Thursday, June 30, 2011
"The lady Of The House"
© David A. Ziser
I’m posting this image today for two reasons – one, I like the composition and color; and two, because of the less than simple lighting setup used to capture this image.
First off, look at the composition. Even though the subject is nearly center frame in the image there is still “motion” within the image because of the long diagonal lines of the stairway moving through the background. Even the subject’s pose compliments the overall composition.
Notice too that I have positioned the subject at nodal point #1 – bottom left - of the interior frame, the turquoise colored wall, giving a nice overall balance to the image.
I like the rich color tonalities within the image. That could only have happened with the addition of two more speedlights illuminating the background. I positioned one of my Canon 580 EXII flash with the wide angle diffuser in place on the second floor camera right and directed it to the wall behind the chandelier you see at the top of the stairs.
The other strobe, a very small inexpensive unit, is coming in from camera left, again on the second floor. I had it sitting on the floor directed to the wall area left of the chandelier. Adjusting the proper setting on each strobe gave me just the right amount of illumination on the background which added the rich turquoise, blue and gold colors to the scene.
Camera specs: Canon 7D fitted with Sigma 8-16mm lens at 13mm, F5.6 @ 1/80 second, ISO 1600. Enjoy! -David
Good Afternoon Everybody,
Yesterday we had another training session with our good buddies at onOne Software. This was our second go at the training and I think my team and I have a pretty good idea of the power of onOne's Perfect Photo Suite. I'm telling you right now, we all can't wait to dig in and run the entire suite through it's paces.
My thanks to Bryan for taking the time to show us all the key features. As promised, I'll be sharing a few of the wedding/portrait cools tools and image manipulation techniques we learned in our last two training sessions over the next few weeks.
Later today we head over to Indianapolis, IN to catch my buddy, David Jay, PASS program [link]. The PASS system is billed as the best way ever to photographically interact with your wedding clients without DVDs. I can't wait to see what David has in store this time around. Watch for an update tomorrow.
OK, on with today's Business Day Thursday post. Here we go...
Offer Wedding Reporter Services With Your Wedding Packages
I was checking my emails early yesterday morning and came across a post that was billed as 10 Wedding Tips For Brides and Grooms at LoveMyDress.net [link].
One of those tips was to hire a "Wedding Reporter" for your wedding [link]. I'm thinking, "OK, this is a new twist on wedding services." But then I got thinking further about it and thought what a great idea! More specifically, what a great service a wedding photographer could offer his/her clients. Heck, aren't we the ones telling the story visually anyway? Why not just add words to our mix?
The article had a reference to The Wedding Reporter [link], a company that would do this for you. My take on hiring another wedding vendor to report on a bride's wedding just seems like the couple would be adding more cost to an already expensive event. Maybe not, when I checked the prices, they seemed reasonable.
If you wanted to offer this service, your wedding reporter need not have won the Pulitzer Prize in a past life and the wedding reporter wouldn’t have to give an "Earnest Hemingway" account of the day. But in my humble opinion, I think a creative writer could pretty well capture the nuances, colors, emotions, and excitement of the day pretty well.
Offering The Service To Your Clients
So how could a wedding studio offer this service to a prospective bride? First of all you need a product to show before you can sell it. That means hitting the computer, checking out your last really cool wedding and writing about it. Once you've completed the writing, add a few images that help support the highlights of your story. That would include romantic images of the bride and groom, the wedding ceremony, some great reception photos - you get the idea.
Now you are nearly there. Work with a lab like our friends up at ACI Labs [link] to put together the story and images from the wedding into a very reasonably priced Memory Book [link]. You are basically wanting to create a emotionally moving, visually exciting while recounting their wonderful wedding celebration.
I thinks it's important to remember that you are not writing the next "War and Peace" novel. The reporting should be colorful, informative, and written in the first person with writer's own perceptions and emotions included as part of the storing telling process.
It may go something like this:
“What a magnificent day for Mary and John's wedding. The radiant sun against the deep blue sky offered a picture perfect background to the tall white spires of the beautifully decorated St. Joseph's Church.
The polished midnight black limousine pulled up to the curb, the rear door opened and the bridesmaids looking glorious in their rich azure dresses made their way excitedly up the church steps single file. The bride's sister, and her Maid of Honor, and last person out of the limo paused and turned for just a moment to give her sister a gentle and loving look of joyful encouragement. Mary smiled back, her soft smile saying, "Thank you."
Mary carefully exited the limo taking her dad's hand. The glances they shared with each other told the whole story - this was truly a day they both have looked forward to their entire lives. That special moment was only minutes away....” -DAZ
Anyway you get the idea. Describing these special and memorable moments through the day puts into words what everyone is feeling in their hearts. These words help capture in great emotional detail what the photographs just begin to capture. Sure, it's great to capture that special photograph that says it all, but if the photograph misses the mark, these words can round out the experience remembered of the wedding day.
It Could Make The Wedding Memories Ever More Special
There is just something special about the written word. The slower pace of reading these words, words telling the love story of the day, let the couple languish even longer in the rich, loving, exciting feelings their felt and will always remember.
I thinks it's a great idea. I thinks it's a wonderful additional service to offer your clients. Not a good writer, then hire one - maybe someone from one of the local colleges. Maybe your next wedding assistant is someone who captures lasting memories in a much different, yet still compelling way for the bride and groom.
Hey gang, that's it for me today. We've got to hit the road in just a few hours for David Jay's program. Have a great rest of the day and I'll see you tomorrow.
Adios Everybody, David
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
The Coming World Of Photography; A Look To The Future; FREE Lighting Seminar; & New B&H Wedding Web site
The Coming World Of Photography;
aspiring pro photographer will learn to give a fuller interpretation to the people and places about him. Changes will come from within the photographer himself. I would like to see the discussions of the future center around the interpretation of the photographic idea and not on endless techniques which will be fairly easy to acquire anyway. In this way we will enter a new century of photography which will be challenging and exciting.
The Coming World Of Photography
Photography spent its first hundred years slowly developing its mechanics, its lenses, cameras, emulsions, and lights. But war speeded progress will place the camera in the forefront of man's technical devices when victory comes. To determine the new uses, new methods, new viewpoints that will give camera work its direction in the postwar period, POPULAR PHOTOGRAPHY has asked a trusted photographic editor, a war correspondent, documentary photographer; teachers of photography, manufacturers, and a soldier to contribute to this symposium. Their opinions differ. Yet somehow all seem to feel that the second hundred years will see the camera put to use as never before with the amateur often leading the way. THE EDITORS
WILLARD D. MORGAN, Photo Editor
PHOTOGRAPHY can well afford to pause and take stock of its phenomenal growth. Today, as photographers we have fast films, fine cameras, marvelous color film, highly perfected synchronizers and flashbulbs, efficient lighting equipment, fine photoelectric exposure meters, standard reliable processing solutions, excellent lenses, and uniform photographic paper of good quality. There will naturally be changes and improvements after the war, yet basically we will be using familiar materials. What then for the postwar photographer?
For the commercial photographer I can only see a period of intense production to fulfill somewhat stylized photographic demands. Here and there a creative worker may override static work to produce a variation in style.
The amateur will ride through the postwar years with a free spirit of adventure. Every new film, developer, and piece of camera equipment will be eagerly seized upon and used. These postwar amateurs will form many new camera clubs, eagerly buy all the new photographic books, and become the initial participants in a great proving ground of new equipment and methods which may later become standards for the professional as well.
I feel that the great changes in postwar photography will come from the creative amateur, who is not bound by commercial conventions. To be specific, this creative amateur photographer will learn to give a fuller interpretation to the people and places about him. Changes will come from within the photographer himself. I would like to see the discussions of the future center around the interpretation of the photographic idea and not on endless techniques which will be fairly easy to acquire anyway. In this way we will enter a new century of photography which will be challenging and exciting.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
"Hidden Treasures Of Color"
© David A. Ziser
This image is actually the topic of discussion in our Technique Tuesday today. I was in Tampa filming my upcoming training videos for Kelby Training – this image is from Day 3 of our shoot. We were scheduled to shoot in downtown Tampa at the Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park [link], an urban park right in the middle of the city.
The sun was hot, I had no particular plans as to what I was going to photograph – I was hoping for a creative idea or two to pop into my mind. Fortunately, I came up with a few more than just two ideas ;~)
We had just parked the car and as we exited the parking garage and started heading for the park, I stopped the video crew and suggested we begin with the urban artwork across the street. Nobody quite knew what the plan was except me. I had surveyed the area as they collected and gathered their gear from the car. I thought we had a great location to capture some exciting images of our model.
The secret was in how you perceived the art. Of course you could view it from all directions but from two particular locations, the funky colored sculpture offered some very cool views which would serve as an exciting background for what I had in mind. This is one of those views.
Lighting was from my Quantum flash camera right at full power. Be sure to check out the video tutorial in the following post for the rest of the story [link].
Camera specs: Canon 7D fitted with 18-200mm IS lens at 115mm, F11 @1/320 second, ISO 200. Enjoy! -David
Good Morning Everybody,
We have another easy day at the studio which should give me an opportunity to catch up on a few loose ends around here. Our PhotoPro Network’s “Hot Times In The Summer” [link] happens in just two weeks so I hope you’ll check it out and come join us for an exciting and VERY informative couple of days. It’s going to be a blast!
I’ve got another fine Technique Tuesday for you - fresh off the presses. Today it’s about color and how to find hidden treasures in your compositions. Why don’t we get right to it.
Hidden Treasures: Learning To See Differently
I can’t tell you how many times I’m walking around looking at something thinking there’s not much there to photograph. It’s only after I take the time to explore the surrounds that a wonderful composition will present itself to me.
That’s what happened the day I captured this image. I give a bit of the back story in the “Image Of The Day” post above [link] but let me explain further. Exploring a scene means more than just walking around and staring at it. It’s more than that. We need to explore the scene not just with our eyes but with our imagination as well. We need to ask ourselves questions like; “What would it look like with a long telephoto lens, how about a wide angle lens? How would it look from this direction or that, from a lower or higher perspective? How about exposure, how should – could I light it to enhance the final result?”
Exploring the options is what brings joy to the photographic process. Why not hit the PLAY button below to see what I’m talking about. I think you’ll enjoy today’s lesson.
Hey gang, that’s it for me today. We’ve got a pretty nice day in our part of the world so I just may make it a short day - stop and smell LaDawn’s roses, soak up the fresh air, summer breezes, warm sun. Hope you get a chance to do the same in your neck of the woods ;~)
See ya’ tomorrow everybody, -David
Monday, June 27, 2011
"The Countess Of Monte Cristo"
© David A. Ziser
The Count Of Monte Cristo has always been a favorite movie of mine. I enjoy these period pieces because of the imagery and the story lines. This image seems to hint at about the same time period in which that story took place.
Here's what I was a seeing in my mind's eye as I surveyed the scene. I loved the large, old looking, over sized lighting fixtures on the wall. More exciting to me was the lighting patterns they were casting on the wall in all directions of randomness. I just somehow needed to see how I could work a subject into the Moorish feeling scene.
Our model was dressed in such a way that I thought would compliment the rest of the scene perfectly. I asked her to stand in the doorway pushing against the walls. I positioned my camera so that I could frame her up nicely against the background avoiding any compositional distractions.
Now all I needed to do was light her. I chose my very directional Z-Ray Brinkmann flashlight to do the job. The Z-Ray illuminated her face perfectly without spilling out elsewhere onto the surrounding scene. The subject's expression was exactly what I wanted for this image - a smoky direct gaze right back at the camera.
More importantly, look at the composition of this scene. Notice how you eye travels through the image - bouncing from one of the three dominant lighting fixtures to the next finally resting on our subject hanging out in the shadows at the base of the image. I like it.
Camera specs: Canon 7D fitted with 18-200mm IS lens at 18mm, F5.6 @ 1/30 second, ISO 2000. Enjoy! -David
Quick Hit Monday: Baseball Blues; Furries Everywhere; Wedding Photography Tips; Inspiration; & Photoshop Freebies
Good Afternoon Everybody,
I’m writing this as we are driving back to Kentucky after a wonderful weekend. We've been on a 730 mile round road trip since Friday and it's been a lot of fun. Hotel rooms were at a premium in Pittsburgh this past weekend with the Boston Red Socks in town playing the Pirates.
Ball Game Blues In Pittsburgh
I think our hotel was Red Socks headquarters with fans everywhere shouting and cheering for their team. At are hotel you could see it was – to paraphrase - Casey At The Bat… “There was no joy in Mudville — as the mighty Red Socks had lost by 2 runs both Friday and Saturday night.
The good news for the Socks fans and for those who stuck around was their Sunday win over the Pirates. I have to tell you, it was fun visiting and chatting with the Socks fans the two days we were at the hotel - they ARE enthusiastic fans. I sure wish we had a little of that in Cincinnati for our mostly winning Reds.
The Furries Were In Town Too – Yikes!!!
The other event that had the city booked up was the Furries Convention taking place in downtown Pittsburgh [link]. OK, it's officially called the AnthroCon Convention [link], but it still comes down to over 4,500 folks hitting town dressed up as animals - think amusement park mascots - wandering he streets of Pittsburgh and surrounds.
It's quite the site and Pittsburgh has been the host city for 6 six years in a row for this national convention. You know – I guess it’s what makes the world go ‘round.
Visiting With Old An Old Friend
Although the original intent was to visit a good friend who had moved to Pittsburgh a number of years ago and be part of her 50th birthday celebration, when I realized my good buddy Terry Deglau was only another hour away, we gave Terry a call to see if we could stop by and visit. He gladly obliged and we had a great time reminiscing over a long and enjoyable lunch on Saturday.
Terry is from a family who ran a studio for over 75 years in the Pittsburgh area. He told us it was his grandfather that started the business. Terry left the family business to go to work for Eastman Kodak Company and was with them for 20 years. During that time Terry was very supportive for many years of my early growing photographic and teaching career. Since his leaving Kodak, we have always tried to stay in touch.
Because of the experience in his family's 75 year old photography business and his many years at Eastman Kodak, he has become a wealth of photographic information. I encouraged Terry to start a blog many months ago which he did. Here is the link to his blog – A Creative Mind Is A Moving Target again right here. He contributes to it on a weekly basis with stories and experiences that you simply won't read anywhere else.
I like to think that Terry, as he continues to write his blog, will become one of our indispensable photographic historians. I sure hope so. We all get so wrapped up in the "here and now" we easily lose sight of those whose shoulders the rest of us stand on for our continued success. THANKS Terry for all your doing - "live long and prosper," and continue blogging as I look forward to your posts. And, good to see you again. Until the next time Terry, All our best, David.
Hey gang, I've got the rest of the posts devised into sections for your easy reference. Lots of good information today, so please take time to enjoy the reads.
Wedding Photography Links You Need to Read
Every week I try to present a few good links helpful to our wedding photographers reading this blog. This week I found a slew of them that are full of information and advice that is practical, informative, and important to your successful business building. Every one is a great read.
- 10 Common Compositions In Wedding Photography – Great! [link]
- Wedding Photography Tips : How To Photograph People [link]
- 5 Fastest Ways To Fail At Wedding Photography – Must Read [link]
- What I Learned from Jasmine Star – Always good advice [link]
Inspirational Photography and Design
Quick Hit Monday has become my favorite day for offering you links to posts that offer photographic, technical, and compositional inspiration to help you get your week started off on the right foot. Sometimes the links are a bit eclectic but they are the kinds of things that tickle my fancy and I hope you enjoy them too. Here is this week's list - Enjoy!
- 140 Great HDR Images [link]
- 40 Random High Quality Photo Worth Seeing [link]
- Fascination Digital Works Of Art [link]
- iPhone Photography – pretty cool images [link]
Photography News, Tips, and Techniques
It's been quite a week with me finding lots of great instructional content for your reading pleasure….Enjoy.
Some News You Can Use
- Doug Box’s Flash Photography: On- and Off- Camera Techniques for Digital Photographers [link]
- Digital photography trumping film for good? [link]
- A "Baker's Dozen" of Studio Lighting Tips Added to My Flagship iPad App: 24/7 Photo Buffet [link]
- Understanding the Factors that Affect Depth of Field [link]
- Tips To Reduce Noise In Your Images [link]
Photoshop Tutorials, Techniques, and Freebies
Once again gang, here is this weeks list of links to my favorite tutorials, techniques, and freebies. Over the last several weeks there have been quite a few links that I've posted at DPT. I'm trying to figure how to categorize all these links for future reference - stay tuned. In the mean time, enjoy this week's offerings.
- 51 High Quality Texture Packs [link]
- 25 Free Brushes and Patterns [link]
- 60 Fresh High Quality PSD Files and Templates [link]
Hey gang, that's it for me today. We've got a lighter week than usual around here, I think I said that last Monday as well, and we are really looking forward to a stress free work week. How about I see everyone back here tomorrow for another Technique Tuesday.
See ya' tomorrow, David
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Friday, June 24, 2011
"Field Of Dreams"
© David A. Ziser
I'm leaving you today with one of my favorite images. And, it also speaks to the post below. I took this photograph a few years ago during a very short rainy photowalk in downtown Cincinnati, OH.
The idea was to fill the frame with the flaming red color of the tulips not focusing on any one tulip. I love the graphic components of this image - the rich red colors receding away from me with the top of the image accented with small touches of yellow.
I wanted the 1000's of flowers to blend into one large magic carpet of color and texture. I obtained the result I wanted - a field of beautiful dreams.
Camera specs; Canon 40D fitted with my 70-200mm IS lens with 1.4x tele-extender set to 85mm, F16 @ 1/85 second - hand held, ISO 800 with minimal tweaks in Photoshop. Enjoy! -David
Good Morning Everybody,
Can you believe it, we've been home 10 days and we're antsy to hit the road again ;~). It's true - we got a birthday invite from a long time friend we haven't seen in a few years. It's one of those "milestone" birthdays so we decided to hit the road and be part of the festivities.
Then it struck me that we have another friend about 30 minutes away from our birthday friend who we also haven't seen in a couple of years, Terry Deglau, who by the way has just started publishing his own info crammed blog – A Creative Mind Is A Moving Target [link]. I just called him yesterday and we're getting together for lunch tomorrow.
On the way back home, we'll stop by and visit our friends, Kent and Sarah Smith in Columbus, OH. Yep, looks like a road trip filled with reconnecting and making new friends. But before we leave, let me share a few early morning thoughts with you. Here we go...
Are You Rich Beyond Your Wildest Dreams, But Don't Know How To Spend Your Money?
As I was laying in bed this morning, arising to the fresh morning chirping of the Kentucky starlings and the soft rising sun, I was struck with the thought above. LaDawn and I are planning to head to Pittsburgh, PA to visit some long time friends over the weekend. On our road trips we always pack a notebook – one of those very inexpensive Composition notebooks you can pick up at any office supply store. The one we currently are using is covered with small blue whales on the cover - it's not easy to miss.
Get Your Ideas Down On Paper
Anyway, we've been filling this latest notebook with fresh ideas and plans/goals/ideas from now until two years from now. I think we are on our fourth notebook after about six years of planning in this manner. What these notebooks have become are treasure chests of exciting ideas about new products, seminar plans, studio procedures, personal “bucket lists” - you name it, it's in our "whale book".
Here's the point - how many of this ideas do we implement? I have to admit, it's a much smaller percentage than what we write down. I was thinking this morning how, if we just took the time to implement more of those great ideas we have - those ideas we conceived and wrote down - how much "richer" we could be. I'm not talking about "riches" in the literal sense of the word. I'm using the term in a way that implies to a far wider interpretation - "richness" in terms of more time for ourselves, better workflow solutions for the studio, creative product development, and yes, increased profits too.
At Least Implement Some Of Them
Don't get me wrong, we really do get a lot of our ideas implemented, but I still believe better planning and follow up could take us to the next level. How about yourself - do you keep an "idea book" close by at all times? It can truly be your most valuable asset for your business. Ours is always at our side, most of the time in LaDawn's purse always ready for the next idea to be jotted down.
I can already tell you what we will be thinking about today as we make the five hour drive to Pittsburgh, PA. I hinted at the Napa Experience Workshops we're planning in the Fall - we'll probably get that project 80% planned in the car today. We're planning on putting together some brand new training materials - we'll work on that too. I'm planning to create 40 hours of content for the PhotoPro Network, our state photography association of which I'm president. We'll sketch in our plans and rough scheduling for that huge project.
Hey, It’s A Way To Stay Fired Up Too!
All in all we'll spend about 1 1/2 - 2 hours of our 5 hour drive brainstorming, planning, conceptualizing ideas. The entire process is quite energizing too. Why? Because once it's written down the ideas begin to take shape and once they begin to take shape you get motivated to get the concept to completion - and that folks is a good bit of the fun.
Like I said, I wish we could convert more of our good ideas into a finished product, but we still manage to convert a large percentage of them. If you're not recording, brainstorming, collecting your ideas for yourself, you need to start right away. Head to you local office supply store and pick up your own funny looking notebook. Then whenever you find yourself just sitting around, in the middle of a road trip, whatever, just start filling up your "idea" treasure chest.
Conceive It, Plan It, Implement It!
You'll be surprised how quickly it will fill. Before long, you be be rich beyond your wildest dreams. Now all you need to do is start implementing those ideas. And, be sure you do. No sense in having a treasure chest filled to the brim with riches and not "spending" some of it.
Once you've got the ideas down, you need to plan what you're going to do with those ideas. Once the plans are in place, it's time to implement them! And therein lies the secret to "spending" those riches you've amassed. It may take a little discipline to get started, but you do need to get started. Hey, get one like ours with whales on the cover ;~)
- Food For Thought
Hey gang, that's it for me today. I've got a client coming by in a short while and then it's off to Pittsburgh about 1:00 p.m. We're looking forward to the drive and the visits with friends. We'll be back in town late Monday afternoon so how about I see everybody next week.
Have a great weekend and I'll see you then. Remember, keep your pixels sunny side up and always smilin'.
I'll see you next week, -David