Monday, January 31, 2011

"Just Blowing In The Wind"

Just Blowing In The Breeze

"Just Blowing In The Wind"
©David A. Ziser

I still remember when I made this image.  It was a breezy Spring day during one of my Master Classes a few years ago. I had just began experimenting with my "cheating the sync" technique, that is using a shutter speed faster that the native sync speed that the camera recommends.

The nice thing about this technique is the fact that it allows you to shoot in brighter lighting conditions when using an off camera flash like the Quantum T5d I like to so often use.  You can find the link to my post on the subject right here.

Anyway, we were working in a really nice part of the park - I love the large pampas grass coming in from the right.  The sun was coming in from camera right as well.  I decided to turn the bride's face away from the bright sun to avoid the bride from squinting. 

I brought my strobe in from camera left which added the illumination to the shadowed side of the bride's face.  The slight breeze caught the veil nicely which really offered a nice touch to the composition.  Because of the wide range of densities, I thought converting the image to black and white made a more impacting presentation than the color version.

Camera specs: Canon 20D fitted with 70-200mm IS lens at 140mm, F5.6 @ 1/400 second, ISO 200.  Enjoy!  -David 

Quick Hit Monday: Last Night Report

Good Evening Everybody,

I cannot believe this year so far! Three weeks out of the first part of the month, the PhotoProExpo, blogs blogs and more blogs - I hope this week lightens up a bit - whew!

First off, Matt Kloskowski was in for the Photoshop For Photographers Tour last Friday. I picked Matt up from the airport on Thursday morning and on the way to the hotel he asked if maybe I could line up a model later in the afternoon. A quick call from LaDawn to her daughter, Lindsay, who had the day off and we were set to go. Don't you love it when a plan comes together ;~)

DAZ and MattAnyway, we all hooked back up about 1:00 p.m. and spent the afternoon shooting in the snow. Matt got some great shots and I got a very cool, no pun intended, Technique Tuesday episode. Matt's going to send me his best images from the shoot. So after I receive them, I'll get things together for the TTues episode - it should be fun. This is a shot of LaDawn, Myself, Matt, and buddy Larry Loar, at Montgomery Inn for dinner. The best place for ribs in the city.

Also adding to my plate was the fact that my buddy, Scott Kelby, asked me to cover his guest blog post for this Wednesday. I've really been concerned about the current state of affairs of the wedding photography industry and wanted the post to revolve around that topic, covering all the why's, wherefores, what to do's, and opportunities in the wedding field at this time.

Guest Blog Post Well, as things sometimes evolve when I hit my "soap box", the post evolved into a 7 page, 2,900 word article! And, I still have another 1,500 words to go! Needless to say, that little bit of writing consumed a large part of the weekend. I think it is an important piece though so I hope you enjoy it and it's thought provoking implications. If Scott let's me, I hope to have a chance to do Part 2 the following week.

I know it's late but I do have a few cool things for you to check out today. Here we go...

My New Favorite iPad App – The Early Edition

OK, you all know I’m totally hooked on my iPad - have been since it came out last April. Like our good buddy, Terry White, I'm kind of an app junkie too. But this app is just way cool. There are lots of apps that pick up your RSS feeds and show them in bookcases or any number of creative presentations. I know, I've got three on my iPad.

The Early EditionMy new favorite app is The Early Edition [link]. It works much like Flipbook, another favorite, aggregating all your RSS feeds by category into a newspaper style layout that's a joy, yes - I said joy to read. With First Edition, I don't even miss my USA Today.

The other cool thing about First Edition is how easy it is to say the content for later postings, for example, at DigitalProTalk. More on some of those options on Wednesday. Anyway, check it out - way cool, easy, efficient blog reading is now at hand.

And Speaking Of More Information Than You Need To Know

I don't remember how I first came across this link although I receive email updates, but it is a pretty cool photo news source. It's name, New Photo Digest. It's a nice read with lots of interesting content that ranges all across the board of photography and gear.

Bert Monroy Finishes, 5 by 30 feet Photorealistic Masterpiece

I just got the news today! Bert finishes his Times Square  Masterpiece [link].

Burt Monroy Pic

As Bert says,

“This is the largest image I have ever created, pushing the boundaries of the software and hardware as far as they can go. It was unveiled at the Photo Plus Expo in New York on October 28, 2010 as a work in progress. A 25 foot light box was constructed to display the piece that has been printed on a new material being introduced by Epson.

• The image size is 60 inches by 300 inches.
• The flattened file weighs in at 6.52 Gigabytes.
• It took four years to create.
• The painting is comprised of almost three thousand individual Photoshop and Illustrator files.
• Taking a cumulative total of all the files, the overall image contains over 500,000 layers.”

Bert has been working on it for 4 years and that includes many hours a day and lots of weekends. I sure would love for Bert to do a webcast for our readers about the entire process. I'll make the call and see if we can't pursued him to do it.

For the past several Photoshop Worlds, we've all been watching Bert's progress. It's good to know he has finished it. Here's the interesting thing about the mural - many of the persons seen in the mural are industry notables. Hit the "Read More..." link at the end of today’s post and I'll point out a few for you. Yep, that's yours truly and my wife LaDawn in the background right below the Shrek poster. Kind of fun, THANKS Bert.

You Never Know Who You'll Meet In The Apple Store

Yesterday I took a few hours off just to kind of "geek" around the tech stores here in the Cincy area. One of them happened to be the Apple store. It amazes me the constant crowds they have in those stores. I mean, I don't even own a Mac computer but I still drop by now and then to check out the latest happenings.

DAZ and Michael Anyway, while roaming the story yesterday, I overheard two people discussing flash photography and couldn't help offering my two cents worth. One thing lead to another and before long I was having an enjoyable conversation with Michael. He's kind of new to the professional but tells me he shooting with some mighty fine gear - a Canon 5D Mark II to be exact.

Anyway, he mentioned that he has seen me on Kelby Training, and asked me to check out his images. I gladly obliged and we brought up his website [link]. Wow! He had some great looking imagery in his galleries. Here is the link to his site right here.

Michael Zero picsHe has a very nice feel in how to work with natural light. My favorite images of his were the ones that showed a bit more direction of light. He had great looking images of some very beautiful people in some very cool locations. All in all it was quite an impressive collection of images. Once again, you can check Mike's site out right here. Nice job, Michael.


Hey gang, that's it for me today. I know it is late but I still wanted to get today's Quick Hit Monday posted before the end of the day. I've got a brand new Technique Tuesday in store for you tomorrow so be sure to check back for that. It will be a late post too - probably mid afternoon. It's kind of a cool tutorial that touches on cropping and correcting wide angle lens images. I'll actually use both Lightroom 3 and Photoshop to get the job done. I think you'll like it.

It's been a long day - time for an adult beverage ;~)

See everybody late tomorrow, David

Here is a partial close up of Bert’s huge image and some notable people in the image. Check out Bert’s site right here to see the entire zoomable image.  Enjoy!  -David

FAmous Faces

Thursday, January 27, 2011

"Hawaii Monet"

Hawaii Monet

"Hawaii Monet"
©David A. Ziser

This image was made during a trip to Hawaii a few years ago.  It still remains one of my favorite images from that vacation.  What I like about it most is the play of dappled colors throughout the entire scene. 

This image is another one of my “drive by shooting” images – you know, you are in the passenger seat with the camera in your lap.  You see something interesting and try to grab the shot as you are flying down the road at 50+ mph. Sometimes you get lucky and capture the image you want.

That was not the case in this example.  What I saw was visually exciting – a strong play of red color against the rich green foliage meandering up the hill.  The setting was nothing more than a simple, rural  scene we encountered on our drive to Hilo. In my mind’s eye I knew that what I captured with the camera was a good beginning to what I wanted the finished image to be.

Heading to Photoshop I first cropped the image to remove the extraneous elements of the composition.  Next, with the judicious use of the “Angled Strokes Brush” filter, I added the painterly effect.  Now “juice” the color with the saturation slider and you have my finished result.

Camera Specs: Canon 5D fitted with 24-105 IS lens at 90mm, F11.0 @ 1/160 second, ISO 800.  Enjoy!  -David

Want to see the “Before” image?

Just hit the “Read More…” link below.

Here is the “Before” image – amazing what Photoshop and a little imagination can bring to the final image, isn’t it ;~)


Business Day Thursday: 10,000 Photographers Paying It Forward

Good Morning Everybody,

Back To Normal Things are pretty much back to normal at Ziser Studio, thank goodness ;~)  We’re wrapping a few things up around here and looking forward to an exciting 2011. 

I’ve got a few new ideas in store for our DigitalProTalk readers. And to paraphrase George Zimmer CEO of Men’s Warehouse, “You’re going to like what you see.” Anyway, let’s get on with today’s post – I think it’s important.

Business Day Thursday: Pay It Forward

Making New Friends…

One of the cool things that happens at conventions are the new folks you meet and new friends you make.  That happened over and over at PhotoPro Expo last weekend.  We had nearly 300 photographers come by to see the 10 terrific programs and visit our vendor supporters.

Over the course of the four days, I had a chance to visit many old friends and made lots of new ones.  On the last day, at the end of the convention, I had the pleasant responsibility of any new president, shaking hands and thanking everyone for coming.  This too is where magic happens.  I was approached by John Michael Laney.

I had laid out my agenda and course direction for the new year, one of which was to brings tons of new video content to our KPPA website.  John Michael approaches me and tells me he has just the video experience we could use to make that happen. I was thrilled he offered.

…Can Lead To Magical Ideas

But that is only the beginning of the story.  John Michael Laney dropped me an email just to follow up on our short visit.  In his email he posted the link to his website [link] and as always, I checked it out.  That quick review of his site was the inspiration for today’s post.

One of the tabs on his home page was “Pay It Forward” [link]. Many of us have seen the movie by the same name [link].  It was a story about an 11 year old boy, young Trevor McKinney (Haley Joel Osment) who comes up with a plan to do good deeds for three people who then by way of payment each must do good turns for three other people.

…That Could Change The World

Jordan Light “So what?”, you say.  Well, I think John Michael has hit upon an idea that can surely not only help people in need, but also raise his studio’s profile in his community.  John Michael is supporting the Jordan Light Foundation [link]. Wouldn’t it be cool if each of us took the same initiative – seek out a deserving charity and set up a “Pay It Forward” tab on our own website or blog?

For years I have offered any of my clients FREE photographic services for any high profile charities they have been involved in.  For 4 years I have been photographing at no charge Cris Collinsworth’s Pink Ribbon Luncheon, a huge fundraiser which raises awareness for breast cancer and has benefitted over 14,000 women last year alone. I have photographed many similar events as well over the years.  I feel that photography and especially my clients have been good to me and volunteering my services is a good way to pay it forward.

I think John Michael's idea kicks it up a notch though.  I’ve always made the standing offer to my clients and sometimes my clients take me up on it but John Michael is pro-actively making the effort everyday through his blog.  But don’t stop there. By promoting your “Pay It Forward” endeavors on your website, blog, Facebook, newsletters, etc. - essentially anywhere they can to get the word out – will by default, raise your profile in your community and add an additional credibility and integrity to your studio and product and services. 

Helping You - Helping OthersDon’t get me wrong.  I’m not suggesting you do it for fame and fortune – do it because you want to do it and raise awareness for the charity you are involved with.  Fame and fortune may just be a nice side benefit. This idea is helping you AND helping others.

Two important results come from this “Pay It Forward” idea.  It certainly helps the cause for which it was intended.  And, it also shows the studio promoting the charity as concerned, caring, members of their community and pro-active in helping others.  Folks, does that sound like a studio you would like to do business with?  It sure does to me.

As my mind races with ideas on how to best make this work for other studios, I would sure like to hear your thoughts and get your ideas on how you have or plan to implement this “Pay It Forward” idea within your own business model.  Please, leave you ideas and suggestions in the Comments section below.  I’d love to see them and I’m sure our DPT readers would as well.

Think of the good that could come of this if all of us took that initiative!  We photographers – large or small, urban or rural, full time or part time – could begin to make a bigger difference in our communities, states, country, and who knows, maybe even in the world.

THANKS again to John Michael Laney for his outstanding contribution!

Food For Thought,  David


Hey gang, that’s it for me today.  Just a quick note. I’m planning to take tomorrow off and work on a few new projects.  My new book has been on the back burner for the last few weeks and I want desperately to get back to writing.

On a personal level, it will be hard NOT to blog tomorrow.  I have not missed a posting since January 2008.  That’s quite a run and I feel like I’ll leave something behind by breaking that run. (I also had a perfect 4 year attendance record in high school I was quite proud of, missing only one day -  the day of my grandfather’s funeral.)

But it is time for me to not be concerned with blogging come “Heck or High Water”, or having perfect blogging attendance, etc.  It’s about re-aligning my priorities and as a result, bring even richer content to you.  Don’t worry though, you’ll still see me plenty of times each week, and who knows, I might just have a five day run now and then ;~)

Have a great one everybody!

See ya’ Monday,  David

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

"Come Dance With Me"

Come Dance With Me

"Come Dance With Me"
©David A. Ziser

These are the kind of reception images I love to capture for the client.  They’re fun, colorful (see the bride’s shoes), and spontaneous.  The bride and groom had just started their bridal dance, slowly at first and then they cut loose. 

The bride’s gown looked great as the groom twirled her around the dance floor.  I’m thinking low, wide angle shot hoping I could get the dress to swirl past the lens.  I was literally crouched on the floor and only about two feet away from the gown to capture this image.  I love it!  It was exactly what I wanted.

The only strobe firing was my Quantum from it’s off camera position camera left and slightly behind the couple.  Had the on-camera flash fired, I would have ”smoked“ the dress.

Even the F5.6 aperture along with the 10mm focal length at 2.5 to 3 feet manages plenty of depth of field – 11.7 feet to be exact which easily kept the couple in focus from head to toe. You have to move quickly at a wedding but it’s always worth the effort.

Camera specs: Canon 40D fitted with 1-22mm lens, F 5.6 @ 1/40 second, ISO 800.  Enjoy!  -David

It’s Day Off Wednesday

 Hey Everybody,

No Blog WednesdayI’m taking the day off, other than the image of the day post above, to get caught up on some things around the studio.  Hope you don’t mind.  Plan to stop back tomorrow morning for a sizzling Business Day Thursday – it’s very cool.

Hope to see ya’ then,  David

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

"Touched By The Light Of Your Smile"

Touched By Your Smile

"Touched By The Light Of Your Smile"
©David A. Ziser

This is an image I made a few years ago while shooting some of the Kelby Training videos. I remember shooting in his beautiful church, Sacred Heart Church [link], in downtown Tampa. It was around Christmas and we had to photograph around the poinsettias. I remember joking to one of the videographers that this could be the first Kelby Training Christmas video;~) I believe that this is the oldest church in Tampa and maybe even Florida as well. The architecture in some of these old churches is just breathtaking.

I chose a wide-angle lens to capture the awesome beauty of the church’s interior. The low camera angle really added to the convergence of the pillars in the church. In next week’s Technique Tuesday I'm going to discuss that exact same topic.

Anyway, the low camera angle, wide lens, the light coming from behind the subjects (my assistant holding my Quantum flash at 1/4 power 12 feet back, 4 feet off the ground and pointing at their shoulder blades created a nice rim light on the both the bride and groom. By balancing the ambient light with the flash exposure, we pulled off an extremely powerful wedding image.

Camera specs: Canon 40D fitted with 10-22mm lens at 10mm, F5.6 @ 1/50 second, ISO 800.  Enjoy!  -David

Top 5 Technique Tuesdays for 2010

Good Afternoon Everybody,

We nearly have the suitcases unpacked and are beginning to settle back into “normal”. You know how it is when you return from a trip - suitcases and carry-ons everywhere, laptops sitting here, camera sitting there, everything looking to be unpacked only to be repacked for the next trip.

Still Unpacking We're probably still a day or two away before that happens but heck, we still have the Christmas decorations to take down! That's right, it's still Christmas at the Ziser’s. I'm looking at several poinsettias still in good shape but one “live” tree severely drooping. It will be “pine needles everywhere” in a few days ;~)

It was funny, LaDawn just mentioned to someone over the weekend that since New Year's Eve we've only been home for 30 hours. We're both looking to relax at home for the next few weeks or at least until the WPPI convention in mid-February.

I actually started to put together a brand-new Technique Tuesday for today without realizing that I hadn't finished our top 10 Technique Tuesdays for 2010. So instead of popping a new Technique Tuesday let me finish with our Top 10 list.  Then you have all the latest, greatest, hottest posts Technique Tuesday posts from last year. Here we go…

Top 5 technique Tuesdays for 2010

Top 5I hope you get a kick out of watching them a second time. As I said above, I'll have a brand-new Technique Tuesday for you next week.

#1 - Posing Large Wedding Groups 2 [link]

This was the most watched tutorial at DPT for 2010. It was probably the most requested as well. So here you have it one more time sit back, relax and enjoy!

#2 - Love Lines – Another Live Wedding Shoot [link]

This post was also extremely popular for 2010 even though it first ran in 2009. I think the reason for that was because during our Captured By the Light 2010 lecture tour I had made reference to this video several times and I think that's what drove a lot of people to revisit the tutorial.

It's still a great lesson on how I light during a real wedding. It features me shooting through my Zumbrella, how I balance the light, and how I compose images. It's been a perennial favorite so enjoy it again.

1024x768 - LR3 Secret Settings#3 - Lightroom 3 Secret Settings – [link]

This was the third most popular Technique Tuesday post for 2010. And again, one of the reasons for it’s popularity is that I mentioned it during our 2010 tour. I still think you're find it quite helpful as needed to and fine-tune your images within Lightroom 3.

#4 - Lighting And Shooting Large Groups  [link]

This post is actually the first Technique Tuesday in which I discussed posing large groups. Taken with the number one post above, you get a lot of insights on what I try to accomplish in posing large groups. Enjoy!

1024x768 - Noise Noise #5 - Noise, Noise Go Away  [link]

As many of you know, I'm a high ISO speed freak. I was shooting an event and some of the natural light photographs were taken at 12,800 ISO. I thought it would be interesting to do a post on how I removed the noise from those images. It seemed a lot of photographers enjoyed knowing how I did it, too. So, if you want to revisit the techniques I shared just follow the link above.


Hey gang, that's it for me today.  LaDawn is insisting that I organize my belongings that I have scattered all over my studio, get them put away and then it's onto removing the Christmas decorations.

See everybody soon, David

Monday, January 24, 2011

"Heaven Sent Love"

Heavy Sent Love

"Heaven Sent Love"
©David A. Ziser

Okay, the title might be a little hokey but that was the first thought that popped in my mind as I viewed this beautiful wide-angle wedding candid. This image was taken in one of my favorite sanctuary's, St. Mary's Cathedral of the Assumption, in Covington Kentucky. The magnificent interior together with the soaring pillars makes for an extremely dramatic image especially when photographed with a very wide-angle lens.

In checking with the priest, I asked permission if I could shoot from the side of the church and assured him that no flashes would be firing during my exposures. The priest was quite gracious and allowed my request.

I know the possibilities of shooting with a wide-angle lens so I pulled out the widest I had available. It was Sigma’s 12-24 mm lens.  With that lens attached to my Canon 5D, you have the widest rectilinearly corrected view possible with this camera/lens combination – about 122 degrees wide!

Do I mind that the lines are converging in this image? Not really, I’m a wedding photographer and not an architectural photographer.  I think the strong convergence of the lines adds to the dramatic impact.

Consider the subject matter. The bride and groom are kneeling as they wait quietly for the priest to finish up passing out Communion. I could've made this photograph with a long telephoto lens and it would have been an “okay” candid. But, the use of a wide-angle lens sure added a dramatic look to this otherwise ordinary wedding candid. I've mentioned many times that I'm a huge fan of wide-angle lenses. This just shows one of the reasons why.

Camera specs: Canon 5D fitted with Sigma 12-24mm lens at 12mm, F5.6 @ 1/40 second, ISO 800. Enjoy!  -David

Quick Hit Monday: Great Speakers You Need To Hear; Project 52; Wedding and Portrait Photography On-line Magazine; and Fresh New Podcasts

Good Afternoon Everybody,

KPPA 2011[5] What a weekend it has been - including winter blizzard and all! We just wrapped our PhotoPro Expo and I have to tell you, it was a lot of hard work, a lot of long hours, and a lot of great fun! I was also just named named president of the Kentucky Professional Photographers Association – Wow!

I felt kind of bad that I couldn't get last week’s Business Day Thursday post up but with our blizzard dumping snow on us throughout the day and the total lack of any kind of free time during the convention – for example 7 hours sleep in two days - it just made it impossible to post last week. Sorry about that. I thought I might find a little more time to get it up on Friday but, that didn't go as planned either. 

DAZ and Jessica Being a convention chairman and incoming president certainly has its benefits but it certainly has its time-consuming responsibilities as well.  I'm looking forward to a great year in my new role with the Kentucky Professional Photographers Association.  We've got some great activities and learning opportunities planned and I can't wait to get started. That’s me at the Awards Ceremony with our out-going Chairman of the Board, Jessica Vogel.

I was looking forward to getting back to the normal blogging schedule this week so with that said, why don’t we get on with today's post.

PhotoPro Expo Recap – Wow!  Great Programs!

Blair Phillips Hits It Out Of The Park

Blair Phillpis One of the highlights of our convention was in our speaker lineup. Our kickoff speaker was Blair Phillips, from Charlotte, North Carolina [link]. Blair arrived at the airport at 9:00 am for his 11 o'clock flight and after two delays finally arrived in Cincinnati at 8:00 pm in the evening. It was a very long travel day for Blair.

I was introduced to Blair while having dinner that evening at the Marriott restaurant. Blair was full of energy and looked that he was raring to go in spite of his many hours at the Charlotte airport. He had an infectious energy that you just couldn't resist noticing.

Blair Phillpis2 The next morning he ascends the stage and over the next three hours of presenting this program, he literally “knocked it out of the park.” This presentation manner was easy, relaxing, fun, entertaining, and most of all one of the most informative presentations I've heard. Blair is only 33 years old but “man oh man” does he have his act together on his business and in his photography.

If you get a chance to hear Blair down the road please jump at the chance.

Tony Corbell – A True Gentleman

Tony Corbell2 Another highlight of our speaking lineup was Tony Corbell, from NIK Software [link] speaking on “The Power Of Light” [link]. Tony and I have been friends for many years and it was nice to just sit back and spend some time visiting during his stay at our convention.

Tony is genuinely one of the nicest people that you can meet. He mingled with the attendees as often as he could and was happy to help out with any questions anyone asked.  He gave a dynamite program for the over 210 attendees that were in attendance.  If you get a chance to hear Tony at Imaging USA or WPPI you must not miss this program. Oh, just a reminder, if you purchase anything from NIK Software and use the DZISER code, you’ll save 15% off your purchase – THANKS, Tony ;~)

Kent And Sara Wow The Audience

Kent and Sarah We also found a quick few minutes to spend some time with our friends, Kent and Sarah Smith [link], from Pickerington, Ohio. They also mesmerized the audience during their entire three hour presentation. I've said it many times before, there's no one that markets as effectively as Kent and Sarah when it comes to high school seniors, children and family portraits.

Cliff Mautner Tells It Straight

DAZ and CliffI picked up Cliff Mautner from the airport on Saturday. We had a nice visit about wedding photography on the way to the hotel. Cliff was the last speaker for our convention. In spite of the very tired, over educated, saturated attendees, Cliff had everyone nailed to their seats to the very end of the day.

One thing about Cliff is that he tells it straight and gets straight to the point. And his photography is outstanding -- heck, he's been named one of the top 10 wedding photographers in the country. But it is his no “BS” approach to what he does and how he shares with his audience that is quite refreshing. You can catch Cliff over at Kelby Training right here.

All of our speakers were just outstanding and everyone that was there knew they had just experienced something special over those previous three days. Were already planning for the 2012 convention and I’ll be sure and keep you posted as we proceed. I know a lot of people made a long drive or a flight to attend the convention in spite of our blazing snowstorm, but no one regretted one moment of their effort.

Southern Exposure Magazine - A Great Resource For The Portrait And Wedding Photographer

Southern Exposure MAg One thing that you do as convention chairperson is lineup the talent for the upcoming convention. I, many times, check other association websites just to see what the other states are doing when it comes to speaker talent.  In that search I found quite a nice photographic resource for our DPT readers. 

As I was browsing the net recently, I managed to find my way to the Southeast Professional Photographers Association website [link]. As I perused the site I found the link to Southern Exposure, their on-line magazine. This publication is just jam-packed with good information from talented photographers whose articles appear in the magazine. Let me point you to the link right here so you can enjoy it.

Project 52 - A Very Interesting Photographic Challenge

52 Weeks52 weeks, lessons, assignments for photographers -- that was a heading on this new website I just discovered. It looks like a very ambitious and interesting project from the guys at lighting essentials. Each week a different assignment is posted and each week the photographs from the previous week's assignment are also posted.

I think is a fascinating approach in learning many different aspects of photography. I invite you to check it out right here.

What's Up Over At LensFlare35?

As a blogger I spend a lot of time surfing the web looking for interesting articles, podcasts, tutorials -- anything that I think my readers will enjoy.  That’s part of the reason for DPT and the purpose of Quick Hit Monday. One of the special joys of that process is revisiting some blogs that you haven't been back to lately and see what they've been up to.

LensFlare 35 3

David Warner, the creative source behind always has solid content on his blog. Probably the highlight of his blog are his monthly podcasts. With last year’s CBTL tour, holidays, and even travels in the beginning of this year, I hadn't visited LensFlare35 in a few months .

When I made the trip over there recently, it was a pleasant surprise to see all the new podcasts they have available. It looks like it's going to take me a little while to get caught up on all the cool interviews that David has posted. Want to check them out with me -- here is the link.


Hey gang, that's it for me today. We had an early meeting with the hotel and convention center in planning the 2012 convention. I didn't get back from the meeting until early afternoon hence the late post. As I said, we should be back on schedule this week so why don’t you plan to come by again tomorrow and see what's new for tomorrow's technique Tuesday.

Hope to see you then, David

Friday, January 21, 2011

"Romantic Beginnings"

photo (1)

"Romantic Beginnings"
©David A. Ziser

This is the Marriott location in which we are having our PhotoPro Expo this weekend. In fact programs are already underway. In addition to holding many business functions, the hotel is also host to several weddings in Northern Kentucky. Why? Because of the beautiful gazebo you see in this image.

I prefer making this backlit silhouette from two vantage points. This is the first - it's from the lobby level up to the second floor. The gazebo does a great job of providing a very dramatic setting for the shot. The low perspective also adds to the dramatic feel of the image.

The challenge is in seeing the bride and groom in the image. I had to have then lean slightly over the railing so I could better see their  profiles. The other challenge was to get the light on them so the light could be seen by the camera.

Most readers of this blog know that I recommend the flash be 12 feet behind the subjects about 4 feet off the ground. That is not the case in this photograph. Had the flash been that close to the floor, we probably would not see much of it wrapping around the bride and groom.

I needed the flash in alignment from camera to subject. That meant my assistant would be standing behind the couple holding the flash slightly above his head. He still wouldn't be seen by the camera with my very low vantage point.

With the couple looking at each other romantically, underexposing the background by about a stop, and my assistant's flash at 1/4 power, I fired away.

Camera specs: Canon 30D fitted with 17-85mm IS at 17mm, F5.6 @ 1/250 second, ISO 800. Enjoy! –David

p.s. Sorry posts have been erratic these last few days.  I’ve been buried with convention responsibilities at PhotoPro Expo and hardly have a minute to breathe.  I’ll try to get the Business Day Thursday post up this weekend.

Thanks, David

Thursday, January 20, 2011

"The Artists’ Mentor"

Artists Mentor

"The Artists’ Mentor"
©David A. Ziser

This is another image I made a few years ago featuring one of Cincinnati, Ohio's Inspiring Volunteers of the Arts. When I spoke to the gentleman about his portrait and what I wanted to do, he quickly offered an idea that not only featured him but also featured the students he taught.

I loved the concept, now all we had to do was pull it off. He was involved in a program that reached out to kids in the inner city and who are rarely exposed to the arts. OK, how was I going to pull off the shot? We were working in a not too large art room littered with the "tools of the artists trade". I wanted the image to be more than a simple group shot. I really wanted to feature our volunteer predominately in the composition.

The idea finally came to me - I would have the kids gather in the background among the art supplies and around the art tables. I would have our volunteer a good distance in front of the group. By using a wide angle lens, I could feature him in the foreground and still show the kids in the background.

We found a rickety old step ladder upon which I would perch and take the shot. I climbed the latter with someone steadying it for me, had my assistant bring in the light from camera left, framed up the shot, and pressed the shutter.

The exposure was pretty much balanced with the ambient light in the room so we could see the kids clearly. My flash at 1/4 power shooting through an umbrella about 10 feet away provided the primary lighting for this image. He loved how the photograph turned out.

Camera specs: Canon 5D fitted with 24-105 IS lens at 24mm, F7.1 @ 1/80 second, ISO 800. Enjoy! -David

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

"The Light Of Your Smile"


"The Light Of Your Smile"
©David A. Ziser

I love this image. It's one that was made quickly after we finished the the group photographs and the images at the alter of the bride and groom. The limos were waiting for the wedding party to gather their things.

In those brief moments while we were waiting for everyone to head to the limousine, I asked the bride and groom to hold for just a minute on the church steps as they were making their exit. My assistant quickly positioned himself behind the couple as I was sure the camera was set to the right settings to get the shot in the diminished light.

Here is the cool thing about this image. When the flash fired, it not only backlit the couple but it also lit up the dress making it a source of light for the rest of the scene. The light bounced off the dress and illuminated the interior of the church doors. The now illuminated doors created what we call an "interior frame". An "interior frame" is a compositional element within the scene that helps frame up the subject in addition to the normal exterior frame of the viewfinder.

This is what happens with what I call "short distance" backlighting. My assistant is not capable of being the recommended 12 feet behind the subjects, instead he is much closer. The result is always pleasing with the illuminated surrounds.

Camera specs: Canon 5D fitted with a Sigma 12-24mm lens at 12mm, F6.3 @ 1/13 second, ISO 640. Enjoy! -David

PhotoPro Expo Kicks Off; Imaging USA Wrap Up; Upcoming Webcasts; No More Workflow; Come To Italy With Me?; and More!

Good Afternoon Everybody,

We were up bright and early his morning - 4:00 a.m. wake up call - headed to the airport and arrived back in Cincy about 2:00 p.m. We could use a break but we head right into our PhotoPro Expo Convention Crowd graphic - LRtomorrow through Sunday. It's going to be great convention chock full of outstanding speakers. The learning opportunity is endless.

We should have about 250 excited photographers attending from around 6 states in the Midwest! I'm convention chairmen because I have so much spare time on my hands – right ;~) Anyway, it's fun and we're looking forward to being part of of this exciting weekend!

PhotoPro Expo Kicks Off In This Friday!

KPPA 2011[5]Hey, good news - you can still register for 10 fantastic speakers, 3 info packed days, 1 exceptional educational opportunity. Here is the link to register at the super great price of only $149 ….if you hurry.

We have over $8500 worth of door prizes were will be giving away over the three day event. Due to the number of door prizes we're giving away, you'll have a pretty good chance to win.

Marriott1Coming in from out of town? Our convention is being held at the Marriott RiverCenter, one of the nicest hotels in the city and we've secured a room rate of only $99! Like they say on TV - Come on down!!!!

Imaging USA Wrap Up

Hey gang, this isn't a normal wrap up report - you can get all the latest, greatest news at the Imaging USA website right here. What I want to do is give you the low down on a few of the interesting things that happened at the show.

Bruce Hudson In Upcoming Webcast: Groupon - Making It Work For You.

Bruce Hudson That's right, my buddy, Bruce Hudson, who you saw earlier this week shooting the bad guys has agreed to do an hour long webcast on how to add the phenomenally successful Groupon mania to your marketing plans. Stay tuned as we lock down times and dates. It's going to be a great program!

Taking the Work Out Of Workflow

Zookie BookMy good buddy and president of Zookbinders, Mark Zucker,  has also agreed to come on DPT and tell you about what I think is one of the greatest workflow time savers in the world.  What is the thing photographers hate to do most? For most it’s getting stuck behind their computers with album design instead behind their cameras shooting. It takes too much time. It pulls them from they're already too busy schedule. The chain around most photogs neck is workflow that takes way to much time in our digital age.

Zookbinders just introduced they're new Zookie book. I know, you're saying, "What in the world is that." Right? Here is the deal. Zookbinders will design, print and bind your clients favorite images into a beautiful album in less time than you can. I saw it happen in person at the show.

Zookbinders had a few customers drop off images at the first day of the Imaging USA show on Sunday. Sunday evening, Jen, one of they're designers went to work on the albums, got the final design looking great, FTP'd the final album design JPEGs up to Zookbinders in Chicago so they could get the album printed, bound, and shipped by Monday.

Zookie Pro and Mark I was standing at Zookbinders booth on Tuesday when Sandra Ortiz -, took delivery of the album from Mark. She was ecstatic! I looked through the album and it was beautiful - color balance, density, binding - everything was perfect. I'll tell ya' - designing, printing, binding, shipping, and then delivering an album in 48 hours was an amazing thing to see. With Zookbinders new Zookie album service you just may to able to take an extra day or two off during the month. Wouldn't that be nice!

The Monster Lives!!!

Ukandu Sandy Puc, a good friend and a person who has more energy than most people I know just introduced her brand new Ukandu website where you can bug a complete marketing plan for only $20 bucks! It includes templates, copy, and an entire marketing plan to help you increase your business. Here is the link.

Here is the cool thing - she's got lots and lots of marketing plans that you can choose from AND they are only $20. I can't wait to check out a few myself.

Sandy, by the way, puts on one of the best lecture tours every year. This year she is touring with the indomitable, Jerry Ghionis, an outstanding wedding photographer from Australia. They're tour, Power Of Passion is coming to a city near you very soon. I sure plan to catch them when they get near Cincy. Here is the link to their Power Of Passion tour for more info and to register. It will be the tour not to miss for 2011!

Lumapix:FotoFusion On A Mac Right Around The Corner!

DAZ and Mike When we do programs we are constantly asked when Lumapix is going to run on a Mac. Well, finally the good news - Mike Sheasby, the president of the company was showing the Mac version at Imaging USA. OK, it was the latest beta but it sure looked good to me.

Mike assures me that things are looking good for a release very, very soon - I can't wait. Mike and I also talked about him doing a webcast together when the new release ships. That should be a good time too. Once again, I'll keep you posted. THANKS for your patience to everyone who purchased during the Captured By the Light Tour. We are getting so close to delivering.

A Few More Highlights Of Our Visit

Peachpit Like I said in an earlier post, part of the reason we attend these conventions is because we get a chance to see our friends whom we haven't seen throughout the year. On Sunday evening, we enjoyed a wonderful evening Bohanan's restaurant with our friends at Peachpit Press, the publishers of my book "Captured By The Light".

It was a nice discussing my new book and how to bring even greater value to my next book possibly by adding a bonus DVD with added content. Think Blu-Ray DVD with bonus features - way cool.

On Monday we had a great time at the Animoto party at the Enchanted Springs Ranch. From shooting six guns to riding the bull and everything in between, it was a hoot! Here's a shot of all of us who enjoyed the party. Remember, Animoto = Great Slide Shows. 

Animoto pic

Last night we had a delightful Mexican dinner at Rosario's, a wonderful restaurant in San Antonio, with our friends Jeff and Ross. Jeff Medford and his business partner, Ross, had just finished their convention programs at the same time as ours so we decided to grab dinner together.

Italy Jeff has been twisting my arm to do a week long workshop in Italy! He has organized it many times for the legendary Monte Zucker and thinks I should so the same. We would reserve a villa in Tuscany for about 15 photographers and spend 5 days shooting around the area, enjoying fine wine, and soaking up the culture.

Hey gang, what do you think? It sure sounds like fun to me. Why not hit the Comment section below and let me know if you would be interested. We are definitely thinking about it.


Hey gang, that's it for be today. We are off and running getting things ready for PhotoPlus Expo. We have print competition happening tomorrow and the programs starting on Friday. I sure hope to see some of our DPT readers at the show.

Check back tomorrow for another episode of Business Day Thursday. I'm planning to hit my Top 10 favorite business posts of 2010.

Hope to see you then, David

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

"They’ll Be Playing Our Song Tonight"

Our Song

"They’ll Be Playing Our Song Tonight"
©David A. Ziser

This image was captured at a recent wedding and I love the wonderful high key tones that are presented.  When shooting by window light I really like to push the tonalities of the scene into the higher or more pastel regions.

I do this two ways. First, is by overexposing the natural light coming in through the window. The second technique is to use a select slider in Lightroom to bring up the lower tonalities to a more pastel setting.

There is no magic in making this image black and white. I simply desaturate the image, in Lightroom, and this usually provides me the tonalities and feeling I'm looking for in my final image.

I also love using wide-angle lenses at my weddings. That was the case in this image as I was using one of the widest angle lenses, the Sigma 8-16mm, on the market. At its widest setting, I able to creat a very dramatic result. I did correct a few of the vertical and horizontal distortion with Lightroom 3.  I think we got a great result and the client loved it.

Camera specs:  Canon 7D fitted with Sigma 8-16mm at 8mm, F5.6 @ 1/500 second, ISO 1250.  Enjoy!  -David

Technique Tuesday: Top 10 Posts – Part 1

Good Morning Everybody,

Bruce shootingI can’t believe this is day 4 of the Imaging USA Convention. My program is later this afternoon at three o'clock so I hope to see you there. Animoto threw a wonderful party at a dude ranch last night and it was great fun. You had an opportunity to target practice with an authentic western six shooter.  That’s my buddy, Bruce Hudson, shooting a few bad guys ;~)

DAZ on bullHeck, you could even ride the “bull”.  Yep, that’s me in the saddle.  Like I said, everybody had a great time. We got in a little late last night and I’ve got to get moving - so let's get right to the today’s post.

Technique Tuesday: Top Ten Posts Of 2010 – Part 1

Top 10aWe've been so busy for the last couple weeks, I haven't had the opportunity to put together my top 10 postings for 2010.  I’ve been working on it for the last couple of days so look forward to those top 10 lists to be posted over the next few days.

Today I'm posting the first five posts from Technique Tuesdays 2010. These posts were the most popular according to the number of viewings each received when I reviewed the 50+ videos I posted from last year.

Here you have 5 of the Top 10 Technique Tuesday posts:

6. My 5+ Favorite Bridal Poses [link]:  This 21 minute video tutorial discusses my favorite “must do” bridal photographs you must take on a wedding.

7. You Look Marvelous [link]: A 12 Minute video tutorial on how to use Lightroom 3 for quick retouching – very cool.

8.  Time To Light Up Your Life [link]: A 28 minute video tutorial on lighting with reflectors outdoors.

9. Wedding Day Daydreams [link]: A 20 minute video tutorial on creating beautiful outdoor bridal portraits.

10. I Can See For Miles [link]: A 22 minute video tutorial on how to get great bridal portraits with long lenses.

When you can find a few minutes in your day, take some time and enjoy them for a second time.
A gang that's it for me today, we've got a be hitting the road real soon. The tradeshow opens in just a few minutes and I still have a lot of work to do, vendors to visit, new products to explore before the trade show wraps up at 1:30. Thanks to all who came up and said HI over the last few days. It has been a blessing to meet so many old and new friends while visiting San Antonio.

Anyway, have a great one and I'll see you soon.

Adios, David

Monday, January 17, 2011

"Point Of Interest"

Point Of InterestRoad Trip 3IMG_3482-Edit

"Point Of Interest"
©David A. Ziser

This is an image I made while on our cross country trip last November.  Yes, it is a “drive by shooting” image.  The sun was setting as we were passing through Phoenix.  We had just passed through our third snow storm and finally the clouds started to lift – perfectly timed with the setting sun. 

The geography was beautiful and the colors that evening made the setting even more beautiful. We were about to pass this somewhat flattened, pointed shaped mountain.  The sun, which was dead center in the camera frame, was not going to move in my composition because it was 93,000,000 miles away.  The mountain, on the other hand, was moving quickly to the right of the scene as we sped down the road.

If I could catch it center frame pointing at the setting sun, I thought I had a chance at a very unusual composition. As the mountain neared the the center of the frame I readied for the shot.  I only managed to get two shots off – this was the first of the two and also the best. Timing was everything.

That’s why “drive by shootings” are so much fun to try to capture.  You better know what you want in the frame, time yourself (and camera) for the moment, and hope you get the image you want.  It sure keeps you on your compositional toes ;~)

Camera specs: Canon 7D fitted with 18-200mm IS lens at 70mm,  F9.0 @ 1/320 second, ISO 800.  Enjoy!  -David