Friday, August 31, 2012

Business Day Thursday: Answering the Mystery of Model Releases – When You Need Them and When You Don't

Good Afternoon Everybody,

DAZ Light setup1I know this is a Business Day Thursday post and it almost made it up yesterday.  I wanted to polish it up a bit more so I held off until today to post it.  I can't believe that it's Friday already. The week has been flying by. In addition to the regular workload at the studio, I'm also preparing for a big wedding this weekend and I'm also getting ready for Photoshop World in Las Vegas next week. I'm really looking forward to my wedding this weekend because I'm going to be giving my new lighting set up a real run for the money. If these little Canon speed lights work the way I hope they do, I will be amazed! Up to this point, all my testing indicates that all systems are go and that the new set up should work just fine. But, just in case I have any problems, I'm toting a complete set of the high-powered Quantum's along with me to be sure I have all the bases covered.

I'll have my top team on the job for this weekend's wedding including a visitor, Michael Houlden, from just north of Toronto, Canada. Michael attended my Spring Master Class and asked if he could join me on this weekend's wedding. Hey, the more the merrier. But, tagging along is not all he's going to be doing. While Nicholas is covering the peripheral events of the wedding, Mike is going to be my light man – it should be a great experience for him. I smile as I say that because with my new lighting Michael’s job this weekend, I suspect, will not be too difficult. I'll fill you in on all the details next week.

Photoshop World 2012bI'm also preparing for my three programs that I'll be giving a Photoshop World in Las Vegas. Even though I've given the programs before, there's always room for improvement. It'll be fun to catch up with our old friends  and also get another taste of Vegas. We fly out early Monday morning – Labor Day – so we can be there for the start of my Pre-conference Wedding Shootout Tuesday. We're quick in and out this year because we have to be back in town for a family wedding on Friday evening. That's going to make for a rushed week but, as LaDawn often can be heard saying; “Welcome to Ziser World!”

That's the update for today everybody – let's get on with Business Day Thursday.

Business Day Thursday: Answering the Mystery of Model Releases – When You Need Them and When You Don't

In my image of the day post on Tuesday, “Let’s Dance The Night Away” [link] one of our DigitalProTalk readers raise a question about model releases for this kind of an image. After I read the comment, I began to wonder about the importance of model releases myself. In my studio we have every wedding client sign a model release – it's part of the wedding  agreement that our clients sign when booking us to photograph their event.  In our agreement, the wording is quite simple and straightforward. Before the client signs our agreement, I review each section of the agreement and specifically point out the fact that they are giving us their permission to use their images in our marketing and promotions.

The clause reads like this:

"4.  It is agreed that rights to exclusive use of negative and/or electronic media  material and reproduction therefrom are reserved in David  A. Ziser Photography, whether for display, publications, or otherwise."

It Won't Make You Rich, But It Might Make You Famous!

I call it my "It won't make you rich but might make you famous" clause.  I mention to my clients that we may use their images in my blog or on our website or in various printed pieces  that we might design in the course of our normal advertising campaigns. I also let them know that I will notify them anytime that we use their photographs and be happy to get them copies of the publications in which their images may appear. This has happened several times over the years, particularly with our local city magazines. In fact, our clients love it when their photographs appear in these kind of publications. And, it's good advertising for us as well.

DAZ QuantumOccasionally I will get a call from one of my sponsors asking if they can use some of my images in their marketing pieces. Whenever we receive this kind of request, I always check back with my clients to be sure that it is okay that I use a a few of their images for national ad campaigns. Without hesitation, they always agree. If you recall, when I asked them to review the "it won't make you rich but it might make you famous" section of the agreement, this is the part that might make them famous ;~) Anyway, it doesn't happen very often but when it does, my clients are thrilled to be part of it and happy to know that their photographs are featured in a national trade publication or in national marketing and advertising promotional pieces.

Get The Model Release In Writing!!!

MallSo, you can see that model releases are very important at my studio. And I need to tell you that the model releases need to be in writing as well.  Several years ago a good friend of mine who runs an extremely successful studio asked his client if he could display one of their family portrait images as part of a small display at a local mall. The mother was thrilled that there image was going to be featured in the mall display and gladly gave verbal permission to my friend to exhibit the photograph.

It turns out that the father was not so accommodating. He called my friend and questioned him about the image being displayed at the local mall. My friend explained that he had the wife's permission to exhibit the photograph. The father quickly countered by asking, "Was that permission given in writing?" My friend answered, "No, it was a verbal okay to use the photograph. The father quickly objected and said that since there was nothing in writing he wanted fair compensation for  the use of his family's image in my photographers friends marketing.

To make a long story short,, because my friend didn't have written permission." It cost him $4000 in expenses to accommodate the irate client. It's a hard lesson the learn but, we really do need to be prudent when we display client images.

What Happens If I'm Already Famous?

Peter FramptonSeveral years ago guitar legend, Peter Frampton, was being married in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Yes, that Peter Frampton.)  Because of Mr. Frampton's celebrity status, all the arrangements were very hush – hush. One Saturday morning I got a call from a bridal consultant friend of mine who mentioned that she was  working  on the celebrity wedding but couldn't divulge the name.  She asked me if I might be interested in photographing the wedding. My curiosity was certainly piqued.  Eventually she told me that the secret celebrity was Peter Frampton.  I was thrilled to get the opportunity to bid the job.

I inquired further as to what happened with the other photographer Mr. Frampton had booked. She explained to me that Mr. Frampton had requested the other photographer to not publicize any of the photographs from the wedding. The other photographer insisted that since he was the official wedding photographer he had every right to publicly display the photographs anywhere he wanted and to use those photographs in all his marketing campaigns.  Mr. Frampton felt otherwise and pulled the job from that photographer.  That photographer, BTW, is no longer in business.

For me, I always try to accommodate my clients’ wishes. I set up an appointment to visit with Mr. Frampton and his fiancée while they were visiting in Cincinnati. We had a wonderful visit and he loved the photographs and albums I presented. I also knew that  I too would like to show some sample photographs of Mr. Frampton's wedding.  I approached the subject a bit differently though. 

My request for permission to use the photographs went something like this:

"Mr. Frampton, the vendors involved in your wedding are all thrilled and honored to be part of this wonderful event. A few of them have asked me if they could get copies of a small number of the images, say three at most, from your wedding to use in their marketing materials. In fact, I too would like your permission to use a few of those photographs as well. I promise you that I will not plaster these photographs all over Cincinnati, Ohio on every billboard from here to Columbus Ohio. What I would like to do is ask permission to use no more than six photographs very discreetly in some of our low-key marketing initiatives and our studio sample albums." 

He quite graciously agreed to my request and also honored my request to share a couple of images with the key vendors involved in his wedding. I think what he sensed was a fact that I was respecting his right to privacy and not overstepping my bounds in using his celebrity status to further my ambitions.  I have to admit, I used a couple of those images in one of my sample albums and that was as far as my usage went with Mr. Frampton's wedding images. We got some great images and Peter loved everyone of them!

I think it always comes down to respecting your client. We have to remember that when our clients are hiring us to photograph their wedding there doing more than that. They're honoring us by asking us be part of this very special day in their lives. It is incumbent upon us to respect the honor they bestow upon us.

Too many photographers are only in it for the quick buck - too bad. I think we always have to remember that the photography business is so much more than that. Our success is built upon the professionalism we bring to each and every job that we photograph. Our success is built upon the respect that we pay our clients and all the guests present at the wedding. Our success is based on the fact that we really acknowledge the fact that we have been honored with our client's booking us for their event.

But back To The Original Question

Let's Dance The Night AwayBut, I still haven't answered in question from our DigitalProTalk reader. Here I am, at another photographer's wedding, taking a shot or two that the photographer was setting up. Did I need a model release for that image? My research tells me that I was in the clear. Let me point you to an article that I think is one of the best that I've read on the subject of model releases. Here is the link right here.

Anyway,  Below is an excerpt from the article which shows that I am in the clear in obtaining the model release for my blog post.  I've highlighted the section that applies.

Model Releases and Privacy

No legal discussion would be complete without an exception. If you are invited or hired to take pictures of someone, say for a wedding or studio shot, the resulting images are protected by privacy laws. You can’t sell those photos EVEN FOR EDITORIAL USES without a model release. Much like attorney-client privilege, the established relationship between you and the client creates a responsibility to safeguard privacy.

This can create a strange situation, because this responsibility applies even in public places where other people might take pictures of your clients at the same time. Since they don’t have an established relationship with your clients, they CAN sell their images editorially without a release while you can’t.

The bottom line is this:  A model release protects you and your client.  It clearly outlines the photographer/client arrangement and client compensation when it comes to using the photographs for commercial purposes.  So, if you plan to use your client's wedding images in your marketing promotions, always get a model release and always get it in writing.

Hey gang, that’s it for me today.  I’m still twirling with activity getting ready for the big weekend and our trip to Las Vegas, NV.  Have a great rest of the week and I’ll see you at Photoshop World in Las Vegas on Tuesday!

Adios,  David


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

"Let’s Dance The Night Away"

Let's Dance The Night Away

"Let’s Dance The Night Away"
©David A. Ziser

While on our short weekend vacation, Kent and I wandered into the Netherland Hilton Hotel, one of the most popular venues for weddings in Cincinnati, Ohio.  In fact, this is where I’ll be this weekend.  Anyway, last Saturday was a really busy wedding weekend for the hotel.

We headed up to the Hall Of Mirrors, the hotel’s premier ballroom for some of the nicest weddings and events in the city.  We stepped in and noticed the photographer and videographer working with the bride and groom before all the guests entered the ballroom.  I just began shooting away and captured this cool image of the couple from the second floor balcony.

The photographer and videographer were using a constant video light for the illumination of the couple. That allowed me to “tag team” on their light for this photograph.  The lighting tech had set all the spots for the rest of the room. The overall feel of the lighting worked well for this image (and the shots the photographer was getting.)   Heck, I might even have to give this vantage point a try at my wedding this weekend.

Camera specs:  Canon 5D Mark III fitted with Tamron 28-300mm VC lens at 55mm, F4.5 @ 1/30 second, ISO 6400.  Enjoy!  -David

p.s. I took a moment to introduce myself to the photographer shooting the wedding after she had finished with the bride and groom.  Her name is Sherry Barber and she is a very talented photographer working in Cincinnati, OH.  Be sure to check out Sherri’s very cool website right here.  She has things “cookin” and is sold out for weddings in 2012.  A lot of photographers would sure like to be in her shoes.

“Hi Fives” to you Sherri – well done!  David

Technique Tuesday: Creating Beautiful Backgrounds With CS6 Content Aware Fill Tool

Hi Everybody,

After yesterday's blogging fiasco – after all my text turned into the Chinese or Japanese characters  – I was a little bummed. Nevertheless, I got things sorted out today and you can read  yesterday's post in its entirety below. And, since I had my Technique Tuesday post pretty much ready to go, you'll getting a double dose of DigitalProTalk today.

Creating Beautiful Backgrounds With CS6 Content Aware Fill Tool

In today's post I'm going to pick up where I left off last week. Last week I showed you how you  could use the “Content Aware Fill” tool in Photoshop CS6 to create a much more dramatic look to your sunset wedding photographs [link]. In this week's post, I'm also going to use the”Content Aware Fill” tool in this tutorial. But, in this week's tutorial I’ll use it a bit differently to obtain the final result I want.

I was recently doing a workshop in New Orleans, Louisiana and bad weather outside forced us to do all the photography inside the Westin Hotel. The Westin Hotel provided some terrific backgrounds for my workshop but I still wanted to get an outdoor feel in a few of the images. The second floor of the Westin offered some fairly large windows that I thought I could use to get the look I wanted in my photographs.

NOLA Before PicThe problem was that the windows had a metal beam coming down the center and also had draperies hanging on the side of the window. The challenge was to remove the window’s center beam and the drapes as quickly and efficiently as I could. As I've said previously so many times, it's not so much about getting it right in the camera as opposed to fixing it efficiently in Photoshop. For me, it's always about getting it right as quickly as possible using hardware or software.  And, if my software tools allow me to fix an issue in only a few minutes then that will be the avenue I will take. Ask yourself the question: 10 minutes trying to get it right in the camera or 2 minutes to get it right in Photoshop? What’s your choice? I’ll take the two-minute shortcut every time.

Anyway, with the technique I’m showing you today, I think you'll be further impressed and see how to get even greater functionality with the”Content Aware Fill” tool.  Why not hit the PLAY button below and see just what I'm talking about.


Hey gang, that's it for me today. Hope you enjoy today's tutorial and I hope you'll give it a try. Once you get the hang of it, it's really easy to use and you'll generally always get a terrific result.

Everybody have a great rest of the day and I'll see you soon.


Monday, August 27, 2012

"City of Lights"

City of Lights

"City of Lights"
©David A. Ziser

Okay, gang don't hate me for this image post today. Over the weekend we visited Showboat Majestic, a floating theater on the Ohio River.  At the intermission break we were walking the decks and I thought, “What a great place to capture some HDR photographs of the night lights on the Ohio River.”  This image is a view from the Cincinnati side looking towards the Kentucky skyline.

Barges and boats were going by causing a slight rock and roll action on our deck.  I decided to make the exposure anyway. I guess we were hit by a fairly large wave during this exposure, hence the long light streaks across the image.

When the image popped on the back of my camera, I still thought the image was a quite interesting exposure. Although I had several other images that look just fine, I kept coming back to this very abstract looking image.

I brought the image into Photoshop CS 6 and decided to have some fun with it. In addition to “juicing” the saturation and vibrance of the image, I also applied the Smart Sharpen filter to this image as well. I found I got a very interesting result when I used the “ remove motion blur” option in the Smart Sharpen work panel – it added sort of a bevel/embossed look to the image.  Some careful burning in of the shadow areas to darken them  added an even more dramatic feel to my finished result. You're right, maybe I had too much time on my hands today but I still like this result.

Camera specs: Canon 5D Mark III fitted with Tamron 28 – 300 MM lens at 60 MM, F4.5 at 1/8 second, ISO 6400. Enjoy! – David

Quick Hit Monday: PhotoPro Expo 2013; My New Lighting Rig; & Shooting Eye-Fi To iPad3

Good Morning Everybody,

DAZ, LD, Kent, SarahWe just wrapped an easy weekend with our friends, Kent and Sarah Smith, from Columbus, Ohio. It seems all four of us were feeling a bit frazzled these last couple weeks so we decided to spend a relaxing weekend together here in Cincinnati, Ohio.  Kent and Sarah headed south after their last portrait session in Columbus and landed on our back deck around 8:30 PM Friday night. It was great to catch up with old friends.

On Saturday, after a slow-moving morning, we headed to Cincinnati and checked into the beautiful Cincinnatian Hotel – one of the best hotels in the city.  We spent a relaxing afternoon enjoying an adult beverage or two, walking the downtown area, saw an entertaining play on the Showboat Majestic, and wrapped with dinner at Morton's Steakhouse.

Reds gameSunday included another leisurely wake-up call, a relaxing breakfast at the Palace Restaurant, followed by a trip to the ball game to see our first-place Cincinnati Reds play the St. Louis Cardinals. I haven't been to a ball game in a number of years and it was kind of fun to get caught up in all the excitement. The Cincinnati Reds are fielding a good team this year (even though they lost Sunday’s game) and the fan excitement was everywhere. After the game we sadly said goodbye to our friends who headed back to Columbus – all of us still feeling a nice glow of a great weekend together.  LaDawn and I headed back to the Cincinnatian Hotel for one last relaxing night’s stay.

Personally, I think it's a good idea to take that occasional breather from the day-to-day pressures of our studio operations. Whenever we all get together, not only is it good times with lots of laughs, it's also a rich experience sharing ideas, techniques problem solving…. that further help both Kent and I enrich our studio’s growth.

Announcing PhotoPro Expo 2013 - The Best Photography Event In The Midwest!

I know that I've been MIA for the last couple of days with lots of projects I needed to get completed before the weekend. The biggest project on my plate was launching PhotoPro Expo 2013. PhotoPro Expo 2013 will be the largest photographic event in the Midwest happening next February 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 2013. 

PhotoPro Expo 2013 - new

Our talent lineup is unbelievable. Already confirmed to appear are Joe McNally, Julieanne Kost, Rick Sammon, Zach and Jody Gray, Kent and Sarah Smith, Alex Buono, Kevin Kubota, and nearly 20 additional speakers making next year's convention one of the most ambitious educational events available anywhere. PPE13 will also be the largest photo trade show in the Midwest with over 100 booths to visit. Mark your calendars now and plan to attend this exciting event.

The cost for this photographic extravaganza is only $129 until September 30, 2012. After that the price will revert back to its $179 normal price. If you want to take advantage of the biggest and best photographic event in the Midwest please head over to the PhotoPro Expo 2013 website right here where you can get all the details. The site is about 85% complete at this time but I plan to have it finished by the end of the week. Still, don't hesitate about registering for next year's terrific convention. I'll fill you in all the details as the days pass by. If you have any questions, you can call our Executive Director, Randy Fraley at 606-571-1908.  He'll be able to answer any of your questions.

Check Out My New Portable Lighting Rig

DAZ Light setup1That's right, I'm completely revamping my lighting rig for shooting weddings. As you know, I've been experimenting with Canon’s Speedlite 600EX-RT these last couple weeks and I'm slowly getting a handle on how they work. I used them to photograph a small wedding about 10 days ago and everything went great. This coming weekend I've a huge 12 hour event in which I  plan to give these three little speed light gems a real workout.

Hopefully, over the next few days, I’ll finish testing the high-speed sync characteristics of the Canon speed lights. I plan to have some news later in the week.

Because of the capabilities of the higher ISO camera I'm using  –  the Canon 5D Mark III – I know I'll be able to get by with much less light output than what I would normally need. That should make the 60 watt-seconds of power I get from Canon’s 600 EX – RT speed lights adequate for most of the photography I'll be doing.

Strobie bracketIf I need more power I picked up an Interfit Tri Shoe Adapter that will hold up to three of the speed lights. The three Canon speed lights used in conjunction with each other will give me a total of 180 watt-seconds of light. That's actually even more powerful than my Quantum T5d that I've used for many, many years.

My thought is that when I need a powerful off-camera flash, all three of the Canon 600 EX – RT speed lights should fill the bill for me. For most of the reception shooting I'm confident that I can get by with one flash on camera and two other flashes set up to illuminate the dance floor as I described at DigitalProTalk in a recent post [link].

The challenge for me in using these new strobes is the learning curve. Not only am I looking at nearly a dozen buttons on the back of the new strobe, there are now four separate menus to also scroll through to take advantage of the full functionality of the Canon speed lights. But, it's like anything else – once you get the hang of it, the operation is really quite efficient.

Using Eye-Fi Card, Canon 5D Mark III, & iPad3 Almost Magical

Eye-Fi CardOne thing I love about my Canon 5D Mark III camera is the fact that it accepts a SDHC card in the second card slot of the camera. I've been using the 32 gig SanDisk card as my backup card for all of my photography sessions. I picked up one of the Eye-Fi 8 gig SDHC Pro X2 wireless cards last year and was hoping to be able to make it work in my Canon 7D camera. That never really came to fruition so the card is been languishing in a drawer in my office. I've talked with some other photographers that have reported decent success in making the Eye-Fi 8 gig SDHC Pro X2 work in their Canon 5D Mark III  so I’ve decided to also give it a try.

My intention is to shoot with the Eye-Fi 8 gig SDHC Pro X2 card and have it transmit images to my iPad 3. This is extremely useful for photographers, particularly high school senior photographers or family photographers, because you can hand off the iPad 3 to your client and have the client see exactly how the session is proceeding. The process offers a great sizzle factor to any photography sessions. My early experiences with the Eye-Fi 8 gig SDHC Pro X2 card have been mixed. Once I get the Eye-Fi card to pair up with the iPad 3, everything seems to work just fine. It's simply getting the Eye-Fi card to pair up that has been the problem.

I purchased my iPad 3 from Verizon so I would have the capability of having the iPad 3 act as a hotspot. Having a hotspot functionality built into the iPad 3, I felt would make it easy for the Eye-Fi card to pair with the iPad and easily transmit the images into  the ShutterSnitch application I have installed.

LD to iPad3As I said, the pairing of the Eye-Fi card to the iPad 3 has been a bit problematic. The problem occurs in trying to get the hotspot to go “live”. My workaround, so far, has been to use my iPhone first to see the iPad hotspot and then connect to it. This takes a few tries – I think the problem is the wireless we have in the studio jammed the iPad 3 hotspot.  The connection is not immediate, it has a few second delay, as I would like it to be. But, after fiddling with it for a while, and after several tries, I finally get my connection with my iPhone.

Once a hotspot is activated and working, it's quite easy then to get the Eye-Fi card to pair with a hotspot and transmit the images directly to the iPad 3. I plan to be working with this hardware/software combination at Photoshop World next week during my Wedding Pre-Con. I'll provide additional details as they become available on how to make this potentially very useful scenario work for you as well.


Hey gang, that's it for me today. I want to get back to work on the PhotoPro Expo 2013 website so that you have all the details when you check it out. Everybody have a great rest of the day and I'll see you soon.

Adios, David

Very Weird Blogging Experience Today–It’s All Chinese or Japanese To Me

Good Afternoon Everybody,

I was nearly complete with today's post – about 1,500 words - when something very weird happened. I was working in Windows Live Writer, hit some unknown keystroke combination, and suddenly all of my English text change to Japanese – at least I think it's Japanese, maybe Chinese. I've spent the last hour trying to figure out what happened and recover the post but to no avail.  Here is a screen shot of what I’ve been looking at. Anybody have any ideas? 

Weird Spelling

It looks like it's back to the drawing board and square one for me. I'll plan to have it completed and up online tomorrow before noon.

I also have a Technique Tuesday post ready to go. So let's look on the bright side. Tomorrow will be a 2-for-1 post day!  Anyway, it's getting late and I’m going to call it a day.

Have a great rest of the evening and I'll see you tomorrow, David

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

"Prettiest Day Of The Year!"

Prettiest Day Of The Year!

"Prettiest Day Of The Year!"
©David A. Ziser

OK, this isn’t strictly a wedding photograph but it was made on the day of the wedding at the couples chosen venue last Saturday.  So, I guess it is a wedding photograph, right ;~)  I mentioned to my couple on Saturday, that they had about the best day of the year on which to be married. The temperature was ideal, the location was perfect, and the sky - all day and evening long, was astoundingly beautiful.

I made this image right after I photographed the bride and groom with this sunset as a backdrop.  Nature’s beauty persisted well into the evening and I just had to get a few more images.  Besides the wedding and reception were outdoors and everyone had the opportunity to enjoy not only the wedding celebration but also Mother Nature’s beauty. This is just an example of the kind of photographs I capture on the wedding day that will serve as perfect backgrounds for the album we’ll eventually design for the couple.

In addition to that, this is simply a beautiful sunset landscape image and can be truly enjoyed on it’s own merit.  I choose a super wide angle lens to capture the full effect of the clouds spreading across the sky and lake.  A tweak or two in Lightroom 4 brought out all the detail and color of this fabulous scene. When all is said and done, what can I say,  I really like it.

Camera specs: Canon 5D Mark III fitted with Sigma 12-24mm lens at 12mm, F7.1 @ 1/400 second, ISO 800.  Enjoy!  -David

Technique Tuesday On Wednesday: Magical Sunsets or How The CS6 Content Aware Tool Is Now My New Best Friend!

Good Afternoon Everybody,

photoshop_elements_10I couldn’t believe it – I was out cruising on one of my daily walks yesterday and saw that our local library was hosting a program on Advanced Photoshop that evening. Advanced Photoshop at the public library, and it was FREE – what a deal.  LaDawn and I headed out last night to check it out. Well, it turns out it was Photoshop Elements 10 – it seems the marquis sign didn’t have enough room for the word Elements. 

No problem, we sat through the hour presentation and I was quite impressed with the power of Photoshop Elements 10.  Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that we all switch to PSE10 but hey, if I wanted to get my feet wet with an image editing program, I would definitely jump into PSE10 for starters – it’s a pretty amazing piece of software containing most of CS6 features we photographers use regularly.  It was an eye-opening evening.

Magical Sunsets or How The CS6 Content Aware Tool Is Now My New Best Friend!

Sunset BrideIt seems every time I get back from a wedding, I just can’t wait to load up my images into Lightroom and check them out.  That was the case this past weekend, too.  Once I’m in Lightroom I just gotta play.  I found an image I really liked from my Saturday shoot and got a wild idea on how I might improve on the original image. 

I quickly sent the image over to Photoshop CS6 and proceeded to try my idea.  It worked like a charm.  I was able to create an even more dramatic image with the help of CS6’s Content Aware Fill Tool.  I was really surprised at how I obtained my final result so easily and quickly.  Why not hit the PLAY button below and see what I’m talking about – way cool!!!


Hey gang, that’s it for me today.  Just a quick note – we now have seven photographers registered for my Sunset Photo Walk in Rome, Italy.  Want to join me? Here is the link to register.

On that note gang, I’m out of here. 

Have a great rest of the day and I’ll see you soon,


Monday, August 20, 2012

"An Evening Kissed By The Sun"

An Evening Kissed By The Sun-0900-DZ_CraneW12-Edit

"An Evening Kissed By The Sun"
©David A. Ziser

I captured this image at Saturday's wedding. This was the first time I photographed in this location, Lake Lindsay, in Hamilton, Ohio.  I see now why the bride and groom selected this fabulous location.  One of Carla's priorities was that I do my best to capture a great sunset for the both of them on their wedding day. With a little luck and Mother Nature’s help, the sun cooperated completely!

Not only did we have a perfect sunset but, we also had beautiful cloud structure in the sky that really added to the very dramatic feel of this image. The secret to creating an image like this is to be sure that you have the exposure of the sunset perfectly exposed. The best way to do this is with the camera in manual mode. That way I can adjust the shutter speed to give me the exact sky density I want for my photograph.

DAZNOTE: The “live view” feature of the new DSLR cameras also give you decent visual feedback for your best exposure to create that perfect sunset for your clients. Don't overlook using it when setting up for a beautiful sunset composition.

I was using my brand-new Canon 600 TX – RT speedlights for this photograph. In the heat of the shoot I was challenged to get the backlighting exactly the way I wanted. With the speedlights in ETTL mode I wasn't quite getting the bright backlight that I prefer. Quickly switching the speedlights to manual mode gave me the full blast of light I wanted for this particular image.

We got a great set of images for Carla and Harry and I can’t wait for them to see the rest of the images!

Camera specs:  Canon 5D Mark III fitted with Sigma 12–24mm wide-angle lens at 12mm, F7.1 @1/400th second (HSFS), ISO 800.  Enjoy! – David

Quick Hit Monday: Canon 600 TX–RT Speedlight Review Coming Soon; Rome, Italy Sunset Photo Walk

Good late Afternoon Everybody,

Amazing WeatherI sure hope everyone had a great weekend. Our weekend weather was perfect for the wedding we photographed on Saturday.  In fact it was so perfect that we got some fabulous sunset photographs for the wedding couple – note today’s image of the day post. I'll be sharing a few more of them with you this week.

As usual we been super busy around the studio and it seems that there just aren't enough hours in the day to get everything completed. For a guy who's trying to slow things down a bit it seems that we've only become busier with many new projects.

Canon 600EX-RT Review In The Works!

One of the big projects I'm working on is doing a thorough testing of the brand-new Canon 600 TX – RT speedlights that I've been working with these last few weeks. The more I experiment with them the more impressed I am.

Wedding CandidPart of the challenge of testing the new radio controlled speed lights is the fact that I'm so used to shooting with my Quantum strobes. Bringing in the Canon 600 TX – RT speedlights into my shooting workflow introduces a brand-new learning curve for me. But never the less, the learning curve has been pretty quick and the more I play around with the new features of the strobes, the more I see the great possibilities they can bring into my wedding events and portrait sessions.

I was curious to see if the the 4 AA batteries would last for the entire wedding on Saturday. Even with a lot of intense “high-speed flash sync” shooting going on during the bridal session and the fact that the speedlights were dumping most of their power - most of their time on those specific images.  I was just hoping that they would make it to the reception. They did so with flying colors – I never changed batteries – I’m impressed! In two weeks I've got a giant wedding to photograph. That will be the big test for the new speedlights. I'll keep you posted.

Update on my Sunset Photo Walk in Rome, Italy October 13, 2012

Spanish StepsI've been pleasantly surprised to see how many photo walkers have signed up for my Sunset Photo Walk in Rome, Italy on October 13, 2012 [link]. So far, with just a brief mention in the blog on Friday, we have four walkers joining us – not as fast as we book with the event in Cincy but I’m still encouraged we’ll have a good crowd.  You can find all the info and REGISTER RIGHT HERE!

I’m even thinking that they must be able to speak English too since I only posted in English on my blog. Hey, even if we don’t all speak the same language, it will still be a blast!  I'm still using Google Earth – isn't that a great tool these days – to plan the entire Photo Walk. Other photographers have also sent me their ideas and suggestions for the walk as well.  I'll keep you posted as to how things develop.


Hey gang, it's getting pretty late in the evening so I’m cutting things short for this blog post. Tomorrow I have planned a very cool Technique Tuesday featuring wedding portraits and Photoshop. I think you will be “wide-eyed” and “drop jawed” when you see the results of two “before and after” photographs I'll share with you tomorrow. I sure hope you'll be able to join me.

On that note gang I'm out here. Have a great rest of the evening and I'll plan on seeing everybody again tomorrow.

Adios for now, David


Friday, August 17, 2012

Announcing My 2012 Worldwide Scott Kelby Photo Walk in Rome, Italy!

Good Morning Everybody,

Photo Walk5I've got some pretty exciting news to share with you. Today I'm announcing my fifth annual Scott Kelby Photo Walk for 2012. As you know, we’ll be traveling to Europe for two months leaving September 18, 2012. That means that we will be on the road during Scott Kelby's Photo Walk this year. The official date of the Photo Walk is October 13, 2012.

I thought, “Why not do the Photo Walk in Rome, Italy. We are actually arriving in Rome midday on that Saturday. We're catching up with LaDawn’s son Joshua and his wife Kristin around noon and spending the afternoon with them. I pitched the idea of the Rome Photo Walk to LaDawn and she graciously agreed to let me schedule it for later that day.

Spanish StepsThe plan is to meet at the Spanish Steps down by the fountain – Piazza Trinità dei Monti – at 5:45 PM and then kick off the Photo Walk promptly at 6 PM. I'm told that this is a very beautiful part of Rome and that we should have no problem getting some great images during our Photo Walk. Also, since our Photo Walk is scheduled in the evening with the sun setting at 6:30 PM, I thought that would add an extra special touch to my photo walk for this year.

You can get all the details about my 2012 Photo Walk and register right here.

What About My Cincinnati, Photo Walkers?

WalkingDon't worry gang – were putting a backup plan into action as we speak. I'm working with my good friend Larry Lohr, Ace #1 assistant Nicholas Viltrakis, and my good friend Eric Cameron to see if they can cover this year's photo walk in Cincinnati, Ohio. I'll post a follow-up with the details as soon as they nail down their plans right here on DigitalProTalk. At least I'll be here with you in spirit.

I have to say, that these photo walks have always been one of the high points of the year for me. The people you meet, the friends you make, and the images that we all capture just make the entire time a wonderful experience for everyone involved. Even if you're not close to Cincinnati, I sure hope you'll check out photo walks in your part of the world and plan to be part of the fun. Here is the
main link to the 2012 Scott Kelby photo walks.

Hope you can make it, David

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

"City Sentry"

City Sentry

"City Sentry"
©David A. Ziser

This was the view of the sky shortly after we began our walk along the River Walk in New Orleans a few weeks ago. A chance of rain was predicted but we never expected to see this kind of storm brewing.

Fortunately, we were able to find cover before the clouds unleashed their torrents of rain. As we sat in the cover of the Natchez Riverboat waiting area, I saw this seagull perched on the large pier timber waiting out the downpour.  With the dramatic cloudscape implying impending doom on the city, the title for this image seemed to be a perfect fit.

It was an very unusual cloud formation and a tweak or two in Lightroom helped to add to the very dramatic effect you see.  I have to say, it was quite an experience to see this wonderful and dramatic landscape and enjoy the short storm.

Camera specs:  Canon 5D Mark III fitted with Tamron 28-300 VC lens at 84mm, F16 @ 1/1000 second, ISO 1600.  Enjoy!  -David

Technique Tuesday: Happy B-Day & New Orleans Wedding Shoot – Part Two

Good Afternoon Everybody,

First off, let me thank everyone for all the birthday wishes that came pouring in from around the world.  I read each and everyone of them and really THANK YOU all for the very kind thoughts. Yes, it’s another year older for me today – should I try that box of Grecian Formula or not ;~) All joking aside, a person is as old as they feel and I really don’t feel as old as I’m suppose to be.  I think it comes down to how one embraces life, always looking on the bright side, and always embracing all the new challenges that we sometimes must face.

Kings IslandThis past weekend, after all the trials and tribulations of dealing with 3 cancelled Delta flights, and all the frustrations in trying to get my daughter, Elizabeth into town, I can happier report that we all had a great weekend even though it was much shorter than expected.  The highlight of the weekend had to be the trip to Kings Island and the marathon riding of the coasters. 

I remember a few years ago, I mentioned to LaDawn that I felt my coaster days were over. I was heading into that 6th decade of my life and felt like I was needing to slow down.  Part of those feelings were due to the extra weight I had put on and an overall felling of losing some of my never-ending energy. 

But about 4 months ago a few students in my Master Class and I were discussing getting and staying in shape. They convinced me it was my time to take the “bull by the horns” and do something about how I was feeling. The following week I began my journey to do just that. Now 4 months later I’m walking 7-8 miles a day, eating sensibly, and am currently 50 pounds lighter than I was at the beginning of my journey 4 months ago.  I felt alive again – and ready for the Kings Island coasters!!!

FirehawkNow you have to picture this.  I am quite literally the “most senior” person in all the coaster lines.  I read with trepidation all the cautions about riding the coasters with bad backs or necks, high blood pressure, and the myriad listing of ailments that I probably have to some degree or another.  But, none of that deters me away from a great coaster ride. And, I want the front car too!!

Anyway, this weekend showed me that I have a few more years in me to ride the great coasters of the world and I can’t wait!!! Alright gang, time to get back to our regularly scheduled feature – Technique Tuesday.

Technique Tuesday: New Orleans Wedding Shoot – Part Two

As I’ve previously mentioned, we had a great time in New Orleans a few weeks ago. My wedding shoot-out was a kick because I got the opportunity to shoot with the new Canon 600 EX-RT speedlites and I really put them through their paces. In my first post about my shooting experience [link1], I covered a lot of details about the strobes. I also posted two other very informative articles covering my use of the strobes that you can find right here - [link2 and link3].

In today's shoot I will walk you through several more images from that session. As I review the series of images I’ll discuss the lighting, the exposure, and the compositional challenges we faced during that shoot. I was thrilled with the results that I was getting.  During that class-time, the bride had her mother with her, so I shared all the images with her mother as well as with the bride.  The bride and her mother were both ecstatic over the results.  

Why not hit the PLAY button below and let me share a few more those images with you here today.  I think you'll enjoy the show.

Other links discussed in today’s post:

Quick Hit Monday: My First Day With Canon 600EX-RT Speedlights–WOW!
Technique Tuesday On Wednesday: New Orleans Wedding Shoot - Part 1
Bonus Post: Canon 600EX-RT Works Great For Reception Photography

Canon 600 EX-RT speedlite info: [link]

David Ziser’s 42” Zumbrella: [link]


Hey gang, that's it for this Birthday Boy today.

Have a great rest of the day and I'll see you soon, David

Monday, August 13, 2012

A Weather Weary Weekend Ends On A High Note

Good Morning Everybody,

Since we last visited I have to tell you that the weekend did not go exactly as planned.  In fact it almost did not happen at all. I was REALLY looking forward to seeing my daughter late Thursday evening and spending the weekend with her.  Bad weather hit Thursday afternoon and my daughter’s travel nightmare began.

She was cancelled from the LaGuardia to Cincy flight mid-day.  I rebooked her out of JFK – a $65 cab ride to the airport.  1 hour before take off that flight was cancelled!  $65 more bucks to get home from the airport.  I rebooked her out of Newark, NJ for the next day.  After a $95 cab fare and a 2 hour wait, that flight was cancelled too!! It took her 3 1/2 hours to get back home – that darn NYC traffic.  We decided to call it a day and we all had an adult beverage (maybe 2) that evening.

After a good night’s sleep I awoke at 7:00 a.m. and I was ready to give it another go with Delta – I’m 3 hours on the phone with them to this point. After 2 more hours on the phone with Delta Agent Brian, we managed to find a flight out Sunday Morning at 10:25 a.m. Eureka!  She made that flight and arrived – sadly 3 days later – into Cincy.

Yesterday was a wonderful day riding all the coasters at Kings Island.  The Diamondback Coaster – see video below was, in our opinion, the best ride ever!!!!  Today we still have a few hours to spend together before she heads back to NYC this evening.  So on that note gang, that’s my weekend update and I’m out of here to hang with Liz and LaDawn.  Things should be back to normal tomorrow.

See ya’ then,  David

Take A Ride With Me On Diamondback Coaster At Kings Island – The best coaster I’ve Ever Been On!!!

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Digital ProTalk: Business Day Thursday: Have You Got The Right Pers...

Digital ProTalk: Business Day Thursday: Have You Got The Right Pers...: Good Morning Everybody, Today is a pretty special day for me. My daughter, Elizabeth, in flying in from New York  to spend the weekend wit...

Type your summary hereType rest of the post here

"Street Smart"


"Street Smart"
©David A. Ziser

I was reviewing images for today’s post and came across this image I made of a high school senior a few years ago. This is one of several from the session and is one of my favorites.

I think what I like best about it is the utter simplicity of the image – just a straight head shot against a simple background. The girl’s somber, almost confrontational look show a strength of character in her expression – OK, let’s call it “attitude”.

That feeling is enhanced even more with the wisp of hair falling across her face. Compositionally she was isolated from the background by my close working distance to her and the long lens I was using.

Lighting is simple too.  Quantum T5d camera right at 1/2 power through my umbrella about 6 feet away. You may be wondering why the shadows aren’t showing up on the wall next to our subject.  Actually, the shadows are falling on the wall but on the back surface nicely out of view.

Overall, I think this is a strong portrait of this young lady both technically and compositionally.

Camera specs: Canon 30D fitted with 70-300mm IS lens at 300mm, F7.1 @ 1/320 second, ISO 200.  Enjoy!  -David

Business Day Thursday: Have You Got The Right Person Selling Your Photography?

Good Morning Everybody,

VortexToday is a pretty special day for me. My daughter, Elizabeth, in flying in from New York  to spend the weekend with LaDawn and I.  With her being in New York these last several years it's been seldom that she's had a chance to travel back home other than the occasional Christmas holiday.

About a month ago I suggested that she come on back into town, hang out with LaDawn and I, and we do some of the things we did when she was a kid - call it a nostalgic weekend visit. We’re going to be heading to Skyline Chili, Greater’s ice cream parlor, to Kings Island to ride the monster roller coasters, and even visiting the world-famous Cincinnati Zoo.

It's quite special when a dad gets a chance to do something like this with his daughter and I’ve been looking forward to it for over a month. It should be fun.

So, without any further ado let's get on with today's Business Day Thursday.

Business Day Thursday: Have You Got The Right Person Selling Your Photography?

I recently received some e-mail notices about a discussion going on over at Facebook. The main question under discussion was, “Who was the best person to sell your photography? Would it be the photographer, a staff person, or someone else?” What I like to do in today's discussion is to offer my opinions and my experience on that same topic.

The importance of this post is this: Anyone wanting to be successful in any line of work better be able to sell the product that they're trying to sell. In our case it's photography.

The Photographer Should Be The Salesperson Too?

One of the most notable commenters on the Facebook discussion is an extremely  renowned photographer from the Washington D.C. area. I do want to mention any names other than to say that I respected this photographer for many years and he runs a very successful,  very high grossing studio in that part of the country.

His point was that the most important person to be selling the photography needed to be the person behind the camera making the gorgeous images for the clients. His claim that there was an emotional connect between the photographer and the client and that he, the photographer, could easily share what he saw in his mind’s eye and what he felt in his heart as he was capturing the photographs for his clients. He posted that this emotional connect with the client and his emotional connect with the photographs would allow him to make the most thorough and successful presentation to his clients.

I have to say that I totally agree with his assessment of the situation. It's exactly how we've been doing things at my studio for over 30 years. As a wedding photographer I need to be able to share, as I said above, what I was seeing in my mind’s eye what I was feeling in my heart as I was photographing all those memorable moments for my clients. If I can bring my excitement, my enthusiasm, my passion to the presentation, I think the sale will be much more successful than someone much less enthusiastic about the photography and less connected to the clients.

But, What About The Photographer That Doesn't See Themselves As A Salesperson?

Handshake (1)As I’ve traveled these many years talking to tens of thousands of photographers around the United States and the rest of the world, I hear many times about how the photographer does not see themselves as a salesperson and finds it extremely difficult in presenting (selling) their images to the client.

So, let's assume that you’re a great photographer and a lousy salesperson. – What are your options? You have two; learn how to sell or hire someone who knows how to sell. There are a gazillion sales resources available for you to study.  They range from millions of books on Amazon and several sales presentation tapes you can listen to.  I’ve certainly listened to my share of them over the years. Even with all those resources available, most will not take the initiative to use them. In that case, you have to go to Plan B.

If It Isn't Going To Be You, Find Someone To Do The Job For You!

I said earlier that if someone is selling your photography and they are not emotionally connected to those images the sale will suffer.  Sure, there are several companies with salespeople that just put in their eight hours. They really don't care and they're not motivated to produce greater sales.

But I know several successful studios that have salespeople in place that are motivated to sell the studio’s photographs. That motivation comes from commissions on the sale, bonuses and monthly goals, and other special incentives to make them and keep them fired up about selling photography.

The Right Person For The Sales Job

SAles_000002902205XSmallIt’s simple, the right person for the sale is a person who is emotionally connected to those photographs. It's also the person that's shows a passion for the company they’re working for. You need to find someone who can resonate your own passion for what you tried to produce for your clients.

Are those kind of people hard to find?  Not really, just look at Microsoft, Apple, or Google employees – most would give their right arm for the company. They have a passion for what they do.

For your studio’s success, it's about having someone in place that brings your passion to your buying public. In my studio, that person has been mostly me.  But, over the years, I’ve also had others that could step up to the plate and make the sales presentation. It's about having the right people in that selling position. If that somebody is not you just be sure that person loves you, they share your passion for the product, and loves the photography you're producing.

But Good Selling Is Only Part Of The Big Picture Of Success

In addition to having a great salesperson in place, it's also about the product line that you offer and how you present that product line to your clients. We’ve certainly discussed that here at DigitalProTalk. I invite you to look back over any number of previous Business Day Thursday posts.  I’ve discussed building products that sell and how to bundle products to maximize the sale.  I’ve also discussed how to handle sales objections and so much more.

With over 3500 posts available at DigitalProTalk, there's an immense amount of resource material for any aspiring or seasoned professional photographer.  I invite you to start digging in and reap the benefits of those posts. I think you will enjoy digging for the hidden treasures.


Hey gang, that's it for me today.  I’m taking a little time off to get ready for my daughter’s visit.  Have a great rest of the day and I'll see you soon.

Adios, David

Tuesday, August 07, 2012



© David A. Ziser

I thought I'd leave you with a little of the beauty we found at the Botanical Gardens in New York last year.  There wasn't much color this time of year - according to the guide, Spring is the best time to visit - but we did find some color in the Water Lily ponds.  Water Lilies are simply beautiful but the photographic challenge is being able to photograph them with an unobtrusive background.

That was the case here - lots of beautiful water lilies, but many times with a less than attractive background.  I managed to find one water lily that filled the bill - it was beautifully lit from my vantage point and the background was mostly working for the image.  I like how the green Lilly pad offers a nice contrast to the rich, vibrant color of the flower.

I composed the flower in the bottom right side of the frame which allows the eye to enter from the left side of the frame, travel across the textures of the pad and finally stopping on the full color brilliance of the water lily.  I think it makes a nice still life photograph.

I did tweak the image a bit in Lightroom and also made the trip to Photoshop to remove a few small distractions from the scene. Hope you like it.

Camera specs:  Canon 7D fitted with 18-200mm IS lens at 200mm, F8.0 @1/500 second, ISO 200. Enjoy! -David

Experiencing The Complete Wedding Weekend – Part 6

Good Afternoon Everybody,

57093-13JUNE(155).jpgHey gang, It's good to be back home after our great visit to New Orleans. The weather is still as hot as in New Orleans but, without all the gulf humidity it doesn't  seem nearly stifling.  As usual, things are crazy around the studio. We seem to be going 1,000,000 miles an hour since we touched down last Thursday morning.  August is shaping up to be a huge month. 

The main reasons:

1. I've got to get my second book completed this month - still lots to finish up.

2. I've got to get everything pretty well in shape for next year's Photo Pro Expo 2013 by the end of the month too.

3. I've got all my Spring and Summer brides to contact and have them visit the studio to make their image selections for their wedding albums and get all their orders processed  and albums designed before leaving for Photoshop World on September 2.

4. And add to that all the unexpected day-to-day activities that go on around the studio on a daily basis.

Why is this Sword of Damocles hanging over my head? Mainly because of our Fall schedule. On Labor Day, we jump on a plane and head to Las Vegas for Photoshop World and then back home for a family wedding on Friday September 7th. For the next 10 days we'll be hanging at the studio wrapping up any other loose ends.

The Truly BIG Reason For This Busy Month!

Italy2…. is because LaDawn and I are heading out of town for two months on September 18 and not returning until November 8. That's right, you heard me. Were heading to Europe for TWO MONTHS!  And, have to complete everything before we leave.

Part of the time will be spent teaching but most of the time will be spent on doing what I've been looking forward to my whole life – traveling, eating, enjoying time with LaDawn, and shooting images for my portfolio. Our trip will take us through Italy, then a 12-day cruise throughout the Mediterranean including the Greek Islands and Istanbul, Turkey.  Then we fly to Barcelona and Madrid, Spain. 

I'm presenting programs on both the beginning and the end of our travels so it should be a kick all the way around. Anyway, if I sound a little stressed in my blog this month, that's mostly the reason why. Too much to do and too little time. What's new, right?  But, somehow everything always gets accomplished. Wish me luck and hang in there with me this month.

The Wedding Series: Experiencing The Complete Wedding Weekend – Part 6

This past weekend we had some of my favorite clients over to make their final image selections for their bridal albums and family albums. I'm thrilled to say that they put together a tremendous selection of images that truly capture the essence of their fabulous wedding weekend in Northern Michigan.  Today I want to move on with Part 6 of my wedding series which features that wonderful wedding weekend. 

BGRB-1015-DZ_SchulerW12Rehearsal dinner images are a great way to augment wedding coverages. We always book the rehearsal dinner coverage with our destination weddings. My thinking is, that because we’re already in town, why not give the client the added benefit of having a rehearsal dinner coverage. And, since we’re up there for the rehearsal dinner, I generally stick around for the Sunday brunch. The Sunday brunch is most often a sendoff event for all the out-of-town guests before they all travel back home.

Destination weddings can be a big expense for anyone planning one. That's why, when discussing the photography plans for any destination wedding with my clients, I always include in the discussion the rehearsal dinner coverage and the Sunday brunch coverage. Since I'm already in town I provide special pricing to my clients.  That way they can have the most complete coverage possible for all the weekend festivities.

In today's post I want to walk you through the rehearsal dinner we photographed in Michigan a few weeks ago. In this series, so far you've seen a lot of images discussed and a lot of challenges that we encountered. In today's post I’ll walk you through the actual rehearsal dinner shoot.  You need to know that rehearsal dinners can take place anywhere - country clubs, restaurants, the backyard of the bride or groom's parents home….. That means that the challenges that occur during rehearsal dinner coverages can be quite varied.  And, we had of a few of our own to deal with during the rehearsal dinner that I'm discussing in today's post.

BGRB-0925-DZ_SchulerW12The venue was Blu Restaurant, I believe to be one of the finest restaurants in the entire state of Michigan. In fact, LaDawn and I drove back Sunday evening to have dinner in this fabulous restaurant – it was everything we expected it to be.

The restaurant, as you'll see in the photographs I’ll share with you today is quite small. Seating maybe for only 55 or 60 people. The restaurant has a very light and airy atmosphere to it. That's mostly because two complete walls of the restaurant are huge plate-glass windows with a large skylight making up the ceiling.

We were beginning coverage at six o'clock in the evening with dinner wrapping around 9:30 or 10:00 p.m. That meant that most of the photography was going to be taking place in this very brightly illuminated location. So, what do you think the lighting challenges would be? The answer to that question is whether to use flash or not.

To Light Or Not To Light - That Is the Question

Blu restAs I surveyed the location I knew we were going to be facing some lighting challenges, particularly if I chose to use any kind of on-camera or off-camera flash. I had huge plate-glass windows on two sides of the restaurant which meant that I had a huge “reflection” problem if I was using flash of any kind. But on the other hand, this location did have those huge plate-glass windows and that huge skylight above filling the venue with beautiful soft lighting.

DAZNOTE: Well, I say soft lighting but that wasn't always the case. There were some moments during the rehearsal dinner when the sun was settling down on the horizon and casting direct sun rays onto some of the seated guests.

Because of the restaurant being opened to the daylight on two the four sides I knew that fact would give me a decent “direction the light” falling on most people attending the dinner. I also knew that with the other two walls being a very bright white, I should have enough fill light on the scene as well. I took a few photographs with just the natural light streaming into the restaurant and was very pleased with the results.  I decided to photograph the entire event sans flash.  That’s right, no flash at all – totally natural light.

My Favorite ISO In This Situation

After making the decision to shoot everything with just the natural available light I had to determine the ISO that would work best for me in the shooting situation. I knew there would be photographs capturing the excitement, emotions, and spontaneity of the event. These kinds of moments generally require a faster shutter speed to be sure that we stop the action adequately for the photograph. Because of the brightness of the room I chose a higher ISO – ISO 2000 – and began shooting away. Because of the high ISO characteristics of my Canon 5D Mark III camera and the noise reduction capabilities of Lightroom 4 I knew I would have no problem with noise.

Which Lens To Use?

Tamron lens2The other consideration was which lens to use.  All of you reading this blog know that my new favorite all-in-one lens is the Tamron 28 – 300 mm VC lens. It's long 10-1 zoom range allows me the versatility to cover just about any candid situation particularly at this kind of event. Because of the very bright ambient light in the restaurant I knew I could use this lens even with it’s fairly small F5.6 maximum aperture. At ISO 2000 and maybe above, I would still have adequate exposures with respectable motion freezing shutter speeds.

So, those are some of the specific challenges facing me in photographing this rehearsal dinner.  In  the video below I'll walk you through several images from the rehearsal dinner and discuss, in greater detail, the challenges presented to us during that shoot along with the type of images I like to capture for my clients. I think this tutorial will be a good roadmap for you when faced with shooting your next rehearsal dinner. Why not hit the PLAY button below and enjoy the show.


Hey gang, that's it for me today. I’ve challenged myself to get at least the first two chapters of my book finalized. That means I've got a move through 16,000 words, fine tuning and word-smithing the text, and preparing the illustrations to be added. The polishing up of any opus should be fun for the author. It's during this polishing process that you actually see the book taking shape.

As previously promised,  I'll share some excerpts of the book with you here at DigitalProTalk.

On that note I'm back to the keyboard. Have a great rest of the day and I hope to see you again tomorrow for Technique Tuesday  - once again on Wednesday.

See you soon, David