Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Best Photographic Learning Opportunity In the Midwest Is Only Minutes Away! and “LIVE” Streaming Print Competition!

Good Evening Everybody,

Time To LearnYou guessed it, things are hopping around here with PhotoPro Expo 2012 kicking off on Thursday and still a few loose ends to wrap up.  Speakers and judges begin arriving tomorrow and the Expo Print competition kicks off  Thursday morning. The best photographic learning opportunity is only minutes away!

Here’s A Quick Expo Update

The Expo Trade Show, as I said, is sold out with nearly 90 occupied booth spaces!  But look at all the other fantastic learning opportunities taking place in the trade show:

Four Speed-Lighting Clinics

Be sure to come by the trade show to hear speed-lighting clinics, 4 of them,  by master speed-lighter and best selling author, Syl Arena.

PhotoPro Expo Help Desk

Master PhotographerNext plan to stop by the Help Desk to have all those nagging questions about Lighting, Photography, Photoshop, and Lightroom answered.  On hand to answer your questions will be master photographer, Scott Walz and my “Ace #1 Assistant”, Nickolas Viltrakis.

Product Demos

I’ll also be on hand doing Lightroom 4 demos.  Jonny, from OnOne Software may be stopping by to show you a few of the latest, greatest features of OnOne’s widely acclaimed newly released Perfect Photography Suite 6.0

Westcott Fantasy Model Shoot Out

Westcott Shootout2I’m firming up my guest speaker list for the Westcott Fantasy Model Shootout.  In addition to building a great portfolio you’ll also have an opportunity to watch, hear, and learn from top industry leaders. The Speakers so far are:

  • World renowned wedding photographer, Jerry Ghionis
  • Besting selling photography author Scott Kelby
  • Top commercial shooter, Joel Grimes
  • Disney photographer, Rick Ferro
  • Local high school senior shooting sensation, Craig Weiglein

Coach’s Corner: Image Review and Critique

Winners 200pxAlthough Coach’s Corner is now full, keep it in mind for next year. This is your opportunity to spend "one-on-one" time with a Master Photographer. Attendees are invited to bring up to 10 portfolio images to be reviewed by one of PhotoPro Expo print coaches. These may include images in an album, on an iPad or actual images 8x10 or larger.

Folks, when you add everything up - it’s an unbelievable photographic learning opportunity you want to miss!


PPE LIVE Print CompHey gang, before I sign off today let me tell you about an extraordinary experience coming your way on Thursday.  We are going to be streaming the PhotoPro Expo Print Competition “LIVE”.  That’s right you can be there right with the competitors images and the judges seeing the images and hearing the judge’s critiques and comments.

I’m still working on the details but I will have all the links in place and the log-in information posted by tomorrow at noon. Be sure to stop by tomorrow and register.  It’s FREE and it’s coming to you from the PhotoPro Expo Print Competition on Thursday, February 2. I hope you’ll take some time to tune in.


Monday, January 30, 2012

"Blue Boy"

Blue Boy

"Blue Boy"
© David A. Ziser

This is one of my favorite and most lasting images I have ever taken over the years. We were set up in the church basement during the reception – portrait background and lights in place.

I remember trying to get young Nicholas to smile and he just would have nothing of it. Even his dad was tying to coax him from behind my camera - still no luck. Finally his dad ordered Nicholas to do what he was told. He defiantly finally pushed his hands into his pockets, said “No”, and pouted back. I hit the shutter, and knew I had the shot.

Nicholas is now in his mid twenties and has his own little "ring bearers" running around the house. I had not seen Nicholas in 22+ years, but his fiancé call and both she and Nicolas came by and interviewed me to photograph their wedding. It would have been great shoot my most famous ringer bearer as a groom.

Camera specs: Medium format Hasselblad CM camera fitted with 150mm Sonar lens, F8.0 at 1/125 second, Kodak Vericolor 400 film 9ISO 400).  Enjoy!  David

Quick Hit Monday: Photography: Tips, News, Rumors, and Inspiration & Photoshop Freebies

Good Afternoon Everybody,

PhotoPro Expo 2012 FireworksWe’re blowing the top off the convention center this weekend! It’s official - PhotoPro Expo 2012 is hands down, the largest photographic event in the Midwest! We’ve already sold out two hotels but still were able to secure the $99 room rate at two more nearby hotels. 

We are also an international event with photographers attending from 25 states and Canada! The Expo Tradeshow will also be the largest in the Midwest with nearly 90 booths and Westcott’s Fantasy Model Shootout – and the Expo trade show and shootout are FREE!  WOW! You still have time to register – just use the link on the right side of the blog. 

Can’t make it to the entire show, then at least plan to come to the Expo Tradeshow and Fantasy Model Shootout – FREE Press Pass right here – scroll down to see it.  It’s going to be a great weekend!

As usual, with PhotoPro Expo 2012 only a few days away, things are at a boiling point around my studio.  I did find a minute or two to relax over the weekend and found a few cool links for today’s Quick Hit Monday.  Here we go…

Quick Hit Monday:

Photography: Tips, News, Rumors, and Inspiration

1. 5D Mark III – Coming Your Way February 7, 2012? Canon RumorsThat seems to be the rumor over at CanonRumors.com that the new camera may be released as early as next week - February 7, 2012. [link]

2. Why Wedding Photographers Prices are “Out Of Whack”: A great article that cuts to the chase and says it like it is.  A GREAT read! [link]

3. Tips on Posing a Subject Without Touching Them (With Explanations): I like this article by Chris Gampat because it is practical and to the point. Be sure to check out the “Facial Expression” chart at the end – AWESOME!  Way to go Chris!  [link]

4. Inspiring Colorization of Old Black and White Photos: Abe Lincoln

OK, this one is a little off the wall. The resulting images are eerily realistic to a photograph shot on color film – very well done. [link]

5. Fine Art Landscape, Nature & Wilderness Photography: My inspiration link for the day.  This post is also a great look at creativity by Michael E. Gordon – another very good read. [link]

Landscape photo

Photoshop Freebies & More

Eyelashes1. 35 Professional Photoshop Retouching Tutorials: A fabulous link with amazing tutorials! [link]

2. 40 Cool Photoshop Tutorials You Can’t Afford To Miss: Photoshop inspiration [link]

3. How To Colorize Old (White & Black) Photo Adobe Photoshop: Beautifully done and very creative tutorial. [link] Also, see link #4 above.

Leather Textures4. Free High Quality Leather Textures for your Design: Some of the best leather textures I’ve seen. [link]

5. New Photoshop Brushes for Free: Brush zombies unite – another great resource for you! [link]


Hey gang, that’s it for me today.  Lot’s of great tips, creativity, inspiration and several sources of knowledge in today’s post – Enjoy!

See you tomorrow, David

Friday, January 27, 2012

"Into The Sunset"

Into The Sunset - Full Eve Spectrum-Into the Sunset

"Into The Sunset"
© David A. Ziser

I made this image while in the Tampa a few years ago.  The timing was at the very final stage of a beautiful sunset we had just enjoyed watching. There was just a few boats still on the water.

This small fishing boat was one of the last to leave. I love it's position against the colors of the water and sky which I tweaked a bit in Photoshop. The color harmony, the reflected colors in the water, and composition, I believe came together into a quite beautiful image.  It’s just a lovely image to view.

Camera specs; Canon 40D fitted with 17-85mm lens at 22mm, F4.5 @ 1/40 second at ISO 800. Enjoy! –David


Hey gang, I’ve just finished a 20 hour day, been up since 3:30 a.m. and I pooped.  I have a few news points and updates about our upcoming PhotoPro Expo so look for a quick update over the weekend.

See ya’ then.  -David

Thursday, January 26, 2012

"Summer Breezes"

Summer Breezes -2476_DepaulW06-800px

"Summer Breezes"
© David A. Ziser Photography

I still have fond memories of capturing this image.  The father of the bride, a past attendee of one of my Master Classes, hired me to photograph his daughter’s wedding.  They were a great family, and the bride and groom were a terrific couple to work with.

This image was taken a few years in Chicago.  It’s great to work with a couple who knows photography and gives you complete latitude to do any thing you want. Plus they understood and provided all the time in the world to do it ;~)  The perfect wedding – right?  It really was very refreshing to be working  without many of the time constraints of a regular wedding.

The couple loved the setting on the golf course. We did several images around the grounds but I really wanted to get a photograph by this bridge.

We were losing light so I kicked the ISO up to 800. Asked my assistant to judicious position herself behind the couple with the flash 1/2 power and fired away. We did several – the “kiss” was my favorite.

Camera specs: Canon 5D was fitted with my 24-105mm lens and set to 70mm, F5.6 @ 1/125 second, ISO 800.  Enjoy. -David

Business Day Thursday: The Butcher, The Baker, The Candlestick Maker – 10 Steps To Growing Your Business For 2012

Good Afternoon Everybody,

It's busy as usual around here, not just with PhotoPro Expo, but with a few other projects we got on the front burner.  So, that said let's get right to today's post.

The Butcher, The Baker, The Candlestick Maker – It's Time To Meet Them All

Closing The Deal - iStock_000003393797XSmallI want to pose a question. We are nearly through the first four weeks of the new year – a half percent of our promotional opportunity is now behind us for 2012. My question – what have you done to start promoting your business to make 2012 a brand-new, successful year?

This is the perfect time of year to go out and reintroduce yourself to old vendor buddies you may have worked with in the past and, just as importantly, knocking on doors of new vendors you would like to do business with. I think that when we come off of the Christmas holidays everybody just enjoys catching their breath for a few week and slowing things down before they begin to rev up the engines into the New Year. It’s just human nature.

Time To Get Get ‘Er Done!

But while everyone else is catching their breath, it's our opportunity to act! That is to be;

  • Knocking on doors,
  • Making phone calls.
  • Dropping e-mails to everyone we work with or could potentially work with within our community of wedding vendors.

Heck, things are slow anyway around everyone’s studio this time of the year so why not engage in the most important thing we can do to ensure our success retell 2012. That means getting out there and start making friends with the butcher, the baker, and the candlestick maker.

Okay, maybe not those people but for sure the bridal consultant, the florist, the baker, the lighting technician, the wedding venue staff, and anyone else that we've ever worked with in the past or anyone else that is involved in working with brides and grooms in our community. 

handshakeThankfully I learned this a long time ago - if you want to be successful you have to stay connected. Staying connected these days means via Facebook, Twitter, and blogging. But if that's all you plan to do your only exerting half the effort that you need to be exercising to be successful in 2012.

Before Twitter, Facebook, blogging;  successful photographers around the country made it a point to connect with the wedding vendors in their area. That is still the most important person to connect with if anyone is to be successful in this business. You need to reach out to the vendors, let them know who you are and what you're about, and communicate to them why you feel so strongly about your photography. You have to communicate you passion to them.  And even more importantly, discuss with them about how you both can work together to enhance each other's success for 2012.

It’s Time To Start Now! Time Is Running Out!

Busy - iStock_000004567789XSmallSo, are you going to put off till tomorrow what you need to start today? Sit down in front of your computer. Google wedding vendors in your area and then do this:

  1. Make a list of the vendors that you would like to work with. Make a list of vendors that you've worked with in the past.
  2. Then, come up with a plan as to how you're going to interact with these people.
  3. Note their name, address, e-mail, and phone number.
  4. Spend a few minutes trying to find out some information about each one of the vendors so that you have some talking points when you eventually connect with them.
  5. Send them an introductory e-mail introducing yourself and your business to them and simply ask if they could find a little bit a time to meet with you.  Be sure to explain that the purpose of the meeting is to discuss business options that would be mutually beneficial to the both of you.
  6. Next compose a letter which basically makes the same request. Hitting them a second time, this time via snail mail, just raises your business profile slightly more with them. Basically, the one who knocks on the door most often will get the door open for them more often than the person who knocks only once.
  7. Now make a new list. List the talking points that you would like to discuss with them. Be sure the talking points include a little background about you, about your business, about your commitment to your clients.  And then get creative and list the several areas on how you could both work together to help each other grow your businesses.
  8. Next, give them a phone call and talk to them in person. In my opinion, the personal phone call is the best way to get the result you want …. a meeting with your potential business partner.
  9. Prepare yourself thoroughly for the meeting with your vendor buddy. We prepared with solid answers as to the questions that they might ask you. Be prepared with good ideas for co-promotions of both your products and services, and be prepared for them to say no to any of your suggestions. I learned a long time ago that no is never permanent. No is only temporary and we can always ask the same questions again down the road. So, don't be disappointed
  10. Thank YouAnd finally, whether you get the appointment or not, thank your colleague for his/her time for taking the time on the phone conversation, at the meeting, and hopefully obtaining your desired intention -- to be working together in the future.

Do It Now! NOW!

Sales GrothFolks, I think this is so important to your business success you just have to get moving on it right now. Forget the fact that you haven't lifted a finger to do a thing for self-promotion in 2012 with nearly 10% of the year behind you – get over it, and get moving. Now is the time to act. Now is the time to start grooming your business for success in 2012. Now is the time for no more excuses. Now is the time for sustainable commitment to your businesses success for 2012!


Dave CrossHey gang, that's it for me today. I got a quick meeting across town in about an hour so I better get moving. I'll plan to see everybody again tomorrow bright and early. We have my good buddy Dave Cross coming to town and I'm looking forward to sitting in on his program - The Photographer's Photoshop CS5 Power User Tour [link]. Hopefully I'll see some of you there. On that note gang, I’m scooting.

I'll see everyone tomorrow, David

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

"An Evening Kiss"

An Evening Kiss - IMG_8093

"An Evening Kiss"
© David A. Ziser

When doing a beach photo session, this is one of the last photographs I take. I always say that I’ll shoot till I can no longer see the camera bag and that was definitely the case in this image.

The sun had long disappeared below the horizon, but for me, that's when the show really begins. I still had a little cloud structure in the sky and the waves rolling in which gave me some nice textures in the scene.

We were losing the light, but a higher ISO and slower shutter speed worked just fine. I placed my assistant behind the couple. My assistant then is holding the Quantum flash unit about 4 feet off the ground and 12 feet behind the couple to “rim” them out with the light.  I also asked my assistant to point the flash slightly up towards their shoulder blades.  That feathers the “cone of light” off the sand so as to not get a super “hot spot” of light. I love the color, sky, feeling between the couple, and dramatic lighting.

Camera specs: Canon 40D with 10-22mm lens at 10mm, F4.5 @ 1/50 second at ISO 800. Enjoy! --David

Technique Tuesday On Wednesday: High Flying Party Photography – Using My Pole Cam For Great Party Pictures

Good Morning Everybody,

PhotoPro Expo1Maybe you’re noticed that I’ve been a bit consumed with our upcoming PhotoPro Expo 2012 convention these last few days.  That’s mainly because we want it to be the best value and best convention in the Midwest for all photographers within 500 miles of Cincinnati, Ohio. And, we’ve got a lot of folks working really hard putting in long hours to pull it off.  It takes a lot of time which we are all a little short of these days.

First off, let me say that I appreciate your patience with me and my blog as I cheerlead for what I think is the best and coolest photographic event to hit this part of the country.  The numbers so far are indicating that we will have about 800 people in the convention center for the show!

As Henry Chester said, “Enthusiasm is the greatest asset in the world. It beats money and power and influence. It is no more or less than faith in action.” So, needless to say, I’m kind of enthused about this event and have total faith in it’s success. 

So that said, let me sneak in a quick Technique Tuesday for your Wednesday pleasure ;~)

High Flying Party Photography – Using My Pole Cam For Great Party Pictures

Pole CamI ran this a while back and it only got a few views.  The techniques I discuss in this video really provides for you a set of images that will grab the attention of your clients.  I promise your clients have never seen photographs like this before.

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 football game. But, to see them taken at a wedding or Bar Mitzvah is quite the treat.

So how can we easily capture those kinds of images at a party or wedding celebration? Let me show you my very easy "Pole-Cam" technique that produces images that are both fun to create 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.  I’m back to work tying up all the loose ends for our upcoming PhotoPro Expo 2012 – and there are a lot of loose ends to tie up ;~)

See ya’ tomorrow,  David

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

FREE Fantasy Model Shootout – Win $2,350 In Lighting Gear! February 4 & 5, 2012

Westcott Shootout3Good Morning Everybody,
I want to be part of the fun but you have to email Jennifer at jennifer@ziser.com right away!  I have to tell you I'm really stoked about Westcott's Fantasy Model Shootout that we have arranged for our PhotoPro Expo February 4 and 5, 2012. [link] in just two weeks.. After I announced the Fantasy Model Shootout in yesterday's post I got an e-mail from my buddies at Westcott who filled me in on exactly what the grand prize will be. You will be blown away when you see what they're doing for PhotoPro Expo 2012.

The winner will receive:

Perfect Portrait Kit2-light Perfect Portrait kit

The Kit includes:
2-Spiderlite td6 heads
12-50 watt daylight lamps
1-36x48 shallow soft box
1-12x36 strip with egg-crate grid
2-light stands
Carry case

And 1 modern vintage backdrop of their choice-$99.00 value.

Can you believe it - just AMAZING!
As I described yesterday, they will be setting up four fantasy shooting bays with four great-looking models - you got a preview of the models in yesterday's post. Everybody attending the PhotoPro Expo trade-show will have an opportunity to photograph the models.  Your cost to shoot - ABSOLUTELY FREE!!!  I've seen other shoot-outs like this being promoted around the country at $179 a day. Where else can you go to get this kind of opportunity and it's absolutely free.
Press Pass 3Get your free pass to the PhotoPro Expo trade-show and take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime experience to:
1. Build your portfolio,
2. Have a chance on winning $2,350 in lighting gear, and
3. Having a great time is....
E-mail Jennifer at jennifer@ziser.com, give her your contact information, and we will have your Free Press Pass ready for you to pick up at the convention center. I sure hope you'll take advantage of this wonderful opportunity and also spread the word to friends and colleagues. This will be most exciting photographic convention in the Midwest.

Monday, January 23, 2012

"The Icing On the Cake"

Wedding Cake

"The Icing On the Cake"
© David A. Ziser

I photographed this image a few years ago and it really demonstrates how I like to feature the wedding cake at a really posh wedding celebration. The wedding reception was being held at my favorite local venue, the Netherland Hilton Hotel in Cincinnati, Ohio.

I like to “shoot the room” just moments before the guests enter.  I’ve got to work quickly as time is very short.  It’s important to get these photographs, not just for the bride and groom, but for your portfolio, and to provide sample images to the venue as well.

The guests had not yet entered the room and I was able to get this really dramatic wide angle shot of the cake. The wide angle lens really captures not just a great shot of the cake but the grandeur of the “space” too.

Camera specs: Canon 5D fitted with Sigma 12-24mm wide angle lens at 12mm, F5.6 @ 1/15 second hand held, ISO 1600. Lighting was enhanced with my Z-Ray which added a little texture to the scene.  Enjoy! -David

Amazing FREE Model Shootout Coming To PhotoPro Expo; & Quick Hit Monday–All Weddings, All Day!

Good Morning Everybody,

Two more weeks to our PhotoPro Expo 2012 - I can't wait! But sill too much to do and too little time ;~)  But let me tell you about another exciting event we have scheduled during our Expo trade show - the largest photographic convention in the Midwest. 

Westcott Model Shootout & Contest With Prizes Coming In Two Weeks & It’s FREE!

My good friends at Westcott, you know, the makers of the Spider Lights, the Halo, and their new 84" parabolic umbrellas are putting together one fantastic Fantasy Shootout for PhotoPro Expo 2012 trade show this year.  The Grand Prize for best photo includes ALL the lighting gear from one of the shooting bays – nearly a $2,500 value!!!

Even world renowned photographer Jerry Ghionis will also be doing special presentations as well at the Westcott Fantasy Shootout! It keeps getting better and better!

Here are a few examples of what you can expect – Amazing!!!


Westcott first gave it a try at Photoshop World a couple of years ago and it went over like gangbusters!  I've asked them to do it again for my convention.


We have 4 models coming in for two days to work the four continuously lighted shooting bays Westcott will have set up in the shootout area.  The models will not be you're typical models - Westcott has some very exotic sets and costumes and makeup for the models.

WSO 2Think of it this way, you will be the fashion photographer for the day as you move through the four sets.  What a great way to enhance your studio shooting experience and build your portfolio. 

Press Pass 3My good friend, Rick Ferro and top photographer for Disney, will be on hand to help you with lighting advice and direction.  I also have scheduled several other talented photographers who will be sharing their lighting expertise with special presentations in one of the four shooting bays.  This is another "first" for a convention of this size and I sure hope you will be part of the fun. 

Now even if you can't make it to the full convention, at least plan to come by the Expo trade show and be part of the Westcott shootout but you'll need a Press Pass.

As a reader of DigitalProTalk you can order your FREE Press Pass - a $20 value - by emailing Jennifer at jennifer@ziser.com and she'll have your pass waiting for you at the Registration Desk. Hey, tell a friend - I'm sure they'll get a kick out of the shootout too. Remember; if you pre-register now it’s FREE!!!!

Quick Hit Monday – All About Weddings, All Day!

OK gang,  we're in high gear so let point you towards seven Quick Hits today - all wedding centric, BTW.  Enjoy the reads.

1. Ultimate Wedding Shots: Some great ideas to explore. [link]

2. 40 Excellent Examples of Wedding Photographs: I’m not so sure I’d agree with 40, but there are some creative ideas and some hot shots shown on this post – worth the trip. [link]

Wedding Pics2

3. Avoiding Wedding Photography Lawsuits and Upset Clients: Uhmmm… Where have I seen that before?  [link]

4. Phenomenal Photography - Gorgeous Black and White Bridal Portraits: Some good images in this post. [link]

5. How To Construct & Price Wedding Packages: Some basic, good ideas if you are just beginning to set up your wedding prices: [link]

6. Posing for Bridal Party Photography: Worth the look, images are nicely done. [link]

Wedding Pic3

And One For The Road----

7. 25 Unusual Wedding Photo Ideas: OK, maybe bordering on outright weird wedding photos – but maybe something will tickle your creative juices. Don’t you love this profession ;~)[link]__________________________________________________________

Hey gang, that's it for me today.  It's a pretty full day and I've got to get back to work. I'll plan to see you for another Technique Tuesday tomorrow. 

Have a great rest of the day and I'll see you then. 


Thursday, January 19, 2012

"Precious Moments"

Precious Moments

"Precious Moments"
©David A. Ziser

Here is one of my long time favorite images – another film shot made many years ago but still maintains that classic beauty and elegance.  This young lady has long since graduated college and I believe is married. Yep, I’ve been doing this quite a while.  But I’d be just as happy today if I made the same image with my Canon 5D Mark II.

The image was illuminated with only window light and filled on the shadow side with a large white reflector. The image was made in the client’s home so I was able to use the antique toys and furniture provided by the client.

I love how the image turned out. The arrangement and soft colors of the props along with the the gentle expression of this beautiful little girl combined to produce a portrait of lasting classic beauty. This image was a sample in my studio for many years – I still love it.

Camera specs; Hasselblad fitted with 150mm Sonar lens, F4.0 @ 1/30 second, Vericolor 400 film. Enjoy! -David

How Much Of A Master Photographer Are You?

How Much Of A Master Photographer Are You?

One very cool feature of our upcoming PhotoPro Expo is the "LIVE" juried print judging taking place on Thursday, February 2, 2012.

Master Photographer

I entered my first print judging way back in 1978 - I was just a babe back then :~) But, what a thrill it was to watch the images being judged and hear the judges comments.  It is one of the best learning experiences one can have in their professional careers. 

One Of The Best Learning Experiences Ever!

Time To LearnWhen you enter print competition, you set the bar higher on your own work.  You learn what you need to do to improve your work, make those improvements and score higher the next time around. The net benefit for you and your business is that by raising that bar on quality, your raise the quality bar for your clients work too.  You'll be amazed at how much better your delivered images look going out the door once you begin participating in Print Competition.

PhotoPro Epos's Print Completion has three components; 1 - the Actual Judging, 2 – the Clubhouse Print Lounge where you get the chance to bet on the judges scores maybe winning you some big bucks, and 3 - our Coach's Corner where you can get your images reviewed and critiqued by expert and successful image makers.

Enter The Juried Competition – Here’s How

I've discussed the actual print competition recently at DigitalProTalk [link].  You can also download all the details and rules right here. But the other cool thing we're doing this year is introducing our Digital Cafe Print Lounge where you can bet against the judges as to what the print score will be.

Be Part Of The Fun – Bet To Win!

Clubhouse Print LoungeWe are piping all the digital images into Clubhouse Print Lounge along with full audio of all the judges scores and comments.  You can buy into a "betting" round for only $10 and are allowed to select scores for 20 images. The person in that betting round with the most scores closest to the judges will split the pot - not bad.

This whole thing should be a "hoot". It was originally tried last year at  New Orleans Convention and went over like gangbusters.  To assure the success of our Print Lounge betting activities, my good friend, Ralph Romaguera and his wife Cindy, who were the originators and very instrumental in the success of New Orleans competition are flying up to be sure things go smoothly for us too.  You don’t want to miss the fun and it should be a "hoot"!

Coaches’ Corner – Critique and Review

Coach's CornerThe third component of our print competition is our Coach's Corner image review.  You do not have to enter the print competition to participate in our Coach's Corner. Any one attending PhotoPro Expo or even just visiting the Tradeshow Expo is welcomed to bring their images by for review.

All you need to do is show up with your portfolio of images. Your image portfolio can be comprised of loose prints at least 8x10 inches or larger, an album, or even presented on your iPad or laptop computer.

To participate in our Coach's Corner you'll need to drop LaDawn an email at ladawn@ziser.com so she can get you scheduled with one of our Master Image Makers and Coach for your personal critique. 

That’s it gang – join the FUN - it’s going to be a great time!  -David

Top 10 Most Viewed Posts For 2011

Good Morning Everybody,

With all the rushing around yesterday (Thursday) I forgot to see if this post went up. Soooo…. how about we get it up today. –David


As you know the first day from a big is always the busiest and that sure is true around here today.  Like I mentioned yesterday, we are “pedal to the medal” doing the last major push for my BIG convention in two weeks [link].

PhotoPro Expo picsIn spite of the craziness around here, I was up early this morning and reviewed ALL 520 posts from last year to see which posts were the most popular.  I really like putting these Top 10 lists together because it really shows me what our DPT readers enjoy the most.

Technique Tuesdays are always a big favorite but in looking over all last year’s posts, it looks like most folks really like the Business Day Thursday posts too.

Originally I was looking at the most commented posts of the year, but curiously enough, not many of our DPT readers spend much time commenting.  I still haven’t quite figured that out.  You would think with about 8,000 daily viewers a few more would leave a comment or two – I feel so unloved ;~)  Actually I think it comes down to the fact that we just have a lot of very quiet readers that just like absorbing the content – and that’s a good thing too.

So, that being said, let’s get right to today’s Top Ten list.

Top 10 Most Viewed Posts For 2011

Top 10 -21. 5 Flash/Camera Techniques To Improve Your Lighting [link]

2. A Huge Success! Digital Design, Now Easier Than Ever [link]

3. The Most Important Tool In Your Gear Bag [link]

4. 5 Of My All Time Favorite Wedding Images–Exposed At Last! [link]

5. Uncle Harry and Cousin Mary - Get Out Of My Way! [link]

6. You've got to come Back With the Shot [link]

7. Business Day Thursday: Engage With The Engaged [link]

8. Business Day Thursday: Make Yourself Famous Fast! [link]

9. After The Wedding: Sales flow/Workflow Part 7 – 10 Steps To Getting The Order Out The Door [link]

10. Business Day Thursday: Selling The Wendy’s Way [link]


Hey gang, that’s it for me today.  I really hope you enjoy the read and re-reads – lot’s of good stuff there.  I’ve got to get back to my PhotoPro Expo plans so have a good one and I’ll see you on Monday.

Adios, David

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

"Into The Light"

Into The Light2

"Into The Light"
© David A. Ziser

I made this image during a flight home from New York a few years ago. We had to travel through Detroit which has completed a brand new airport - and, boy, is it a cool airport. Walking through the long corridor connecting two of the terminals was a kick and kind of reminiscent of the walk to the United terminal at O'Hare airport.

I managed to pull off this shot while there were not too many people in the scene. It was mid-day Saturday and travel traffic was down a bit for the weekend.

The challenge was timing the lights just right to get the beautiful rich colors I wanted to capture in the final image. I don't mind the slight blur of the travellers, in fact I think it adds a sense of motion to the scene. Anyway, I hope you like the urban landscape captured here.

Camera specs: Canon 40D Fitted with 18-200mm IS lens at 18mm, F 3.5 @ 1/25 second, ISO 500. Enjoy! -David

100 Year Memory; Recover Data From Anything; My Interview With B&H; and More

Good Late Afternoon Everybody,

Imaging USA2We wrapped up the Imaging USA Convention yesterday making our rounds through the tradeshow one more time. In addition to all the frame and album manufactures, processing labs, my favorite booths to visit are the photo dealers like Midwest Photo Exchange and Dury's.  I've been a friend of both companies for many years and they both always have a great deal or two.  

Yesterday I picked up a SanDisk 32 gig compact flash card for only $89!  It amazes me how much the cost of media has dropped over the years. I can still remember about 10 years ago purchasing my first 1 gig flash card for, get this, $700!!!!!!

Brand New Memory Storage

SanDisk Memory Vault 2I'll tell you, one of the more interesting things I saw at the Dury's booth was the brand new SanDisk Memory Vault.  The SanDisk Memory Vault is nicely packaged flash memory that SanDisk says will archive anything, including photographs, for 100 years!  That's quite a claim, but if true we finally have a much safer way to store our valuable images other than the hard drive, DVD, or Blu-Ray alternatives. Definitely a very interring product to consider.

Data Recovery Solutions For Everything

Drive Savers - DAZ -DarrenOK, the SanDisk Memory Vault looks cool but what if it fails?  I also stopped by and talked with Darren at DriveSavers.  I've also been familiar with DriveSavers for a number of years and even used their services a several years ago to recover one of my hard drives.  Yes, they recovered all of my data and have a great reputation of doing just that.

What turned our conversation interesting was when Darren mentioned that they also recover data from dropped, drowned, or otherwise electronically neutered iPads and iPhones. That was news to me and I wanted to pass it along to you.  The bottom line is that Drive Savers can recover data from just about any device that can store data - a good thing to know.  You can get full details here.

The Biggest and Best and Most Fun In The Midwest!

PartiesWe just got back to Cincinnati, Ohio a few hours ago and went right to work gearing up for our upcoming PhotoPro Expo 2012

These next two weeks are the big "push" weeks leading up to the convention. As of last weekend, PhotoPro Expo 2012 is the largest photographic convention and exhibition in the Midwest! 

We should easily hit our goal of 700 attendees and tradeshow visitors.  That's great news to all the vendors at our sold out Expo Tradeshow too. I sure hope you'll plan to come by.

Check Out My Interview With B&H

B and H InsightsYep, I've been doing a lot of interviews the last week or two.  My interview at B&H Insights [link] just went “LIVE” It went a little long – what’s new :~) and they broke it into two parts.  You can catch Part 1 right here.

Here are 4 of the 11 questions I answer in that interview:

  • B&H: You’ve been doing this (wedding & portrait photography) for a long time. What are the three biggest changes or turning points in the W&P industry that you’ve seen over the span of your career?
  • B&H: Who inspired you in the past, and does anyone inspire you now?
  • B&H: What advice do you have for today's up-and-coming photographers who want to enter this very competitive field?
  • B&H: We know you are a W&P guy, but we see plenty of landscape and cityscape images on your blog, Digital Pro Talk. Is there a different thought process that goes into your making of personal images versus “business” images? Also, do you have a favorite place where you’ve taken photos?

Check it out right here, I think you'll enjoy the read.


Hey gang, I'm cutting it a bit short today since we've just got home and we need to tend to a few more things before the end of business day.  How about I see you tomorrow for a very special Business Day Thursday.

I'll see you then,  David

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

"Hobbit's Hidden Treasure"

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"Hobbit's Hidden Treasure"
©David A. Ziser

I captured this image while visiting Multnomah Falls a few years ago. It still remains one of my favorite images from that wonderful trip to the Columbia River Valley near Portland, Oregon. 

This image was also featured in a Technique Tuesday I did where I was discussing extremely slow hand-held shutter speeds. How slow – how about 1/3 second.  Yes, handheld.  You can catch that TTues episode right here. I love blurring flowing water and Multnomah Falls is the perfect place to do just that.

It was this motion blur together with the water's misty spray in the bright late morning sun which provided a hint of mystery to the shot. A tweak or two in Lightroom finished the image's treatment weaving the colors and textures into their artistic presentation.

Camera specs; Canon 5D Mark II fitted with 24-105mm IS lens at 24mm, F22 @ 1/3 second (handheld), ISO 50. Enjoy! -David

24 Hours Only! $129 For All Three Days, The Best Deal EVER on PhotoPro Expo!

Hey gang, I just got word that we are very close to selling out the room block at the Marriott Hotel for our upcoming PhotoPro Expo happing in two weeks. PhotoPro Expo is now officially the largest convention and tradeshow in the Midwest.

PhotoProExpo pics[4]

If you are a photographer, aspiring or pro, and want to have a great time learning from the top trainers, you need to be at this show.

Our tradeshow is totally sold out with the top vendors in the country being available to answer your questions and show you their latest merchandise or software.  Here is the list of all those exhibiting at our convention. OK, if you have read this far, I’ve got a little surprise for you. For the next 24 hours, if you use Promo Code PPE24HR, you can save $150 off the regular price of $279.  That’s right, you can attend the entire convention for only $129.  The Promo Code is starting right now! But won’t be available for long! You have only 24 hours or until 9:00 am EST to take advantage of this premium price!

Plan to stay for Jerry Ghionis’ program on Monday – your total cost  is only $229 – it truly doesn’t get any better than that!  That was our special Early Bird promo price way back in July.  I’m bringing it back for only 24 hours only so by tomorrow morning, this price goes up in smoke.  If you are even thinking in the slightest that you may come to the convention, this is the time to finalize you decision and nail down the best price ever!

Technique Tuesday: Top 10 Hits of 2011

Top Ten TTues Posts

Good Morning Everybody,

I’m a little light on my report from Imaging USA today.  I was in meetings most of the day and attended the tradeshow late in the day.  I plan to be there all day today so I hope to have more to report tomorrow.

At the beginning of a new year many sites will report top 10 lists on about everything.  Hey, DigitalProTalk is no different ;~)  This is the week for my listings of DPT’s top 10 lists.

For today’s post I spent quite a bit of time reviewing ALL the Technique Tuesday posts from last year, checking the stats, and arranging the posts in order from most viewed tutorials. 

The topics range from off-camera lighting with small speedlights, lighting in lousy locations, my favorite wedding images, Lightroom tips and tricks, and more.  All told, these videos give you about 4 hours of great information. I sure hope you enjoy revisiting each of the links listed today.

TOP 10 Technique Tuesdays For 2011

1 . Trigger Happy Budget Flashes -

2. Impossible Location - Amazing Portraits

3. Supercharge Your Portable Speedlight's

4. You Won't Believe Your Eyes

5. 5 Steps To Better Wedding Portraits

6. Oh, The Lightroom Auto Mask Feature – I Love You, I Hate You!

7.  Light Painting With Lightroom 3

8. 5 Of My Favorite All Time Wedding Images

9. I Just Feel So Vibrant Today!

10. Super Bowls & Weddings


Hey gang, that’s it for me today.  The programing starts early this morning and I need to hit the road to get to the show. I still have nearly half the show to cover and hope to share with you the more interesting happenings from the show tomorrow.

How about I plan to see you same time, same place tomorrow.  Have a great one and I’ll see you then.

Keep your pixels smiling -David

Monday, January 16, 2012

"Sunrise Over The Big Easy"

Sunrise Over The Big EasyIMG_6798-Edit

"Sunrise Over The Big Easy"
© David A. Ziser

This was the view from our hotel room window early Saturday morning. The sunrise gave us very strong and very vibrant colors in it’s earliest moments.  We are on the 19th floor of the hotel and with our room being in a corner of the hotel floor plan, I thought that including the left wall of the hotel in the composition worked quite well. 

I like how the lines of the wall lead you right into the horizon and the rising sun. But at the same time the viewer may resent the fact that I cut off the left side of the sunrise too.  The hint of the reflections in the windows carry the color into the building.

I struggled with the crop but I think this composition serves the image best.  Hope you enjoy it.

Camera specs: Canon 7 D fitted with Sigma 8-16mm lens at 8mm, F4.5 @ 1/13 second, ISO 1000.  Enjoy!  -David