Friday, May 14, 2010

Flashback Friday: Working With A Master, What Was It Like To Work With Monte Zucker?

Good Afternoon Everybody,

I hope you really enjoyed the post yesterday [link]. I had fun putting it together.  It was especially fun to look back over the Zig Ziglar videos.  You probably didn't get a chance to watch them all but plan to spend some time over the weekend and dedicate some time to  view all of them.

YouTube2 Don't stop there either.  Do your own YouTube search. There is just so much information out there that you should never run out of sources of inspiration.

Since I've been waxing fantastic over people that have influenced me over the years, today I wanted to discuss one of my early photographic instructors.  I'm choosing this for a reason which I'll get to shortly. So let's get right to it.

Working With A Master, What Was It Like To Work With Monte Zucker?

It was back in 1978 when a friend of mine asked me to accompany him to a local seminar with one of Canada's finest wedding photographers at the time. His name was Tibor Horvath.  I was blown away.  It was my first experience of personally feeling that my work was "junk". At that same time, I KNEW that I could be a lot better - I just needed to practice a lot more. Double Exposure Heck, I was still big into double exposures – the “rage “ of 1980’s wedding photography.

I also resolved at that time that I was going to attend as many of these kinds of seminars as possible.  I like to tell the story that I felt that I spent as much money going to these seminars and workshops as a college student spends on tuition;~) That was partially true… I went to a lot of seminars. You can read more about my early beginnings and see some of early 1980's work right here.

Anyway, in the course of going to all those seminars, I was getting pretty "fried" as I tried to assimilate all the information that was coming my way.  Then once again, my friend who asked me to attend that original Horvath seminar told me that the Professional Photographers of Indiana were bringing in a top wedding photographer and I should really attend that program.

Monte 1 That photographer was Monte Zucker, a legend for many years in the field of wedding photography. Not only did I attend that one day seminar, I signed up to spend a week with him later that year. That class was the foundation of my learning how to obtain great lighting on my subjects and make them look their best in front of the camera.

Anyway where am I going with all this? OK, Monte, as I said, was quite the photographer and teacher. What would it be like to work for the Master. Well, I think I can give a pretty good picture of what is was like to work for Monte.

I got an email recently from Chuck Gardner who read my post on the history of wedding photography which I posted over two years ago - here is the link.  He wrote me to point out a few discrepancies in my section about Monte Zucker.  I was caught off guard a bit till I read his entire lengthy email.  What a wealth of information it contained! It turns out that Chuck worked for Monte for 2 years back in the early 1970's.

I wrote back and asked if I could share his email with all of you, our DPT readers.  Not only did he write back with an affirmative answer, he also pointed me to his blog – what a read!

So, if you want some great insight into what it was working for one of the top photographers in the Washington D.C. area you've got to check out Chuck's article right here about his two year experience working with Monte Zucker.  Monte ArticleIf any of you reading this post had any experience with Monte, attended any of his seminars, whatever, you owe it to yourself to read this article.

Even if you have never had any Monte experiences, you owe it to yourself to read the article because of all the sales and marketing ideas Chuck points out.  Monte2

That said, now let me point you to Chuck's main link right here and delve into "A Holistic Approach To Lighting And Digital Photography" - an unbelievable resource for any photographer shooting today! It's just simply a remarkable and wonderful read!

Chuck covers everything from Metering and Interpreting the Histogram, Tips on Camera Technique, Post Processing Techniques, Selecting Equipment, and so much more! Consider it a mini-course for today's photographer.

My thanks Chuck for putting so much effort in each of your thorough, well written, easy to understand articles.  It should be a great resource for anyone wanting to learn how to take better photographs of their clients and use their gear more effectively.

My hat is off to Chuck for getting back to me and letting me share what he has written. Thanks again, Chuck.


Hey gang, that's it for me today.  I've got to get caught up on a few things around the studio and we have a Big party to shoot tomorrow.  Everyone have a great weekend - don't forget to watch those videos, and I'll see you back here on Monday.

Adios Everybody,  -David


  1. Monte was a one of a kind in the weddding photography business ,his influence ,teachings & passion for creating beautiful wedding images has been a motivating & inspiring force in my own photography.

  2. Very interesting read. I obviously did not know Monte but from the read alone I can detect only two differences between the two of you: 1) your light stand is on feet and his was on wheels and 2) he ate like a king at weddings and you unwrap energy bars. And while it is my observation that true competition was very light in the days of film we all know that it is fierce in today’s market climate. I know we preach that the quality is missing today but if we are not selling quality then anyone who owns a camera is our competitor. So in my mind, that article echoed what you endeavor to teach: quality of light, composition and salesmanship. Brian F.

  3. This was a great read - and thanks for the links to Chuck's work. Man, what a wealth of information!

    I'm afraid I just lost my Saturday night, but I think it'll be worth it...