Monday, January 31, 2011
"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
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 ;~)
Anyway, 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.
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.
My 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].
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.
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.
He 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
Sunday, January 30, 2011
Thursday, January 27, 2011
©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 ;~)
Good Morning Everybody,
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
“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.
Don’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"
©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
I’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"
©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
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.
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
#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.
#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!
#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"
©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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
I 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
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 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.
David Warner, the creative source behind LensFlare35.com 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
Sunday, January 23, 2011