Friday, August 16, 2013

”Sitting Pretty"

Molly - Seating Pretty”Sitting Pretty"
©David A. Ziser

Here is another image from Molly’s session.  I’m putting it up as the “image of the day” because I think it captures perfectly the personality of my subject. I love the easy smile and relaxed pose.  I love too the gorgeous lighting and gentle breeze in the scene.  The soft back lighting from the nearly setting sun did a wonderful job separating Molly from the much darker background.  It was the perfect day for a portrait shoot.

Camera specs; Canon 5D Mark III fitted with Tamron 28-300mm lens at 184mm, F6.3 @ 1/200 second, ISO 200. Enjoy! -David

A Beautiful Portrait Shoot & Thank You For The Birthday Wishes

Good Morning Everybody,

Thank YouFirst of all I want to thank everyone for their kind thoughts wishes on my birthday this past Wednesday.  The birthday wishes came in from around the world and I read each and everyone of them so once again, thank you for your kind thoughts.  It was much appreciated. Thanks again.  -David

A Beautiful High School Senior Portrait Session

I got the opportunity to photograph one of my clients yesterday evening. I actually photographed mom and dad's wedding years ago and have been photographing their family ever since.  Their oldest daughter Molly is about to graduate from high school and her mom asked me to photograph her for her high school senior portraits. I was thrilled - heck, I've been watching Molly grow up since she was a child.

The weather was perfect, the temperature was in the mid-70s, clouds were filling the blue sky, and everything seemed perfect for the portrait shoot at Ault Park. We arrived around 5:30 p.m.  For this time of the year in this part of the Midwest the light is really beautiful and it gives us plenty of time to work into that "sweet light" period shortly before sunset.

Uh OH!  We were hit with a big surprise upon arriving at the park.  There were a gazillion people there.  I had never seen the park that crowded!  What was going on???!!! Turns out it was a special Ault Park dance night and they were expecting hundreds upon hundreds of people to show up over the next hour or two.


The crowds just might crimp my style for Molly's shoot but what are you going to do?  You still have to come back with the shots, right - no excuses!!!  In today's post I want to share with you how fabulously well Molly’s session progressed.  I really believe I captured some my prettiest portraits ever!  Having a super cute girl like Molly to photograph sure made the session a breeze.

Above is a glimpse of the park just as we were beginning the portrait session - lots of people everywhere and more on the way!  I decided to walk around the park, do the best I could, keeping in mind, that I had Photoshop and Lightroom in my back pocket and could easily remove any of the distracting park attendees from some of my images.

Anyway, we begin the photography up around the fountain area you see in the image above. The dance party was taking place at the top of the fountain so we were somewhat removed enough from the larger crowd on the upper level of the pavilion. As I said the weather was perfect and the sun was co-operating by ducking behind the scattered clouds every now and then giving me the soft illumination I wanted.

LaDawn was standing by as my assistant with my off camera lighting set up – a Canon 600 EX-RT speedlite -  to supply the directional illumination as needed. Since we were in a fairly sunny part of the park I thought I would begin my photography by having Molly backlit and have LaDawn position herself for the nice loop lighting that I like on my portraits. I also did not shoot through my Zumbrella in this case because I needed the full output from my zoomed (to 80mm) flash.  Here are a couple of images from the beginning of the session.



We then continued moving through other areas of the park – there must've been five other photographers working the park that late afternoon.  Nevertheless,  we did find some great locations that offered a wonderful variety of looks and feels. In all but one case, I used my off camera flash – the Canon 600 EX-RT speedlites shooting through my Zumbrella.  That combo just gives me such beautiful light on the subject.

Because we’re still in the middle of summer, the park offers  fabulous locations for portraits. There's always some place in the park that is in full bloom and full of rich colors. I love to take advantage of the beautiful variety this park offers.

When shooting in colorful areas like this, there are two things I really try to accomplish. Number one, place the subject in the shade, then add the off-camera flash, and shoot away. The off-camera flash creates that beautiful dimensional lighting on the subject that just seems to make them pop from the background.


The next thing I try to do, particularly in yesterday’s situation, is to backlight the subject as so I can really highlight her hair .  With Molly’s face in the shadows, it’s easy to add the dimensional lighting with the off-camera flash. Check out the two examples below.



ControllerFor most of the images I was able to use just one speed-light but, when I was working in the more direct sunlight and shooting through the Zumbrella I had to increase my power by using two speed-lights. It was so easy to work with the Canon ST-E3-RT Speedlite Transmitter on camera to easily adjust the remote speedlights to get just the light output I needed.

Another thing that is important to note is that I kept the camera on “manual” for all my exposures and I also shot the strobes on “manual” as well. Over all my years in this profession, every time I try the automatic settings I never do quite achieve the consistency in the results that I want. But with the camera and flashes all on “manual” I can easily control the light output with the camera controller.  This let’s me easily put the light densities exactly where I want them in my scene.

As you'll see in the next couple of photographs, I also like to use repeating elements in my composition. The fence in the next image gives a nice feeling of depth to the scene and easily leads the viewer’s eye directly to the subject.


I the following image it’s the long row of trees serve this purpose perfectly for my final composition.


We next headed to my favorite location in the park and, as expected it was in full bloom. The problem working in this area is that the subject receives a lot of front light and the background can sometimes go too dark. I was easily able to add light to the subject with my Canon 600 EX-RT speedlites powered through the Zumbrella to get the dimensional lighting I wanted on the subject.

To open up the shadows in the background I used Lightroom 5  to accomplish the finished result. I simply used the the green slide in the color channels pallet and pushed up the “luminosity” up by a few points. Using the green channel only let’s me brighten the greens throughout the whole scene when faced with this lighting situation.


In the post processing I also do a couple tweaks on the exposure and always push up the shadow density.  The other correction I made to each of these photographs is the new Radial filter.  Boy, as a portrait photographer, I love how that new feature in Lightroom 5 can really “focus” the viewer’s attention onto the subject.

Anyway, the session went fabulous! Molly was a great subject to photograph with her sparkling personality and a beautiful smile.  LaDawn nailed the lighting perfectly and that makes a difference to capturing great images. A great ending to a beautiful high school senior shoot.  By the way, I’m photographing the entire family on Monday same time, same place ;~)  Stay tuned, I'll share a few of those images with you next week.


Hey gang, that's it for me today. Enjoy the photographs, enjoy the weekend, and I'll see you again next week.

Adios, David

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Today I’m Celebrating the 44th Anniversary of My 21st Birthday! Last History Recap

Good Morning Everybody,

44th BithdayToday is a BIG day in my life – it’s one of those “milestone birthdays”.  I’ll give you a hint – I just received my Medicare Card in the mail.  Yep, I’m celebrating the 44th anniversary of my 21st birthday today;~) Now the good news is that I sure don’t feel that old and thankfully, many folks tell me I don’t look my age.  I guess that is some consolation ;~)  So, what does LaDawn get me for my birthday – A TANDEM SKYDIVING ADVENTURE!!! Uhmmm…. I wonder if there’s a new life insurance policy floating around here somewhere? OK, just kidding LaDawn ;~)

So for today’s post I thought I would recap the DAVID A. ZISER PHOTOGRAPHY history posts I’ve been running the last few weeks.  I promise this is my last post reminiscing about the good old days.  But, like I said earlier, I hope these posts offer some insights into my growth and success in this business to the new and aspiring photographers considering this profession as their own.

That said, let me lead off today’s post with a photograph that we just stumbled upon over the weekend.  It’s a class photo of my very first class I ever took.  That was way back in 1979, and my first instructor was the legendary Monte Zucker.  That was quite the class. Click on the image for a larger view. Pictured here is my good friend, John Miele who went on to become the youngest PPA President ever.  Also pictured are my Aussie buddies talented photographer Robert Piccoli and Michael Warshall, current owner of NuLab Professional Imaging in Australia.  Michael and I still stay in touch.

You’ll also see Monte with his wife, yes, his wife Sandy in the front row. David Bentley, still a good friend is pictured in the back row. Eva, standing next to Michael eventually went on to marry Mark Roberts, owner of Art Leather, the largest wedding album manufacturer at the time. And, I can’t forget Gerhard Bakker, a major influence for all photographers at the time.  I’ve linked up where I could so check out the links for the rest of the stories. If you know any of the other photographers in this image not mentioned please drop me a comment.

Monte's Class 1979 w-names


OK gang, I promise this is the last look  back on the life and times of DAVID A. ZISER PHOTOGRAPHY.  Here is the recap of all the links I’ve been running the last few weeks all gathered in one place should you ever want to visit them again.  Enjoy!

The Brief History Of Ziser Photography & Many Thank You’s To All Who Helped Me Reach This Milestone. [link]
50 Years Later: Celebrating Life, Photography and Friendships!  [link]
50 Years Later: A Grand Celebration & A Peek Down Memory Lane   [link]

Why not take a peek back in time with me in my WayBack Machine and smile at the images from my humble beginnings:

The Violinist: [link] Taken 45 years ago at age 20.

Budding Photographer: [link]

WayBack Machine #2: [link] Images taken in 1978 – the beginning of my studio career, age 30.

Oldie But A Goodie Wedding Image: [link] Image probably around 1980.

WayBack Machine #3: [link]

Engagement Sessions ‘80’s Style: [link]

WayBack Machine #5: [link]

WayBack Machine #6: [link]

And finally my life philosophy of why I got started in photography and what this wonderful profession means to me.

A Visit By A Friend – ASP THESIS 1988

Part 1: Life Is Too Darn Short To NOT Do What You What To Do With Your Life!   [link]

Part 2: Seeing The Magic Happen For The First Time - Amazing! And Time For Commitment! [link]
Part 3: Sameness Kills Enthusiasm! [link]
Part 4: Developing Your Own Distinct Style [link]
Part 5: Questions Seeking Answers  [link]


Hey gang, that’s it for me today.  And starting today, I’m only looking forward to see what's next over the distant mountain ridge – greater challenges, beautiful travels, new friends, new memories to try and remember ;~) and many more sunrises and sunsets.

Have a great one everybody.

See ya’ soon!


Monday, August 12, 2013

Announcing My 2013 Kelby Photo Walk – Salzburg, Austria!

It’s official – Scott Kelby just announced his 6th Annual Worldwide Photo Walk and I’m happy to say that I’ve just set up my Photo Walk over the weekend! Last year since we were traveling in Italy, we did our Photo Walk in Rome, Italy -  in the rain and had a great turn out.  I hear Scott’s going to be there this year – hope he has better weather ;~)  Nevertheless, we had a great time – you can take a peek at some of my images right here.

Salzburg5This year we’re going to be in Eastern Europe traveling from Croatia up to Austria on Photo Walk Day - October 5, 2013.

So this year, I’ve planned have my walk for Salzburg, Austria and I can’t wait.  I did a quick image search of Salzburg  [link] and was blown away by the rich history and beautiful surrounds of the city – what a great location for a Photo walk.  You can register for my Salzburg, Austria Photo Walk right here. Hope to see a few of you there!

Here is a quick rundown of what I have planned for our Photo Walk.  It may seem a bit ambitious but all the sites are fairly close together.  If we do run over a bit, it will just make the stop at the bier garden more refreshing ;~)

Mirabelle Palace Gardens

We’ll meet at the entrance to Mirabell Palace Gardens above and then proceed to Mozart’s Residence in Tanzmeisterhaus.  Then it’s over too the very photogenic St. Sebastian Church & Cemetery.   Then its up and onto Kapuzinerkloster Monastery for a fantastic view of this famed city.

FountainThen we’ll trek down the medieval road Steingasse. The most notable person to live here was Joseph Mohr in who lived in house #9 where he wrote the lyrics to the Christmas song 'Silent Night'.  Then It’s on to Mozart Square. The square is dominated by the statue of Mozart by Ludwig Schwanthaler, ceremoniously unveiled on September 5, 1842 in the presence of Mozart's sons.  Next its on to Residenz Square & Fountain. Residence Square is an especially magnificent forecourt between the archiepiscopal residences in the heart of Salzburg's Old City.

Salzburg CathedralThen it’s on to the New Residenz followed just down the street to the Old Residenz Palace.  We’ll then push on to one of the walk’s highlights, Salzburg Cathedral. Salzburg's Cathedral is probably the city's most significant piece of church architecture and its ecclesiastical center. With its magnificent façade and mighty dome it represents the most impressive early Baroque edifice north of the Alps. 

SteigkellerNext it’s on to our second last stop, Kapitelplatz. Chapter Square is a place of concentrated activity in Salzburg's Old City: people playing a game of chess with oversized chess pieces, a number of colorful sales booths and "Sphaera," a work of art by Stephan Balkenhol, fill the square with life. And we’ll finish up and refresh at StieglKeller Beer Hall & Restaurant. A little way up Mönchsberg is a Salzburg classic, the StieglKeller Beer Hall, complete with a beer garden overlooking the city.  Stiegl has been brewing beer in Salzburg since 1492. It sounds like the perfect place to share our images, tell stories, and enjoy the scenery.

Does that sound like a great walk or what?  I sure hope you can join me. Remember, you can register for my Photo Walk right here. I promise everyone a great time!

See ya’ there!


Saturday, August 10, 2013

Questions Seeking Answers: A Visit With A Friend - Part 5

Good Morning Everybody,

Sorry for the lengthy delay in getting this last section up.  I‘ve been working overtime on next year’s PhotoPro Expo and we just had to get a few things nailed down last week.  I’ll give you a few more details this week. That said, time to get moving with my last installment of “A Visit By A friend.”  Here we go… 

Questions Seeking Answers :  A Visit With A Friend - Part 5

“When making our photographs for our clients we are not just using the hardware tools of cameras, lenses, rolls of film, and filters. We must also use our compositional tools of light, color, detail, form, shape, depth, balance and perspective as well. We constantly need to be squeezing that thing we call our brain to get those creative juices flowing.

VAriations W-A-1718_thumb[2]_thumb

“By knowing that every time we are behind the camera we will be giving 110% helps keep our minds fresh, sharp, alive, and keeps our creativity fresh and exhilarating.

“Just as we exercise our bodies to keep them in shape, we need to exercise our mind to keep it operating at peak performance as well.”

Wedding 2He paused for a moment as if rolling this imaginary precious gem around in his hands and then he continued.

“Another facet, of the wedding jewel, often overlooked, and yet still one of the most important are the candids. Candids are some of the most important photographs we make on a wedding day. It is through the candids that the bride and groom can ‘visit’ with their families and friends and relive their wedding over and over again.

“Candids need to capture the fun and the excitement of the day for the clients. They need to be spontaneous and emotional, capturing the peak excitement when it happens. Maybe the groom gives grandma a big hug and kiss at the reception. This is a moment that grandma is going to remember weeks after the wedding. We need to capture that moment.

Candid2“Candids aren’t always happy. There can be tearful candids too. The bride and groom saying goodbye to mom and dad at the end of the evening, tears coming down their faces, tears of happiness, tears of joy - all of these things need to be included as part of our candid coverage. These candids are the memories!

“To me, all of these things together - the love, the romance, the anticipation, the excitement and the spontaneity are the essence of what we need to capture in our photography. It’s these tangibles and intangibles taken together that takes the uncut gem and transforms it into a beautiful jewel - the images that become the bride and groom’s wedding album.

“This same philosophy holds true with all types of photography. In portrait photography as well, I want to show feelings of the people involved.

24x36-0309-PreCon_PSWLV Z08-Edit-Edit“A photographer must always be searching for and using any design elements in his composition in order to create drama, excitement, and emotion in his photograph. The image has to grab the person looking at it, and not let them go. A photograph needs to capture feeling and emotion and give it back to the viewer.”

He paused again and we didn’t even look at each other. He put his elbows on his knees and his chin in his hands thinking. Then he began again. “We can never tell ourselves that we know it all, that there is nothing else to learn. There are a million hallways that we can walk down, and a million doorways that we can open. We must constantly strive to improve our photography, to make it better, to take it just a step further, and try to push the limit - all of us need to be pushing the boundaries out together.

“We constantly need to be sharing with our fellow professionals, giving them the insights that we have gained in our own professional experience and letting them continue to pass these new ideas with their own improvements on to others. There can be no secrets. There is no greater joy in the world than to give something to someone else, then have them give it back to you in their new and improved version. Then we can pass it on to another to have it change and improve again. This cycle can do nothing but improve our photography and our profession. That needs to be the goal of everyone.

Sunflowers - France-

“Our profession offers a very valuable place to grow both personally and professionally. Our profession gives us a wonderful opportunity to enjoy our lives and also be able to touch other peoples lives. It is a way for us to share ourselves with other people. That is exactly what we do when we give our personal photographic interpretation to a particular wedding, Bar Mitzvah, portrait or a commercial illustration, or whatever it happens to be. We are giving a part of ourselves to someone else for them to enjoy.

“As we give, we grow, and as we grow we can receive. What we receive allows us to grow even more and to give again. What a wonderful living cycle. It what makes this profession such a wonderful profession in which to live our lives.”

And I wondered as I left him enjoying his morning if he sees more than leaves when he looks at a tree, more than clouds in the sky, more than feathers on the birds in his backyard. I hope his life through his viewfinder constantly teaches him to look beyond the outlines to the essence within. I hope this photographer is doubly blessed. Once with a career that is exciting and vital and again with the special vision to see more in life than most people ever will. I know he will help them try.

Perhaps we will talk again.

100x100px - DAZ-LVr-LoResClose“Questions, always questions - questions seeking answers. When these questions come from within, so must the answers. With honest answers, not excuses, comes commitment - commitment to oneself. I  hope I always keep asking questions and never stop seeking answers.”

David A. Ziser - 1988

Submitted for fulfillment of requirements for:

American Society of Photographers Fellowship Degree


Hey gang, that’s it for me today.  Tomorrow I’ll post a directory of all the posts I’ve made over the last two weeks.  Thanks for letting me share with you my retrospective of Ziser Photography.  It’s been and continues to be a great ride!

See ya’ tomorrow,  David

Monday, August 05, 2013

Developing Your Own Distinct Style: A Visit With A Friend - Part 4

Good Morning Everybody,

I hope everyone else in the world is having the same wonderful weather we’re having here in the Midwest – it’s just been beautiful for the last week!  Unbelievable, for this time of year!.  Things are really hopping again – what’s new, right. 

Harry Benson PR PicHB4I just talked to Harry Benson, the super famous photographer who has photographed nearly every celebrity in the world from Michael Jackson to the iconic photos of the Beatles back in the Sixties.  The good news… Harry is going to be one of our headline speakers at PhotoPro Expo 2014.  A BIG THANK YOU to Canon USA for helping to make it happen.

I’m working hard to get the website ready to go in a few days so I’ll kick you some more details later this week.  You won’t believe the exciting line up of speakers for next year!  AMAZING!!!!

Anyway, let’s get on with today’s post.  It’s the second last installment of my series – A Visit By A Friend – my Fellowship paper for my ASP Fellowship Degree.  Hope you have enjoyed the posts so far.  Let’s get to part 4. 

Developing Your Own Distinct Style:  A Visit With A friend - Part 4

I took a moment to take another deep breath of spring and as I did I heard an entire chorus of blue jays, finches, and starlings join in the symphony. What a beautiful day it was!

I could see my friend again enjoying it as well. After a few minutes of thinking, he said, “Everyone of us can nurture our creative resources and can acquire technical expertise to make images that are exciting and completely different from what we are so used to seeing around us, and that doesn’t just mean weddings. Every area of photography benefits from an exciting difference in style and presentation.”

Wedding Page2

“You know,” he said, “sometimes just looking at the situation a little differently, from a different perspective, can open up an entire multitude of creative possibilities.

“I’ve noticed my own style of photography changing and maturing over the last few years. I like to experiment with alternative, non smiling, expressions on my subject’s faces, expressions that don’t detract from the image but enhance the entire composition. I enjoy using what I call design lines in my composition. These are the design elements that lead to, enhance, and balance the subject in the overall composition. I enjoy the dramatic perspectives and ‘background to subject’ relationships I can get with various wide angle and telephoto lenses.

Wedding Page

“For instance, how do we normally see the wedding party groups photographed at a wedding? More than likely they are lined up on the steps in the sanctuary - pretty boring isn’t it. That’s what everybody does. But how about if we back up, maybe use a wide angle lens and take in the entire grandeur of the church. We could even use a slower shutter speed to increase the detail of the beautiful surroundings even more and make this new background part of our overall composition. We can balance the grouping to pivot on our main compositional element, say the groom. Think how much more interesting this would be compared with the tired alternative. This approach would also work with the groom or bride individually and with the couple as well.

“Scene setting photographs are another series of images generally completely overlooked by wedding photographers, but what better way to individualize the coverage for your client. I call these images architectural pictorials. They may be wide angle views of the stain glass windows or organ pipes, close ups of the different architectural nuances of the location, whatever. All of these images can come together to individualize this particular wedding for this particular couple.

Kiss Of Love1486_SchulerW11

“Again, beautiful outdoor pictorials are some of the most stunning images we can capture for our clients. The opportunity to create beautiful pictorials unfortunately does not always happen on the wedding day because the weather is not right or the time of day is not right, or there is no time, whatever it might be. But if we take a different approach we can still guarantee these photographs for our clients as part of their wedding photography.

“We are not constrained to do these photographs on the wedding day, are we? Of course not. As I said earlier, the wedding takes place when one person proposes and the other accepts. The feelings they have for each other are there for the entire engagement, wedding, and hopefully for the rest of their lives together. Why not do these photographs when the time, weather, lighting, etc. are perfect for the desired effect. Why limit ourselves as creative artists to the time constraints of the wedding day for such photography.

Toyota Jump0754_SchulerW11

Lets photograph the love, romance, and excitement of the wedding on that day. Lets capture the wedding fantasy when we have the time to find the dramatic surroundings and use our creative ability and technical expertise to create an image for our clients that is powerful, exciting, and romantic.


Hey gang, that’s it for me today.  Be sure to check back in tomorrow for the last installment of “A Visit By A Friend.”   The title: “Questions Seeking Answers.”

Have a great one and I’ll see you then,  David

Friday, August 02, 2013

Sameness Kills Enthusiasm! A Visit By A Friend - Part 3

Good Morning Everybody,

Sony VaioThings are pretty calm around here in DigitalProTalk-land with one exception, my 3 year old Sony Vaio laptop is acting very strange with messages saying it can’t boot up.  I thought I had solved the problem but after inserting a SDHC card from another photographer it did the same thing. 

With Photoshop World only 5 weeks away, I really didn’t want to get a brand new computer.  But considering we hit the road for my Budapest Master Class (Still a few seats left BTW) right after PSW and follow that up with two months of travel throughout Eastern Europe, I may not have a choice.

PSWDAZNOTE: BTW, did you see the latest deal happening at the Photoshop World sight – they’re giving away a one year subscription to Adobe Cloud – that includes ALL the Adobe programs for FREE for one year.  AND, if you register now, you’ll save an additional $100!  Hey gang, that sounds like money in your pocket.  Check it out right here.

I saw a deal on a Windows 8 Touch Smart screen HP Envy i7 with 12gig memory, and 1T hard drive that looked pretty good – price only $850 at Costco – uhmmmmm….  The reviews look pretty good, anyone with personal experience on this machine?

Anyway, enough of my minor inconveniences, let’s get on with today’s post.

Sameness Kills Enthusiasm!  A Visit By A Friend Part 3
“There are two losers when this happens. One, of course, is ourselves, the other is the client.

“There is no greater personal or professional injustice than to compromise the client because we don’t like what we are doing - because we lost our enthusiasm. It is a disservice to our profession as well to have a client call a photographer for a particular service, the photographer to take the assignment, and then only give the assignment 50 - 60% of his effort.

“Photographers not committed to their clients are also not committed to this profession and should change jobs!

“But, in all fairness to some of these photographers, hopefully they recognize the problem and will select a different hallway of possibilities to rekindle their enthusiasm. I certainly hope so.”

DucksThe ducks had spotted the surplus seeds the squirrel and birds were inadvertently dropping from the feeder and wandered over to partake of the new menu items.

The wind had picked up a bit and the sun was brighter and slightly higher in the sky. I couldn’t help but smile as I noticed that in this more brisk breeze one old tree had assumed the role of conductor. One of its branches, missing nearly all its leaves, swayed more quickly when compared to the other trees with their leaf laden branches. It appeared our new conductor was enjoining the rest to follow his tempo. Our visual orchestra was now playing a completely different, and still thoroughly fascinating, symphony of colors, shades, and motion for our eyes.

We both paused to enjoy the new morning rhapsody and after a few moments I asked, “If this difference is the secret, then how do you apply that thinking to something like wedding photography which all looks pretty much alike?”

“You know,” he said, “Maybe they do seem the same on the surface. Sure, everyone gets ready before hand, then they have the ceremony, and then on to the reception. But a photographer feeling this way misses most of what the wedding is all about.”

I think the wedding begins,” he continued, “when one person proposes marriage to the other, and the other accepts. Now their fantasy begins. The good news is spread from family to family and friend to friend and everyone is really getting excited. The planning revs up faster and faster as they approach the big day. The attendants are asked. The gowns, tuxedos, flowers, and locations of ceremony and reception are selected. The showers and parties are given. The excitement is building.

Wedding Pic3“It’s these feelings of love, romance, anticipation, and excitement which this couple and their families have been sharing in the preceding months, and climaxing on their wedding day that make each wedding different! It’s these feelings that WE, the wedding photographer, have been given the responsibility to capture. “If we see all weddings as the same, it will be evident in our photography.

“I believe that if my client chooses me for a particular assignment, they are selecting me because of the difference in my work when compared to the alternatives. They prefer my style, or more specifically, my way of visual photographic interpretation.

“This belief gives me the motivation for what I do. I feel that I am there to do more than just capture the people, places and events of the day. These are the tangible aspects of the wedding that everyone can see. It is my responsibility to capture the love and romance the couple feels toward each other, and the warm feelings among all the families and friends. It is my responsibility to capture all the fun, excitement, and spontaneity of the day as well. All these things are the intangibles associated with the affair that must be made part of the photographic interpretation.

“To do that effectively, I must, on every assignment make the very best possible use of my creative ability and technical expertise without compromise.

“A wedding or any other photographic commitment we make is like having an uncut gem placed before us. It is up to us to work our photographic magic on it - to cut and polish it to its highest point of perfection within our current capabilities.

“A wedding is a particularly multi faceted gem to carve and polish. One facet is the opportunity to make beautiful portraits of a bride on her wedding day. They can be low key, medium key or hi-key and we can range the expressions from soft and demur to happy and exuberant.

Wedding Pic2

We have that same opportunity with the groom. We need to give the groom equal billing in our photography as well. He is so often the forgotten element. Why do so many photographers miss this opportunity to create beautiful images for the groom and his family?

Wedding Pic4“Another facet of the wedding is how we show all the support people involved in the wedding. We need to make photographs of the bride with her mother and father, the maid of honor, brothers and sisters, flower girls and ring bearers, special friends - all the people that help make her day special. When we take these photographs, we want something more than everyone looking into the camera smiling. That’s is ok but let’s also take this opportunity to let this series of photographs capture the feelings and emotions between the people involved.

“Showing the bride with the little ring bearer looking at the groom’s ring is a good example. This photograph could easily capture a special moment between the bride and groom and that little person.

Wedding Pic“If we can capture the real feelings between our clients in our photography and our clients experience these emotions again when they view our photographs, then we have captured something very special, lasting, and important for them.”

As I sat listening I realized two things: First, in his wedding photography he was actually becoming part of the wedding himself. He, too, was a friend of the couple and their families on their day. This rapport he was able to create with his clients allowed his camera to get closer and record the feelings he was talking about.

Secondly, he was one with the camera. The hardware was simply an extension of himself. As he got to know his new friends, it was easy for him to see their honest expressions and their real feelings, and he, as the camera, was ready.

Food For Thought


Hey gang, that’s it for me today.  Still thinking about that HP computer ;~)

Have a great rest of the day and I’ll see you bright and early for A Visit By A friend Part 4 tomorrow.


Thursday, August 01, 2013

Seeing The Magic Happen For The First Time - Amazing! And Time For Commitment!

Good Morning Everybody,

I’m back again today with Part 2 of my ASP Thesis: A Visit By A Friend.  This section covers my early days as I first began to develop my interest in photography, how I transitioned from Engineering, and finally made my full commitment to photography. Hope you enjoy the read.  -David


Seeing The Magic Happen For The First Time - Amazing!  A Visit By A Friend – Part 2

The breeze had slowed quite a bit as he talked, and a squirrel joined two birds at the feeder. He continued, “You know, I still remember my first big thrill in photography. My dad had experimented with photography as a young man and I thought I should give it a try too. So a friend and I, both of us fifteen years old, decided to try to print our own pictures from negatives we found in our families’ photograph albums. Our ‘reference manuals’ were 1939 Ansco and Kodak booklets that I had found with my dad’s old photo supplies. These obviously were not the most recent editions currently available - it was 1964 but the basic information was still the same.

Velox paper“I ventured down to my local camera store and purchased a quart can of Dektol developer and a 25 sheet pack of 2 ½ x 3 ½ Velox printing paper. That evening, long after the sun had set, we set up our ‘lab’ in my friend’s kitchen with ‘Tupperware trays’ and the chemicals we purchased earlier in the day.

“With lights out, we carefully placed a negative, they were quite large prior to 1964 - no instamatics at that time you know, onto a piece of our precious printing paper. We ‘critically’ timed the exposure by quickly switching the room lights on and off - what precision - and placed this still white piece of paper into our special elixir to watch the magic happen. The seconds seemed like hours but finally the faint ghosting of an image started to appear. Our hearts were racing. The positive image continued to build and about a minute later it looked great. As our ‘manuals’ had instructed, we moved the print into our diluted ‘Heinz vinegar’ shortstop for a few seconds and then into the fix. We hit the light soon after and looked with astonishment and amazement at our first print!

“My adventure continued as I continued to experiment. My first ‘enlarger’ was a ‘Kenner Give-a-Show’ projector that I ‘borrowed’ from my sister. I just cut out ‘Mickey Mouse’ from the cartoon panel strip and taped a favorite negative in Mickey’s place. It worked. Adding an aperture card to the front of the lens even improved the sharpness,” he chuckled, and then said, “My experimenting continued and so did my enthusiasm.”

As I listened, I knew his background was not in photography because I had seen his Physics degree and Engineering degree hanging on the wall in his home. So I asked him how and when he made the transition into photography.

Physics Degree

He answered, “You know, all through college I studied to be an engineer but always used photography to pay the tuition, rent, and buy the books.During my college days, I was also involved in yearbook photography and custom lab work with the two biggest school operations in Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio.

Engineering Degree

“For three years after graduation I worked as an engineer. I spent the following four years working for myself as an engineering consultant throughout the state of Ohio. During this period I always had a lingering love of photography. Near the end of 1978 I was involved in a large consulting project which was just reaching completion. Within that same time period, working as a part time professional wedding photographer my assignments were increasing to the point where I needed to reconsider my part time status as a photographer. In October of that year, after a great deal of consideration, I decided to make a career change. 1979 was my first year as a full time professional photographer.”

I  Finally Made A Real Commitment To My Future

1143_HwangW02He continued more emphatically now, “I was talking about my future - my investment of time and effort in myself. This decision meant much more than just deciding to go ‘full time’. It also had to be my commitment for my studio and to all my clients that we would constantly and energetically strive to produce the finest photography and best service available…. without compromise!

Bar Mitzvah Pics“When I started, we offered primarily wedding photography and four years later added Bar Mitzvahs to our repertoire. To this day our photography is 90% Weddings/Bar Mitzvahs and 10% Portraits.

“Regardless of what we did, I only wanted to offer the best for our clients! We have never strayed from that concept.”

“How did you prepare yourself for that commitment?” I asked.

“I knew the basics of photography,” he answered, “After all, I had been involved in it for fourteen years in one capacity or another. But since I had made my commitment, I knew that I was going to have to improve my images. My current photographs did not ‘sing’ to me. They were just the ordinary images you see everyday.

“I felt I needed something new and some additional input, so in 1979 I started attending every single seminar, workshop, and convention that I could. I would listen to the best photographers in the field and study what they were teaching, and learn what they were doing. I relentlessly pursued this course of action and methodically monitored my results.

“There was one pitfall to this strategy though. Copying the masters only makes you a master copier. That is not what I wanted for myself. I wanted a blending of their style and technique with my own creativity in order to produce a style entirely my own. I wasn’t looking for the recipe to make their soup. I was looking at their ingredient list, maybe varying some of the amounts, and adding a few of my own spices. The final broth would be my own!

‘It’s the Difference that Makes the Difference!!!’

“This whole thought process and action helped me distill one of my basic tenants about this profession which, simply stated, is this: ‘It’s the Difference that Makes the Difference!!!’

Its The Diggerence

“I wanted my work to be different from the other photographers in my area, as well as those which I had the wonderful opportunity to study with. I didn’t want to be a copy of my teachers any more than I wanted to copy what everyone was doing locally. I wanted this difference to be the reason my potential clients called me. I wanted my clients to know what this difference was. I wanted this difference to be the reason for my anticipated photographic success.

“Think about this for just a moment. Sameness is boring, stagnant, not growing. Sameness breeds frustration, mediocrity, and eventually contempt for what one is doing. Look at how many photographers don’t photograph weddings anymore and proudly proclaim it. Such a proclamation is simply an admission that they were failing to grow in their wedding photography.

“There are two losers when this happens. One, of course, is ourselves, the other is the client!

End of Part 2: Food For thought!


Hey gang, that’s it for me today.  Plan to stop by tomorrow where I’ll be kicking it up a notch in the next installment  -  my ASP Thesis.

See you then,