Friday, January 29, 2010

"The Pipeline"

Pipeline LD

"The Pipeline"
©M. LaDawn Ziser

Hey gang, I taking a departure on my image of the day today. Today I’m posting one of LaDawn’s images she made while on our trip to Cabo, Mexico last November.  I remember seeing the shot after importing it into Lightroom and loving what I saw.  For me, it was the perfect image for a beautiful “wall decor” piece in someone’s home. The simplicity of the “coming right at you” wave just starting it’s break to the beach with its sea spray above was an exciting moment captured in time.  I love the utter simplicity of the color palette of this shot too.  Anyway, it’s one of my favorites from LaDawn’s shoot and our trip. Camera specs; Canon 50D fitted with 18-200mm IS lens at 110mm, F9.0 @ 1/400 second, ISO 200. Enjoy!  -David

"Are There Too Many Wedding Photographers Shooting Weddings These Days?" – Part 3

Good Afternoon Everybody,

Captured trucks I’m still reeling from seeing my book arriving yesterday. I get the feeling they are on the trucks and heading out to a book store near you.  We had a few more arrive this morning!

I was on the phone with Peachpit for over 30 minutes yesterday.  They had some great ideas on how to get the word out.  I liked their idea of an online Twitter Interview – sounds strange but fun.  Anyway, I’ll keep you posted as things begin to unfold and processes begin.

For the last two Fridays, I’ve posed the question, “Are there Too Many Wedding Photographers Shooting Wedding Photographs.”  Lots of you responded in the “Comments” section of the two posts – my thanks to all whom made the effort. 

The  insights and ideas presented by our DPT readers consisted of nearly 14,000 words and made the “Comments” section itself a solid resource for readers wanting to review the debate.

All that being said, where do I stand on the topic? 

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

The current situation - Here is what I believe:

I Believe… that the low priced sub $1000 DSLR killed the “Golden Wedding Goose” for long standing studios in our profession.  I hear it everyday.  They’re just are not that many “Main Street” studios surviving these days.

Back in the day (of film), if you wanted to shoot weddings, the “Cost of Membership” was at least $5000 for a medium format camera, lenses, and flash gear. That was a deterrent to the someone wanting to shoot wedding part time and kept the number of new shooters at bay.

I Believe… that there is much less of a monetary commitment a photographer needs to make to the process of shooting a wedding for his/her client these days.  That fact alone has mushroomed the numbers of wedding photographers shooting today. And, resulted in driving the cost of weddings WAY down.

Back in the day, if you wanted to shoot a wedding, that meant that you were going to need to buy film and processing.  Most photogs in my area were spending , on average, about $350 of actual costs per wedding. I personally spent $1000 a week on film and processing to shoot a wedding.  Today that cost is FREE, FREE, FREE!!!

I believe… that there is much less of a monetary commitment needed by the buying public when it comes to buying wedding photography.  Because of the proliferation of cheap all the way to inexpensive pricing in the field, the client sees that as the norm these day.

I was just reading in Business Week this morning that some of the luxury products use a pricing procedure called “anchoring” to offer one product at a very high price so that the second tier product, still pricy, becomes the big seller.  Here is the link to the article right here.

What’s happened to the wedding profession is that the “PRICE” has been anchored to the bottom of the heap – i.e. the flea market wedding shoppers looking for rock bottom pricing for “professional photographic services” on Craig’s list.

I Believe… that the “Digital Age” itself has done much to reshape the wedding photography business.  All the new aspiring photographers can find free or very reasonably priced training anywhere on the internet.  My site DigitalProTalk, the Strobist, the Online Photographer, the Digital Photography School, et. al. have really revved up the enthusiasm for the profession.

Believe me, I think all that “easy to reach”information is a good thing.  I’m a web surfing junkie myself and love to bring the tid-bits I find to you, our DPT readers. Hey, it’s fun.

That enthusiasm has also encouraged many new photographers to “give it a go” in the profession.

So do I believe that there are too many photographers shooting wedding these days?  My answer – YES.  Now for the rest of the story. Are many of them making any money? – NO!

But you say, “I love shooting weddings.  What can I do?”  Lots of suggestions were given in the “Comments” section of the last two posts. 

Let me cover several more right here.

I Believe… we have to become adept at marketing with the new social media tools. 300 million Facebook members are surely connected out there.  You’ve got to get them to connect to you too.

I Believe… we need to constantly strive to build relationships with our favorite vendors in our communities.  It’s that cross-pollination that works to everyone's benefit in building business.

I Believe… you’ve got to constantly be looking for ways to add value to your wedding photography, value that the clients can readily see and make them want to choose you as their photographer.

I Believe… we can never “rest on our laurels” or become too complacent.  Even if you are an “established studio”, the fight to get the potential customer’s attention is more fierce than ever.  And that DEMANDS you take a more PRO-ACTIVE posture in your community.  You’ve got to be like a shark – keep moving, never stop promoting yourself!

I Believe… a lot of photographers are lousy sales/business people and settle for sales far less than they should.  That would include the “shoot and burners” out there and also those who simply post their images on-line and “spin the wheel of misfortune” hoping for a big sale. Hey, no sales effort in, no sales out!

I Believe… that you’ve got to be CONTANTLY striving to differentiate yourself from the competition.  You’ve also got to continue to “educate your clients as to what your differences are.  The bottom line is that these differences are clear discernable differences from the competition.

I Believe… It’s easy to be the the best wedding photographer in your area.  You’ve just got to work harder at it than the next person - your competition. You might ask, “If it’s so easy, why do I need to work harder?”  The answer is simple.  There are many, many lazy photographers who will settle for second best.  It doesn’t have to be you.

And finally-

I Believe… that when you shoot a wedding, you’ve got to bring your own sense of passion to the shoot.  You’ve got to give it 120% of your effort. You’ve got to leave a bit of your heart in every job.  That’s what can make your photography special, lasting, and in demand.

You know, Confucius had it right.  He said, “Those who think they can and those who think they can't are both right.”

Watch this short video interview with Will Smith.  He’s a guy with “Attitude” – the right kind of “Attitude.”


Have a great weekend everybody,  -David


Related Posts:

Post 1 - January 15: [link]

Post 2 - January 22: [link]

Thursday, January 28, 2010

"Subtle And Bold"

Subtle And Bold

"Subtle And Bold"
©David A. Ziser

I decided to make the trip back to Cabo San Lucas in my Lightroom Library for today's post.  That part of the world is just so vibrant with rich, saturated colors.  I can never resist taking a shot of the richness of the city.  This image is from a photo-walk LaDawn and I took one morning just around the neighborhood where we were staying. The deep blue sky against the subtle and contrasting tonalities and textures of the bright yellow building created a dramatic visual experience. Camera specs; Canon 7D fitted with 18-200mm IS lens at 200mm, F11 @ 1/1000 second, ISO 200. 

Enjoy!  David

Business Day Thursday: It's All In The Name, The Name Of Your Studio, That Is

Good Afternoon Everybody,

DAZ Book I can’t believe it, but there it is – my first “real live” copy of my book.  It showed up just as I was about to publish today’s post. Here is the latest.  "Captured By The Light, The Essential Guide To Extraordinary Wedding Photography" will be shipping from Peachpit/New Riders, the publishers of my book on February 2.  That means they should be on the shelves of Amazon [link] and Barnes and Noble [link] by mid-month. Wow! Amazon already has my Sales Rank at 18,533!  Look out Scott Kelby, here I come ;~)

Remember, I'm personally signing all pre-ordered copies from the Tour and any additional copies ordered by February 28, 2010 through our Digital Resource Center [link]. I know folks have been emailing me about those book orders placed at my Digital WakeUp Call tour too.  Yep, I plan to sign each and every copy before it ships.

Eight Full Hours And speaking of the Digital WakeUp Call Tour, the DVD version is coming right along.  I'm in the process of forwarding TWO MORE HOURS of content over to the video production company to be added to the original presentation.

Those of you who attended the program know I was talking pretty fast because I had a lot to cover.  I wanted to cover even more but time would not allow it - heck, I ran over every night by 15 minutes.  That's why I'm adding the additional two hours of information to the 3 DVD set. 

We are also adding the Bonus DVD we gave all attendees to each DVD set.  That means you will be receiving 4 DVDs with over EIGHT HOURS of solid, fast paced info on off-camera and on-camera lighting, Lightroom, Photoshop, Marketing, and lots more. Here is the link to all the info right here.

Time to get on with today's post. Here we go...

It's All In The Name, The Name Of Your Studio, That Is

Here is something I want you to think about today.  What is the name of your photography studio?  Could it be something like "Precious Moments Photography", "Moments In Time Photography", "Contemporary Wedding Photography", or even "Focus Photography"?

I'm not trying to step on any toes.  I just made these names up as I was typing, but I suspect that there are several studios out there with those names. 

DAZNOTE: I just did a quick Google search on each of these studio names mentioned above. Each name search ran at least 5 pages deep.You get the idea.

I'm not suggesting that these names are bad names for a photography studio, but I do want to question if these kinds of names are the MOST EFFECTIVE choices for your brand recognition.

The last studio name mentioned above, "Focus Photography", was the original name of my studio way back when I opened my studio doors for business in 19?? Whoops, almost gave my age away;~) Thankfully, I decided to change it to David A. Ziser Photography early on in my career.

Why am I making such a big deal about studio names being personal?  Well, because it should be personal, especially in a business that depends on ongoing personal relationship building.

"Focus Photography" was a "thing" but I decided early on that I wanted my current and future clients to remember a "person".  I believe the best way to build "Brand Recognition" in this business is to use your own name on the shingle that you hang on your studio.

Now you get to introduce yourself as who you are, the owner of the studio.  I think that sounds much better than David Ziser from Focus Photography.

DAZ LogoBusiness building is ALWAYS about how your community, peers, and clients recognize you.  And, there is no better way to be recognized than by using your own name and leveraging that name recognition for your business growth and success.

So, if your studio name is a generic name like I mentioned in the previous examples, give a little thought to changing it to your own name.  If your a good shooter with a passion for what you do, I promise you, the name change will be worth it in the long run.

Food For Thought-


Hey gang, that's it for me today.  We are starting to unpack the new Canon iPF 8100 ink-jet printer that arrived last week. We have only one minor issue.  It's about 1 inch too long for the space my current Epson 9880 printer is sitting. So where's my saw? ;~)

Anyway, don't forget to check back tomorrow for a more uplifting post on the topic, "Are There Too Many Photographers Shooting Weddings These Days?"  If you've missed any of the conversation these last two Fridays on this HOT topic, here are the links to the past articles:

Post 1 - January 15: [link]

Post 1 - January 22: [link] 

Hope to see you tomorrow,  -David

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

"The Final Reading"

The Final Reading

"The Final Reading"
©David A. Ziser

Here is yet another image from my "temple shoot" last Thursday.  This shot is always one of my favorites.  The wide angle lens really adds a sense of the "dramatic" to the image.  In reality, the Torah is never unrolled this far. Rabbi, let's me set up the photograph this way for the added impact with the wider, unrolled Torah.  I adjust the exposure to pick up some of the natural light then adding my off-camera flash coming in from camera right to obtain my final result. Camera specs; Canon 7D fitted with 10-22mm wide angle lens at 10mm, F6.3 @ 1/60 second, ISO 1000. Enjoy!  -David

PhotoFAVS Wednesday: In Camera Noise Reduction

Good Afternoon Everybody,

Photo Favs wed Well, my day really lightened up.  I was scheduled to photograph the official portrait of one of the leading religious leaders in Cincinnati this morning, but because of a schedule change on his part we need to reschedule the shoot.

Hey, no complaints from me.  How many times do we get a FREE day to take care of some of those loose ends that seem to never get taken care of? Not very often. Heck, I might even take LaDawn out for lunch - what a concept.

Anyway, back to today's post:

"In Camera Noise Reduction"

Many of you know I've been a BIG JPEG shooter for most of my digital life switching to RAW in the mid 2008’s.  After shooting for almost two years, I have to say that I have not fully drank the RAW kool-aid yet.

Sure, I like RAW and  how I can really tweak the image in Lightroom. Heck, it was the Adjustment Brush - localized control over image density - that made me switch from shooting JPEG to RAW. But now two years later, and reflecting on my shooting routine over these last two years, I believe JPEGS should still have a place in any event photographer's shooting routine.

Why? That's the subject of this week's PhotoFAVS Wednesday. To many photogs, mostly RAW shooters who really have "drank the kool-aid", they see no place whatsoever for shooting JPEGS on a job. But today, let me give you a reason to reconsider shooting JPEGS for at least part of your event coverage. 

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

It has to do with the camera's own built in electronic noise reduction algorithms that come into play when you set your camera to JPEG mode.  There's just something about how the camera reduces the image noise that gives us a much cleaner result in our finished image.

I know a lot of you think I'm crazy  - and my "kool-aid" comment will probably garner a nasty comment or two, but folks, it still comes down to the finished image and how we choose to use our digital hardware to obtain that result.

Before writing your "RAW IS KING" comment to this post, please hear me out.

This past weekend, I shot a lot of the Bar Mitzvah in both RAW and JPEG. Yes, same shot, both modes.  I've been having this "inkling" that the in camera noise reduction could be doing a better job in the "noise reduction" department than simply relying on the noise reduction software available on the market.

Could I obtain a better low noise image by shooting in JPEG Mode with the camera's "noise reduction" feature turned on and then run it through a favorite "noise reduction" software?  Folks, I present you with my results.

Let me set up the shooting scenario.  At Saturday's party, the slide show had just begun and parents and kids alike were enjoying the show.  I love to roam the audience and capture the tear in mom's eye or the happy, smiling faces of any of the kids watching the slide show.

The ambient light is usually at a pretty low level which necessitates high ISO shooting.  The lighting decor also had the dance floor flooded with very yellow/orange light which created the heavy color cast to the scene.  For my "experiment" I decided to NOT do any color correction. I only wanted to compare the "noise" levels in each image and additional image manipulation may have skewed the results.

I settled into ISO 3200 and began photographing the crowd.  Check out this first image, below.  I shot it RAW and then cropped it much closer so you could more readily make the noise comparison in each image.  This RAW image shows the most noise.

RAW ImageNoise - Raw

Now look at the next image shot in JPEG mode with "noise reduction" turned on. - I had the camera set to "Standard" on my Canon 7D.  It is clearly superior - showing less noise - than the RAW capture.

JPEG ImageNoise JPEGNow look at the third image.  It is the RAW image imported into Photoshop from Lightroom. I did no "noise reduction" in Lightroom, by the way.  Next I ran the image through Noise Ninja by Picture Code [link].  I like NIK's Dfine 2.0 [link], but since Noise Ninja reports a "noise index", and I thought that would be a good way to quantify my results. 

RAW With NRNoise RAW NR Noise Ninja reported a "noise index" of 51 for the RAW image.  That's pretty high based on my Noise Ninja experience.  Anyway, take a look at this third image.  It is clearly an improvement over the original RAW and JPEG files.

But now look at the fourth image.  It's the result of running the JPEG through Noise Ninja. 

JPEG With NRNoise JPEG NR In this case, the "noise index" topped out at only 35 - not bad.  And, as you can see, the result is really, really good.  Skin tones are smooth and just about all the noise has been substantially disguised.

So would this kind of low light shooting situation be best shot in JPEG mode?  I say a resounding "YES!!!" for three reasons:

1. These types of candid images are not going to be "headlining" images in the final album. It's these kinds of images that capture the "flavor" of the event and are what I call "third tier" images.  In these instances JPEGS are just fine.

2. I'm dealing with very slow shutter speeds, too.  That means that I'm going to be taking several images to be assured that I have one really sharp image. That's even assuming my lens image stabilization is doing a good job for me.  There simply is no reason to chew up a lot of "hard drive real estate" to store these numerous images. 

3. And most importantly, I obtain the best "low noise" result when I combine the camera's built in noise reduction with that of NIK DFine 2.0 or Noise Ninja.

So there you have it.  For me, RAW vs. JPEG is not a "religious" argument in which I need to take sides. Actually, taking sides in the RAW vs. JPEG debate will only lead you down the path of compromised imagery.  For me, it's always about using the right tool for the job, whether that "tool" be a camera, lens, or even a camera setting.


Hey gang, that's it for me today. And,please note that I not trying to pick any RAW vs. JPEG "fights" today.  I just don't want you to close your eyes on other options that can many times simplify your shooting routine and lead to a better result.

That said, I'm out of here.  I'll see everyone tomorrow for another episode of Business Day Thursday.  See ya' tomorrow,  -David

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

"High Flying Party"

High Flying Party

"High Flying Party"
©David A. Ziser

I made this image at this past weekend's Bar Mitzvah party. I have to say, "The party was jumpin'".  For every event I photograph, the challenge is to capture a few shots that no other photographer in the area takes.  It comes back to my mantra, "The Difference Makes The Difference."  I've been shooting for quite a while now and it's still fun to come up with that new shot.  Hanging the camera over the heads of the crowd of party revelers and getting the DJ to get everyone to look up makes for a great and different kind of candid party image. Check out today's Technique Tuesday for how I put it all together. Camera specs; Canon 7D fitted with Sigma 8mm fisheye, F 6.3 @ 1/50 second, ISO 800.  Enjoy!  -David

Technique Tuesday: High Flying Party Photography

Good Afternoon Everybody,

Blue Screen 2 Well, the “Bear” almost got me today.  We had a not so minor computer “hic-cup”  here this morning.  Nothing big, just that the computer didn’t want to re-boot – even after 5 tries.  I WAS a little worried and then set forth pulling out all the USB drives and reconnecting them one at a time till I found the problem.  The problem was eventually solved but at the expense of this very late post.

Anyway, yesterday finally wrapped our KPPA Convention.  That means we can get things back to normal at my studio. That is besides the unexpected computer crashes. UGH!  Conventions are great fun and it's good to catch up with friends you only see a few times a year. Now it’s time to get settled back into the real world of David Ziser Photography.

OK, time to get on with the show.

What A Steal Of A Deal!

One quick note about yesterday's post.  I mentioned that Michael operates one of the premier photography studios in the country.  Seeing him give his program yesterday reminded me of why he is so successful.  As Michael said yesterday, "I'm a business man who happens to be a photographer." 

Redford Items Michael has several educational resources [link] that could benefit any studio business building strategies. You have to navigate through a few links, but his resources are worth a look.  I just called Michael and he has agreed to offer all readers of DigitalProTalk a 50% discount on any of his Collections and a 25% discount on any single title. Now that's a great deal!  You don’t want to miss this new year bargain. Just be sure to mention my name or that you read it at DPT.

Update On My Canon 50D That's For Sale

Canon 50D Body Only Last Wednesday I mentioned that I was putting my hardly used, about 5 weddings worth, up for sale [link].  The top bid to date is $875.  I'll keep the bids open till Friday and announce the lucky winner next Monday.

Hey Gang, What Time Is It? It's Technique Tuesday Time!!!  Here we go...

High Flying Party Photography

I'm always looking to create images that neither clients nor, photographers for that matter, see very often.  I want my images to grab the viewer's attention immediately.

One way to grab the viewer's attention is with a dramatic change of "camera position". A shot taken from overhead fills the bill. We've all seen those overhead shots from the Goodyear blimp taken during a professional football game.  But, to see them taken at a wedding or Bar Mitzvah is quite the treat.

So how can we capture those kinds of images at a party.  Let me show you my very easy "Pole-Cam" technique that produces images that are both fun to take and excitingly different to view. 

As a bonus with today’s lesson, I’m throwing in a bit of multi-lighting reception coverage too. Enjoy!

I think you'll get a kick out of this week's "High Flying Party Photography" tutorial.

Hit the PLAY button below and enjoy the show.


Hey gang, that's it for me today.  It's back to real work for me these next several days.  Have a great one and I'll see you tomorrow for another episode of PhotoFAVS Wednesday: "In Camera Noise Reduction."

See ya' then,  David

p.s. Because of the late post today, look for tomorrow’s post to hit tomorrow afternoon about 3:00 P.M. EST.  -David

Monday, January 25, 2010

"Fully Prepared"

Max Fish

"Fully Prepared"
©David A. Ziser

Here is one of the images I made last Thursday during our "temple" shoot.  I love this shot made with my Sigma Fisheye because of the way it captures the architecture of the temple's interior.  Just remember, when using a fisheye lens, you must keep your subject on the "vertical center" to minimize distortion.  Illumination coming from camera right from my Quantum, shooting through my Zumbrella. Camera specs; Canon 7D fitted with Sigma 8mm fisheye, F 6.3 @ 1/25 second (handheld), ISO 1000. Enjoy!  -David

Quick Hit Monday: I'm Humbled On Saturday; And A Peek At Bar Mitzvah Coverage

Good Morning Everybody,

Hope everyone had a great weekend.  It was super busy around here with our KPPA state convention [link] going on and me with a four day Bar Mitzvah. Let me break it down for you and in the process you might pick up a little something about Bar Mitzvah photography.

First, My Amazement At Winning Two Special Awards

To add to the super busy weekend, our KPPA president, Jessica Vogel, asked me if I could break away for about and hour from Saturday's Bar Mitzvah party. 

I found out on Friday that I was going to be named the new Vice-President for KPPA and she wanted me there for the "swearing in" ceremony during the awards banquet that evening.  I cleared it with my clients and brought my good friend and talented photographer, Steven Easley, to cover the 60-70 minutes I was going to be MIA from the party.

DAZ Award Turns out it was a lot more than just taking an oath of office for my state association.  To my great surprise I was awarded the Kentucky Award.  It's given to those people whom the panel determines has given of their time and talent to the profession and the KPPA association.  I was floored!

Then they "dropped the bomb" on me.  The highest honor one can receive for service to their profession is the National Award.  It comes for the Professional Photographers Of America. My long time buddy, Larry Long, takes to the podium for the presentation.  Nobody ever knows who the recipient is going to be.

Larry begins his short history about this years recipient.  After about 3 sentences, I realize it's me!  The people who have received this honor before is a group of some of the most esteemed photographers in the industry. This coveted honor is given in recognition of outstanding service to professional photography performed by an individual.

It is a humbling experience to receive such an honor.  My heartfelt thanks to all those at the KPPA, past National Award winners, and all those who supported me this year for this wonderful honor.

Check Out Michael Redford's Photography

Michael RedfordWe had a great lineup of presenters at this year's convention.  In fact, today, Michael Redford is presenting.  Michael is one of the most talented and successful photographers out there.  His studio is one of those “2-comma” studios if you get my drift - that means over 1,000,000 - you know, 2-commas. 

Michael and I have been friends for over 20 years.  When he was just starting out his career, he took a week long class with me.  I was teaching at the same place the following year and he was in my class again!

I asked him why he was back again. He told me that after spending the week with me the previous years and studying all my tapes, that he had paid off all his debts, including his mortgage! He was back this year to take it to the next level.

I have to tell you, I was really flattered.  In fact I mentioned to Michael at that meeting years ago, that if I was the one responsible for him making all that money, why didn't he split it with me ;~) 

Hey, all joking aside, Michael knows how to run a successful studio and is now one of the leading photography studios in the country.  Check out his site right here.  I promise you, you will love his work and get some great ideas.  You can also catch Michael giving a seminar or two as well. Don't miss it if he comes to a city near you.

A Peek A Shooting A Bar Mitzvah

People always ask, "What goes on for four days?" Well, these four days were very special.  For anyone thinking about shooting Bar Mitzvahs, let me give you the run down.  First of all, a Bar/Bat Mitzvah [link] is a ceremony when a young man or woman, age 13, comes of age and is now able to participate in all rights, privileges, and ceremonies of being a Jewish adult.  The young Bar Mitzvah literally becomes almost "Rabbi for a day" and leads the entire adult congregation in the 2-hour long Saturday service.  Add to this fact that much of the service is in Hebrew and you get an idea of the scope of the accomplishment for our 13 year old Bar Mitzvah.

On Thursday, we headed to the temple to get all the set-up photographs of our young Bar Mitzvah, his parents, sisters, and grandparents.  The actual service is held on Saturday, but with Adath Israel being a "conservative" temple, no photographs are allowed on the "Sabbath". Therefore we "re-enact" the most important parts of the service a day or two before Saturday's service.  Friday's post [link] was from that shoot.

In addition to all those photographs, we do an entire series of family portraits with all possible combinations of everyone present.  This weekend is special for not just our Bar Mitzvah, but for the entire family as well.  Everybody wants to be in the photographs.

On Friday, the family hosts the Shabbat dinner. On a Bar Mitzvah weekend, it's more that just dinner.  It's a gathering of family members and friends that are particularly close to the hosting family. This evening includes the evening blessing and then the 13 candle "candle-lighting" ceremony which honors those individuals that have influenced and been part of our young Bar Mitzvah's life.

Candle Lighting This past Friday about 100 friends and family participated in the grand event.  We arrived at 7:00 p.m. and finished about 9:30 p.m.  The dinner is always a blast.  Max, the young man whose Bar Mitzvah we were celebrating, #21 of 22 grandchildren who have been Bar Mitzvah-ed over these last several years.  I have had the honor of photographing 16 of those previous Bat Mitzvah's.

That's why I really enjoyed shooting the dinner on Friday. I had so many past clients present and it was good to seem them.

We were up bright and early for the Saturday morning service.  We were invited guests as well so we attended Max's service. At the "reformed" synagogue we are able to take photographs of the service which we do. 

The rules are different at a "conservative" temple and no photographs are allowed until 30 minutes after sunset which, by the way, was 6:23 p.m. that evening.  After the service, the family provides a nice lunch for all those in attendance - about 250 people. 

Later that evening is the BIG cerebration.  It is a wild and fun evening with about 250 people coming together to celebrate with our young Bar Mitzvah.  Notice the 4x8 foot banners on the wall I discussed last week.  Pretty cool, eh?

MAX SatAnd what a party it was, too.  I don't think anyone left the dance floor for the entire evening.  I, on the other hand, had to leave, rush across town to the Awards Banquet I mentioned above, be "sworn in", receive my awards, offer my heartfelt thank you’s, and then rush back to the party. I made the complete round trip in 70 minutes.  Thankfully, no beep from the radar detector;~)

The party rocked on till about 12:30 a.m. the next morning.  That's the time we packed our bags, said our goodbyes and headed home. Actually we headed out for a sandwich and an adult beverage.  I am too keyed up after shooting any party to head home and just go to bed.  I need the 5 hour adrenaline rush to subside for a few hours before turning in.

Max Hora We woke up bright and early Sunday morning to recharge batteries and download cards.  The Sunday Brunch was scheduled for 11:30 a.m. and we needed to be on site by 11:00 a.m.  This event was very special though.  Max's grandfather, also featured in Friday's post, was celebrating his 80th birthday.

I have had the pleasure of photographing this gentleman many times over these past several years. I joked with him that he is the most photographed in Cincinnati considering the fact that he has been present at all 21 Bar/Bat Mitzvah's to date.

The Luncheon was a blast with so many stories, songs, and entertaining skits reflecting on his life.  We wrapped the luncheon about 2:30 p.m.  I said goodbye to my assistant and headed back down to our convention.  That lasted till about 10:30 p.m. What a long day!

Anyway, that's what happens when you are shooting a 4-day Bar Mitzvah.  All great fun, great photographs, and a few sore muscles at the end of the day.


Hey gang, that's it for me today.  I get to go back down to, you guessed it, my convention and check in on Michael's program.  See ya' tomorrow for another episode of Technique Tuesday.

Adios Everybody,  -David

Friday, January 22, 2010

"Three Generations, One Rite Of Passage"

Three Gererations, One Rite Of Passage
"Three Generations, One Rite Of Passage"
©David A. Ziser

Here is an image I made from yesterday's "temple" shoot. Grandfather, father, and son all together for this photograph.  Our young Bar Mitzvah was running through his Torah reading and I didn't want to interrupt.  I backed up considerably from the three of them, and zoomed in tight for this shot.  I was trying something different yesterday.  The Rabbi had to leave in just a few minutes so we were shooting at about "a mile a minute." Just to avoid any lens changes, I placed 18-200mm IS lens on my Canon 7D.  Boy, this that make the shooting fun and fast considering our time constraints.  As the three gentlemen were rehearsing, I could get about 50 feet away, zoom in close and get a great candid shot. My Quantum flash was coming in from camera right shooting through my Zumbrella to give me the nice dimensional light on the scene. Camera specs; Canon 7D fitted with 18-200mm IS lens at 70mm, F6.3 @ 1/60 second, ISO 1000. Enjoy!  -David

Are There Too Many Wedding Photographers These Days - Part 2

Good Afternoon Everybody,

We had a great "temple" shoot yesterday and got some great images of our handsome Bar Mitzvah boy.  I love doing these mid-week shoots because you're not constrained on time. 

Clay and DAZ Well, that's about half true.  The family still is on schedule with all the weekend activities, Rabbi has another meeting, you get the idea.  But, it's still not quite the rush wedding photogs have on a wedding day and the slower pace gives me a chance to really do something special for my client.

Last evening we also got together with Clay Blackmore, one of the finest wedding photographers and teachers in the country. We had a great visit.  Clay is presenting at our state convention today and everyone is really enjoying his program – I know, I'm in the back of the room myself;~)  Maybe we can get him to do a podcast for DPT in the near future.

Hey gang, today I want to continue the conversation I started last Friday.  That post [link] has turned out to be the most popular posts to date here at DPT. There were so many great comments - I invite you to read them all.  They provide a lot of solid insight into the state of our industry. Let's get right to it.

Hit the “Read More…” link below to read more about:

Are There Too Many Wedding Photographers These Days - Part 2

Are There Too Many Wedding Photographers These Days - Part 2

Gloom - iStock_000002680448XSmall In addition to all the comments that were posted last week, let me add a few more garnered from my interviews last week.  Hey, it still looks kind of bleak for the wedding photographer these days from what I'm reading.

  • It's impossible for a photographer to gross $200,000 or even $100,000 in the wedding business these days.

  • Wedding photography does not hold the prestige it once did. It's not elite anymore.

  • It's a lot harder to have a good reputation stand out these days. People really are settling for second best or cheap.

  • The concept of a good wedding photographer is completely diluted these days.

  • The customers are willing to settle for far less that they used to.

  • It's harder than ever to book a wedding these days.

  • Business used to come to us, not anymore.  We have to work a lot harder these days to get the customers to come to us.

  • Brides, not parents are booking the wedding these days and price, not quality is the only criteria.

  • There's a big discrepancy in wedding pricing these days.  From free on Craig's list to several thousand dollars by some of the top studios.

  • Lots of brides claim they have a friend that can shoot their wedding.

  • Cameras are smart enough to produce acceptable images with for a photographic with limited photography skills.

  • And a lot of photographers are "under-serving" the bride.

There you have it - another set of comments that spell doom and gloom for our profession. You know, what's being said here is very much true.  The secret is to know what to do in this situation.  How can the studios having such problems really turn things around?

My Ace #1 assistant, Nicholas, who is working on his own part time business here in Cincy was pretty discouraged by what he read.  I encouraged him to hang in there.  There really is "light at the end of the tunnel."

Next week, I promise, will show the other side of the coin - a brighter, shinier side.  The entire paradigm of wedding photography has changed, and it has changed overnight.  I sitting here at our state convention and the people that used to come here year after year have not been her the last two years, so these comments truly reflect the reality of the situation.

We need to completely rethink how we do things in our profession these days. We have to throw out everything we known over the years, especially we "more seasoned" pros and redefine and rebuild our concept of wedding photography from the ground up if all of us want to compete and be successful in this profession.

The "End Is Not Near".  It's really a "New Beginning" right around the corner for photographers who love and enjoy this business and what to make decent living from a terrific profession.

More next week, gang.


That's it for me today, everybody.  I've got to pack the gear for my shoot this evening.  So, I saying "Over and Out" for today.  I'll plan to see everybody next Monday, same time, same place.

Have a great weekend, and I'll see you then,  -David

Thursday, January 21, 2010

"Urban Geometry In Blue"

Urban Geometry

"Geometry In Blue"
©David A. Ziser

I made this image during the Cincinnati Photowalk this past Fall. It was actually one of my first shots of the day.  We had met at Playhouse In The Park and it was a beautiful day - white clouds and beautiful blue skies.  I loved how the contemporary design of the building "played" against those blue skies reflecting the sky itself.  Those reflections carried the blue, almost monochromatic tones throughout the shot.  As you look into the glass panes, you can see the geometries of the architecture echoed within the building's interior as well. Color, shapes, and line all combined for this city abstract.  Camera specs; Canon 50D fitted with 18-200mm IS lens at 24mm, F5.6 @ 1/1600 second (I believe my camera was on aperture mode by mistake - the wide-angle view maintained the sharpness of the scene), ISO 400. Enjoy!  -David

Business Day Thursday:Bridal Shows and Cross Pollination

Good Morning Everybody,

Only one more day till our KPPA State Convention kicks off.  We're having dinner with my buddy, Clay Blackmore later this evening and I'm really looking forward to his program tomorrow morning.

Bat Mitzvah Pic In addition to the convention this weekend, I start my four day Bar Mitzvah shoot later this afternoon.  For those of you who shoot Bar/Bat Mitzvahs you know it can be kind a crazy on the BIG day.  Years ago I started offering my clients a "Temple" shoot a few days prior to the main event. This gave me a chance to work with the young 13 year olds on a much less stressful day other than the day of the actual Bar/Bat Mitzvah.

That means that today I get a chance to work with young Max and get some great shots of him, his family, and some cool portraits of him within the surrounds of the temple. This additional shoot gives the client a wonderfully varied series of images for the final album. 

Anybody else doing the additional shoot here in Cincy, not to my knowledge.  You know, “It's Always The Difference That Makes The Difference.” I'll post a few of the images next week.

Time to get on with Business Day Thursday.  Here we go... 

Bridal Shows And Cross Pollination

You know, this is the time of the year for bridal shows.  You all know what a bridal show is, don't you?  It's a show that has 3 wedding venues, 3 florists, 3 bridal salons, 3 bakers, 3 bridal consultants, 3 videographers and 50 photographers ;~)  At least that seems to be the case in Cincy.

Anyway, if you are going to participate in a bridal show, how can you stand out from the crowd and create even more "buzz" at your booth?  It's takes more than just good photography these days, although that is a big factor.

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

I had a post pop up on Facebook the other day with one of my friends asking, basically the same question I posed above.  The suggestions she got were quite good and have the foundation for this post.

Jones the Florist Why not "cross pollinate" with your vendor buddies. What do I mean by that?  The answer is simple co-market each others services.  A few years ago I "participated" in a bridal show in a completely different sense of the word.  I wasn't even at the show, didn’t rent booth space, but had more of my photographs displayed at the show than most of the other 45 (real number) photographers exhibiting at the show.

How did I do it?  Simple, I create several framed samples of my work for all my vendor buddies that were in the show.  That included wedding venues, florists, bridal consultants, etc.  They were thrilled to have my images in their booths. 

The funny thing that happened that year was the event planner for the bridal show called me up and said he was going to TELL his paying exhibitors that they had to remove all MY images from THEIR "paid for" booths since I wasn't a paid exhibitor at his show.

The rest of the story is that "mutiny ensued on the part of my vendor buddies and all my prints remained at the various booths throughout the show.  Just goes to show the power and depth of advertising.

OK, now let's put a different spin on booth displays.  Sure I had my images displayed throughout the show, but why not work it the other way around too?  I'm suggesting that if you are planning to exhibit in a bridal show this year that you work with your vendors and display some of their "wares" in your booth.

What better place to display the beautiful flower arrangements of your favorite florist than in your own booth.  Don't stop there either.  Maybe, if you ask, your favorite baker could have some sample wedding cake as samples at your booth too. And, how about your catering buddy supplying a few rounds of delicious hors d'oeuvres? Of course, all of them would also have signage and business cards at your booth indicating the contact information of each of your vendor buddies.

Do you get the picture?  How many of the other 45 photographers would have that kind of "action" going on at their booth? I think not very many.  What was that I said earlier? Oh yea, "It's the Difference That Makes the Difference."

Folks, it's this kind of thinking, planning , and marketing that stands you above the rest.  It's what let's you stand out from the crowd. It allows you to be different and to be recognized. After the show, you get a chance to offer your sincere "Thank You" to your vendor buddies and maybe even plan to work together on future events.

Use your own imagination and I think the possibilities are endless.  Hey, got a few ideas you want to share with our DPT readers?  Why not post them below so we can benefit from the conversation.


Hey gang, that's it for me today.  I've got to get ready for my shoot and wrap a few more projects at the studio.  How about I plan to see you tomorrow for another episode of "Food For Thought Friday: Are There Too Many Wedding Photographers These Days".  This has been the most commented post ever at DPT so I want to keep the conversation going.  Plan to tune in tomorrow for more of my thoughts on the subject.

See ya' then,  -David

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

"The Sailor's Guardian"

Sailors Sentry

"The Sailor's Guardian"
©David A. Ziser

I made this image a few days after we completed my 60-city Digital WakeUp Call Tour with the last location in Hawaii.  We took a few days off and enjoyed the warm ocean breezes and wonderful sights of the island.  This image was taken from the top of Diamond Head. It was quite a walk to the top - but, WOW what a view. This is a classic landscape image but I still feel it has a certain timeless quality about it. It's the colors, contrasts, and simplicity of the scene that make it an image of easy peacefulness and tranquility. Camera specs; Camera 7D fitted with 18-200mm IS lens at 50mm, F10 @ 1/320 second, ISO 200.  Enjoy!  -David

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

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

"Ready For Our Day"

An Easy Smile - 3051-DZ_Klingenberg-1

"Ready For Our Day"
©David A. Ziser

This image is from one of my favorite weddings – a really terrific couple, beautiful day, fun and exciting locations to photograph resulting in some really great images.  This image is simplicity in itself - a simple portrait of the bride on her wedding day.  What's makes the image work is its composition.  I asked the bride to climb the stairs so I could frame within the bottom right quadrant of the large wall opening behind her. The secondary framing really brings the viewer’ eye directly to our beautiful bride. This image is completely made with the natural light of the scene.  The chandelier, camera right, provided the primary illumination on my subject.  This necessitated the camera to be set to "tungsten" for the color balance. The daylight flooding in from the adjoining room provided the cooler tones within the secondary "frame".  Very cool, (no pun intended) how it all worked out compositionally and photographically.  Camera specs; Canon 40D fitted with 50mm F1.4 lens, F2.5 @ 1/125 second, ISO1600.  Enjoy!  -David

Technique Tuesday: "Shoot More Than Eyeliner and Shoes On The Wedding Day"

Good Morning Everybody,

First of all let me once again thank everyone who commented on Friday's post, "Are There Too Many Wedding Photographers Shooting Weddings These Days?" [link].  Feel free to jump in on the conversation. It has been a wonderful view of ideas and discussion.

This week is a busy week around the studio.  The brand new Canon ImagePrograf iPf8100 printer arrives today - all 500 pounds of it.  I can't wait to get it fired up and see what that baby will do.

KPPA PPE On top of the new printer arriving, we've got our Professional Photographer’s Kentucky State Convention beginning this weekend.  I'm on the board of directors so that means a meeting or two before things kick off.  Add to that my 4-day Bar Mitzvah Celebration this weekend, which includes coverage Thursday through Sunday. You can see time is getting a bit tight around here.

The cool thing about the Bar Mitzvah are the 8 4x8 foot banners I produced over the weekend for the client. Man, they turned out great.  Sounds like a future Technique Tuesday episode to me.

And speaking of Technique Tuesday, let get right to today's episode.

"Shoot More Than Eyeliner and Shoes On The Wedding Day"

A few months ago I had reviewed dozens of wedding photography blogs.  The thought that continually echoed in my mind as I surveyed hundreds of images was, "Where's the beef?"  If I saw one more close up shot of the makeup artist applying eyeliner to an eyelid, I was going to scream. 

I mean, who buys that shot.  There were so many, many other images that were so often repeated from site to site, such as; wedding gown hanging in front of the window, the bride’s shoes, even the bridesmaid shoes, flowers, etc.  OK, are you fired up now?  Here's my point.  Those kind of images might look great on a website, but what was so often missing were the subtle expressions, reactions, and emotions of the day. A wedding day is more than just the detail shots.

There are so many places to capture the quiet moments of the day and the wedding ceremony is a perfect place to begin.  I make it a point to discretely and quietly roam the church seeking out those special moments when the grandmother gently kisses her grandson, or when the bride's mom gives a loving glance to her husband. I love capturing those moments.

Today's tutorial shows you what I'm talking about. I'll discuss lens, ISOs, and cameras.  Hit the PLAY button below and enjoy the show.


Hey gang, that wraps it for me today.  I've got to find a place to put a 500 pound printer.  See ya' tomorrow for PhotoFAVS Wednesday - tomorrow's topic - it has something to do with camera settings nobody uses but should

See ya' then, -David

Monday, January 18, 2010

"So Why Don't We Get Together Sometime?"

Let's Get Together

"So Why Don't We Get Together Sometime?"
©David A. Ziser

Here is another abstract image I made during our 2008 Cabo trip.  I had just wandered out to the balcony of our bedroom just a short while after the sun had come up.  I loved the shadow play of the rod iron chair against the sunlit wall.  It almost looked to me as if the shadow was leaning over to the chair to ask for a date.  Hey, it was early morning for me. It's just how my mind works that early in the morning.  All kidding aside, I really do like the arabesque design of the lines in the image and how they seem to intertwine with each other.  Camera specs: Canon 40D fitted with 18-200mm IS lens at 110mm, F16 @ 1/500 second, ISO 400.

Enjoy!  -David

Quick Hit Monday: Great Convention Happening Soon, Astonishing Wedding Photography, How's Your New Year's Resolutions Going, and Making More Money

Good Morning Everybody,

Wow!  Friday's post about too many wedding photogs [link] sure "stirred the broth" which, of course, I'm glad it did.  Keep yor comments coming - I'll kick in my "2 cents" worth again on Friday. High Fives to everyone who made the effort to post.

Anyway, I've got lots of stuff to cover today along with some great images to check out so let's get right to it.

Kentucky, Ohio, and Indy Photographers Unite

Clay Shot Hey gang, I almost forgot to announce that this week beginning on Friday, we have our Kentucky Professional Photographers state convention kicking off right here in Covington, KY [link].  The talent lineup is outstanding with my buddy, Clay Blackmore, kicking things off Friday. 

Clay is one of the most respected wedding photographers in the world and a Canon Explorer Of Light.  His program is not to be missed.  Check out the rest of the lineup - I hope to see everyone there.  Here is the link one more time for more information.

Don't Be Too Slow And See Denis And Joe

Denis Reggie I'm giving another shout out to my buddies, Denis Reggie and Joe Buissink, whose upcoming 3 day program February 22-24, 2010 is quickly approaching. 

Denis and Joe are two legendary wedding photographers who hang with the best-of-the-best clients in the world.  Let them tell you how they manage these high profile events. Here is the link to all the program info.  I'm juggling schedules myself to see if I can it down to Atlanta for a day or two.  I just might see you there.

When Good Is Really Good, It's Great – Wedding Photography At Its Best

Best Of The Best Want to really get fired up on wedding photography?  Then you've got to check out these images at right here

I love the blogs that do these “image roundups.”  Even if some of the images are not your style, even if you never plan to be in some of these amazing locations, no problem - just go and check out the imagery.  I guarantee, you won't be disappointed.

Two Buddies, One Visit

Andy MArcus I always like to check in on my blogging buddy and great photographer, Crash Taylor, to see what he’s got going on with his series of wedding photographer interviews.  Due to the frantic holiday schedules and travel I was a few posts behind. I found time this weekend and what a nice surprise to see my NYC buddy, Andy Marcus featured [link]. 

I've known Andy for many years. Fred Marcus Studios [link] was started by Andy's father nearly 70 years ago and has been one of the leading wedding photography studios in New York City catering to a large clientele in NYC and worldwide. Andy just photographed Donald Trump's daughter's wedding.  Anyway, check out Crash's interview [link] Beautiful images, lots of great inspiration too.

Crash Pic P.S. Don’t let me forget to mention that Crash was also selected by JunebugWeddings above as one of the best wedding photogs for 2009.  Way to go Crash!

P.P.S. Did I mention that my daughter, Elizabeth, works part time for Andy.  I pushed for a pay increase for her too when I saw Andy at Imaging USA last week.  Hey Liz, I tried!!!

Resolutions, Resolutions - How's Yours Going

Tom Peters By this time every year  most of us have fallen off the "resolutions" bandwagon.  If you have, let me point you towards one of my favorite blogs by none other that business guru, Tom Peters [link]. I have several of Tom's tapes and books and enjoy everything he writes. 

Check out his link roundup for January 14.  He covers lots of interesting topics like:

Twelve Resolutions on How to be a Mensch (A really good person), by Bruna Martinuzzi
Ten Things I Know for 2010, from Ian Sanders
How to Take Advantage of Social Media in Your Email Marketing from American Express Open Forum
Ten Practical Tips for Saving Money on Travel from the New York Times

A trip over to "Tom's Place" now and then is always worth it.

Wait, there's more.  Tom's blog also has a humongous blogroll.  I spent a little time checking out several over the weekend.  One of my favs was by Don The Idea Guy [link]. Lots more good ideas for 2010. Definitely a good read.

So How Much Money Do You Want To Make This Year?

Money BAg OK, we all know how much money we would like to make, but too many people have NO IDEA how much they have to charge per hour to make that kind of money.

In keeping with my BIG push to have things be really good for all our DPT readers, let me point you towards this nifty little MONEY/HOUR calculator right here.  Too many people go into business with ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA what their real operating expenses are much less how much they should charge to be profitable.

Answer the 23 questions in the Cha-Ching money calculator, hit the button, and Presto - now you know what to charge per hour.  Some will be surprised some will be shocked - reality really "bites" sometimes.  Let's make 2010 a reality check year.  BTW, thanks to for the rate calculator.


Hey gang, that's it for me today.  I've been working on my BIG banner project all weekend and it's finally about wrapped.  The banners look phenomenal. I can't wait to see them hanging in the ballroom this upcoming weekend.

On that note, folks, I'm out of here.  See ya' tomorrow for the famous Technique Tuesday I promised last week, "Shoot More Than Eyeliner and Shoes On The Wedding Day."

See ya' then.  Adios,  -David