Thursday, March 31, 2011

"Stormy Love"

DAZ Pre-ConIMG_2012-Edit

"Stormy Love"
©David A. Ziser

Here is another image I made during my Wedding Shootout on Tuesday. I tell ya’, the weather has not been the best so far this week here in Orlando.  It rained most of the day before, and I was really worried about being able to get outside to shoot on Tuesday.
The good news was that the weather let up slightly later in the afternoon, and the sun even tried to peek through the clouds.  The class and I took that opportunity to try to get a fairly dramatic image of the bride against the parting storm clouds.
The church grounds were not the best to get a great bridal image – too many telephone poles and power lines in the distance, but we still pulled it off – with the help of Photoshop’s “Content Aware Fill” tool.
My light was actually in the top right corner of the image but with a little “content aware fill” magic and it was removed instantly.  Why was the light in the image – because I needed to get my light source close enough to the bride to overcome the very bright ambient light we were dealing with. Check out camera specs below to see what I ‘m talking about.. I always say, “If you need to have your gear in the shot, be sure it is in a ‘Photoshopable’ area so that it can easily be removed later”.
Notice, too, with the light so close, it created a spotlight effect on the bride which I think adds to the dramatic feel of the image. A low camera angle and wide angle lens did the rest to help create a pretty decent image of my lovely bride.
Camera specs:  Canon 7D fitted with Sigma 8-16mm wide angle lens at 8mm, F16 @ 1/320 second, ISO 200.  Enjoy!  -David

Crazy At Photoshop World

Good Morning Everybody,
Posting here at Photoshop is always a challenge – early morning wakeup calls and late evenings make it hard to post on a regular schedule.  Anyway, I'll still give it my best shot.
My LR3 Program For Wedding/Portrait Went Great!
I had a great crowd at my program last evening – thanks to all for the very nice remarks.  My program centered around how Lightroom can be best used for Wedding and Portrait photographers.  While not ALL Lightroom’s features are a good fit for weddings/portraits, some are absolutely wonderful.
DAZ LR3 ProgramI showed a few retouching tips and tricks along with several image enhancing features too.  We even talked about “jail breaking” Lightroom to work on a network too. I thought the program went well – it seemed the audience like it too.
BEC1Rockin’ On At B.B. Kings
My late program made us late for the Peachpit party, but right on time for the After Hours party held at B.B. Kings, which started at 8:00 p.m.
The Big Electric Cat band brought down the house once again with Scott Kelby and his wife, Kelebra, rockin’ on with TBEC3ony, Felix, and Mike.  The sad news - I hear that last night was the band’s last performance – we’ll have to see in Las Vegas in the Fall.
Interviewing Bert Monroy Today
If you haven’t heard, Bert Monroy completed his opus digital painting, “Times Square” this year.  It is on display in the Tech Expo here in Orlando.  His masterpiece is an astonishing accomplishment. Click on the image or right here for the complete background story.

Times Square Bert
This is the largest image Bert 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.


Burt has agreed to meet with me at noon to discuss the process and evolution of the finished work.  It should be a fascinating  visit.  He has agreed to let me video the interview, too – I hope I can get it up on DPT tomorrow.
Hey gang, that’s it for me today.  I've got to run – I hooking up with Bert in about an hour.  Hope to see you tomorrow with the interview.

See ya’ then,  David

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

"Love Lines"

Love LinesIMG_1750

"Love Lines"
©David A. Ziser

This is one of my favorite images from yesterday’s shoot.  It’s a simple backlit photograph but what really made the image interesting is how the vertical rails of the balcony railing caught the light.  The railing was curved in shape and as such gave me reflections on the vertical elements that created a wonderful upwardly curved feature.

Notice how all the curved elements in this image all seem to converge at the bride and groom leading the viewer’s eye directly to them.  The backlighting certainly helps too. 

The monochromatic nature of the scene – blacks, greys, and whites compliment the overall composition of the scene. It’s sort of a black and white image but really in full color – kind of cool.

Camera specs: Canon 7D fitted with 18-200mm lens at 60mm, F8.0 @ 1/320 second, ISO 800.  Enjoy!  -David

Photoshop World Off To Great Start; Shooting Wirelessly; Dave Cross Opens Training Center; and More

Good Afternoon Everybody,

We had a great time yesterday at my Photoshop World Wedding Shootout.  I tried a few new techniques that really worked out well.  Keep an eye on DPT this week – I’ll be featuring some of my favorite images from the shoot.

Photoshop World Kicked Off This Morning - Great Fun

This morning Photoshop World kicked off with lots of fun and fanfare.  Remember a few weeks ago, I mentioned that I had flown down to Oldsmar, FL for a special project at NAPP World Headquarters.  I can now tell you what that "secret project" entailed. 

DAZ and JulianneThe opening Keynote this year centered around the Project Runway show. I can now tell you that I had the honor of being part of the opening festivities.  Julieanne Kost played the Heidi Klum character, and yours truly played the Tim Gunn, eh - Tim Gamma role.  Scott, Matt, R.C., Corey, Brad, Dave, the entire NAPP team were the Photoshop designers, Jay Maisel, Fay Sirkis, Terry White were the judges. 

It was a lot of fun to see how it all came together.  The team at PSW won't have it on-line till after the Fall PSW Las Vegas Convention in September.  I'll see if I can get a few snippets up for you to see before then.  It was all really entertaining, funny and full of Photoshop jokes.

Shooting Wirelessly Worked Like A Charm Yesterday

I can’t tell you how cool is was to shoot wirelessly during my Wedding Shootout yesterday.  My Ace #1 technical assistant, Damien Tepe, spent a few hours the night before getting things up and running smoothly, with "smoothly" being the operative word when time is limited and you have a full class of 50+ attendees.

The class loved the fact that as I photographed my bride and groom, the images popped up effortlessly on the iPad 2 as we projected onto a light colored wall in the sanctuary of the church.  We used the HDMI adapter to connect the iPad 2 to my BenQ projector.  The BenQ has not only VGA and Composite inputs, it also has 2 HDMI inputs as well.

iPad2 to proj

All worked like a charm.  Damien and I are next trying to see if we can have the Canon wireless transmitter broadcast to more that one device.  If it works like we hope it will, it should be about the coolest training tool ever!  I may have further news later this week on our experiments.

Our wireless set up was the talk of the show among the other instructors.  Rick Salmon stopped us this morning to ask more about what we were doing.  Damien fired up his iPad2 and I fired up the Canon and in a matter of 30 seconds made a quick exposure and  2 seconds later it popped up on Damien's iPad2.  Rick was impressed.  Even Terry White mentioned it in his blog post today - here is the link right here.

Anyway, lots of cool stuff - more later.

Dave Cross Announces Hands-on Photoshop and Photography Workshops

My good buddy and one of the Photoshop Guys, Dave Cross, has just announced the opening of his new training center in Tampa, Florida. Workshops will be taught by Dave Cross himself and guest instructors such as Scott Kelby, Mike Fulton, Jason Groupp, Matt Kloskowski, David Ziser, Joel Grimes and many more.

I’m honored to have been asked and can’t wait to get on the schedule.  Here is the link to all the info.

There's a New Photo Blog In Town

Terry DeglauTerry Deglau and I have been friends for many, many years.  Terry was one of the top photographers working in the Pittsburgh, PA several years ago.  Early in his career he went to work for the Eastman Kodak company and rose to the top of their ranks.  Our paths crossed many times over those years. 

Terry retired a several year ago and has so much information just waiting to be unleashed from his creative mind.  Terry and I have been talking frequently over the last two weeks.  In those conversations I've been encouraging Terry to begin a blog and share his stories, his experiences, and his photography.

I just received an email this morning pointing me to his first post entitled, "A Creative Mind Is a Moving Target".  It's a great read into a very creative mind.  I invite you to give it a read right here.  Thanks Terry, we all look forward to many more posts.

Don't Forget About Our Fusion Webcast Next Week

Register-Now-LR15That's right, seats are filling up fast so please REGISTER HERE you won't want to miss out.

Below is a brief over view of the presentation;

Want to learn how to rise above the competition in a tough photography market? will be hosting Ariane Fisher of Storymix Media in a free webinar on April 7th.

The photography business has been transformed over the last 20 years from medium format to DSLR; from large studios to independent photographers. Keep on top of the competition by offering products your customers want, with a workflow you can maintain.

Learn how to get started in producing, marketing and selling fusion photography. There are many fantastic workshops and books which teach the technical aspects of shooting (we'll provide links); with this workshop you can learn the business and storytelling aspects.

Learn how to:

  • begin marketing and selling
  • storyboard your movie - before you shoot
  • get started shooting fusion - even with a point and shoot

StorymixTake Advantage: For ongoing fusion education, check out our new blog at

Thanks Ariane, we are looking forward to it.


Hey gang, that's it for me today. I'm doing a Presentation at the Peachpit booth at 4:00 p.m. today and then at 6:15 p.m. this evening I’m presenting my program, Lightroom For Wedding and Portrait Photographers.  If you're in the neighborhood, I hope you'll come up and say HI.

Adios, David 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

"Sarasota, Saying Goodbye"

Sarasoto, Saying GoodbyeIMG_1628

"Sarasota, Saying Goodbye"
©David A. Ziser

This was one of the last final images I took from our hotel room yesterday before heading over to Orlando, FL for Photoshop World.  It was really storming all night long with the lightning and thunder really putting on a fabulous show of nature’s intensity.

Things began to settle down early in the morning and by 7:00 a.m. the storm began clearing.  I took a few shots earlier which I thought captured the harbor, the Ritz-Carlton in the distance, and the overall scene very well.  After about another 1/2 hour LaDawn noticed that there was even more vibrancy in the sky as the storm continued to clear. 

I grabbed the camera and made a few more images right before 8:00 a.m.  I think this one is one of the best.  The textures of the clouds, the luminosity of the sky, and the color just starting to penetrate the cloud cover all made for one very dramatic view from our balcony.

Yes, I did add just a tweak or two of color in Lightroom, but I think it was an appropriate amount to accentuate this wonderful view. Hope you like it.

Camera specs: Canon 7D fitted with Sigma 8-16mm lens at 8mm, F5.0 @ 1/800 second, ISO 2000.  Enjoy!  -David

Wireless Shooting To iPad–Wow! Flash Card Reader Coming For iPad2, and More!

Good Morning Everybody,

I’m am really on a roll this morning with just a few minutes to get the picture post and give you a quick update on what happening today.

Lexjet Tour

Yesterday before heading out of Sarasota, we finally made it over to Lexjet to see the new World Headquarters – what can I say, the folks working at Lexjet are pretty darn lucky to be working in their new digs.  Lexjet1IMG_1645The new offices are on the fourth floor of the Bank of America building in downtown Sarasota. 

My buddy Tom Gruss surprised us with our names on the welcome board and then gave LaDawn and I the quick tour.  I’ll tell you Lexjet is one of the most polished, well run companies I have seen.  Lexjet2IMG_1651I’m sure glad I have them on my side when it comes to all things inkjet.  Hey, they still have 17 more iPads to give away with a new 44” inkjet printer purchase – don’t snooze on this one.

Shooting Wireless To iPad2

Damien testIMG_1683First the REALLY BIG NEWS – my buddy and right hand IT guy, Damien Tepe, called me this morning with terrific news.  I gave him my Canon 7D fitted with the wireless transmitter and asked if he could get it “talking” to Shuttersnitch on his iPad2.  At 8:30 a.m. he called with the good news that after working on it till the wee hours of the morning, that he had it working!!!!  That’s Damien in the distance proving that we have connectivity at least up to a tested ranger of over 100ft. !

This is like so cool – we’re going to use the Wireless to iPad2 to data projector via HDMI cable for my Pre-Con Wedding Shootout today.  I can’t wait.  It should be the coolest pre-con happening at Photoshop World today with our little geek technique boost ;~)

The details are quite involved, but Damien and I are going to get everything locked down tight and then we’ll share the secret code with you.  You are going to love it – so many possibilities!!!!

Finally A Flash Card Reader For the iPad2

MIC StoreI just got this email early this morning from Phil Guyton, Jr., one of our loyal DPT readers.  He mentioned a story he saw over at that MIC Store [link] is coming out with a Flash Card reader for the iPad2 next month – finally.  The iPad 2 DID NOT fix the problem with the iOS upgrade earlier this year which neutered Flash Card readers use on the iPad and iPad2. I wonder if Apple will neuter that one too – I hope not.  Here is the link to all the info.


Hey, gang, that’s it for me today.  I’ve got to fly out of here and get to my Pre-Con.  I’ll have more tomorrow. 

See ya’ then,  David

Monday, March 28, 2011

"Midnight Melody"

Midnight MelodysIMG_1329

"Midnight Melody"
©David A. Ziser

This is one of the images I made during last evening’s wedding. I asked LaDawn to position a remotely triggered Canon 580 EXII flash behind the wedding couple.  The challenge was to get the sky, which was full of color and texture to render bright enough in the image. 

It was quite dark and I had to jack up the ISO to 6400 ISO to see the sky. That meant that the ambient light was now bright enough to expose the couple too.  I really kind of like the detail on the shadow side of Joshua and Kristen.

I kept the color balance on Tungsten – that gave me an even more intense blue color in the background adding to the midnight effect. The lens flare created by a little of the backlight, I think added to the overall impact of the image.  All in all, I really enjoy this simple yet dramatic first dance image of the beautiful couple.

Camera specs:  Canon 7D fitted with Sigma 8-16mm super wide angle lens at 14mm, F 5.6 @ 1/5 second, ISO 6400.  Enjoy!  -David

Quick Hit Monday: A Camera That Retouches Too; Optimum Low Noise ISO: and Lots of Photoshop Resources

Good Morning Everybody,

Dog RaceWhat can I say, it was quite the weekend – Dog racing at the Sarasota Kennel Club on Friday (I won a whopping $45), Rehearsal Dinner at the Beach House on Saturday, we did get a great sunset, and the wedding on Sunday at the Powel Crosley Estate. Even though I wasn’t the official photog, I still captured some beautiful images. 

There is bound to be a Technique Tuesday in there somewhere. The father of the groom, Mark Garber and his wife Jennifer Gillman covered all the wedding formals and groups, and my good buddy, Al Gordon, a wonderful event photographer in the Tampa/Sarasota, Florida area covered the ceremony, cocktail hour and reception.

Josh KristenEven though I was mostly a guest, I just couldn’t resist picking up the camera for  many of last evening’s wedding.  It will be fun to go through them over these next few days.  I was trying a few new ideas which I plan to share with you this week.

Today, we pack our bags and make the short drive over to Orlando. Photoshop World begins tomorrow morning with me presenting another sold out Wedding Pre-Con Wedding Shootout. Then everything really breaks loose as we really get into the swing of things with the official launch of Photoshop World on Wednesday – the Keynote this time around promises to be quite a hoot. More on Wednesday/Thursday ;~)

Well, that’s the weekend wrap up – how about we quickly get to Quick Hit Monday. Here we go….

Is Photoshop Dead?

LumixOK, on the eve of Photoshop World, maybe that is a provocative question and your right, I don’t believe it for a minute.  But after reading this story about the new Panasonic Lumix DMC-FP7 camera, you’ve got to wonder on it’s impact.

Here is the headline I read last week:  Panasonic Lumix DMC-FP7: New Digital Camera Whitens Teeth, Erases Wrinkles and Applies Makeup.  Sounds pretty interesting to me. Here is the link right here for the rest of the story.  What do YOU think?

Best ISO For Low Noise

Low NoiseI came across this article a few days ago and since I’m such a high ISO speed freak, I had to check it out. I’ll tell ya’ this is one well written article for the geek technique kind of person complete with dozen’s of graphs and charts.  It’s a good article on the best ISO for low noise on Canon 5D Mark II right here.

Photo Shop Resources Galore!

OK, we have Photoshop World kicking off this week.  If you’ve never attended a Photoshop World Convention add this to your MUST do list of events. In honor of this fabulous event, I thought I’d load up today’s post with lots of Photoshop resources for our DPT readers.  Hey, if you can’t make it to the convention, all these 6 links should keep you busy for the next few days ;~)

Geek Sheet1. For starters download the How-To Geek Photoshop CS5 Cheat Sheet right here.  Lot’s of keyboard shortcuts, tips and tricks.

2. This is one of my favorites.  Too many times I have experienced these frustrations myself.  Anyway, check out 10 Common Photoshop Frustrations (And How to Fix Them in Five Minutes) right here.

3. 30 Excellent Light Effects Photoshop Tutorials right here. I love geeking around with lighting effects in Photoshop.  These tutorials are a great playground for really rolling up your sleeves and experimenting with lots of cool lighting effects.

4. 650+ Free Watercolor Photoshop Brushes right here. Hey, these look good for backgrounds with your high school senior/fashion shoots.

5Painting Tutorials. 30 Simple and Incredible Graffiti Art Tutorials right here.  Another nice resource for some edgy portraits – all in good fun.

6. And finally, 20 Highly Useful Digital Painting Tutorials right here. Many of these images are way out there, but it is still a kick to see how the artist reached the final result – enjoy!


Hey gang, that’s it for me today.  I never made it over to Lexjet’s new world headquarters last week.  We’re going to try to make it  there this morning before we head out to Orlando.

Anyway, enjoy the links today.  I hope to see you tomorrow for another Technique Tuesday.  I have to admit, time is super tight these next few days, but I’ll do me best. 

Adios, David

Friday, March 25, 2011

"Sedona Ridge"

Sedona Ridge-0881a

"Sedona Ridge"
©David A. Ziser

Since I’m making a soft announcement of my upcoming “Sedona Experience” in today’s post, I thought it would be appropriate to post one of my Sedona images.  I made this image a few years ago while literally hanging out of a helicopter as we flew by this striking Sedona ridge. The scene was breathtaking and hanging out of that helicopter took my breath away too;~)

The lighting and shadows were perfect to capture the colors of the ridge against the rich blue sky and desert background.  The super wide angle lens really accentuated the dramatic textures of the red rocks reaching to the sky. I love the result!

Camera specs: Canon 5D fitted with Sigma 12-24mm super wide angle lens at 12mm, F10 @ 1/160 second, ISO 400.  Enjoy!  -David

Check Out My New Gear Bag Layout; My Sedona Experience Now Limited To Only 6 Participants; FREE Fusion Webcast Update

Good Morning Everybody,

Sarasota SunriseIMG_0346Once again, we awoke to a wonderful Florida sunrise.  Yes, the weather has been beautiful.  I was planning an easy post for today, but as we get closer to the wedding this weekend and Photoshop World next week, I realized that I should be checking out that my gear is all ready to go.  Then I realized that I was using a brand new “pack” in my gear bag and I thought the new layout just might be a nice post for our DPT readers.

That being said, let me tell you what I’m talking about.

Check Out My New Gear Bag Layout!

I’ve been a BIG fan of the LowePro Roller 2 case for years. It’s an integral part of my gear – always has been.  Anyway, last year, LowePro introduced their latest version of the gear bag by the same name.  All the new features looked way cool – you can check them out right here – but what struck me most as I began laying out my new bag, I realized that I had about 25% more room than I had before! 

That meant that I could cram a few more items into my case.  As it turned out, I was able to add 3 more compartments to the 9 in my original layout giving me a total of twelve separated compartments.  Oh, my original layout was covered right here a few years ago in my post “Video Tour Of My Gear Bagright here.

Not only that, but the case is deeper allowing me to get more on the inside instead of hanging off the outside of the case.  And, on top of that, the front pockets are expandable allowing me to get a few more smaller items packed there too.

So how about the tour – here we go…

Gear Bag - NewIMG_05261. The LowePro Roller 2 bag closed is just as compact as the original.  Here is a shot of the bag ready to roll.

2. Do you see the two small zippers in the front of the bag – they’re easy to spot.  Well, the smaller zippered compartment is where I store my Ed Pierce Target and any smaller items that I need on the job.

The larger zippered compartment is just large enough for me to store my SunSpotz reflector and model release forms.  I used to carry that SunSpotz on the outside of the case.  That was OK, but occasionally it would get in the way.  This is now a much cleaner layout.  Check out the image below.

Gear Bag - NewIMG_0524

You can see that the SunSpotz’s fit is a bit snug, but not bad at all.

3. Inside the case LowePro was somehow able to open up a few more square inches of space without making the bag any larger.  Maybe they are using some kind of “black magic” that actually shrinks the gear slightly when placed into the case ;~)  OK, just kidding, but their new case is the same size as the old case and I was able to add 3 more compartments.  Let me show you.

Gear bag layout

Clicking on this image should give you a larger view, BTW.

Anyway, I’m a pretty happy camper with the new layout – and guess what, it still fits in the overhead compartment on Delta jets :~)

Sedona Experience Update! Now Limited To Only 6 Participants.

Last week I briefly announced our plans for my upcoming “Sedona Experience” class [link] coming up in June. I had originally planned to keep the number to 12 participants but after giving it some additional thought these last few days I decided to limit that number to 6 participants.  I think this is a better number for what I want to achieve for each of the attendees.

Sedona Experience logo

I want these 3 days to be a completely immersive learning experience, eating, sleeping, breathing photography. A group of 6 should be perfect and allow tremendous hands on interaction and instruction for each attendee.

A deposit of only $495 will reserve your place in class. You can register right here.  My studio will contact you regarding the remaining balance.

I am currently working on the website giving the full details.  With the wedding this weekend, that may or may not happen – but you can still check out the work in progress right here.

FREE Fusion: The Time Is Now filling up fast!

NEW WEB-CAST ANNOUNCED!Hey gang, just a quick mention of our upcoming Webcast with Ariane Fisher of Story Mix Media in two weeks – April 7, 2011 3:00 – 4:30 p.m. You can REGISTER RIGHT HERE.  I just got off the phone with Ariane and she is really excited about the webcast.  She is even throwing in 2 video highlight edits as door prizes.  Each one is worth $200 – Thanks Ariane.

We will be fielding questions form the live audience and following questions on Twitter too.  To Tweet your questions, be sure to use @DigitalProTalk #FusionNow.  We will select the winners from those Tweeting in.  It should be fun.

One last note – Ariane tells me she just recently posted lots of resources for the photographer wanting to check more into Fusion before our webcast.  Here is the link to her post right here.


Hey gang, that’s it for me today. More wedding festivities this afternoon, tomorrow, and finally the wedding on Sunday. I’m hoping to get a chance to visit Lexjet today and if I do, I‘ll give you the update on Monday.  And, speaking of Monday, I’m been collecting quite a few juicy tidbits for you so I hope to see you then.

If you have a wedding this week,  may all you pixels be perfectly exposed and your bride’s smiling.  Have a great one everybody.

Adios, David

Thursday, March 24, 2011

"Midnight At The Oasis"

Midnight At The OasisDSC00309

"Midnight At The Oasis"
©David A. Ziser

I made this image last evening, after a wonderful dinner, as we were leaving the restaurant.  LaDawn jumped into the passenger side of the automobile, but I hesitated and I viewed this scene.  I was enjoying the repeat of the palm trees, but it was the cloudy late sky that really caught me eye.  I loved the textures against the rest of the composition. 

I only had my little Sony TX9 camera with me so I pulled it out framed up the shot and made the exposure.  The first few images were not what I was looking for. This last image was what I had envisioned.  I like the repeat of the trees, the rough texture of the sky, and finally – the flare of light you see on the right.  It almost hints at another approaching vehicle, but you never really know.  It adds an even more mysterious nature to the image.

That, BTW, is what I feel most as I look at this image – mystery.  Is it safe here, is anyone lurking in the shadows - we better leave now!  I think it’s cool when an image can elicit an emotional response regardless of what that response might be.

Camera specs: Sony TX9 with lens at 4.43mm (27mm - 35mm equivalent), F4.3 @ 1/5 second (handheld), ISO 3200.  Enjoy!  -David

After The Wedding: Workflow - Part 6, Making The Sale Or How To Be An Order Maker, Not An Order Taker

Good Morning Everybody,

Room with a viewDSC00310We arrived safe and sound yesterday evening, got checked into our hotel which has a great view BTW. You quickly got the feeling that wedding bells were in the air.  Several guests are arriving today and we are getting fired up for this weekend's festivities.

For me, I'm planning to take it easy a few days, work on my programs for Photoshop World, and just soak up the blue skies and sea breezes of Sarasota, FL.  I'm also looking forward to checking out Lexjet's new world headquarters just a few blocks away from our hotel.

Anyway, how about without much further ado, we get on with today's Business Day Thursday post.  Here we go...

DigitalProTalk: Why The Twitter Feed

DPT Twitter RollI just wanted to give you an update on what's going with the Twitter feed in the right column of DPT.  I am now a regular Twitter tweeter.  Here is why this is important to our DPT readers.  I read a lot of content everyday thanks mostly to my iPad apps ZiteFlipboard, and my RSS feeds.  Hey, it's what bloggers do ;~)

What Twitter allows me to do is still point our DPT readers to content which I think is interesting and relevant.  I can't blog about everything I read but I sure can point you to the posts and blogs that spark my interest.

That being said, if I was a regular DPT reader, I would check out my tweet roll too. I know that I post quite a few gems over there.  Check it now and then and see if you don't agree.

After The Wedding: Workflow - Part 6, Making The Sale

OK gang, this is a pretty important post today.  It's about sales, it's about success, it's about running your business like a pro and maximizing the client experience and your profits for the energy and Artistry you've put forth in shooting the wedding.

A while back I posted how we do things for our portrait sales.  I‘ve paraphrased that article updating it to apply to our wedding sales process.  It’s an important read – I hope you enjoy it.

It’s Time To Be An Order Maker, Not An Order Taker

Last week we peeked at the beginning of the sales process at my studio.  Let me re-iterate here.  I do not just put the images up online so my clients can choose their favorite photographs.

I've been in this business for quite a few years.  And, I was lucky enough to learn early on that proof viewing, whether paper proof's or Internet proofs were sales killers. Ever since 1980 I have been proactively involved in the presentation/sales process with my clients. Putting the photographs up online neuters any input and influence that the photographer may have in the presentation/sale.

Follow my thinking. For an example, let's use Apple's iPad 2 which was just introduced. What have you read? What have you heard about the new iPad 2? Are you excited about its new features? Are you thinking about grabbing the new iPad 2?

iPad2aI'm trying to put my whole sales process in perspective. I happen to fall onto the group that may be thinking of getting an iPad2  for the first time. Why? Because what I read online and in the various trade magazines. The word on the street is that this latest release is supposed to be the best iPad ever.

It simply comes down to this. What I have read on the iPad 2 all these influences have been building my expectation of ownership of this very cool product.

It’s About Building The Expectation

That's exactly what we have to do with our own (photography) products – build client expectation and excitement about their ownership of our (photography) product.  You never build a strong positive expectation when the client views them online.

Wedding ProductWe need to build the client's (positive) expectation for the various wedding (photography) products – albums, extra prints, etc. It's really quite simple. Are our clients coming in just to select a few images for their album and maybe a few 8x10's and 5x7's for grandma? I think that all too often is the case for many photographers  running their business.

Too many of us are simply Order Takers – what we need to be is Order Makers! It's not just about selling the standard album and an additional 8x10 or 5x7. It's about helping the client get what they want. It's also about finding out what the client may want but haven’t the expertise to ask for it.

Order takers never go that extra step to find out what their clients may be excited about purchasing. They simply take the order for the standard album and a few extra 8x10's and 5x7's. Order Makers, on the other hand, know exactly how to make that happen.

Midnight Serenade2OK, we’ve got the clients excited about what we worked so hard to create for them.  We now just have to show them how easy it is for them to get what they want.  This, BTW, is why it’s so important to have the image presentation in person with your client.

As I said last week, they like about twice as many images as we discussed when I first met with them months ago.  Remember too, I mentioned to them that if I did my best job for them, and we always do, then they would love and want more than the amount of images in the originally selected coverage.  Now here we are months later with that reality.

Innocent EyesThe secret to making any sale is that the client needs to see value in what they are purchasing.  Years ago I found that I could only sell a few additional images at my regular price – that sale years ago went nowhere.  I was upset at the outcome.  I worked so hard to create this wonderful selection of images for my client and they only left with a very small sampling of my efforts.

The next time, I got wiser a lot quicker – I offered my clients 1/2 off the lowest regular prices for the additional images.  In effect, an image is no longer priced at, for example, $30.  The additional images were now priced at only $15, BUT the minimum order had to be an additional 50 images. If they add an additional 100 images that number may reduce to $10 for each additional image over their original package. OK, this looked liked one pretty HOT DEAL for my clients – and it was.

As you can see, I sell by the image not by the number of pages in an album. We touch each image and we don’t want our albums to look like a scrapbook of tiny images scrunched onto the pages.

Rockin' OnThe number of additional images they wanted to place into their album always exceeded the 50 image minimum so all we had to do was find a number of additional images they were financially confortable adding to their album selections. 

That usually meant that we made one more pass through the image selection.  Remember, they are liking 250-275 images.  On this third pass that number may drop to, for example, 220 images – still one mighty nice collection of images for their album. They did the math in their head and new the additional cost was “bugetable” which means that they could get what they wanted in their album at a deal and not have to eliminate any additional selections.

Pole Cam2At this point, I would sweeten the deal even more.  Of the 220 images they liked, I let them know that I would be using about 20 of those images as background images for many of the page designs in their album.  And, as such, we don’t charge for those images.  That meant that they would be getting 20 of their selected images at no cost! Now that’s even a better deal!

Wait there’s more – once I added an additional photographer to my jobs, I would occasionally show up in one of the reviewed images.  It was still a good image, I was part of that image since my assistant had me in the photograph.  Now our policy in my studio is that ANY image that includes me is “no charge” to the client.  I remember the first time I said this to a client, she said, “Well sure, we want that one for sure.”  We had a good giggle and eventually added a few more images with me as part of the composition.

DAZ in PicHey, call it a PR move – how many photographers can say they are in their client’s wedding albums?  I really believe the bride enjoys not only showing off her album, but still likes to point to the photographer who captured her wedding in a very special way.

As you can see, we spend the time we need to find out what the client wants and then help them find their comfort zone so they can get the gorgeous album(s) they want.  Because of this selling process we often sell the bride and groom multiple albums. LaDawn is our lead designer and she prefers to only include 200 images per album.

My goal is for the clients to have an album or albums really sharing their dream wedding celebration story. It includes beautiful details, the romance of the day, the fun and celebration of their reception, family, friends, laughter, joy and tears.

I hope you enjoyed this behind the scenes look at our studio sales procedure and I hope you can take some of these ideas and work them into your own sales process as well.  Remember, SALES is not a dirty word – it’s a wonderful fulfilling service we provide for our clients!


Hey gang, that's it for me today.  Everybody's getting really fired up for the wedding this weekend, especially LaDawn.  We're planning to enjoy some great times with family and friends in Florida the next few days.

I don't have anything special planned for tomorrow,  but knowing me, I'll try to get at least a picture post up and who knows - probably an update or two as well.  I’ve got weddings on my mind. Anyway, check back tomorrow and see what pops.

Later alligator,  David

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

"Jumping Jack Flash"

Jumpin' Jack Flash - Jump For Joy - IMG_5344-Edit

"Jumping Jack Flash"
©David A. Ziser

This has always been one of my favorite images that I’ve taken over that last few years.  I made this image while in Florida a few years ago filming some of my early Kelby Training videos.

The weather was not perfect – we were hoping to capture an amazing Floridian sunset at the beach. But Mother Nature was having nothing to do with it.  We were keeping the bride warm in one of the automobiles as it was quite chilly, gray overcast, windy, mostly crummy day.

The groom and I were just hanging out and talking and then I got an idea.  I thought, “This is a cold dreary day, how about I set the camera to Tungsten mode, gel my Quantum with an orange filter to balance the tungsten setting, and shoot away?”

I figured, correctly so, that my exposure should have the groom be in perfect color balance, which he is; and have the sky and clouds in the distance go completely blue since that part of the scene received none of the filtered flash’s illumination.  

It worked like a charm – the colors in the scene are not what one would see in a normal setting which is what makes this image so intriguing.  I’ve since played around with the “filtered flash” technique for several other images too and always capture an interesting result.  Oh, it was the groom’s idea to jump off the fence, for a fun and unusual image.

Direct flash, no Zumbrella in this instance, just my Quantum coming in from camera right at full power and just out of camera range. As I said, the image was made in good fun – I still really enjoy the final result.

Camera specs:  Canon 40 D fitted with 10-22mm wide angle lens, F5.6 @ 1/250 second, ISO 320.  Enjoy!  -David

A Casual Conversation With Wedding Photojournalist Pioneer, Denis Reggie

Good Morning Everybody,

Blazing GloryIMG_0351I am up bright and early getting this post up loaded before we point the car to Florida and head south to the sunny beaches of Sarasota for the big wedding this weekend.  We’ve got about an 8 hour drive ahead of us, but like I said Monday, it should be a nice drive.

Our visit with my good friend, Denis Reggie, also wraps today.  Denis and I have had a great time catching up, cutting up, and sharing some new ideas and work flow solutions with each other.  When he and I get together, which unfortunately isn’t nearly often enough, we both have some creative ideas, business strategies, and software gems to share with each other.

Yesterday we also had a terrific visit with Michele Schoen, a Camtasia expert and on-line marketing specialist.  We were both “high-fiving” the possibilities Michele’s insights brought to our visit. 

Learn Camtasia logoMichelle runs an extremely successful Camtasia training site called Learn Camtasia right here. Camtasia is my software of choice for creating my Technique Tuesday’s, staff training videos, and even my casual interviews, for example, my conversation below with Denis Reggie.  Anyway, it was a great visit and I can’t wait to check out some of the resources she mentioned and  bring them to my DPT readers.

A Casual Interview with Wedding Photojournalist Pioneer, Denis Reggie.

Denis - KennedyAs I mentioned yesterday, Denis agreed doing an informal interview for our DPT viewers, so let’s get right to it. Denis, if you don’t know is one of the most respected wedding photographers in the field capturing the iconic wedding images of our time. 

Here is a quick excerpt from his bio:

“Denis Reggie is widely regarded as the top wedding photographer in the world. He single handedly transformed the look of staid bridal imagery into the natural, editorial style he termed wedding photojournalism.  Town and Country acclaimed Denis “the great wedding photographer of our day”

The American Photo cover story “The Top Ten Wedding Photographers in the World,” listed Denis Reggie first among them. Oprah Winfrey says of Denis, “the best in the business”

We had an informative and insightful conversation yesterday which I think you will really enjoy.  We covered topics from the wedding market today, marketing to the high end clients, gear, wonderful imagery, his upcoming Conclave in Atlanta, and so much more.

Why not hit the PLAY button below and enjoy the show.  I promise you an honest, insightful, enthusiastic, and sometimes funny conversation with the Master.

Denis just recently began a blog entitled, Denis Reggie Moments - a collection of tidbits, trivia, and mostly true tales from the Atlanta-based, globe-trotting wedding photojournalist – always a fun read.

Denis homeMore importantly, you need to check out Denis’ Conclave, an opportunity to awaken, empower and inspire the photojournalist within.  Here is the link to all the info. It’s coming up next month in Atlanta, GA at the best price ever!  He has photographers from around the world joining Denis to be part of the experience. 

Because April is nearly full, he has since added dates for May as well – May 18-19, 2011.  Check it out, I’ve attended in the past, Denis’ hospitality, the learning experience, and the inspiration are worth every moment.


Hey gang, that’s it from me today.  We are southbound and down in the next few minutes.  I’ll be hailing from Sarasota, FL for tomorrow’s Business Day Thursday post. 

Have a great one and I’ll see ya’ tomorrow, David

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

"Heading Home"

"Heading Home"
© David A. Ziser

I made this image while on a visit to Tampa, Florida. Since we’re heading back that way tomorrow, I thought I’d make it our image post for today.  The sun had just set a few moments earlier and was working it's evening magic on the sky. I find it intriguing that people walk away from a sunset long before the show is over. I love how the sky takes on its deep azure blue color just before the stars began to appear.

As I was watching this sunset's final chapter, I noticed a fisherman packing up his gear and started heading home. I thought I missed the shot because I was hoping to have him framed right where the sun had set (in the left third of the image.) Nevertheless, I kept shooting.

Now looking at the image, I believe he ended up in the perfect position slightly right and heading out of the frame. This illustrates even more that he is indeed was heading out of the sun's light into the evening's dusk, to home, to rest, to relax, as I hope all of get to do today.

Camera specs: Canon 40D fitted with 17-85mm IS lens at 50mm, F5.6 @ 1/200 second, ISO 800.  Enjoy!  -David

Technique Tuesday: Another Blast From The Past; FREE Web-cast Announced; & Denis Reggie Interview

Good Morning Everybody,

Sweet DriveI’ve got lots of good news for you guys and gals today – let’s get right to it.  We had one sweet drive to Atlanta yesterday in my brand new car - it felt like we riding on a cushion of air for the entire trip.  To be honest, the ride was exhilarating, not tiring as most road trips can be.  We left right at 10:30 a.m. and landed in Atlanta at Denis’s home at 4:30 p.m. – 450 miles, 2 stops, 6 1/2 hours, pretty good time.

It was good to catch up with Denis last evening - we enjoyed a few choice bottles of wine and a wonderful dinner, then turned in fairly early.  Today Denis and I are scheduled to meet a consultant who just happens to be an expert on Camtasia and on-line content.  What I’m implying  is that we are cooking up a few things for down the road at DPT.  As usual, I’ll keep you posted.

Interview With Denis Reggie A “Go”

Denis ReggieAs a surprise for our DPT readers, Denis has agreed to do a 30 minute video interview with me today.  That should be cool.  It should be cool to get a peek behind the scenes of one of the finest wedding photographers in the world.

The plan is to film later today and I’ll plan to have it on-line tomorrow, all the pixels willing.

Technique Tuesday: Another Blast From The Past!

Today is normally Technique Tuesday and normally I’ve got a new video for you.  With the long drive and full schedule today, I’m going to Plan B.  I’m re-posting a really popular tutorial from a few years ago entitled, “Porcelain Doll.”  This video has been rated one of the Top 10 videos of 2008 so if you missed it or simply need a quick review, you can catch it a second time today.

Here is the back story:  I saw this tutorial over at Stock.Xchng, printed it out, and tried to duplicate the result. It took me a few tries until I finally got it. Some of the steps are not super intuitive which is why I thought I would do a video of it.

I really like the effect and see some applications for that really theatrical retouched effect. The folks over at Imagenomic have a great Photoshop plug-in that does what looks like the same thing. We actually use it at my studio and it does a great job, but if you want to save some dollars this tutorial will do the trick. Give it a peek and see what you think.


Hey gang, that’s  it for me today.  We’ve got lot’s on the front burner  and I’ve got to get moving.  Hey, don’t forget to check out the FREE Web-cast coming up April 7, 2011 at 3:00 p.m. DST right here at  It’s entitled, “FUSION – Now More Than Ever!”  Here is the link to REGISTER right here. I’ve posted more details below, so please check it out – it’s going to be important time spent.

On that note, I’m out of here – see everybody tomorrow,  David