Monday, February 28, 2011
”Here We Go Loop De Loop”
©David A. Ziser
This image was captured while LaDawn and I were on one of the coolest drives and walks while visiting the Las Vegas area last week during the WPPI convention. We headed out to Hoover Dam, not to see the Dam, but rather the new Mike O'Callaghan – Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge which now spans the canyon beside the Hoover Dam.
The site of the bridge crossing the canyon is, in itself, an amazing site for the canyon view. But, the view of Hoover Dam is spectacular from the bridge. This image was made as LaDawn and I were making our return walking trip across the bridge.
I decided to go super wide angle for a few images. I thought this image was the most fun showing the big looping road leading to Hoover Dam. LaDawn claims the concept was hers but I still took the shot. Horizontally, it lacked the impact of the vertical composition.
I tried to position the loop diagonally across the frame while still keeping Hoover Dam within the composition. I thought the final crop was kind of fun. As I inspected several quick peeks at the images taken before and after this photograph, you could see the cars making the loop run - I had to smile as I watched my mini slow motion film ;~)
Camera specs: Canon 7D fitted with Sigma super wide angle 8-16mm at 8mm, F13 @ 1/250 second, ISO 200. Enjoy! -David
Good Morning Everybody,
At least it's a much better morning than the one I woke to early Saturday. I had just checked in with my buddy who was going to be picking us from the airport Saturday evening and all was good to go with schedules. We hadn't talked for over a week so it was good to visit with my old friend.
Now fast forward 8 hours to 2:30 a.m. early Saturday morning - it's my buddy again only this time with a lot more concern in his voice. Certainly, I was hoping he and his family were OK. Well they were, but my car wasn't. It had been parked by the curb outside his home as it was convenient for him to have my car for our Saturday airport pick up.
He heard the loud crash about 2:00 a.m., jumped from his bed and headed outside to see what happened. My car had been hit by a drunk driver at a high rate of speed, thrown back 10 feet into another parked car, and the driver of the green SUV sped away! I listened in disbelief!!! My car will probably be estimated by the insurance company as totaled!!!
Soooo.... Saturday morning had me calling rental agencies, car dealers, and checking CarMax and EBay for pricing on a replacement vehicle and all before we headed to the airport. It still seemed a little surreal - I loved my car and wasn't looking to replace it any time soon.
Things change pretty quickly though, don't they? We can certainly count our blessings that at least no one, that we know of, was injured. It baffles our imagination how the drunk driver drove off after the accident. No, the police still haven't located him. So my friend didn't pick us up in my car Saturday evening, we headed to the Enterprise rental counter instead grabbed a rental till we get all this sorted out.
OK, I know you're feeling bad for me. I know you would like to reach out and help in some way. Well, I've got the perfect suggestion. Please head over to our Digital Resource Center, check out all the good deals, and take advantage of some of the great specials going on right now - I need to make a down payment on a new car this week and need all the help I can get ;~)
OK, I’m only half joking. People are safe, we were getting close to updating our automobile in the next couple years, and worrying about it will not solve a thing. I guess, like they say, it's all part of the grand plan. Uhmmm... I am kind of looking forward to checking out a few new models ;~)
On with Quick Hit Monday.... Lot's of cool FREE stuff happening on the web.
Speedliting Live! Webcast
That's right, my good buddy and now best selling author, Syl Arena, is presenting his Speedliting Live webcast [link] this Thursday, March 3, 2011. Syl has writhed the definitive, no holds barred, book on speed lighting entitled, "The Speedlighter's Handbook". It's hanging in there quite well at Amazon and should be close to a second printing.
Hearing Syl first hand and in person should be quite the treat for all those joining him [link] March 3, 2011 7p.m. PST - that's 10p.m. EST. He's using a brand new web service to pull it off which even allows questions from the live audience. It should prove to be a very cool session.
FREE Photoshop Webcast
John Wright, at Media Wright Workshops is also presenting a FREE Photoshop webcast on March 10, 2011. Seating is limited on this one so you'll want to sign up early to be sure you have a seat. Here is the lowdown:
There are several new features in Photoshop CS5 worth learning about. You may of already heard of the features but haven't had a chance to see just how they work. The discussion will center around Content Aware Fill, the Puppet Warp feature, Mini-Bridge and the Refine Edge changes. Tune in. It's free. But you do need to register.
You can get all the info and register right here. By the way, Media Wright has several of their past episodes archived too so check them out if you missed them. Hey, you can never stop learning,
About The The Best Price Ever For Online Backup
So I was working away on my iPad last week pounding the keys in Evernote, an app that is quickly becoming my most used favorite app. Everrnote has the habit of popping an ad or two in while you're working. It's all very discreet and don't bother me one bit.
Anyway, the ad that caught my eye was from Crash Plan, a new online backup service. I decided to check it out. A few mouse clicks later, I was hooked on giving it a try. Their business model is to offer totally unlimited online backup for only $3/month - unbelievably inexpensive, especially for a photographer with lots of images to archive.
I know what you're thinking, "It will take days to get 1 terabyte of data uploaded!" Well, I agree but they have a work-a-round whereby they send you a 1T disc which you load up with 1.5T of data, (compressed) and send it off to them. They seed your account with the disc data and from that point on, you just let Crash Plan take over and keep all your data safely up to date.
It looks pretty cool to me. I signed up - I'll keep you posted. Here is the link to all their info.
Kudos To DigitalProTalk
I was doing my daily iPad web cruise using the app PhotoVerse, which is by the way, very efficient way to follow your favorite blogs and hit a Pixiq link listing the Top 150 Un-missable Photo Blog sites. Much to my surprise, I found DigitalProTalk listed at #38 with some very nice comments [link]. My sincere THANKS to all DPT readers who invite and encourage me to write every day with their loyal support. And my thanks to Pixiq for acknowledging the effort.
iPad Calendar Pushes Back
Anyway, I figured there had to be a solution to the inconvenience. After a little web searching I found this post at Island In The Net that gives you the road map to making the problem go away. I haven't given it a try yet, but I surely will once the second generation of the iPad comes out this week. The functionality will make it that much easier for us road warriors to collaborate with our staff back home. Anyway, check it out right here.
Is Anybody Listening
Everyday I get several notes telling me that folks are following me on Twitter - I'm very grateful, THANK YOU again! But what I would like to know is this - do you, my DPT reader like the Twitter sidebar widget here on the blog?
I think it's an easy convenient way for me to point you towards some cool content without having to make a blog post out of it. I am like always hitting my Facebook, Twitter, and blog FACS for cool news items. The DPT Twitter bar makes it easy for me to get the info out to you even if you don't follow me on Twitter. Anyway, just thought I’d inquire as nobody has ever commented on it for the entire time it's been up.
Hey gang, that’s it for me today. I’m catching a plane to Tampa and heading to NAPP World Headquarters for a special project today ;~) How about I catch up with everyone tomorrow for another episode of Technique Tuesday.
See ya’ then, David
Sunday, February 27, 2011
Website: www.alvaroybarra.com & www.reportage-bygettyimages.com
Friday, February 25, 2011
©David A. Ziser
Here is one more image from my brief Westcott shoot on Wednesday. I just love the simplicity of the curves of the cheek, hands, nose, and lips. I asked Rebekah to softly stroke her neck to add a feeling of sinuousness to the pose.
The beautiful light source from the Westcott Soft Box created these incredible soft shadows adding to the feeling I was trying to capture in this image. Once again, the unusual head piece and red lipstick completed the the composition.
Camera specs: Canon 7D fitted with 18-200mm IS lens at 110mm, F5.6 @ 1/250 second, ISO 800. Enjoy! -David
Good Morning Everybody,
Hey gang, this is going to be short and sweet today. We worked in our hotel room most of yesterday and I promised LaDawn we would head out and see the sights today. I just want to share a few loose ends from the WPPI Convention this week. Here we go...
The Most Beautiful Albums Ever!
Tucked in the back corner of building #2 of the WPPI trade show I found my buddy, Jonathan Penny [link]. Jonathan is first and foremost a Master Printmaker. For years Jonathan has been the go to source for archival B&W printing. Times have changed and so have Jonathon's services.
His display was full of the most exquisitely printed images I have seen anywhere. Not only was he showing his masterful artworks, he also showed us these magnificent albums - all had printed, archive coated, and hand bound into the most elegant, soft leather album presentation I have seen - EVER! You simply had to see his stunning workmanship to appreciate what he was offering.
The albums and prints Jonathan was showing is an invitation to each of us to offer our high end clients the absolute best image and album presentation anywhere. You've got to check it out right here.
A Few Unusual Surprises From The Show Floor
We were walking up one of the many aisles at the show and I saw the Leica booth. Leica [link], as you know, has been making exquisite cameras and lenses for many years. I always secretly wished I could afford one ;~)
Recently Leica announced their $30,000 Titanium and I was hoping I could see one up close and personal. Unfortunately for me only 500 were made - no, you can't get one - they were all sold out within days.
When I asked to see the $30,000 camera, I was handed the new Leica S-2, the medium format model which, by the way did I mention, retails for $30,000! WOW!
Costco at WPPI
This was about the biggest surprise for me. I've been attending conventions for years and never expected a retailer like Costco to be exhibiting in a photographic assembly. They were offering the full range of canvass wraps, album, and prints - all at Costco prices. The other labs exhibiting at the show were not amused. Hey, times, they are a' changin'.
My Interview With USA Today
Finally, the email arrived - Jefferson Graham, Tech Editor for USA Today, emailed me the video interview I did with him earlier in the week You can find it right here.
Unfortunately the interview I did with him was not usable because of so much ambient background noise. No problem though. Jeff has agreed the be a guest on an upcoming webcast here at DPT. I'm really looking forward to that one. THANKS Jeff for the interview.
Lastly - I Think Bambi Should Do Standup Comedy
I mentioned on Wednesday That my bud, Bambi Cantrell wrapped her program with this hilarious video featuring her alter ego, Bunni Star. In this segment, Bunni is a wedding photographer working at a bridal fair. It's a hoot - you can catch it right here. I found the entire presentation fun and entertaining. ENJOY!!
Hey gang, that's it for me today. We are heading into the desert today and then flying back home tomorrow morning. It's one day off then on to NAPP World Headquarters for a very special project I'm involved in - more later.
Have a great weekend.
See ya' on the flip side, David
Thursday, February 24, 2011
©David A. ZiserWe were making our last pass through the trade show yesterday and happened to pass the Westcott booth. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the model they had in their booth. The white gown, the bridal bouquet hat, the hot red lipstick - what a great opportunity to capture some really cool images.
Rebekah had a look I loved and I really wanted to capture a few photographs of her. Really I would have liked to have kidnapped her away for the rest of the day as my personal model:~) I went crazy for the next ten minutes. She was so great to work with, sweet, and the "Camera loved her".
My favorite images were the last few I took of her. Instead of having her just bring her hands to her face, I had her cross them and them and then bring them to her face. I think it worked really well. Now her hands almost look like someone else's reaching out to caress her face. I feel it just added more interest to the image. We had a great time. If all the plans work out you may see Rebekah at Photoshop World at my Pre-con wedding shoot.
Lighting camera left from Westcott T6d through 24”x32” Westcott Softbox.
Camera specs: Canon 7D fitted with 18-200mm IS lens at 50mm, F5.6 @ 1/250 second, ISO 800. Enjoy! -David
Good Morning Everybody,
Whew - 5 days of running the WPPI marathon, LaDawn and I are calling it a wrap. I can hardly count up how many programs we saw, but it was a lot. And, we still missed a few we wanted to see. Between trade show and programs, we figured we walked about 15 miles over those 5 days. I was wearing our pedometer so I have a pretty good idea about the distance ;~)
We relaxed with our good friends from LumaPix last night for dinner at Maggiano's on the Strip. Pictured left to right is Dean, a friend of LumaPix; LaDawn and I; Mike, the company's CEO; Michael, lead programmer and co-owner;and Victor, one of LumaPix Programmers. We had a good time, but were happy to hit the room knowing we have a simple day or two before heading back home.
I’m postponing my regular BDT post today because I thought it was important to share with you a few of the top business/marketing/sales tips I heard from the WPPI Convention. So many of the programs were not only about photography and lighting but about how to be successful in your business.
It's interesting to me that these programs are what I would call "under attended.". I don't quite understand why. It seems to me that would be one of the TOP priorities from anyone wanting to build a better business. Anyway, enough of my "soapboxing" - let me give you a few of the business building tips from the convention.
It All About The Customer Experience
So many instructors' were emphasizing this - not just providing outstanding customer service, but rather the customer experience. It's key to building your business. That experience includes your studio hospitality, the shooting experience, the simplicity of the sales presentation, to final delivery and product presentation. You need to make your client feel important. Because they ARE!
Jim Garner stressed the need to shoot empathetically touching the lives with not just your photography but your with conversation as well. And the selling experience needs to be from a center of trust, not the hard sell. That experience must extend to the delivery of the product too. Remember to don't trip at the finish line.
Fast To The Web Is Important
I think this advice is critical to being a successful photographer in today’s market. Back in the day, we sent our film off to the lab, got it back a few weeks letter, edited the images, placed them in a proof book, and gave the client a call about 4 weeks after the wedding. 4 weeks was no big deal - the clients expected to wait, but not anymore.
They know digital is instant gratification for you the photographer and they want a taste of that instant gratification as well. You've got to get your images to the web fast - not all of them but a nice sampling of them. I think it's important to have them hit your blog and your Facebook page. Check out how Kevin Jairaj posts a nice review of his wedding images right here. I like how Kevin even included montages and comments on each image. You’ve got to keep the clients excited or better said the buzz buzzing!
You want to be loved by your clients, not just needed by your clients. Touch their lives personally and they will touch yours. As we heard over and over being loved let's you charge more.
I can't tell you how many times I heard this from the platform. So many presenters were stressing this business solution simply for the sole reason of getting their lives back from postproduction quicksand. That outsourcing includes editing, color correcting and image enhancement to designing the wedding albums.
One vendor mentioned that is doing image editing and color correcting is ProImageEditors.com. Several vendors were offering complete album design, but my favorite outsourcing solution would be the new Zookie Book concept being shown by my buddies at Zookbinders.
Know How Much Money You're Really Making
Syl Cincota got to the brass tacks right away. He said it straight - your cost of goods should be around 15%. That means that if you are selling a wedding album for $600, to remain profitable, it should only be costing you $100 total cost in prints and album. He also sells 4x6's, 5x7's, and 8x10's at the same price. His best analogy is this; clothes, jeans, from any major store, Gap, cost the same regardless if you purchase a size 2 or a size, 8 or a size 12. This concept certainly makes sense to me. I loved this piece of advice too, "Never operate from a position of desperation. You will always price your product too cheap and that will surely lead to a death spiral for your business.”
Social Marking Is Key
This came up over and over from nearly every presentation. It's all about the blog, Facebook, and Twitter. If you don't want to play the social media game, you'll be sitting on the bench. Kirk Voclain showed a cool text marketing tool. It's called itextphoto.com Here is the link to what they offer.
And lastly, Lindsay Adler who I mentioned in yesterday's post had two books for sale. One was entitled, "The Linked Photographer". Not all of us our social media geniuses and need all the help we can get. Count me as one of those people. That's why I can't wait for my copy of Lindsay's book to arrive. If you find yourself in that same boat, you can pick up Lindsay's book at Amazon or pick up a signed copy right here. Oh, by the way, Lindsay has agreed to do a webcast for us too - way cool!
Still/Video Fusion Is Hot
Yes, it's hotter than ever for the successful photographers presenting at the show. It seems everyone was using Animoto with video clips tossed into their presentations. Jeff Medford and Ross Harkrove really proved the strength and impact of HDSLR at an event. They gave a great program jammed packed with information on the subject.
I loved how Bob and Dawn Davis incorporated video into their high school senior and family shoots. She would direct her client, under the guise of checking the lights, to fluff her hair, look off in the distance, look back at the camera, giggle, spin, etc. Even though the client thought she was helping with the lighting Dawn was capturing snippets of video to work into her final image presentation. Her clients were totally surprised by the unexpected and loved the experience and presentation.
One For The Road – Make Silent Auctions Work For You
I'm asked to participate in Charity Silent Auctions all the time. We generally turn our give away into a nice sale and the charity raises some money for their cause. Too many times though, the cost of my donation goes for much less than it's really worth. Why? Because to the auctioneer, my donation is just another free giveaway in the pile to be auctioned.
How do you get around the Charity diminishing the value of your $500 gift contribution? Lori Nordstrom had a great idea. When participating in a silent auction, be sure you create an opportunity to photograph the auctioneer and/or the special guest appearing for the charity.
Then be sure those framed images are on display prominently at the auction event. The auctioneer had a personal experience with you and the donation you were making. With this very pro-active approach, you guarantee yourself and your studio high profile notice at the event. I loved the idea!
Hey gang, that's it for me today. Hope you enjoy the posts – not into reading today, then at least hit the links above for some very cool photography ;~)
We are planning to catch up with Jerry Ghionis and his wife Melissa later today for something big happenings down the road - stay tuned. After these last 5 non-stop days, LaDawn and I are looking forward to a little R&R. Check back tomorrow .
Have a great one everybody, David
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Website: www.gertjochems.be & www.agencevu.com
"The Flower Girl"
©David A. Ziser
This is an image I made during my Westcott shoot yesterday. Like I say below, it was a fun shoot. I illuminated our model with Westcott’s new T6d 1200 watt continuous light placed in a 42 inch Halo, my favorite Westcott light modifier.
I used my Quantum T5d strobe to light up the black lace background giving a very unusual look to the scene. A reflector camera left controlled the contrast nicely.
A tweak or two in Lightroom 3 and Photoshop CS5 completed the image.
Camera specs: Canon 7D fitted with 18-200mm IS lens at 60mm, F5.6 @ 1/125 second, ISO 800. Enjoy! -David
Wednesday: Best Of The Day; Lindsay Adler: Unbelievable Images; The Amazing Landscape Photography of Rodney Lough Jr.; Rollie Goes Mini; and More
I’m running a little late getting the post up this morning. It’s been super busy and we decided to sleep in an extra hour today – not good when trying to blog from a major convention. Still I’ve got some very hot items to share with you today. Let’s get right to it.
The Amazing Landscape Photography of Rodney Lough Jr.
I jumped from one program to the other yesterday morning and found myself in a Landscape program presented by photographer, Rodney Lough Jr. [link] Wow - was the only word that came to mind – his images were the most amazing landscape images I had ever seen!
I wish I had seen Rodney’s entire program.
His on-stage presence was easy and comfortable – you felt like you were visiting with a good friend. You have to check out his website right here. A very cool thing about his website is that he gives the camera/exposure specs on each image [link].
The gallery browse is a great educational experience.
I thought it was just a toy till I found out it was a 5 meg (interpolated) real digital camera costing about $300. I’d love to see some of the images this little camera produces.You can get all the details over at B&H’s site right here.
Westcott Shoot Was Fun
Yesterday I did a quick gig in the Westcott booth. These gigs are always fun, because when you show up at the Westcott booth, you never know what the models will look like. Yesterday was no exception – we went from grunge to high fashion.
I chose to photograph, Amanda, the high fashion model.
It was quite fun to be pointing my camera at our very colorful subject – I sure never see brides dressed up like that.
Westcott had their brand new 84 inch umbrella, which I showed during my Captured By The Light Tour, and I chose to use it with my Quantum flash to get my images. We had a good crowd and I think everybody enjoyed the presentation.
Caught Up Million Dollar Photographer, Jeff Lubin
Jeff and I have known each other for many years. We have both watched our careers grow over the years. Jeff tells me he just finished his best year ever with gross sales of over – get this – $1,200,000! I still remember the story Jeff told years ago at one of his very early programs.
To build interest in his photography, he used to walk through the top malls in the Washington, D.C. area carrying two 24x30 inch framed images – one in each hand. When someone stopped him, the ensuing conversation would include a sales pitch and card exchange. I still giggle every time I think about that story.
Jeff operates the premiere portrait studio in the Washington D.C. area [link]. He attributes his success to not just knowing how to take a great image, but also how to sell the experience and the image. Would you like to see Jeff in a webcast here at DPT? I already asked him and he said yes! Stay tuned.
Hey gang, that’s it for me today. I thought I was going to have the video available I did for USA Today ready to show you today, but I hear there was a slight glitch getting it up – maybe tomorrow.
Please be sure to hit the posted links today – you will love what you see. We are heading out in a few – lots more to see today.
Hope to see you there, David
Tuesday, February 22, 2011