Wednesday, March 31, 2010

"Tampa By Night"

Tampa At Night-IMG_5304

"Tampa By Night"
©David A.Ziser

This is a rare shot for me.  First, I don’t shoot much night photography.  And, secondly, I rarely shoot B&W in the camera.  I was actually shooting some documents to send over to my studio and always shoot them in B&W mode.  It was later in the evening that I looked out at the view from our hotel balcony, liked what I saw, and took a few shots.  I was amazed by the B&W tonalities I saw on my LCD screen. I thought the B&W shot looked really interesting.  Compositionally the shot contains a wide range of tones which I enjoy.  More so though, I like how the lines, angles, and curves of the building structures came together in this shot.  Camera specs: Canon 7D fitted with 18-200mm IS lens at 18mm, F 3.5 @ 1/60 second, ISO 3200. Enjoy!  -David

PhotoFavs Wednesday: The Case Against Fast Glass; Follow My Twitterview Tomorrow

Good Morning Everybody,

We landed safe and sound yesterday, unpacked the bags, checked in with the team, and called it a day about 6:00 p.m.  Today it’s back to a normal routine around here which is a good thing.

CAnon Printer We are prepping the space in our production area for next week’s install of the new Canon iPF 8100 printer.  It’s about 2 inches wider than the Epson 9880 it’s replacing.  The problem is that the space is about 1 inch too small to make everything fit.  Don’t you love when that happens.  We’ve got a few work-a-rounds in mind so I’m sure everything will work out just fine.

Follow My Peachpit Twitterview Tomorrow At 2:00p.m. EDT

Peachpit Tomorrow I will answer your most pressing questions (photographywise), in easy-to-manage 140-character bites via Twitter! This grand event will take place tomorrow on Thursday, April 1, at 11 am PST.

To tune in, just follow @Peachpit and @DigitalProTalk. You can even set up a Tweetdeck group with just those 2 tweeps and follow along or search for this hashtag: #CBTL.

Twitterview So here's your chance! What wedding tips have you been dying to know? What should you do on your next wedding shoot?  Check out all the info about my Twitterview right here.  Don’t forget to watch the short 2 minute video too.  We shot it at PSW last week.  Hope to “see” you there - It should be fun.

OK, time to get on with today’s post and I think I’ve got a good one for you, especially if you are considering purchasing any new lenses soon.  So, let’s get right to it.  Here we go…

The Case Against Fast Glass

No Fast GlassDid the title get your attention;~) I thought this post title might really fire up the large F-stop prime lens shooters but here goes anyway. 

You know, all the time, I'm asked why I don't shoot lens with those big fat F-stops. Look at any of my "Image of the Day" posts and you will see I'm usually (like never) at the maximum aperture of the lens I'm shooting. In most cases I’m never using “L-Series” lenses – Canon’s really high priced spread.

OK, why do I shy away from that "big boy" glass?  Here's why…… I just don't need them. 

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

Now the rest of the story is this.  I really don't need them for my style of shooting.  How often am I shooting with just the available light.

In reality, it is very seldom. Sure, Jeff Ascough [link] gets away with it every weekend – but, it’s his STYLE of shooting.  That’s why he is such a big fan of fast glass.  By the way, Jeff, congrats on you being named as an upcoming Lens & Light Honoree at

Those that know me, know that my “gig” is lighting – lot’s of creative on-camera and off-camera flash.  This is true for most of my wedding/portrait photography.  Is that a bad thing?  Of course not – it’s just my style.

An Elegant Afternoon I love the challenge of placing that light, or more accurately stated, the “tonal values” of the scene right where I want them.  That’s how I create those dramatic images.  For me it’s about MAKING the lighting exciting!

That is not to say that some lighting is NOT exciting all by itself - any self respecting sunset knows that’s some exciting lighting.

Let’s look how often I shoot without flash.  I begin the wedding coverage with two cameras – one with a flash mounted on it, and the other with that rare gem, a 50mm F1.4 lens attached.  The second lens is the one I use for those truly candid shots.  But even with that lens on the camera, I still shoot it at mostly F2.0.  Why, it’s about the depth of field.  F1.4 is just too shallow a depth of field for me.  Frankly, too many of my images are too far out of focus for my tastes when using the lens wide open.

50mm F1.4 That easily explains why I would NEVER pick up a 85mm F1.2 lens for the whopping price of $1,800!  Heck, Zack Arias suggested a 85mm F 1.8 lens as a great starter lens for new photographers.  Hey, I can’t disagree with that.  I would never hang out at that F1.2 range anyway.  My gosh, the depth of field of the 85mm at F1.2 on a Canon 7D is less than 2.5 inches at 10 feet!!!

OK, I know a few folks are going to disagree with me.  They are going to contend that the fast glass opens up a brand new set of shooting possibilities for the wedding/portrait photographer.  I don’t disagree with this either. Remember, I do take a few images with my wider aperture 50mm F1.4 lens.  But stylistically, it’s just not my thing.

Of course I shoot the entire wedding ceremony without flash.  In fact the only time a flash SHOULD fire during the ceremony is during the procession and recession only – NO FLASH during the ceremony EVER!!!

Little Ringbearer Don’t I want fat F-stops for those shots? Not necessarily.  I like to shoot my 70-200mm F2.8 IS lens at F3.5 because of the slightly extra depth of field. For most of my ceremony shots, I prefer my 70-300mm F3.5-5.6 DO IS lens on my Canon 7D.  With that lens “racked out” to 300mm on the 7D camera body you have an effective 480mm focal length.  Now you can really shoot those “reach out and touch somebody” candids.

Toast Rider I  also do some “available light” shooting at the wedding reception, but not a great deal.  My 50mm F1.4 and 70-200mm IS lenses work just fine for those candid shots.

Am I putting down those that love their fast glass – of course not.  Go for it.  I would rather spend my money on more intermediate priced lenses, for example, the 24-105mm IS lens at only $1100.  This is one of my favorite lenses. It’s fast enough for many “available light” shots but still gives me a good range of zoom focal length that helps me avoid the “lens changing juggle” at a wedding.

For me too, it’s about getting the expressions quickly and efficiently.  That’s what the 24-105mm IS lens allows me to accomplish easily.

High ISOs Let’s talk a bit more about the F4.0 or even F5.6 maximum apertures on some of the lenses I use.  OK, What has become the great equalizer of the slower vs. faster glass in recent years?  It’s clearly the new crop of high ISO cameras from both Canon and Nikon.  Couple that with the new noise cancelling capabilities of Lightroom 3 and lots of the advantages of shooting fast glass is falling by the wayside.

The “fast glass” advantage before revolved around the ability to shoot at faster shutter speeds to stop the action and reduce camera shake.  The other advantage rested in the stylistic rendition of the image with an extremely shallow depth of field.  High ISO cameras remove all the fast glass advantages except shallow depth of field.

Think about it.  Shooting at F2.0 at 1/60 second at ISO 400 was a good thing in low light situations.  But, heck, now I can shoot F4.0 at 1/250 second at a perfectly respectable ISO 6400.  Add a little noise reduction and I’m' home free.

The bottom line for me is this:

1. My style let’s me shoot at higher ISO’s and consequently smaller F-stops.

2.  I’m a “light guy” and light using my strobes creatively.  Fast glass is inconsequential to my results.

3. For shooting quickly, I like the longer range of focal lengths of the slower glass (offset by the higher ISO cameras).

4. My shooting style is not predominately available light only so I really don’t need a heavy (literally) fast glass.

5. I prefer flattering my subjects with “flattering” light that I can bring to the shoot and I do that at my favorite F 5.6 aperture.

6. I prefer the versatility of shooting with “room lights” at the wedding reception.  I typically shoot my reception candids at F6.3. with three lights firing at a wedding reception, one on camera ( fill-light only), one held by my assistant (main light), and the third on a light stand in the corner of the room. I can come up with some great spontaneous shots that would be completely missed by the fast glass shooters.

7.  I mix my flash shots with my available light shots which gives me a wider range of image options for my clients – photographically speaking at least.

8. And, I’m cheap and don’t want to spend the giant sized bucks on a 85mm or 50mm F1.2 lens.

Anyway, it takes more that one style of photography to make the photographic world go ‘round and my photographic style finds no compromise when choosing not to use fast fat glass.

Hey, just my opinion.  But, you know in your hearts, that I’m right :~) 


Hey gang, on that note I’m out of here.  It’s back to my real job today.  Why don’t you drop your own thoughts in the “Comments” section below and become part of the “fast glass – no fast glass” conversation.

I’ll plan to see everyone tomorrow for another profit building episode of Business Day Thursday - “How To Make A Little Add Up To A Lot.”

See ya’ then,  -David

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

"Steps Alive!"

Steps Alive2

"Steps Alive!"
©David A.Ziser

Here is an image I made while at Photoshop World late week.  We had checked into our hotel room and when I looked out the window, we had a great view of the pool and also these steps leading to the pool area. The early evening lighting was just right for the shot. The contrasting colors of reds and blues looked pretty cool to me.  I also liked the contrasts of the diagonal lines of the railings with the the steps themselves.  Yes, I "juiced" the colors in Lightroom and slid the Clarity slider all the way to the right for the final effect for this abstract image.  Camera specs; Canon 7D fitted with 18-200mm IS lens at 35mm, F4.5 @1/60 second, ISO 200. Enjoy!  -David

Technique Tuesday: Shoot It First - Fix It In Lightroom

Good Morning Everybody,

Kelby Media It was good to have things fall back to a more normal pace these last few days.  Yesterday I headed up to Oldsmar, Florida - World headquarters for NAPP. I caught up with R.C Conception of Layers TV fame and Matt Kloskowski, one of the Photoshop Guys.

After a quick lunch we headed to the video studio and did several episodes of D-Town TV.  It was nice to give D-Town a little more "Canon" flavor.  D-Town TV is a great resource for any digital photographer shooting and it is NOT brand specific anymore.  I enjoyed sharing a few of my Canon secrets.

The next episode airs soon - before it's month long hiatus - maybe even this week. I'll let you know when it goes "live."

PhotoshopUser TV Next I caught up with Dave Cross and we did a few Photoshop User TV episodes during my visit. It's always a kick to catch up with those guys and get a chance to do a few episodes.  I look forward to doing it again in the future.

Hey, can you believe it - I'm back on schedule today.  These Technique Tuesdays take a little time to put together but all things worked out so I could get it posted today.  So let's get right to it.

Shoot It First - Fix It In Lightroom!

You know, that's a "mantra" that usually fires up many of the "purist" photographers these days.  I believe it is important to do your best in obtaining the desired results in the camera. But, you know what, “shoot it first - fix it in Lightroom” sometimes is the MOST SENSIBLE approach to take in any shooting assignment.  Hear me out.  Why take 10 minutes to get it right in the camera when you can easily fix it in 30 seconds in Lightroom or Photoshop?

You know, it's only good business.  If you are "fussing" to get it right in the camera at the expense of missing great shots elsewhere - let's think weddings for instance - you're nuts to be wasting time shooting the shot to "perfection" when "perfection" is easily achieved with a mouse click or two.

Today's video illustrates this fact perfectly.  During my Pre-Con at Photoshop World last week we were shooting in a church that presented a very difficult lighting challenge for any wedding photographer shooting at this location.  There was simply was NO way to get it right in the camera.  You'll get the idea what I'm talking about when you watch this week's video.  Hit the PLAY button below, see how I solved my problems and enjoy the show.

In today's digital world of photography we have some great hardware to shoot with.  Coupled with the cameras, we have some terrific software tools that should go "hand in hand" with our cameras to capture that great image for the client.

Here is my simple, practical, business centric rule on the subject:

The most practical and economical solution in any shooting situation should ALWAYS be the shortest way (hardware or software) to get to the final result - PERIOD!


Hey gang, that's it for me today.  We head to the Tampa airport shortly and then head back home.  Although we had a great stay in Florida, it will be good to get back to the great Midwest. Spring is in the air and I for one love the change of seasons.

Don't forget to tune in tomorrow as I make the case AGAINST fast glass.  That one should poke the bumble bee nest a bit;~)

See everybody tomorrow from good ol' KY.

Adios,  -David

Monday, March 29, 2010

"Stain Glass Melody"

Stain Glass Melody

"Stain Glass Melody"
©David A.Ziser

Here is one more image captured during my Pre-Con at PSW last week.  The church was a bit of a challenge to work in because of the brightness of the stain glass windows relative to the rest of the church surrounds.  More on this later this week.  Anyway, to minimize the problems, I positioned the bride to the left side of the alter area and composed her between the two paintings hanging on the front walls of the church.  I slowed down the shutter to pick up the detail of the surrounds and let the "stain glass" exposure fall where it would.  No problem, a tweak in Lightroom finished this traditional wedding portrait of our bride.  The low vantage point and wide angle lens added just a bit of the “dramatics" to the image.  Lighting camera right 8 feet away 1/8 power on my Quantum through my Zumbrella. Camera specs; Canon 7d fitted with 18-200mm IS lens at 18mm, F5.6 at 1/30 second, ISO 800.  Enjoy!  -David

Quick Hit Monday: Hot New CS5 and LR3 Features; Heading To D-Town TV; and More

Good Morning Everybody,

Busy - Fotolia_3142900_Subscription_XL We had a little time to catch our breath over the weekend and are ready to go full-speed-ahead this week. That means that life at the studio and at DPT get pretty much back to normal. That's a relief for me too.  Trying to jam 5 blog posts in during Photoshop World, our busiest convention, is always a time crunching challenge.

Fellow blogger, Terry White, was doing a demo at the Manfrotto booth right next to our booth and I asked him, "Terry, how are you keeping up with at least two blogs now. How do you do it?"  His quick answer; "That's why I was up to 1:00 a.m. this morning."  Many of us have talked about joining "Blogger's Anonymous." ;~)

Anyway, we should be pretty much back on track for the week, so sit back, relax and enjoy.  Now on with Quick Hit Monday.

"Captured By The Light - Encore Presentation" Brings Down The Servers At Viddler!

Fireman fighting a fire Well, not exactly, but the bandwidth usage - over 8,000 downloads of my 2+ hour webcasts - sure raised eyebrows at Viddler.  That's almost 3 Tera-bytes of bandwidth!!!  Viddler hosts most of my Technique Tuesdays.  I have a few a Vimeo, but Viddler is so easy to use and accepts so many video file formats, I just kind of settled in with them a few years ago.

Anyway, with my posting of my two lengthy webinars, I received a call, not an email, from the vice president of the company. I tried to return the call on Saturday.  No luck, so I'll try again today.  I'll keep you posted on the outcome of the call.  I suspect nothing will change except that they may want to boot me up to a "business" account.  At that bandwidth, that could be as much as $1000/mo charge - YIKES!!! - we'll see.  I'm sure things will work out.

Heading To D-Town Today

D-Town That's right.  I incorrectly said I was heading over to NAPP World Headquarters today to shoot a few Photoshop TV episodes.  Actually Matt Kloskowski told me they were going to be recording D-Town TV episodes.  Either way, it should be fun. 

I've spent a little time over the weekend preparing some topics both on Camera techniques and some on flash techniques. I'll keep you posted as to when they will air.

The Hottest News At The Convention - NEW Lightroom 3 & CS5 Features

LR3I mentioned it on Wednesday but I wanted to give you a bit more info on the topic today.  During the Opening ceremonies at Photoshop World. Tom Hogarty, showed three new "sizzling" features coming down the road for Lightroom 3.  These new components brought down the house. 

The first was shooting tethered - very cool.  The second was the ability to import and organize videos from our DSLR cameras - wow.  And the third, was Lightroom's brand new ability to almost completely vanish noise from our DSLR images - look out 1,000,000 ISO - here I come;~)

I sure wish I would have video-ed that part of the presentation, but I did not.  You can check out USA Today's Jackson Graham's write up of the new LR3 B2 features right here.  Want to have even more fun - watch Terry White demonstrate the new features right here. DAZNOTE: this is a MP4 download, but no big deal - still fun to watch.

You can download the latest Lightroom3 beta through Adobe Labs. Through the grapevine, I hear that this latest Beta is more like Lightroom 2.9 which means it's pretty darn close to the upcoming release version. Check it out - looks pretty cool to me!

CS5 The other super cool announcement at the show was the brand new feature in CS5 called "Content Aware Fill".  This was simply "jaw-dropping" when you saw it in action.  I don't want to say any more. 

Why, because I want to point you to the video demo of "Content Aware Scaling" right here.  It's a short little YouTube video that's already raised over 1,700,000 eyebrows - you've got to check it out - AMAZING!!!

This new CS5 feature is simply magical and will make CS5 easily worth the upgrade. Pssst!  I hear it's being released April 12, 2010 [link] - less that two weeks from now.  I suspect Lightroom 3 will follow close behind it.

One More For The Road - A Site Worth Checking Out

Niekerk Pic While walking the show you get a chance to talk with lots of people - always a good thing.  In one of my conversations, someone mentioned Planet Neil run by Neil van Niekerk - a great site they said.  I checked it out over the weekend and it does look very content rich, as they said.  Definitely worth the peek right here

Neil also has a book, "On-Camera Flash Techniques" it’s receiving lots of great reviews at Check it out right here.


Hey gang, I got to get moving and head over to NAPP World Headquarters.  How about I see everyone back here tomorrow.  We head home tomorrow.  My plan is to post Wednesday's post, "The Case Against FAST Glass" on Tuesday and my Technique Tuesday on Wednesday.  And I said we were getting back to normal  - well, almost;~)

See ya' tomorrow,  -David

Friday, March 26, 2010

Don't Throw Me A Curve

Don't Throw Me A Curve

"Don’t Throw Me  A Curve"
©David A. Ziser

OK, you are probably getting the idea that I like the lines at the Orlando Convention Center.  Walking around here is certainly a really good way to practice “seeing” compositional elements and directions. I first visualized this shot with the groom center positioned in the shot. I had originally positioned him on the resting point (lowest point) of the horizon line defined by the structure behind him - he is still on that “resting point” or lowest point of the curve. After I reframed the shot with with him at “nodal point #4” in the composition, I liked it better.  Notice that I have him looking camera right and illuminated him from the same direction.  Now we have the leading lines coming in from the opposite direction, which I feel, adds motion and more interest to the image.  One might think the photograph would have been better framed with the leading lines coming in from the right, but I still prefer this composition.  Hey, beauty is in the eye-of-the-beholder.  Camera specs: Canon 7D fitted with 18-200mm IS lens at 50mm, F6.3 @ 1/250 second, ISO 800.  Enjoy!  -David

Another Frantic Friday!

Good Afternoon Everybody,

Convention Center Today has been another very frantic day at Photoshop World  - all good frenzied activity, but still frantic ;~).  I am keeping this really “short and sweet” today.  The closing ceremonies are starting as I am writing this post.

This year’s PSW has been the best ever.  Thanks to all who came up to say “HI”.  I had a great time meeting everyone and signing everyone’s books.  So many were telling me that they had weddings coming up and couldn’t wait to dig into the book. 

Booth visiter What was more surprising to me was how many folks come up to me and told me they WEREN’T wedding photographers, but just wanted to get the book to learn lighting and composition.  What can I say – thanks so much for all the very kind remarks.

DAZ Signing books I was also told by Peachpit that my book was already headed into it’s second printing – all pretty exciting!

We are heading to Tampa over the weekend and doing some upcoming episodes of Photoshop User TV and a few other projects as well.  I’ll keep you posted next week.

There are also rumors that I may be leading a photo safari to Africa in the upcoming months.  That possibility was raised at the end of the Tech Expo Show so lots of details to follow up on as things develop.

Lastly, I’m doing a “Twitter View” with Peachpit Press next Thursday at 2:00 p.m.  Hey, I don’t even know what it is yet.  But I’ll pass those details out net week.

Hey gang, on that note I’ve got to go.  I promise things will be pretty much back to normal next week.  Have a great weekend and I’ll see you on the flip side signing in from Oldsmar, Florida – NAPP world headquarters.

See ya’ Monday,  -David

Thursday, March 25, 2010

"The Convention Manager"

The Convention Manager

"The Convention Manager"
©David A. Ziser

Here is another shot from my wedding Pre-Con shoot while at Photoshop World.  I mentioned yesterday how much I like the “design” lines of this Orlando Convention Center.  We were doing a little shooting around the “spaces” on the way to the buses.  We received word that the buses were running  a bit late so I kept shooting around the convention center. 

As we exited the building on our way to the escalators down to the buses I noticed the bright shapes and forms of the building’s exterior.  I liked the brightly lit rectangular areas capturing sections of the blue sky. I also liked the diagonal lines running through the scene.  I thought, “What a perfect place for an “executive portrait” . 

I asked our model to stand in for the portrait shot. I positioned him in the fourth quadrant of the frame against the larger shadowed diagonal element on the right side of the scene.  This served as an interior frame for him and also leads the viewer’s eye easily toward the subject.  The other elements simply balance the rest of the composition. 

Lighting was a bit tricky.  I dialed down the ISO to 200 in order to hold the color in the sky.  The higher aperture and faster shutter speed gave me the sky tonalities I wanted . Now I just needed to obtain the correct exposure on my subject. 

That was accomplished by pumping my Quantum flash up to full power and getting it as close to my subject as possible.  At full power – about 150 watt seconds – I was able to put the correct exposure on my gentleman while still maintaining the detail in the sky and overhead structures. 

Camera specs: Canon 7D fitted with 10-22mm lens at 18mm, F11 @ 1/320 second, ISO 200.  Enjoy! -David

Thursday: Too Many Things To Do, Too Little Time

Good Morning Everybody,

Yesterday was such a whirlwind, we barely had time to catch our breath.  At Photoshop World you begin early about 8 a.m. and end late – like around midnight.  Throw in today’s early morning wakeup call for my 8:15 a.m. program, and it’s a pretty full schedule.

KISSIf you’ve never been to a Photoshop World, well – you need to check it out.  Not only are the 3-4 days a complete “brain fry” of information, it is also “ton’s of fun.  The opening ceremonies yesterday brought tears to my eyes – because I was laughing so hard.   Scott Seeing Scott Kelby, Felix Nelson, et. doing the NAPP version of a 1980’s KISS performance in full costume and face makeup was just out of this world entertaining.

After the opening ceremony, it was a trip to the Tech Expo area to set up our booth.  I like to do that while I’m presenting at Photoshop World because it gives me a chance to visit with everyone that attended my programs and has additional questions. I also promised to autograph my new wedding book for anyone bringing it by. As well known photographer and author, Rick Sammon, told me earlier in the day, “It’s a lot more fun signing the book than writing it.”  I think I agree with you Rick.

Digital Exp And speaking of Rick Sammon he asked me to do a quick podcast with him for his new site I made the trip over to PhotoFocus to check it out – it looks pretty.  They have lots of stuff posted already.  I’ll keep you posted when the podcast hits.

DAZ Joe Another cool thing about this convention is just all the training that takes place in the classroom.  It’s also about all the training going happening on the Tech Expo floor as well.  Manfroto’s booth was right next to our booth.  Joe McNally did a 30 minute presentation right next to us.  I had the dubious distinction of serving as his model for part of his session – always good fun with lots of laughs.

After the show closed, we headed to the Peachpit Party – always a great get together with many of the top Peachpit authors:  Joe McNally, Deke McClelland, Burt Monroy, and so many others.  The first time I attended the party I felt like the “king of newbie's.”  Here were all these famous people whose books I had read and I have an opportunity to shake hands, pick their brains and share a few laughs with them. WOW! What an honor.

This time around  was again a lot of fun.  We got to catch up with blogging buddy, Syl Arena of, who has a brand new book on Canon flashes coming out, being published by Peachpit Press.  Syl is a great guy and we had a wonderful visit and LaDawn and I had a terrific time at the Peachpit party.

Scott and Felix Next it was off to the Photoshop Party at B.B King’s.  Scott’s band brought down the house.  I got some great shots and some video clips too.  I was hoping to get a quick Animoto show together, but that precious commodity called time is getting away from me again. I’ll try again later.

We need to head to the Tech Expo is just a few minutes so I’m going to wrap things up for today.  Next week we’ll get back on our regular schedule – I promise.

I’ll plan to see everyone back here tomorrow with more updates and who knows what else. 

See ya’ then.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Conventions Of Love

The Conventions Of Love “The Conventions Of Love”

©David A. Ziser

OK, first of all no giggling at the title.  This is an image I captured yesterday at my pre-con shoot at the Photoshop World Convention (hence the title.)  Anyway, all joking aside, working at the Orlando convention center is a kick because of all the cool compositional elements one can “play” with.  Here I positioned the bride within the curved lines of the staircase.  Notice how the curved lines, the bride included, contrast well with all the vertical, horizontal, and diagonal lines in the scene.  I  really like working these compositional elements into my mages.  Lighting – my Quantum, camera left, through my Zumbrella Camera Specs, Canon 7D fitted with 18-200mm IS lens at 80mm F5.6 @ 1/100 second, ISO 800.  Enjoy!  -David

First Day At Photoshop World

Good Afternoon Folks,

PSW Orlando Man, time sure is tight around here today.  I hope to get loosened up a little later and get more posted.

Here are a few quick hits:

Adobe showed some fabulous new features in Lightroom 3. You can download the new Beta right now – just do it!  Noise reduction is unbelievable,  shooting tethered is amazing, and management of video files now included.  Very, very cool.

The content aware clone tool and patch tool in CS 5 is unbelievable too.  More to come later – they just opened the Tech Expo doors and the crowds, over 3,000 attendees, are descending upon us.  Hope to see you later today. -David

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

"Summer Memories"

IMG_8186-Edit 1024px

"Summer Memories"
©David A. Ziser

This is an image I made at last year's Wedding Shoot out.  I thought I would post in honor of today's Photoshop World Wedding Shootout.  Heck, we are down here in Orlando, Florida and I suspect we will have the same challenges faced in Las Vegas with the bright sunlight.  That is always a problem with the Las Vegas shoot, but, you know, it's kind of fun to think the situation through and see what solutions and images you can create.  I love how this shot came out.  My off-camera flash had flashed it's last flash and the battery was dead.  What to do? Well, I still had my 36 inch reflector and figured that if I could reflect the sun's light back into my bride's face, I could still maintain a nice sense of dimension to the finished image.  My friend, Kevin Aimes was tagging along on the shoot and I ask him to hold the reflector.  The sun was so bright coming back on the bride, she had to close her eyes.  Overall, we were trying to work through a really challenging lighting situation, but I didn’t stop. I think we "landed" a really nice image out of a really bad lighting situation.  Camera specs; Canon 5DMark II fitted with 24-105mm IS lens at 32mm, F16 @ 1/100 second, ISO 200.  Enjoy!  -David

Technique Tuesday: Classical Lighting Las Vegas Style

Good Morning Everybody,

We landed in Orlando, Florida safe and sound yesterday, got settled into our hotel and set out to explore the city.  Readers of this blog know that sometimes I “wax fantastic” over special restaurants we find in some of the cities we visit. 

Well today, let me point you to one of our favorites in Orlando.  It's called Season's 52 and is just sensational in the flavors they manage to put on a plate.  Seasons52 Hey, I don't want this to end up being a restaurant review today, but if you are reading this and are down here at Photoshop World, go check it out.  It's just a few miles away up Sand Lake Road - yummy.

OK, time to get on with today's post.  Here we go...

Classical Lighting At The Westcott Booth

Westcott You know, everybody wants to look  good in front of the camera.  That surely includes all the brides in the world with their weddings coming up this year.  We all know there are lots of photographers vying for the opportunity to shoot their weddings too. 

But what gives us the advantage on possibly having a better chance to book those weddings. Maybe our secret ingredient could be knowing something the masters of art years ago knew.  Yes, I’m talking about the Renaissance painters of that golden age.  They knew how to make people look good.

You know, I hear it all the time - people just don't want to stand around getting poked, prodded, and posed on their wedding day.  And so many photogs have jumped on that bandwagon and now lots of wedding photography looks very similar. 

Sure there are some great shooters out there turning out some striking images. What sets them apart from the "running and gunning" wedding photographer?  Many times it lies in the fact that those photographers capturing those beautiful images knows the secrets of the masters.

So what are those secrets? Let me show you, thanks to the Camera DoJo [link], Kerry Garrison. While at WPPI a few weeks ago, I was doing booth demos for my good friends at Westcott, the makers of some of my favorite lighting gear. As I'm doing my "Classical Lighting" demo, I see fellow blogging buddy, Kerry, in the audience - complete with video camera in tow.  And, he's pointing the darn thing at ME!

DAZ Westcott Anyway, I didn't mind at all.  The incident let's me take the really easy way out for this week's Technique Tuesday.  I'm just going to share with you Kerry's video which he featured at his site [link].  In it I show the three main "classical views of the face" - the secret of the Renaissance masters for making people look good.

Below is Kerry's video.  Remember, we are at a tradeshow and the sound is not going to be perfect - it drops out now and then.  That still does not impair the visual lessons I'm trying to teach to our tradeshow audience.  So why don't you give it a peek below.

Kerry has a lot more videos where that one came from too. Here is the link to the rest of the Camera Dojo's video library.  Enjoy!

Oh, BTW, I did a similar Technique Tuesday a few years ago demonstrating what I'm showing "live" in today's video.  Here is the link to that very popular video right here.


Hey gang, that's it for me today.  I'm charging the batteries and polishing my lenses for today's Wedding Shootout.  I've got something new I'm trying today - let's just call it the Z-Cloud effect.  Now I've got you guessing, don't i? You'll have to wait and see - that is, if all works out;~) Anyway, I still hope to have some great shots to share with you this week.

Adios, -David

Monday, March 22, 2010

"I Shutter To Think..."

I Shutter To Think...

"I Shutter To Think..."
©David A. Ziser

Here is another image I made in Las Vegas two weeks ago.  We were walking around Lake Las Vegas, just a short distance outside the city.  This is a very ambitious project with many "million dollar" homes.  It's always nice to walk the small community because of the very interesting and bright colors.  The experience reminds me a bit like our Cabo, Mexico trips.  Anyway, I saw these bright turquoise shutters against the strong red tones of the building and captured the image. I like too the live tree in this scene contrasting with the man-made structure.  The image is full of contrasts - hence the reason I hit the shutter button - no pun intended ;~)  Camera specs:  Canon 7D fitted with 18-200mm IS lens at 50mm, F8.0 @ 1/200 second, ISO 200.  Enjoy!  -David

Quick Hit Monday: $25 B&H Gift Cards; CBTL Re-Broadcast; Inspiring Images; Facebook Freebies; and Backups

Good Morning Everybody,

Orlando Con Ctr What a beautiful few days we enjoyed  this past weekend in Cincy. I think the winter thaw has finally begun.  Hope you had some smilin' warm weather in your part of the world, too.

We head to Orlando in about an hour - I'm presenting my pre-conference wedding shootout tomorrow at Photoshop World and then have two programs later this week.  If you are in the area, please come on up and say HI.  If you have your copy of my new book, bring it on by the Tech Expo and I'll sign it for you.  We are located in booth #434.  -Hope to see you there.

Since we are heading for the plane, let me get right to today's post.

CBTL Web-Cast Is Back On The Air

CBTL Snip What an adventure last Wednesday.  Presenting my CBTL presentation over the worldwide web and in front of our "live" studio audience was quite the experience.  I felt like one of those guys you see on TV trying to keep 10 plates spinning on the end of sticks for  2 1/2 hours;~)

From the audience view, everyone tells me all went great - thank you so much.  But, behind the scenes we were dealing with a few glitches which were resolved quickly and it was "on with the show."

Anyway, because of the few glitches, I decided to re-broadcast the entire 2 1/2 hour seminar and spent most of the weekend getting the web-cast online. That's another story - the length of the web-cast presented it own set of production issues but with a little (a lot) of persistence we resolved those issues also. 

Here is the good news - even if you weren't available to join us last Wednesday, you can still take advantage of the sponsors' special offers - and there were some great offers being made. 

Here is the link right here to the CBTL Web-cast, Sponsor Offers, and Winners.  Enjoy!

More Beautiful Inspiring Images

You know, when you are working on a frustrating project like I was this weekend, sometimes you just need a break.  As I was getting caught up on several emails this weekend, I saw Crash Taylor's note about new images hitting his fabulously inspiring "The Still Image" website [link]. 

Still Image1

I decided to take a break and give it a cruise.  Once again I was "blown away" by the images.  What’s exciting about the site is the fact that each image is posted complete with back-story, location, and camera and lighting details.  The visit is always a relaxing breath of fresh air.  Once again, here is the link.

And Beautiful Wedding Images Too

I made a remark in Friday's post entitled, "How Much Of A Professional Are You? Part 2" about a local photog that shot everything available light and mentioned that would not be my choice for shooting wedding receptions. Joe P, one of our DPT commenter's pointed me to Jeff Ascough [link], a wedding photographer from Great Britain, who shoots exclusively available light for weddings.

Jeff Ascough

I have to admit, I was impressed with his style and his wedding photography.  Check out Jeff's site right here and see if you don't agree.  I still don't think I would want to shoot an entire wedding without flash, but Jeff is truly a master of this photographic style.

Facebook Freebies & $25 B&H Gift Card

Facebook Freebies Are you into the "social networking" scene.  I think most of us are to some extent.  Some people have it all figured out and some are struggling with it.  Hey, I think it's important for the success of our business so we need to grab the "bull by the horns" and get a grip on how to master all these social networking opportunities.

Here is a link to several "freebie" apps and add-ons for Facebook and Twitter right here.  A few look quite interesting.  Have you got a favorite app, add-on, website, or strategy/process that helps you embrace the Facebook and Twitter experience, leave your suggestions in the "Comments" section below. 

If we receive 20 or more solid suggestions and/or recommendations for sites, apps, and add-ons to enhance the social networking experience, I'll award the winner a $25 Gift Card from B & H Photo and Video and a copy of my CBTL wedding book - what a deal!  Get those suggestions started. I'll let this contest run for a few weeks and we'll see what happens - hopefully good tips and ideas for all our DPT readers.

And One More Thing - Backups

Eggs One more thing, gang, before I hit the road. Backing up out data is about the most important thing we photographers need to do without exception.  No body wants to be faced with hard drive failure and lose all the data. I recently come across a very good article on the subject.  It is well written and thorough.  It's worth the read - here is the link right here.


Hey gang, I'm out of here. We are grabbing our bags and heading for the airport.  Have a great day today and I'll see ya' in Orlando tomorrow.

Adios, -David

Sunday, March 21, 2010

CBTL 2 1/2 Hour Re-Broadcast; Bonanza Offers; and The Winners Are…

Encore Presentation - “Captured By The Light”

Because of a few technical glitches during last Wednesday’s web-cast I’ve decided to repost the web-cast here so everyone could get a chance to view it.  You can also take advantage of the sponsor’s special offers even if you weren’t at the first web-cast – what a deal!

Below is the entire re-broadcast of my “live” presentation on Wednesday March 17, 2010. Sound is lost for about 15 seconds at 2:07:28 into the program.  That was point in the program where we announced some more winners, but don’t worry, all winners are listed below.

I restarted the program where the sound cut out  so you wouldn't miss anything. The seminar continues for 15 minutes additional after the sound glitch so hang in there.

Hit the PLAY button and enjoy the show! -David

Don’t forget to scroll down and check out all the Special Sponsor Bonanza Offers:

Digital Resource Center

CBTL Bundles

FREE 2 hr “Captured By The Light” Web-cast with any order - $29 value

Receive an autographed copy of my new book when ordered from our Digital Resource Center.

Digital Resource Center [link]



Graphic Authority

30% OFF any product from Graphic Authority – Expires 3/31/10

Photoshop Templates & Design Resources for Photographers

Use Promo Code: GADZ [link]


NIK Softwareimage

Special Offer

15% OFF any NIK Product  - Expires – 3/31/10

Promo Code: DZISER [link]




“The end of Slide Shows as you know them.”

Special Offer:

4 Months of Animoto Pro for the price of 3 - $132.00 value

You Save $33.00  - Expires 3/31/10

Use Promo Code: CBTL [link]


imageACI – American Color  Imaging







ACI – American Color Imaging [link]

imageMore Photos

Special Offer

50% OFF Setup! – Only $99.00 – Savings of $161.00!

$29/Month for 3 months! – Regularly $49/Month

Use Code: PROEDU2010 [link]


imageMarathon Press

The Photographer’s Marketing Partner

 Marathon Senior Promotion [link]


A Special “Thank You” to all our sponsors for generously providing over $2400 in Door Prizes!

Webcast Prize Winners – 3/17/10

And The Winners Are…

Graphic Authority

$100 Gift Certificate

Lauren Lilley – Loughborough, Great Britain

Graphic Authority Romance Package – value $179

Gene Lee – Bothell, WA



30-day subscriptions

Georgina Profitt – Seminole, Florida

Mark Kovner – Highland Mills, NY


ACI – American Color Imaging

10x10, High-def Photowrap Book with 20 double page spreads - $70 value

Glenda Black – Westminster, SC

Amber Rich – Shawnee, KS

9x12 Photo Artbook with 20 double page spreads and cover of choice - $200 value

John Robinson – Dry Fork, VA


Datacolor, Inc.

Spyder 3 Elite

Ronald Imrie – Bedford, NH


NIK Software

Viveza 2

Dale Paulley – Casper, WY


B&H Photo & Video - $50.00 Gift Card

Barb Stimmell – Mansfield, OH

Sanjay Nallaballi – Fort Wayne, IN


Marathon Press – BellaGrafica Kit - $200 value

Kathleen Wagner – Westerville, OH


MorePhotos – Free Start-up with new website and shopping cart service - $250 value

Keith Turbitt – Cheyenne, WY


DigitalProTalk’s Digital Resource Center

David’s Zumbrella - $34.95 value

Pamela Smith – New Rochelle, NY

Michael McIntire – Loveland, OH

Captured by the Light Book - $39.95 value

Felix Palius – Roma, Italy

Captured by the Light & DWUC DVD Set - $99.95 value

Judy House – The Woodlands, TX

Ultimate Training Collection - $259 value

Bruce Edmunds – Ontario, Canada