the fill illumination.

Just Updated My Irfanview

Hey gang, if you are not using Irfanview as your default image viewer, you are missing the boat - it is, hands down, the best tool available. Another incredible feature; it's practically free - just make a small donation. Anyway, why do I bring it up? Because I was just updating the student disk we use for the class which contains some of my favorite shareware and freeware.

I checked for the latest Irfanview update and found I was a few versions behind, so I grabbed the latest version - Version 4.10. Man, I couldn't believe the added features and folks, it's already jammed packed with features. New stuff like easy browsing of RAW images - click on one and up it pops on the screen. Just hit the space bar to view all of the images in your folder.

It also now supports three image viewers - I only use one, Photoshop - just hit Shift-E and up pops the image in Photoshop - way cool for a quick adjust. How about Shift-H and you get an image Histogram. Way too much stuff to list here - check out Irfanview's main page right here for all the info, updates, and downloads - don't forget to gram the plug-ins too. Now for some bad news for a few of our readers ...Irfanview is PC only.

Hey, if any of our MAC readers got a suggestion for an Irfanview look-a-like let me know.

I Don't Want To Start Any Rumors, But...

New Canon 5D Mark II in August - yep, that's what I'm reading. Check out the extensive post over at 1001 Noisy Cameras right here. They have a bunch of links to lots of sources.

The best one I read though was over at the On-Line Photographer. This post is apparently an official leak directly from Canon. Here is a quick blurb, "The real news is that the full 31-MP is reserved for a "big print" mode, usable only up to ISO 800; the real meat is a half-rez 15.5-MP mode in which the camera gives it highest image quality and best high-ISO performance. In this mode, the camera is said to better the sharpness and resolution of cameras that have no anti-aliasing filters (think Leica M8). The 4D will be 19% lighter and approximately 30% smaller than the current 5D. Although the eventual cost will be $2,995."
You can read the entire story right here. Looks pretty cool to me, but I am concerned about the post date - but, I'm not trying to start any rumors or anything ;~)

Quick News Notes

Real quick gang, then I'm out of here. DPReview just posted their full review of the Nikon D3 (which I still have in my hot little hands.) Here is the link. If you are a high ISO speed freak like me, you may just want to jump to the discussion about the usable ISOs up to 12,600 right here. And so we don't leave out the Canon fans, check out the full review of the Canon 1Ds MarkIII over at LetsGoDigital right here.

That's it for today everybody - clients arriving in minutes so I've got to get going. See everybody tomorrow, David

Friday, April 18, 2008

"Surreal Desert"

"Surreal Desert"
© David A. Ziser

For me, this was an exercise in design and color. I loved the original arabesque lines and the deep desert like colors. After a little image manipulation in Photoshop, I had the result I wanted. Camera specs; Canon 30D fitted with 17-85mm lens at 47mm, F5.6 @ 1/6 second - hand held, ISO 1250. Enjoy! -David

Friday News and More

Good Morning Everybody,
The sun is shining and the breezes are warm:~) What a day it's shaping up to be. I have a client meeting later on this afternoon, a little housekeeping to do around the studio and one more free weekend before we really start to get busy with the spring wedding season.

On a different note, I had a meeting with my Lacie representative earlier this week and will be getting to try out some of their very cool products. I'm not letting the "cat of the bag" here, but one product in particular looks very, very exciting. So stay tuned. Lacie makes some of the best monitors, large hard drives, and NAS storage devices available.

Next week is a busy week too as it is the last week before my Spring Digital Master Class and the prep for that week of instruction is pretty intensive. We had such a wonderful response to our Spring class - six people on the waiting list - that we decided to add a Summer session as well. It already about 1/3 full so if you are interested don't procrastinate just read the blurb below about the class or go right to for all the info. It promises to be an intense informational week as well as a great time for all.

You know, I have been calling Friday "Inspiration Friday" for several weeks now. I've tried to feature some fabulous photography sites with stunning images, and I think you would agree that we found some real pearls out there. But being inspired is more than just photography. Being inspired hits us at all levels - personally, professionally, photographically, and creatively just to name a few. I'm posting some things today that I hope will inspire you in other directions too. Enjoy!