In this image I see freedom and liberty “from sea to shining sea”. I see our liberties enduring through historic times and for future ages. I see America! Happy Memorial Day.
In this image I see freedom and liberty “from sea to shining sea”. I see our liberties enduring through historic times and for future ages. I see America! Happy Memorial Day.
Good Morning Everybody,
Is everyone ready to Paaarrrrtyyyy today?
You know, Memorial Day weekends are a big deal for most Americans. Lots of us have an extra long weekend to enjoy with family and friends. For many, it's party time with plenty of hotdogs, hamburgers, soft drinks and beer. For many others, it's heading to the beach for some fun in the sun. And for others, it may be a mini vacation just down the road with family.
However you enjoy this weekend with your family and friends, soak up every minute of it. Let this weekend be an extra special weekend for you. Feel the love of family, friends and let those warm feelings surround you on this day.
The feelings you will feel today might even be called "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Justice". It's those historic words that have steered America to becoming the great country it is. It is because of those historic words that we can enjoy the dogs and burgers on this very celebratory weekend.
To many of us set aside the "rest of the story" of the meaning of this day as we celebrate this weekend. Please consider this for just a brief second or two. Too many people in the world are not where you are on this day. 80% of the world is suffering poverty, war, and calamity. Do you feel special and lucky to be living in America? I sure do!
Yes, many of us have it pretty good in our USA even if we have to yet to achieve our ideal work status, income or status we can be very thankful for that. But thankful mostly, of course, for the men and women in our armed services that have been protecting our liberties since 1776.
Over 1,000,000 service men and women have died over these 234 years protecting and defending our freedoms. That's a lot of sacrifice from a lot of duty bound Americans and their families over these many years.
This year, please take a few minutes to remember them. No more than that, call for a few moments of silence at your picnic, party, or holiday festivities so that everyone gathered with you can honor the ongoing sacrifices of our service men and women and their families around the world. It is the magnitude of their sacrifices they have endured and continue to endure that allows the rest of us the freedom to enjoy that burger on the grill today.
It only takes a minute to remember, so please take the minute and remember today.
"Jeepers Creepers, Where'd You Get Those Peepers"
©David A. Ziser
That was the first thought that popped into my mind when I looked through the viewfinder yesterday while capturing this image. The contrasts of the stark steel and glass building with several little windows popping out of the smooth service just looked visually comical to me. Notice the one white “renegade” window too. That’s why I took the shot - just for the "giggle". Visually I still like the image on the merit of it's composition. It’s a nice study in contrasts. We have the contrast of the smaller rectangles with the larger rectangle of the building. I also like the large rectangular shadowed building to the right of the image. It seems to be the "big brother" of all the smaller rectangles. The strong tonal contrasts complete the story. Anyway, just a fun, funny combination of shapes and shadows. Camera specs: Canon 7D fitted with 18-200mm IS lens at 100mm, F 8.0 @ 1/320 second, ISO 200. Enjoy! -David.
Good Morning Everybody,
We are still enjoying our visit in NYC. Last night we took in the Broadway Play, "Billy Elliot" which was phenomenal. LaDawn and I had actually seen the production two years ago in London's West End and it was great there. I was anxious to see how well it travelled across the "pond".
This show is just so full of energy, it's just amazing to watch in person. Hey, if you can't make it to NYC to see the play, you can catch the movie that the play is based on right here – not quite the same, but still a great story. I first saw the movie years ago and have been a "Billy Elliot" fan ever since.
Hey gang, I'm making this short and sweet today. I promised my daughter that we would help her move into her new apartment inthe city. That means that we are out of here earlier that usual to catch up with her and the movers. Soooo, let's get right to it.
Apps You May Have Missed
I don't how many of our DPT readers have the new iPad, but you all know I love mine. It has made blogging this week really easy. on Wednesday [link], I listed my favorite 10 iPad apps and accessories.
I didn't have time to do it on Wednesday, so today I want to point tour towards some other sites that review and rate iPad and iPhone apps. If you decide to drink the iPad "grape juice", these sites are a good place to go for more iPad mania.
Here is my quick list:
Terry White’s Best App Site: Terry just started this site and it’s a winner. This link will take you to his “People’s Choice” post showing the 50 top apps from Terry’s readers.
Huffington Post: This esteemed super blog also weighed in on the best iPad apps. Here is the link to their choice for awesome iPad apps.
AppAdvice.com: OK, iPad Kool-aid drinkers, head over to AppAdvice.com right here. I promise you, you will be like a kid in a candy store – apps, reviews, best free apps, and more. So many apps, so little time!!!!
AppVee.com: Another good site right here, especially if you are a gamer. They has lots of reviews of the latest, greatest apps, although most of them seem to be “game centric”.
And, don't forget to catch the IPad Show right here or download it from iTunes every week. This show makes me giggle when I watch it because the guys running the show are super geeky and funny. They do dig out some good iPad "gems though, albeit, a few of them "jail break" apps.
The app that got my attention on their latest show was Display Out. This app sends a mirror image of your iPad display to what ever monitor or projector you chose. This is what the Apple iPad should do anyway, but it doesn’t.
That said, these guys do research their stuff and have a decent knowledge of what they are talking about. Tune in-it's fun.
Don’t forget….my latest edition of my Success Collection DVD set is also available for your iPhone and iPad. Just give the studio a call for further information at 800.292.2994 or 859.341.5900.
Hey everybody, that's it for me today. We are heading down to 34th and Lexington and helping with a move.
Everybody have a great weekend and I’ll see you from home next week! -David
"Blowing In The Breeze"
©David A. Ziser
This is one of my favorite photographs from my Master Class a few weeks ago. I had actually blogged how some of these images came together with the use of my off camera reflector. You can catch that video right here if you missed it. Anyway, to many photogs go for the perfect shot – a HUGE mistake! It's NEVER about getting the perfect shot. It's about getting the best shot. If you are shooting for the perfect shots, then the BEST shot may just slip away. Here's my shooting strategy - shoot for the best shot, but keep the cameras rolling all the time. If you keep shooting, you won't miss that great shot. If you stop to adjust, fix, finesse, etc., you can be guaranteed to miss way too many great images. That's sort of what happened here. The wind was blowing like crazy. I could have worked to minimize the wind issues but instead chose to keep shooting. By keeping the cameras rolling I got this shot - I love it! The wind caught the veil perfectly, the bride reacted spontaneously, and the moment was captured beautifully. Illumination was from camera left from a reflector bouncing the natural sunlight into the scene. The large aperture softened the background substantially to separate the bride from the surrounds making for a great image. Camera specs: Canon 7D fitted with 18-200mm IS lens at 140mm, F 5.6 @ 1/2500 second, ISO 1600 (whoops, not on purpose). Enjoy! David
Good Morning Everybody,
We had a great visit yesterday at Animoto World Headquarters. Here I am with the entire crew and with by buddy, Erik holding my Animoto ad photograph. Who’s that on the far right – Oh that my daughter, Elizabeth who will be doing an internship with Animoto this summer. Way cool for her. A dad couldn't be more proud ;~)
Jason, holding Bruce Lee, the little shitzu dog, Erik, LaDawn, Elizabeth and I had a relaxing lunch. It was fun to hear the Animoto story.
I have to tell you they are working on some way cool new slide show themes. I could tell you what we saw but then I' d have to hit you the the Men In Black "blink-blink" machine and erase the last 10 years of your memories.
Best I just tell you that they have some really exciting designs and graphics on the front burner that you will hear about real soon. We could feel the creative energy from the entire team as we visited with them. It was a real kick to be there yesterday!
Let' s get right on with today's post. LaDawn has special plans for me today so we are hitting the road early to try to crash the Today Show - you know, be one of the waving fans in the background as they broadcast the show. See if you can spot us ;~)
Update: We did make it on the Today Show, but only in the background behind Al Roker, the weatherman. hey, maybe we'll have better luck next time. Look for LaDawn on Friday’s broadcast as she was beside a young women chosen for a surprise makeover.
OK, on with today's post.
The Power Of Testimonials – My 5 Point Plan
Surely you have gotten a note from a past client telling you how much they loved your work. If you are doing your job right, you should have received several.
So what do you do with them? Just say, "Oh, that was nice." and then just forget about it?
I hope not!
Testimonials can be some of the most effective advertising you can obtain for your studio - free or otherwise. You need to use them to your best advantage in letting future clients know just how good you are.
Here is my 5 step plan to make testimonials work for you.
Hit the “Read More…” link below for the rest of the story.
The Power Of Testimonials – My 5 Point Plan, continued….
1. Gather all your testimonials and start an album of testimonial letters that sits in a conspicuous place when you are meeting your clients. Heck, if you are meeting them at a Starbucks, take your "testimonial album” along with examples of your work.
2. Summarize those testimonial notes into one document that you make part of your promotional materials. Next time you send info, price lists, brochures, etc. out to a prospective bride, be sure to include your "testimonial short sheet".
3. Ask vendors that you work with to write a testimonial or two. Tell them you would be happy to do the same for them. This is part of my "cross pollination" plan that continues to build on the ongoing relationships I want to maintain with my vendor buddies. These vendor testimonials need to be on your "testimonial short sheet" mentioned above.
4. Be sure your testimonials are prominently displayed on your website, blog, and Face book fan page. Don't stop there. Every time you receive a testimonial, be sure to "tweet" it. It's always about getting the word out to your future clients however and whenever you can.
5 Don't have even one testimonial yet? Then ask your mother to write one. She loves you, right;~) Hey, all kidding aside, it's OK to ask for testimonials, too. The next time you deliver work to a client and they tell you how much they like, simply ask them if they could send you a quick email expressing the same sentiment.
Also go back through your archives and contact past clients that you remember really exceptional client experiences. Tell them you are updating your promo materials and would like to feature them on your blog, brochure, etc. - could they drop you a note about how well they liked the experience as your client. For their trouble, you'll send them a little gift. That gift could be anything from a 4x6 print to a set of business cards featuring one of their images.
I think you get the idea how this works. The entire plan is simple, easy, inexpensive and effective marketing for your studio. You've simply got to do it.
What makes testimonials so valuable to you? People want to feel comfortable with the people they may be doing business with. Reading what a great photographer you are and how nice it is to do business with you is a perfect invitation for them to do business with you too.
Let me point you to another article I found over at Marathon Press right here that will give you some more great ideas about how to use testimonials in growing your business.
Hey gang, that's it for me today. We have been walking and cabbing this city from one end to the other and are planning to take it easy today.
Everybody have a great day, and I will plan to see you same time, same station, tomorrow.
Hey gang, I’m back. I neglected to mention something new we just put together last week. As we were planning our trip to B&H for last Sunday's program, I asked my team to put together some special pricing on a combo package that included my very popular 2010 Success Collection we announced about two weeks ago [link].
Add to that my Captured By The Light photography book (46 5-Star reviews on Amazon) and you've got one dynamite package for only $124.95 - that's like the best deal ever.
The combo was a big hit at B&H last Sunday so I thought I would extend it to all our DPT readers for a short time.
Both For Only $124.95 Click on image or ORDER HERE
Here's what others are saying about my 2010 Success Collection:
"...I just wanted to tell you that I am totally thrilled. I've watched the first 40 minutes and have already learned techniques that will improve my flash photography."
"...Thank you, started viewing the training videos. Best investment in photography training I have made to date."
"...Can't wait to watch more. I can see that this DVD will become my lighting skills 'Bible'..."
"JUST got my package... I am SO EXCITED! What a great deal this was.... Thank you for everything .... I am so excited about learning more on Photography! It IS a great package! Again, thanks..."
My thanks to everyone for all the kind notes we received about the Success Collection. I was thrilled to be able to offer this super good deal to you and I'm glad so many of you are enjoying it!
Again, you can get all the info and order the combo 2010 Success Collection and an autographed copy of my book right here.
Thanks again everybody, -David
©David A. Ziser
This image is a variation of another I photograph I presented about two weeks ago. We were photographing in beautiful St. Mary’s Cathedral – there are just so many places to position your subjects in this majestic location. This time I choose to position the bride in front of one of the organ lofts. This is the most used organ in the cathedral and becomes a great background for this photograph. The fact that two large pillars flank the pipe organ certainly adds to the majesty of this location. The challenge was to position my bride at a point that kept the pipes from growing out of her head, but still keep her framed by the rest of the interior framing elements of the scene. I thought her position between the right column and the organ pipes worked just fine. Carrying the composition far into the ceiling and picking up the stained glass windows further adds to the dramatic impact of this image. The bride was lit from camera left by shooting through my Zumbrella with my Quantum T5d on 1/8 power at about 8 feet away. Camera specs: Canon 7D fitted with 10-22mm wide angle lens at 16mm, F 7.1 @ 1/50 second, ISO 1600. Enjoy! -David
Good Morning Everybody,
We had a great day in the city yesterday – I feel like we walked about 100 miles. My “dogs were barkin’” by the time we got back to the hotel room last night.
We caught up with Rick Sammon at Bethesda Fountain in the middle of Central Park. Rick had quite the crowd there. The event was sponsored by B&H, Westcott, Canon, and Nikon and it sure looked like everyone was having a great time.
They ran the shoot a bit like we run my Master Class – 5 instructors, 5 models, and groups of about 10-15 photogs shooting away. Rumor has it that you may see me in Central Park in the not to distant future – I can’t wait.
I’ll tell ya’, Rick showed me his brand new iPhone/iPad app. It’s called Photo Buffet and is really cool – only $4.99. You’ve got to check it out - it’s jammed packed with photo info, befores and afters, and even video of Rich demo-ing how he shoots. Here is the iTunes link. I’m downloading it today.
Next we headed down to Houston and Bowery, caught up our B&H buddies, Jesica, Gabe, and his wife Nancy at Katz Deli – the best NYC deli with the best pastrami (and corned beef) in the world – delicious! Oh, and by the way, it’s where Harry met Sally. GREAT food, GREAT fun and lots of laughs!
Today we head over to Animoto World Headquarters to take the tour and see how they work their Animoto magic on those millions of image and video files uploaded every day. We are looking forward to the visit. I’ll fill you in on our visit tomorrow.
That said, we better get started with today’s post. Fasten your seat belts, we are off.
My Top Ten iPad Apps/Accessories – Are You An iPad Fanatic Yet?
OK, everybody knows by now that I think the iPad is about the coolest, most fun, and most useful new tool for photographers. I’ve owned mine for about 4 weeks and am definitely an iPad fanatic – just ask LaDawn. (He’s somewhat obsessed!)
Hey, it’s like anything else though – if it can save you time and make you money, it needs to be part of your business gear. My iPad has certainly found it’s place in my day to day business operations. And not only that, but it’s just fun to play with.
Today I thought I’d point you towards my favorite apps and accessories. If you are an iPad user, I hope you will share a few of your favorites here too. Here we go…
My Top 10 iPad Apps/Accessories Are:
1. Pages: Probably my favorite. I can get my ideas, blog posts down in no time. When used in conjunction with iWork, I can quickly get my notes and posts whenever and wherever they need to be.
2. Keynote: With my PowerPoint presentations backed up to my iPad and when used in conjunction with the iPad VGA adapter, I have the perfect backup solution for my programs. Keynote also gives me an easy way to review my presentations while traveling to the presentation venue.
Keynote also opens the doors for each of us in putting together very effective “portable” client presentations too – lots of uses for this.
3. Dragon Dictation: OK, this is one cool little app. It’s available for your iPhone too. Just start the app and talk away. Dragon will transcribe up to 60 seconds of dictation fairly accurately. Just copy and paste into email, text message, etc. This is really a keeper app.
4. Go To Meeting: I haven’t used this much, but what a convenient way to tune in to webinars when you are not in front of your computer – Wow!
5. Skype: This has been one of my favorite apps for years. We communicate with our our of town clients easily and inexpensively – approximately 2 cents a minute! I loved this app when it became available on the iPhone. Now I’ve got it on my iPad and it works great.
6. USA Today: Hey, now if my hotel forgets to drop a USA Today at my door, no problem, I just bring it up on my iPad. It’s super easy to navigate and a great way to catch up on the news.
7. Pandora: This has been one of my favorite iPhone apps. Now it’s on the iPad too with a much larger interface which makes it a joy to use. I don’t even find a need to download my iTunes music library on my iPhone or iPad with Pandora loaded. Sure saves you storage space, even on my little 16 Gig version.
8. Netflix: OK, one of my all time favorite iPad apps. Pay your $9.00/mo and watch 1000’s of movies anywhere, including your iPad. And the good news is that with the latest Netflix update, it works with the iPad VGA adapter. I’m going to see if I can get it hooked up to our flat screen TV in our hotel room. Who wants to spend $15.00 to watch a movie in their hotel room when traveling. Netflix to the rescue!
9. Camera Adapter: This was a long time coming after I ordered it from the Apple store, but I have to say, it’s very slick. I prefer the USB adapter. The kit comes with a SDHC adapter too, but my shooting with flash cards means I need a flash card reader – Delkin’s
10. VGA Adapter: Well, maybe – here’s why. When I first tried the VGA adapter on the iPad, it was flat out LAME. I wanted it to “mirror” what I saw on my iPad screen – it doesn’t – really dumb. Even when I bring up Keynote with the adapter, it blanks the screen – what’s that about? I have to look over my shoulder while presenting to see the slides – really dumb.
The VGA adapter has terrible reviews at the Apple store and they are all rightly deserved. But I think the real problem may be in the iPad itself. It seems to me a tweak or two in the iPad OS could easily solve ALL the problems noted with the VGA adapter. Hopefully a future iPad OS update with make things right. Keep your fingers crossed.
Next time around I’ll point you towards some of my app favorite sites where you can find another gem or two.
OK, gang that’s it for me today. We are heading over to Animoto World Headquarters. I’ll plan to see you tomorrow for another money making episode of Business Day Thursday.
David A. Ziser
One of my favorite things to do when visiting any big city is to shoot the urban landscape. I love to look for the lines, shapes, and forms of the buildings. Then I crop in closely to isolate on one particular design aspect of that building or buildings. I try to end up with some kind of abstract design that visually is just pleasing to explore. When you’re in a city like NYC, there’s lots of urban landscapes to photograph. Here is one that I photographed yesterday while walking down Lexington Avenue. I love the play of all the small rectangles against the framing of the two larger rectangular spaces. Each rectangle had within it a smaller play of patterns that I thought added interest and texture to this cityscape. I aligned the right side of my camera’s viewfinder with the leading right edge of the buildings. I thought I would later correct the perspective in Photoshop, but decided that I liked the visual illusion of the composition “pulling” out from the top right corner of the image. Just stare at the center of the image for a second or two and see if you don’t see what I’m talking about. Something keeps telling me to FIX it, but by not doing so almost creates a visual “argument” with the viewer. It’s this image’s “visual argument” that I think makes it an active vs. passive viewing experience. Camera specs: Canon 7D fitted with 18-200mm IS lens at 50mm, F11 @ 1/500 second, ISO 200. Enjoy! -David
Good Morning Everybody,
We had a great first day touring the city yesterday – just relaxed and did a lot of “people watching” at least up to about 2:00 p.m. at which point we caught up with my daughter, Elizabeth. She is making the move from Brooklyn into the city, and just like any good parents, we decided to help her with her move this week.
OK, this is where the fun begins, she’s rented this compact apartment in Murray Hill, a very nice, bustling, neighborhood. We thought we would help with the new decorating chores. So, what do we do in the Midwest – we jump into the car and head to the local Target store to pick up what we need, right? NOT, at least not in NYC. We took a taxi back to Brooklyn to the Target store – that’s right, TOOK A TAXI TO A TARGET STORE!
OK, now we’ve made our purchases. The very nice girl, Connie, at the Target check out asked me if I want to open a Target charge and I can save $45 off my purchase. I say, “Heck yeah!” – it made up for our cab fare – what a deal. At the card’s sky high 25% APR, I need to cancel that card as soon as we get back home ;~)
OK, we’ve made our purchases, a 5x7 throw rug, pillows, small wall vanity, and an assortment of other apartment necessities. So how do we get back to Manhattan – you guessed it – in a cab.
This time though, we found a limo service driver parked right outside the Target store willing to give us a lift back to Murray Hill. Before you load up the car and jump in, the first thing you need to do is NEGOTIATE the fare back across town. No problem, he agreed to our terms and we were on are way.
30 minutes later we were back in Murray Hill, had our driver wait as we hauled everything into Elizabeth’s 3rd floor apartment, and then renegotiated the drive to 49th and 6th where we had dinner reservations. What a day we had learning moving “tricks” in NYC ;~)
Today, we are planning to “crash” Rick Sammon’s on location photo-shoot in Central Park. Rick is a great photographer who has written more books than I can count on all my fingers and toes. We had the chance to meet several times at Photoshop World and have gotten to know each other these last few years. That’s Rick on the bottom in this shot – yes, he is kind of “nuts” now and then, but aren’t we all sometimes ;~)
David, at B&H mentioned that he was coming to town and was doing this shoot today, so we thought it would be fun to crash the party. No harm, no foul – it was OK’d by B&H. I’ll fill you in tomorrow.
OK, that’s our exploits so far in NYC – now it’s time to get on with this week’s Technique Tuesday. Here we go…
My 5+ Favorite Bridal Poses
Many times I get a request to explain for example; What are your favorite bridal shots?" Although I don’t have just 5 – it really depends on the shoot, the location, and how much time we have on the wedding day, etc.
That being said, today I'd thought I answer that question for you as best I can. I'll walk you through several bridal images and discuss why I think these are necessary images to capture for the bride on her wedding day.
I’ll go into specific detail on exactly what you need to see through your camera, how to crop the image, and what not to miss on your wedding day shoot. Hit the PLAY button below and enjoy the show.
I think you can see that it’s not “rocket science” to capture some great photographs of your clients. It all comes down to decent lighting, good composition, and great expressions to make your client thrilled with your results. Have fun shooting!
Hey gang, that’s it for me today. We’re heading out, grabbing lunch, and heading to Central Park to catch up with my buddy Rick. Don’t tell him we’re on the way;~)
I’ll plan to see everyone back here tomorrow for a brand new “What’s Up Wednesday”.
See ya’ then, have a great one, -David
©David A. Ziser
Two weeks ago I posted an image that was a real favorite at DPT. It was entitled, “Thinking Of You” [link]. It was just a simple, classic, window light portrait. Today, I’m posting another image from that same shoot. This time I’ve included the groom in the photograph. This image is "classic “Monte Zucker”, but it’s still a nice image of the bride and groom today. Although I don’t take many of these kinds of images in my wedding photography today, it’s still nice to enjoy a beautiful “portrait study” of the couple. You enjoy this kind of image the way you enjoy a piece of fine art in a museum. It’s just nice to look at, to enjoy the lighting, the color tonalities, the expressions, etc. In addition to positioning the bride next to the window so that I would get this great “loop lighting” on her profile, I positioned the groom behind her. Here is the secret to this shot working though. Position the bride’s profile into the shadow area of the groom’s face. That way you tie them together as a couple – one compositional element in the portrait. Camera specs: Canon 7D fitted with 18-200mm IS lens at 200mm, F 5.6 @ 1/40 second, ISO 1600. Enjoy! -David
Good Morning Everybody,
We got into New York City late Saturday, settled into our hotel, grabbed a quick snack and relaxed. I'll tell you, it's just what the doctor ordered.
Sunday was a Great day at B&H Photo and Video. That”s LaDawn, me, and my daughter, Elizabeth, standing among the crowds of B&H customers – the place was packed on Sunday. We had a full house and the program went off without a hitch.
Every time I give a program, I try to weave a few new things into the presentation - new images, a different take on a lighting concept, whatever. It just makes the presentation more fun to give and I think the audience enjoys as well. They sure did yesterday at 420 9th Avenue.
We are up here In the city this week for a little business but a little R&R. So before I get too long winded, let's get right to Quick Hit Monday. Here we go...
So What Have You Done Lately With Your Video Enabled DSLR?
It seems the new video DSLR features that started showing up on the latest Nikons and Canons have not been taken lightly by the video cognoscenti. Those who had the foresight to see and understand the possibilities of these new video DSLR capabilities jumped right on board. The onboard video capabilities of the new Canon camera is a HUGH initiative with the companies these days.
Look at what's happening out there - intro to the Tonight Show is shot with the Canon 5D Mark II, parts of the recently new Terminator movie also shot with the 5D Mark II. Now what were rumors are now the truth. The recently seen House finale was shot COMPLETELY with the Canon 5D Mark II. You can catch a few clips of the show right here. But, there are too many photographers that own these video enabled cameras that are sitting on their hands and NOT EVEN TRYING these video capabilities out.
Folks, it's all new to all of us. Most of us really trying to get a grip on this new camera functionality. And we need to get our heads around it. It can be the biggest "differentiator" for our businesses! It behooves each of us to to embrace these possibilities if we truly want to embrace our future success in this exciting field of photography.
Sorry, end of rant #27. Just do me a favor, check out the Doctor House clips right here to see what video pros are doing with the same gear many of us own.
A Sensible ??? Approach To On Line Storage
You know, most photographers don't even consider on-line storage as a reasonable solution for our businesses. Why? Because we take too many pictures, and nearly all of them in RAW mode. So, what's the problem? Way too much data to upload. Even over the fastest internet connections it would take forever, right?
That's all true of course, except when we take a different approach to back-up. Here is my suggestion/solution. Download your flash cards to your computer, back the data up in at least two hard drive locations, and then burn to DVDs. At my studio, we are even looking at the new Blu-Ray solutions since the Blu-ray disks themselves are dropping in price.
This is all well and good, but it still takes lots of time and storage real estate to complete, and is quite a cumbersome solution. Let’s see if we can create a unique storage solution for the MOST important client images and maybe even create a completely new product for our client - “insurance” that their image files will be completely safe forever.
I recently noticed a new service offered by Phanfare.com for photographers. Phanfare [link] has a really interesting proposition for photographers. How would you feel if you could safely store your image data in the "cloud" for only $199/year?
First of all, what do I mean by storing your data in the "cloud"? Here is the lowdown. Amazon has been offering their S3 storage solution for the last few years. I even jumped on board over two years ago to try it out. There have been lots of rudimentary solutions to get our data up to the Amazon servers, so I never really pressured it further.
Now Phanfare comes along and makes it really easy to get your images stored safely on the Amazon servers - in the "cloud" as they say. I had a conversation with the president of the company, Andrew Erlichson, last week. He gave me a complete tour of Phanfare and it looks pretty exciting.
I've opened my account and want to run Phanfare through it's paces. Here is my first take of the service. All of us photographers deliver some kind of finished image product to our clients. We tweak their favorite images making them look great and then deliver the final result. For me, it's a beautiful album of images.
To get to that finished album, we fine tuned the images to their pristine beauty and then design the album in LumaPix:Fotofusion. LumaPix outputs the page designs as high res JPEGs, TIFFs, or even PSDs. We simply print out these pages designs and then send the pages to Zookbinders for binding.
DAZNOTE: We have a super good deal on LumaPix software and some fantastic add-ons over at our Digital Resource Center right here.
OK, here is my plan. Instead of sending EVERYTHING up to the "cloud", why not just send the clients final retouched selections and the album page JPEGs to the "cloud". Total data upload would not be that large or take that long. It may just be the perfect solution for long term storage of the "best of the best" client images.
Over all these many years of wedding photography, people have been concerned about the long term stability and fading of their images. Just look at your parent's/grandparents photographs and wedding album and you'll see what I mean. Heck, photographers today have an image stability problem if they are backing up their images on cheap CDs and DVDs. The good news is that these images are never going to fade when stored on-line.
That being said, we could easily offer our clients piece of mind with regard to the long term stability of their images very easily with Phanfare's storage solution. Does that piece of mind, let's call it "Image Insurance" have a value to the client? I think it might.
What is that value? I think that's what needs to be determined. What do you think? I'd like to get your take on it. We are offered added insurance on nearly everything electronic we buy these days - just make a purchase at any Best Buy. You get my drift.
Is it time we offer "Image Insurance" to OUR clients too? I'm going to give Phanfare a thorough going over and will report back on their services for photographers. They offer much more than just a simple storage solution. Ill keep you posted.
A Few More Educational Resources You Might Want To Check Out.
Never have I witnessed such an explosion of education resources on-line like we have available to us today. Sure, you've got DPT, Scott Kelby, David Hobby, and so many others who offer a tremendous amount of content and information everyday!
But the list doesn't stop there. The manufactures also want your eyes and ears to take a peak at their products and services. And, to get you in their doors, many have been developing solid content sights for photographers.
Here are just a few that I think are doing a great job.
Canon Digital Learning Center [link]
Nikon Digital Learning Center [link]
DataColor Learning Center [link]
F.J. Westcott [link]
Nik Software Learning Center [link]
B&H Insights blog (new) [link]
Lexjet’s Blog [link] – great resource for inkjet printing.
A Few Things Before I Go
Dave Cross Moves and Updates A Great Blog
Hey gang, I just found out that Photoshop Guru and fellow blogging buddy, Dave Cross just moved and revamped his blog. You can find Dave’s new location right here. It looks really great. Just jump right in. Dave has ton’s of info posted. High fives to Dave!
Meet Me At KPPA June 20, 2010
Hey gang, I’ve mentioned it previously, but let me do it again. I am extremely involved in our state photographers association (VP) and that puts me in the inner circle when it comes to the association’s meeting planning.
I have to tell you that we have a dynamite 2 day program for only $109 coming up on June 20 and 21. It’s called KPPA PhotoProExpo Summer School. We have Tim Priest, a phenomenal wedding photographer coming in for a presentation. We also have Beth Forrester presenting a great program on shooting high school seniors. Add to that the fact that we have several hands on shoot-outs schedules with some great photogs (I’m blushing – me included).
Kentucky PPA also has planned a special presentation scheduled to show you all the new features of CS5 and Lightroom 3! So much information and opportunity for a very reasonable cost – YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS– check it out right here and plan to join me at our KPPA Summer School.
Hey gang, that’s it for for today. We are getting ready to head on out and soak up a little NYC today. I’ll plan to see everybody here for another very fine Technique Tuesday tomorrow. You’re going to love it. See ya’ then, David
"Ready For The Party"
©David A. Ziser
I walked into this empty ballroom and was intrigued by the light patterns and shadows I saw being cast on the floor. I thought there might be a photo-op with the lights, shadows, and architecture of the room. The challenge was to make my subject stand out from the busy background. By choosing to use a wide angle lens, and positioning the bride in the foreground, I knew I could make the bright windows appear smaller. I also wanted to use an exposure that would reveal the detail in the room - I really didn't care if I "blew out" the windows. In fact, over-exposing the windows removed a lot of the exterior distractions that otherwise would have shown. I used my Quantum T5d through my Zumbrella at 1/4 power and approximately 10 feet away to illuminate my bride. I positioned the bride between the two windows with her head positioned in front of the plain wall. That eliminated distractions behind her head and let all the leading lines of the overall composition lead the viewers eye directly to her. Notice too the "bonus accent lighting" I pick up on the bride's right side. The light from those windows in the room "rim" her out nicely. Wait, there's more. With her positioned in front of the windows, I even pick up a little back-lighting on her veil. The bottom line? Three light sources that result in a very beautiful portrait of my bride. Camera specs: Canon 7D fitted with 10-22mm wide angle lens at 13mm, F 6.3 @ 1/100 second, ISO 1600. Enjoy! David
Good Morning Everybody,
Well today, I take my non-3G iPad and make it work anywhere. Heck, all I need to do is carry my own "hotspot" with me, then I can connect anywhere even in the car while traveling (LaDawn would be driving of course) - pretty cool. I headed to the Verizon store and picked up one of their very tiny MiFi 2200 portable "hotspots".
This thing is pretty cool. It will support up to 5 devices connected to it. That means 2 computers, 1 iPhone, 1iPad, 1 to spare. The beauty part of this solution is the fact that I avoid the high price connection fees at all the hotels as we travel the country. And, now everything I carry with me "connects" wherever I am. I'm looking forward to seeing how well it works next week in NYC.
OK, that was a little "geek peek" at what's happening in my life for today. Time to get on with today's post. Here we go...
I'm Just A Manual Kind Of Guy
Many people email me with blog post suggestions. The Skribit widget on the right side also gives you an opportunity to make those suggestions, too. I read them - all of them - and file the suggestions in my on-line "suggestion box". Today, I’ pulling out one of those suggestions to post. The question our DPT reader wanted to know; Why do I shoot on Manual mode whenever I have a flash attached to my camera? Well, here's why.
I remember having that experience in my early digital days. We were shooting a high school graduation. My assistant was just shooting around to get a few candids of the graduates as they were milling around before the ceremony. The area in which we were shooting was quite bright. That's when the problems started.
With the camera on Program mode, it was trying to reach a combo exposure compromise with the available light AND with the on-camera flash. The images looked awful. The camera was "seeing" the ambient, but because the light just wasn't bright enough to capture a good exposure, it automatically popped in a little flash - too little flash, by the way and the images were flat and muddy.
It was a good thing we discovered the issue early during the assignment. I quickly switched the camera to Manual mode, selected a faster shutter speed, and he continued to shoot away. That quickly solved our problems. I have occasionally switched back to Program mode to see if the exposure issues continued under different circumstances. Every time, I obtained better results with the camera on Manual mode whenever the flash was attached.
So my personal FLASH RULE is this: Whenever I have a flash attached to the camera, on-camera or off-camera flash, the camera is ALWAYS on Manual mode, NO EXCEPTIONS! Think about it, with the camera on Manual mode, I now have complete control over how the ambient light is rendered in the scene - a slower shutter will allow me to pick up more of the ambient light in the room. I do this all the time when shooting bridal images in a church or hotel. The official term is called " dragging the shutter". You can see how I used the technique in today's "Image Of The Day" post above.
Using a faster shutter speed will darken the surrounds which is just fine when you want the viewer's attention to not be distracted by background elements. That's what I did in the example above of the bride in the art museum and the two accompanying examples in this post . I needed to speed up the shutter speed to darken the painting in the background. That's also what we needed to do at the high school graduation ceremony and festivities. Once we made the switch to manual mode, the problem of all the ambient light was solved.
So my advice to everybody reading this post today is to only use Program mode when you are shooting around with no flash attached. Think of Program mode as a no worry "Vacation" mode. As soon as you activate a flash, get your camera in Manual mode right away. Happy shooting everybody.
Hey gang that's it for me today. We've got a few things to wrap up before we head to NYC tomorrow. Hopefully I'll see a few of you at my program at B&H on Sunday. Be sure to come up and say HI if you can make it.
Everybody have a great weekend, and I see you next week in the Big Apple.
"My Little Corner Of The World"
©David A. Ziser
Here is another Cabo photo walk image. What appeals to me? The minimalist simplicity of the shot. Only two line elements in this image - one vertical and the other a broken horizontal element indicating that I've shot into the corner of "something". But the "something" makes no difference to this composition. Now look at the colors and notice how the different yellow tones just glow. Wait, one more thing to notice - it's the luminosity of the yellow colors - darker in the top 2/3's of the image and brighter in the bottom 1/3 with the exception of the darkness near the vertical element which happens to be at "nodal point #3". My eye just enjoys the visual stroll through this image. Camera specs: Canon 7D fitted wit 18-200 IS lens at 178mm, F8.0 @ 1/250 second, ISO 200.
Good Morning Everybody,
OK, are you ready for the big announcement today?
All My Technique Tuesday videos will now work on your new iPad and iPhone!!!
(eventually, like in a few more weeks) BTW, this past Tuesday's episode works just fine.
Isn't technology wonderful? Viddler, the fine company that hosts just about all my video tutorials are beta testing their new HTML5 viewer. This comes after all the brew-ha-ha about Apple NOT supporting Adobe's Flash platform, like ever! Here is Steve Jobs open letter on the subject right here. It all sounds pretty silly to me.
In two more days LaDawn and I are off to NYC. It should be a fun trip. In addition to visiting my daughter, Elizabeth, who is attending Pace University in Manhattan, we are also planning to visit Animoto's World Headquarters!
Animoto makes it soooo easy for photographers to upload our images and video files to them and then they miraculously turn those images into a really cool slide show. Check out the show I put together at Photoshop World, complete with video, scroll down the page a bit and you can find it right here - so cool. I don't know how they do it, but while in New York City I’ve been invited to Tour Their headquarters. I can’t wait to peek behind the scenes. Tune in next Thursday for my report.
Hey, let's get right on with today's post. Here we go.
5 Ways To Make Money With Your New iPad
Yesterday I was pretty fired up with how we photographers could use our new iPads to rally promote and showcase our images [link]. Sure, everyone knows it shows photos and kind of leaves it sit right there. Let's put on our thinking caps and explore how we can creatively use the iPad to really leverage it as a wonderful sales tool. Just leave your ideas in the “Comment …” section.
Here are my 5 Top ways to use your new iPad in your business.
1. Create albums that showcase your work. Sure, That's the easy one, but how about taking it to the next step. Let these albums you create reflect different niches of your work. One album could feature your wedding photography. Another could feature family portraits, and another your high school senior work. There you have it, several portfolios all in one compact package instantly available to share with your clients.
Hit the "Read More..." link below for the remaining 4 ways to make money with your iPad.
2. If you work with several favorite vendors, be sure to put together a few albums that feature your images showcasing their products and services. For instance, if you work with a special florist in town, be sure you have an album that features their beautiful flowers in your images. Now the next time you both are working on the same job, be sure to pull out your iPad and show them an album of your images featuring their flowers. They will appreciate the fact that you are making the effort to showcase them too. It's a win-win situation.
3. Here is a really easy one. Slide shows at wedding have been the rage since we've been doing them the "hard way" with slides back in the early 1980's. Slide show "life" has just gotten a lot easier with the iPad, even easier than downloading to your laptop computer. Yes, the iPad will import your RAW files - way cool!
Here's how I plan to work it. As we're shooting the wedding, every hour or two, pull out the camera cable, attach it to you iPad via the iPad camera adapter, and transfer a dozen or so images to the iPad. Nothing could be easier.
DAZNOTE: You could also import them from the card but be sure you are using a Delkin DDREADER-38 card reader. I've tried others and get an error message from the iPad that "Device requires too much power." The Delkin reader listed above works just fine.
By the time you hit the reception, you should have a nice collection of images that you can easily show at the reception with background music from your iTunes collection. Really easy and so impressive. Heck, hand it off to the bride and groom and let them show their guests. What a great way for them to introduce YOU to their guests and to your great photography.
4. Here is one I picked up from my friends Kent and Sarah Smith. They run a very successful high school senior studio in Ohio. When I was talking with Kent a few weeks ago, he told me he plans to have an iPad or two sitting in his reception area. When the clients come in, they will be invited to have a comfortable seat after which one of his staff will grab one of the iPads, hand it to the client, and invite the client to browse a few of the "senior" albums for some ideas for their senior session. Sure beats having them look at a magazine. The "cool" factor alone should be a nice sizzle for the studio.
5. And last but not least, why not feature a few compete album layouts on your iPad? Who wants to carry all those heavy albums around like we did in the old days. The benefit is the fact that now you have a very portable album solution when showing your potential clients your work.
Seeing how a large number of wedding images can be designed into a beautiful album may even deter them from the "shoot and burn" requests so many photographers are bombarded with these days. Now you have talking points right in front of them as to why the album is so important. I was visiting a client a few days ago and showed him his daughter's wedding layout on my iPad. He loved it! Hmmmmm, potential sales idea anybody?
Hey folks, you get the idea. There are lots of ways to use your iPad to impress your new clients, vendors, current clients. Get those thinking caps on and keep yourself excited about the possibilities.
Have you got some good ideas you would like to add to the list? Why not post them in the "Comments..." section below for the benefit of all our readers. If we get 20 really good and different ideas, I'll send the winner my very popular 2010 DWUC Success Collection [link] - What a deal! Get those "thinking caps" on now!
Hey gang, that's it for me today. Lots to do, places to go, and things to see. See everybody back here tomorrow, same time - same place.
Have a good one, David
"Wedding Day Splendor"
©David A. Ziser
I love this image. Anytime I'm working in a church this beautiful, I always pull out the wide angle lens. The convergence of the lines accentuated with the wide angle lens just adds to the dramatics of the already spectacular location. The main thing to notice about this image is the subject's position in the shot. I've place her pretty much in the bottom right quadrant, what I call quadrant #4. Notice too how I've framed her within the tall pillars you see in the background on either side of her. Also, when having brides lean into the pew, be sure to not have them lean too much. It’s a quick way to show a “tummy bulge” – not a good thing. They should actually just barely be touching the pew with their body – be careful about this one. When designing images like this, always remember, the presentation of the location, especially a location as beautiful as this one, is as important as the subject. It's both subject and location that come together to makes a great photograph. Camera specs: Canon 7D fitted with a 10-22mm wide angle lens, F7.1 @ 1/50 second, ISO 1600. Light from camera left - Quantum through Zumbrella, 10 feet away, 1/4 power. Enjoy! David
Good Afternoon Everybody,
OK, What's going on around here lately? Well, there are rumors that we may be heading out on a road trip come Fall. It's true, we are planning a lecture tour beginning in September right after Photoshop World in Las Vegas. It will be entitled, "Captured By The Light." We are just starting to round out the program, but I can assure you, it will be quite a bit different from last year's program. I'll keep you posted as all the pieces come together. I think you'll like what you see.
Hey gang, yesterday's Technique Tuesday [link] kind of got out of hand and ran a bit longer that I had planned. I hope you enjoyed it. Thanks for all the nice comments you’ve posted. I promise a much shorter read with today's post. Let's get right to it.
PhotoFav Wednesday: Buy the iPad- Just Do It!
You know I've been waxing fantastic over my new iPad since I picked it up a few weeks ago. I have to say, I love nearly every single thing about it. "Wait", you say, "DPT is a photography blog, so what does an iPad have to do with a photography blog?" Frankly, if you are a photographer, your new iPad could really enhance how you interact with your clients and is a wonderful tool to build business.
Maybe I should have held this post till tomorrow, but I just couldn't. The iPad is just too cool and too useful for photographers. Here's why.
Last year during my Digital WakeUp Call tour, I mentioned how the iPhone and iTouch make such handy on the job portfolio devices in showing off your work. Last year the iPhone and iTouch were about the most impressive portable solution for showing a potential client your work while shooting a wedding.
Well, the ante has been raised considerably with the introduction of the iPad. Now those of us with an iPad have a VERY impressive way of showing off our work. Anywhere –anytime. The large screen coupled with your on board iTunes library make for a very exciting slideshow preview of your work at a wedding.
A client sees you "working", comes up and asks for a card. You give them a card, pull out your iPad, and proceed to show them a few examples of your work. I promise you, they WILL be impressed. But here is the deal, how often does that person call you back? Unfortunately, not very often. People are busy and many times, just forget. How can you change that outcome? Here's how.
They are really impressed with your work on the iPad - heck, it look great on the iPads big screen, right? So now that you've really got their attention, ask them to click off 5 of their favorite images so you can send them to them.
DAZNOTE: 5 images was the most my iPad would let me select. Here's why. It has to do with the size of the image loaded on your iPad. I loaded up my portfolio images at 1024 pixels on the long side. That's native resolution for the iPad and they not only look great, but take up less drive space. 5 selected images adds up to about 3.2 megs, just about the right size for an email.
Add a little message and hit the "send" button and the images are on their way to your new found potential client. You mention to them that you will follow up with them next week about discussing their wedding plans in further detail.
In that little exchange, you've impressed them with your photography on the extra large iPad screen. You've had them interact with the images allowing them to select their favorites. Now you have an indication on how to make your eventual presentation to them showing them images that favor the same type of style as their selected images. And, you've captured their email address so you get do the follow up and don't have to wait impatiently for them to call. Now you can be pro-active in contacting them in trying to close the sale.
Folks, I could go on forever about the iPad marketing/sales possibilities. This is just a quick easy example. Remember, it's more than just showing pretty pictures on the iPad. It's about how you leverage the impact of those pretty pictures with your clients and use that great first impression to proactively get your foot in the door for further contact with the client. The iPad is an impressive tool to make that happen.
DAZNOTE: I've also set up my portfolio images by size orientation - all "verticals" in one album and all "horizontals" in the other. That way when I show my portfolio images, I get a full screen view of each image without any downward image resizing to accommodate combined horizontal/vertical images. Now every image is presented full screen and looks great during the show!
How about more on the subject tomorrow. I'll point you to a few iPad products that just may be what your client is looking for.
Hey gang, I'm out of here. We are getting close to the weekend and need to organize a few things for the trip. Have a good one and I'll see you tomorrow for another Business Day Thursday.
See ya' them, David
©David A. Ziser
Since the topic in today's Technique Tuesday involves the sun, I thought I'd post one of the fabulous Cabo sunsets. This image was taken last December while on a visit to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Every time we head to Cabo this time of the year, the sunsets are always magnificent. This evening was no exception. This view is from the beautiful Westin Hotel which is on the way to San Jose del Cabo, near where we stay when visiting that beautiful part of the world. Even with a few tweaks in Lightroom 2, this is pretty much how I remember the sunset that beautiful evening. The foreground is actually a reflection pool. I positioned myself very near to its surface so I could get the "infinity pool" look in the image. The two lone palms framed the image of the sky, sunset, and reflection perfectly. The results of this image speaks to the beauty of the moment. Moments that we should all strive to make a bigger part of our busy lives. Camera specs: Canon 7D fitted with 10-22mm wide angle lens at 10mm, F 8.0 @1/200 second, ISO 200. Enjoy! David
Good Afternoon Everybody,
I hope things are looking good for you in your part of the world today. We had lots of little things to do here at the studio today hence the later than usual post. So let's get moving with today's Technique Tuesday episode. Here we go...
You Light Up My Life: Alternate Ways To Light Outdoors
Today I've got a pretty cool Technique Tuesday for you. It’s practically a Kelby Training video – yep, it goes a little long, but good stuff - I promise!
It's actually the result of an experience I had during my Digital Master Class. We were shooting in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio and one of the groups, lead by my coach, Craig Weiglein, had found a really cool alley way for doing "urban" wedding images. Craig is a great shooter in this part of the world - you can check out his website right here - and shoots lots of high school seniors and concert events here in the city.
Anyway, I saw he had his group working in this urban landscape and was wondering what was going on. As I got closer, I saw he was holding a Westcott 36” reflector, grabbing some sun, and bouncing it back into the scene. His group was getting some pretty nice results.
Here's where the idea popped into my head about how to use the reflector as a key light for some of my wedding shots. Craig was bouncing the light back on our models which gave a kind of "fashion" look to the shots. But you know me, I'm a "loop light" kind of a guy. I wanted to see more of a direction of light on the shot I had in mind.
Don't get me wrong here, the "alley group" was getting some cool shots - I'll show you some in today's video, but I was looking for a more dimensional lighting for my images.
Here is the challenge when shooting outside. To get that direction of light on your subject with an off-camera flash, you are limited by how bright the location is. What I mean is, in bright light, when using flash, you are limited to the highest "sync speed" of your camera. That's usually around 1/250 second. That means your aperture needs to be much smaller in that bright light, which means you need more power from the strobe to light the shot at the smaller aperture. Sure, you can "cheat the sync" as I've shown many times here at DPT [link], but that only gains you about 2/3's higher shutter speed and slightly larger aperture.
But what if I want to use a much wider aperture to really throw the background out of focus so I can separate the subject from the background in a "bright light" situation? The shutter speed would need to be very high because of the larger aperture, much higher than the native sync speed of the camera. That would mean that the camera wouldn’t be able to sync with any attached flash. There is really only one practical way to reach the large aperture exposure solution.
That solution is with a reflector bouncing the sun's rays back into the scene from a "key light" position. What do I mean by that? I mean I want the key light to be coming in from a direction that preserves my precious "loop lighting" pattern [link] on my subject.
With the light bouncing off the reflector and illuminating the subject from the same direction I need for my desired loop light, I can easily shoot at a much wider aperture since the shutter speed is not dependent on any kind of flash sync limitation and the shutter speed can fall where ever it needs to be for the best exposure of the shot.
OK, have I confused you enough so far? Why not hit the PLAY button below. The entire process will come into focus, no pun intended, and you will have a great technique for your outdoor, bright sunny day shots.
Hey gang, that's it for me today. We got lots of things happening around here today. I'm wrapping my presentation for my B&H program I'm giving on Sunday up in NYC and working on our next newsletter too. These poor little two figures of mine are being worn to the bone with all this typing ;~)
How about I plan to see everyone tomorrow for another edition of PhotoFav Wednesday, where I discuss, "Why You Need An iPad In Your Life".
See ya' tomorrow, David