Friday, August 31, 2012

Business Day Thursday: Answering the Mystery of Model Releases – When You Need Them and When You Don't

Good Afternoon Everybody,

DAZ Light setup1I know this is a Business Day Thursday post and it almost made it up yesterday.  I wanted to polish it up a bit more so I held off until today to post it.  I can't believe that it's Friday already. The week has been flying by. In addition to the regular workload at the studio, I'm also preparing for a big wedding this weekend and I'm also getting ready for Photoshop World in Las Vegas next week. I'm really looking forward to my wedding this weekend because I'm going to be giving my new lighting set up a real run for the money. If these little Canon speed lights work the way I hope they do, I will be amazed! Up to this point, all my testing indicates that all systems are go and that the new set up should work just fine. But, just in case I have any problems, I'm toting a complete set of the high-powered Quantum's along with me to be sure I have all the bases covered.

I'll have my top team on the job for this weekend's wedding including a visitor, Michael Houlden, from just north of Toronto, Canada. Michael attended my Spring Master Class and asked if he could join me on this weekend's wedding. Hey, the more the merrier. But, tagging along is not all he's going to be doing. While Nicholas is covering the peripheral events of the wedding, Mike is going to be my light man – it should be a great experience for him. I smile as I say that because with my new lighting Michael’s job this weekend, I suspect, will not be too difficult. I'll fill you in on all the details next week.

Photoshop World 2012bI'm also preparing for my three programs that I'll be giving a Photoshop World in Las Vegas. Even though I've given the programs before, there's always room for improvement. It'll be fun to catch up with our old friends  and also get another taste of Vegas. We fly out early Monday morning – Labor Day – so we can be there for the start of my Pre-conference Wedding Shootout Tuesday. We're quick in and out this year because we have to be back in town for a family wedding on Friday evening. That's going to make for a rushed week but, as LaDawn often can be heard saying; “Welcome to Ziser World!”

That's the update for today everybody – let's get on with Business Day Thursday.

Business Day Thursday: Answering the Mystery of Model Releases – When You Need Them and When You Don't

In my image of the day post on Tuesday, “Let’s Dance The Night Away” [link] one of our DigitalProTalk readers raise a question about model releases for this kind of an image. After I read the comment, I began to wonder about the importance of model releases myself. In my studio we have every wedding client sign a model release – it's part of the wedding  agreement that our clients sign when booking us to photograph their event.  In our agreement, the wording is quite simple and straightforward. Before the client signs our agreement, I review each section of the agreement and specifically point out the fact that they are giving us their permission to use their images in our marketing and promotions.

The clause reads like this:

"4.  It is agreed that rights to exclusive use of negative and/or electronic media  material and reproduction therefrom are reserved in David  A. Ziser Photography, whether for display, publications, or otherwise."

It Won't Make You Rich, But It Might Make You Famous!

I call it my "It won't make you rich but might make you famous" clause.  I mention to my clients that we may use their images in my blog or on our website or in various printed pieces  that we might design in the course of our normal advertising campaigns. I also let them know that I will notify them anytime that we use their photographs and be happy to get them copies of the publications in which their images may appear. This has happened several times over the years, particularly with our local city magazines. In fact, our clients love it when their photographs appear in these kind of publications. And, it's good advertising for us as well.

DAZ QuantumOccasionally I will get a call from one of my sponsors asking if they can use some of my images in their marketing pieces. Whenever we receive this kind of request, I always check back with my clients to be sure that it is okay that I use a a few of their images for national ad campaigns. Without hesitation, they always agree. If you recall, when I asked them to review the "it won't make you rich but it might make you famous" section of the agreement, this is the part that might make them famous ;~) Anyway, it doesn't happen very often but when it does, my clients are thrilled to be part of it and happy to know that their photographs are featured in a national trade publication or in national marketing and advertising promotional pieces.

Get The Model Release In Writing!!!

MallSo, you can see that model releases are very important at my studio. And I need to tell you that the model releases need to be in writing as well.  Several years ago a good friend of mine who runs an extremely successful studio asked his client if he could display one of their family portrait images as part of a small display at a local mall. The mother was thrilled that there image was going to be featured in the mall display and gladly gave verbal permission to my friend to exhibit the photograph.

It turns out that the father was not so accommodating. He called my friend and questioned him about the image being displayed at the local mall. My friend explained that he had the wife's permission to exhibit the photograph. The father quickly countered by asking, "Was that permission given in writing?" My friend answered, "No, it was a verbal okay to use the photograph. The father quickly objected and said that since there was nothing in writing he wanted fair compensation for  the use of his family's image in my photographers friends marketing.

To make a long story short,, because my friend didn't have written permission." It cost him $4000 in expenses to accommodate the irate client. It's a hard lesson the learn but, we really do need to be prudent when we display client images.

What Happens If I'm Already Famous?

Peter FramptonSeveral years ago guitar legend, Peter Frampton, was being married in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Yes, that Peter Frampton.)  Because of Mr. Frampton's celebrity status, all the arrangements were very hush – hush. One Saturday morning I got a call from a bridal consultant friend of mine who mentioned that she was  working  on the celebrity wedding but couldn't divulge the name.  She asked me if I might be interested in photographing the wedding. My curiosity was certainly piqued.  Eventually she told me that the secret celebrity was Peter Frampton.  I was thrilled to get the opportunity to bid the job.

I inquired further as to what happened with the other photographer Mr. Frampton had booked. She explained to me that Mr. Frampton had requested the other photographer to not publicize any of the photographs from the wedding. The other photographer insisted that since he was the official wedding photographer he had every right to publicly display the photographs anywhere he wanted and to use those photographs in all his marketing campaigns.  Mr. Frampton felt otherwise and pulled the job from that photographer.  That photographer, BTW, is no longer in business.

For me, I always try to accommodate my clients’ wishes. I set up an appointment to visit with Mr. Frampton and his fiancĂ©e while they were visiting in Cincinnati. We had a wonderful visit and he loved the photographs and albums I presented. I also knew that  I too would like to show some sample photographs of Mr. Frampton's wedding.  I approached the subject a bit differently though. 

My request for permission to use the photographs went something like this:

"Mr. Frampton, the vendors involved in your wedding are all thrilled and honored to be part of this wonderful event. A few of them have asked me if they could get copies of a small number of the images, say three at most, from your wedding to use in their marketing materials. In fact, I too would like your permission to use a few of those photographs as well. I promise you that I will not plaster these photographs all over Cincinnati, Ohio on every billboard from here to Columbus Ohio. What I would like to do is ask permission to use no more than six photographs very discreetly in some of our low-key marketing initiatives and our studio sample albums." 

He quite graciously agreed to my request and also honored my request to share a couple of images with the key vendors involved in his wedding. I think what he sensed was a fact that I was respecting his right to privacy and not overstepping my bounds in using his celebrity status to further my ambitions.  I have to admit, I used a couple of those images in one of my sample albums and that was as far as my usage went with Mr. Frampton's wedding images. We got some great images and Peter loved everyone of them!

I think it always comes down to respecting your client. We have to remember that when our clients are hiring us to photograph their wedding there doing more than that. They're honoring us by asking us be part of this very special day in their lives. It is incumbent upon us to respect the honor they bestow upon us.

Too many photographers are only in it for the quick buck - too bad. I think we always have to remember that the photography business is so much more than that. Our success is built upon the professionalism we bring to each and every job that we photograph. Our success is built upon the respect that we pay our clients and all the guests present at the wedding. Our success is based on the fact that we really acknowledge the fact that we have been honored with our client's booking us for their event.

But back To The Original Question

Let's Dance The Night AwayBut, I still haven't answered in question from our DigitalProTalk reader. Here I am, at another photographer's wedding, taking a shot or two that the photographer was setting up. Did I need a model release for that image? My research tells me that I was in the clear. Let me point you to an article that I think is one of the best that I've read on the subject of model releases. Here is the link right here.

Anyway,  Below is an excerpt from the article which shows that I am in the clear in obtaining the model release for my blog post.  I've highlighted the section that applies.

Model Releases and Privacy

No legal discussion would be complete without an exception. If you are invited or hired to take pictures of someone, say for a wedding or studio shot, the resulting images are protected by privacy laws. You can’t sell those photos EVEN FOR EDITORIAL USES without a model release. Much like attorney-client privilege, the established relationship between you and the client creates a responsibility to safeguard privacy.

This can create a strange situation, because this responsibility applies even in public places where other people might take pictures of your clients at the same time. Since they don’t have an established relationship with your clients, they CAN sell their images editorially without a release while you can’t.

The bottom line is this:  A model release protects you and your client.  It clearly outlines the photographer/client arrangement and client compensation when it comes to using the photographs for commercial purposes.  So, if you plan to use your client's wedding images in your marketing promotions, always get a model release and always get it in writing.

Hey gang, that’s it for me today.  I’m still twirling with activity getting ready for the big weekend and our trip to Las Vegas, NV.  Have a great rest of the week and I’ll see you at Photoshop World in Las Vegas on Tuesday!

Adios,  David


How to Keyword Your Images in Lightroom.

In this video, I demonstrate how I use keywords to organize my catalog of images. I share how I apply keywords during important and then again after making my initial selects from a shoot. This can greatly help you to be more efficient in organizing and searching for your images.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Meeting Maury Edelstein

While I was in San Francisco yesterday, I spent some time shooting in the city with my friend Emilio. I was walking down Market Street when I spotted this dapper fellow making images with a small Canon camera. He was making images of a postal worker.

I struck up a conversation with him to discover that he had been photographing in this area for quite a long time and as people passed by, it seemed like he was familiar with a lot of them and they him. Visiting his website afterwards, I realized that he had accumulated a large body of work.

But what really impressed me was the wonderful energy he brought to the street. A lot of street photographers can be very earnest about their work, but he seemed to be having a lot of fun. He was really having a ball being out there in the street getting his shots. And the fact that he was doing it with such a stylus ensemble of hat, tie and shoes really impressed me.

As I told Emilio later, I could only hope that I had that much energy and enthusiasm thirty years from now.

I meet a lot of photographers on the street, but Maury definitely left me inspired.

You can check out his impressive work by visiting his website.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Accepted Photog Truths: Never Give Your Work Away

Here’s an accepted truth that litters the internet, “You should never give your work away or work for free. If you do you’re just taking the livelihood away from hard working photographers.” (1, 2, 3)

The theory behind it is solid; if every photographer stands firm and demands payment for their work, the people who need pictures will have to pay for them. Interestingly this advice is most firmly held by established, professional photographers. The argument seems to be, if you do what I say, you protect my market, and you have the potential to be as successful as me in the future. These established photographers are usually the same people that claim that amateurs have reduced their business from $200,000 a year to $40,000. They are also the ones looking for free interns to work for them and the ones that won’t give you the time of day if you’re unlucky enough to end up in a room with them when they’re commissioned to shoot the event and you’re just trying to grab a few shots. Always question the motives of people giving you advice. Does the advice benefit you or the person giving the advice?

Let’s get one thing straight, we prosumer and enthusiast photographers are not killing the market for professionals with our amateur work. The market is changing with or without us. Yes, there’s more competition in all fields. Yes, the barrier to entry has been lowered. Yes, amateurs can now shoot like professionals. No longer does owning a professional rig guarantee you professional rates.

We can easily make comparisons with changes in the music industry. Digital has changed the music industry. Obviously Napster and the MP3 had a huge effect but the cheap tools available to enthusiast musicians meant that they didn’t have to wait to be signed to a label, to get expensive studio time, to be able to make a record. Affordable digital audio interfaces (fancy soundcards to you and me), cheap and easy to use DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) software, and a plethora of information and support from their internet peers meant that anyone with a sound, an idea, a little talent and a laptop could make a record to rival releases put out by the biggest label. That bedroom, laptop jockey doesn’t have the budget of the large label to promote their work but the internet does provide a way of finding an audience for even the most niche artist. The appeal of this homemade approach reaches to a lot of established artists too which is why you hear of big artists leaving big labels to make and release their own work directly to their audience. Of course the industry is threatened. They were the gatekeepers of what got made and released and that’s no longer true. They controlled the radio stations and they no longer have as much hit-making power.

But, despite this threat and change new, innovative, entertaining music is still being created, released, listened to and, occasionally, bought. Big stars are still making big bucks. At the other end of the spectrum there are now more enthusiasts than ever making and releasing music. Those enthusiasts don’t make 100% of their income from their music; most don’t make 50% and a lot don’t make anything. A lot give their music away - they just want to be heard. A few of the artists who start out giving their music away on YouTube will make it big (Justin Bieber) but most won’t and that’s alright. Just because I give away an electronica track away for free on Soundcloud doesn’t mean that Moby is going to lose any sales of his next album and, even the likes of Moby see the value in giving some work away for free. Moby still sells records - I put my audio doodlings out there - we both get heard (admittedly by vastly differing sized audiences). The music industry has not changed because some people give their work away for free; it was changing long before that.

The photography industry won’t collapse because you allow your work to be used for free. The person who asks to use your work for free is not going to see the error of their ways because you point out how unfair it is that you don’t get paid for your work; they will just move on to the next person until they find someone who says ‘yes’. Is it shameful that for-profit publications and organizations are taking advantage of enthusiasts and are asking for work for free? Of course it is but your insistence that they treat you like Annie Leibovitz is not going to change anything. Like the music industry, the publishing industry has changed. Magazines and newspapers are folding left and right as they struggle to compete in a digital environment. Why would they commission a professional to go on assignment to illustrate something when they can search Flickr and find a dozen people with appropriate shots? One of those photographers will be flattered enough to let them use their work for free.

As a photographer you have to decide if you need financial compensation for your work to be used. But don’t think for a moment that because you give your work away some pro out there won’t eat tonight. Don’t take that on. The market has changed. If you want to let someone publish your work without payment that’s between you and your accountant or god (take your pick). You don’t want to be taken advantage of but nor should you be bullied into how you allow your work to be used.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

"Let’s Dance The Night Away"

Let's Dance The Night Away

"Let’s Dance The Night Away"
©David A. Ziser

While on our short weekend vacation, Kent and I wandered into the Netherland Hilton Hotel, one of the most popular venues for weddings in Cincinnati, Ohio.  In fact, this is where I’ll be this weekend.  Anyway, last Saturday was a really busy wedding weekend for the hotel.

We headed up to the Hall Of Mirrors, the hotel’s premier ballroom for some of the nicest weddings and events in the city.  We stepped in and noticed the photographer and videographer working with the bride and groom before all the guests entered the ballroom.  I just began shooting away and captured this cool image of the couple from the second floor balcony.

The photographer and videographer were using a constant video light for the illumination of the couple. That allowed me to “tag team” on their light for this photograph.  The lighting tech had set all the spots for the rest of the room. The overall feel of the lighting worked well for this image (and the shots the photographer was getting.)   Heck, I might even have to give this vantage point a try at my wedding this weekend.

Camera specs:  Canon 5D Mark III fitted with Tamron 28-300mm VC lens at 55mm, F4.5 @ 1/30 second, ISO 6400.  Enjoy!  -David

p.s. I took a moment to introduce myself to the photographer shooting the wedding after she had finished with the bride and groom.  Her name is Sherry Barber and she is a very talented photographer working in Cincinnati, OH.  Be sure to check out Sherri’s very cool website right here.  She has things “cookin” and is sold out for weddings in 2012.  A lot of photographers would sure like to be in her shoes.

“Hi Fives” to you Sherri – well done!  David

Photo Quote of the Week

If you only photograph when you feel like it... you'll never be totally successful as a photographer. - Freeman Patterson (from

Technique Tuesday: Creating Beautiful Backgrounds With CS6 Content Aware Fill Tool

Hi Everybody,

After yesterday's blogging fiasco – after all my text turned into the Chinese or Japanese characters  – I was a little bummed. Nevertheless, I got things sorted out today and you can read  yesterday's post in its entirety below. And, since I had my Technique Tuesday post pretty much ready to go, you'll getting a double dose of DigitalProTalk today.

Creating Beautiful Backgrounds With CS6 Content Aware Fill Tool

In today's post I'm going to pick up where I left off last week. Last week I showed you how you  could use the “Content Aware Fill” tool in Photoshop CS6 to create a much more dramatic look to your sunset wedding photographs [link]. In this week's post, I'm also going to use the”Content Aware Fill” tool in this tutorial. But, in this week's tutorial I’ll use it a bit differently to obtain the final result I want.

I was recently doing a workshop in New Orleans, Louisiana and bad weather outside forced us to do all the photography inside the Westin Hotel. The Westin Hotel provided some terrific backgrounds for my workshop but I still wanted to get an outdoor feel in a few of the images. The second floor of the Westin offered some fairly large windows that I thought I could use to get the look I wanted in my photographs.

NOLA Before PicThe problem was that the windows had a metal beam coming down the center and also had draperies hanging on the side of the window. The challenge was to remove the window’s center beam and the drapes as quickly and efficiently as I could. As I've said previously so many times, it's not so much about getting it right in the camera as opposed to fixing it efficiently in Photoshop. For me, it's always about getting it right as quickly as possible using hardware or software.  And, if my software tools allow me to fix an issue in only a few minutes then that will be the avenue I will take. Ask yourself the question: 10 minutes trying to get it right in the camera or 2 minutes to get it right in Photoshop? What’s your choice? I’ll take the two-minute shortcut every time.

Anyway, with the technique I’m showing you today, I think you'll be further impressed and see how to get even greater functionality with the”Content Aware Fill” tool.  Why not hit the PLAY button below and see just what I'm talking about.


Hey gang, that's it for me today. Hope you enjoy today's tutorial and I hope you'll give it a try. Once you get the hang of it, it's really easy to use and you'll generally always get a terrific result.

Everybody have a great rest of the day and I'll see you soon.


Monday, August 27, 2012

"City of Lights"

City of Lights

"City of Lights"
©David A. Ziser

Okay, gang don't hate me for this image post today. Over the weekend we visited Showboat Majestic, a floating theater on the Ohio River.  At the intermission break we were walking the decks and I thought, “What a great place to capture some HDR photographs of the night lights on the Ohio River.”  This image is a view from the Cincinnati side looking towards the Kentucky skyline.

Barges and boats were going by causing a slight rock and roll action on our deck.  I decided to make the exposure anyway. I guess we were hit by a fairly large wave during this exposure, hence the long light streaks across the image.

When the image popped on the back of my camera, I still thought the image was a quite interesting exposure. Although I had several other images that look just fine, I kept coming back to this very abstract looking image.

I brought the image into Photoshop CS 6 and decided to have some fun with it. In addition to “juicing” the saturation and vibrance of the image, I also applied the Smart Sharpen filter to this image as well. I found I got a very interesting result when I used the “ remove motion blur” option in the Smart Sharpen work panel – it added sort of a bevel/embossed look to the image.  Some careful burning in of the shadow areas to darken them  added an even more dramatic feel to my finished result. You're right, maybe I had too much time on my hands today but I still like this result.

Camera specs: Canon 5D Mark III fitted with Tamron 28 – 300 MM lens at 60 MM, F4.5 at 1/8 second, ISO 6400. Enjoy! – David

Very Weird Blogging Experience Today–It’s All Chinese or Japanese To Me

Good Afternoon Everybody,

I was nearly complete with today's post – about 1,500 words - when something very weird happened. I was working in Windows Live Writer, hit some unknown keystroke combination, and suddenly all of my English text change to Japanese – at least I think it's Japanese, maybe Chinese. I've spent the last hour trying to figure out what happened and recover the post but to no avail.  Here is a screen shot of what I’ve been looking at. Anybody have any ideas? 

Weird Spelling

It looks like it's back to the drawing board and square one for me. I'll plan to have it completed and up online tomorrow before noon.

I also have a Technique Tuesday post ready to go. So let's look on the bright side. Tomorrow will be a 2-for-1 post day!  Anyway, it's getting late and I’m going to call it a day.

Have a great rest of the evening and I'll see you tomorrow, David

Quick Hit Monday: PhotoPro Expo 2013; My New Lighting Rig; & Shooting Eye-Fi To iPad3

Good Morning Everybody,

DAZ, LD, Kent, SarahWe just wrapped an easy weekend with our friends, Kent and Sarah Smith, from Columbus, Ohio. It seems all four of us were feeling a bit frazzled these last couple weeks so we decided to spend a relaxing weekend together here in Cincinnati, Ohio.  Kent and Sarah headed south after their last portrait session in Columbus and landed on our back deck around 8:30 PM Friday night. It was great to catch up with old friends.

On Saturday, after a slow-moving morning, we headed to Cincinnati and checked into the beautiful Cincinnatian Hotel – one of the best hotels in the city.  We spent a relaxing afternoon enjoying an adult beverage or two, walking the downtown area, saw an entertaining play on the Showboat Majestic, and wrapped with dinner at Morton's Steakhouse.

Reds gameSunday included another leisurely wake-up call, a relaxing breakfast at the Palace Restaurant, followed by a trip to the ball game to see our first-place Cincinnati Reds play the St. Louis Cardinals. I haven't been to a ball game in a number of years and it was kind of fun to get caught up in all the excitement. The Cincinnati Reds are fielding a good team this year (even though they lost Sunday’s game) and the fan excitement was everywhere. After the game we sadly said goodbye to our friends who headed back to Columbus – all of us still feeling a nice glow of a great weekend together.  LaDawn and I headed back to the Cincinnatian Hotel for one last relaxing night’s stay.

Personally, I think it's a good idea to take that occasional breather from the day-to-day pressures of our studio operations. Whenever we all get together, not only is it good times with lots of laughs, it's also a rich experience sharing ideas, techniques problem solving…. that further help both Kent and I enrich our studio’s growth.

Announcing PhotoPro Expo 2013 - The Best Photography Event In The Midwest!

I know that I've been MIA for the last couple of days with lots of projects I needed to get completed before the weekend. The biggest project on my plate was launching PhotoPro Expo 2013. PhotoPro Expo 2013 will be the largest photographic event in the Midwest happening next February 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 2013. 

PhotoPro Expo 2013 - new

Our talent lineup is unbelievable. Already confirmed to appear are Joe McNally, Julieanne Kost, Rick Sammon, Zach and Jody Gray, Kent and Sarah Smith, Alex Buono, Kevin Kubota, and nearly 20 additional speakers making next year's convention one of the most ambitious educational events available anywhere. PPE13 will also be the largest photo trade show in the Midwest with over 100 booths to visit. Mark your calendars now and plan to attend this exciting event.

The cost for this photographic extravaganza is only $129 until September 30, 2012. After that the price will revert back to its $179 normal price. If you want to take advantage of the biggest and best photographic event in the Midwest please head over to the PhotoPro Expo 2013 website right here where you can get all the details. The site is about 85% complete at this time but I plan to have it finished by the end of the week. Still, don't hesitate about registering for next year's terrific convention. I'll fill you in all the details as the days pass by. If you have any questions, you can call our Executive Director, Randy Fraley at 606-571-1908.  He'll be able to answer any of your questions.

Check Out My New Portable Lighting Rig

DAZ Light setup1That's right, I'm completely revamping my lighting rig for shooting weddings. As you know, I've been experimenting with Canon’s Speedlite 600EX-RT these last couple weeks and I'm slowly getting a handle on how they work. I used them to photograph a small wedding about 10 days ago and everything went great. This coming weekend I've a huge 12 hour event in which I  plan to give these three little speed light gems a real workout.

Hopefully, over the next few days, I’ll finish testing the high-speed sync characteristics of the Canon speed lights. I plan to have some news later in the week.

Because of the capabilities of the higher ISO camera I'm using  –  the Canon 5D Mark III – I know I'll be able to get by with much less light output than what I would normally need. That should make the 60 watt-seconds of power I get from Canon’s 600 EX – RT speed lights adequate for most of the photography I'll be doing.

Strobie bracketIf I need more power I picked up an Interfit Tri Shoe Adapter that will hold up to three of the speed lights. The three Canon speed lights used in conjunction with each other will give me a total of 180 watt-seconds of light. That's actually even more powerful than my Quantum T5d that I've used for many, many years.

My thought is that when I need a powerful off-camera flash, all three of the Canon 600 EX – RT speed lights should fill the bill for me. For most of the reception shooting I'm confident that I can get by with one flash on camera and two other flashes set up to illuminate the dance floor as I described at DigitalProTalk in a recent post [link].

The challenge for me in using these new strobes is the learning curve. Not only am I looking at nearly a dozen buttons on the back of the new strobe, there are now four separate menus to also scroll through to take advantage of the full functionality of the Canon speed lights. But, it's like anything else – once you get the hang of it, the operation is really quite efficient.

Using Eye-Fi Card, Canon 5D Mark III, & iPad3 Almost Magical

Eye-Fi CardOne thing I love about my Canon 5D Mark III camera is the fact that it accepts a SDHC card in the second card slot of the camera. I've been using the 32 gig SanDisk card as my backup card for all of my photography sessions. I picked up one of the Eye-Fi 8 gig SDHC Pro X2 wireless cards last year and was hoping to be able to make it work in my Canon 7D camera. That never really came to fruition so the card is been languishing in a drawer in my office. I've talked with some other photographers that have reported decent success in making the Eye-Fi 8 gig SDHC Pro X2 work in their Canon 5D Mark III  so I’ve decided to also give it a try.

My intention is to shoot with the Eye-Fi 8 gig SDHC Pro X2 card and have it transmit images to my iPad 3. This is extremely useful for photographers, particularly high school senior photographers or family photographers, because you can hand off the iPad 3 to your client and have the client see exactly how the session is proceeding. The process offers a great sizzle factor to any photography sessions. My early experiences with the Eye-Fi 8 gig SDHC Pro X2 card have been mixed. Once I get the Eye-Fi card to pair up with the iPad 3, everything seems to work just fine. It's simply getting the Eye-Fi card to pair up that has been the problem.

I purchased my iPad 3 from Verizon so I would have the capability of having the iPad 3 act as a hotspot. Having a hotspot functionality built into the iPad 3, I felt would make it easy for the Eye-Fi card to pair with the iPad and easily transmit the images into  the ShutterSnitch application I have installed.

LD to iPad3As I said, the pairing of the Eye-Fi card to the iPad 3 has been a bit problematic. The problem occurs in trying to get the hotspot to go “live”. My workaround, so far, has been to use my iPhone first to see the iPad hotspot and then connect to it. This takes a few tries – I think the problem is the wireless we have in the studio jammed the iPad 3 hotspot.  The connection is not immediate, it has a few second delay, as I would like it to be. But, after fiddling with it for a while, and after several tries, I finally get my connection with my iPhone.

Once a hotspot is activated and working, it's quite easy then to get the Eye-Fi card to pair with a hotspot and transmit the images directly to the iPad 3. I plan to be working with this hardware/software combination at Photoshop World next week during my Wedding Pre-Con. I'll provide additional details as they become available on how to make this potentially very useful scenario work for you as well.


Hey gang, that's it for me today. I want to get back to work on the PhotoPro Expo 2013 website so that you have all the details when you check it out. Everybody have a great rest of the day and I'll see you soon.

Adios, David

The Story of Nadine Aucamp

Hello everyone! I've decided to do a post about myself, I think it's time for all of you to get to know me a little bit better.

So hello there, I am Nadine Aucamp, a kid born in the 1990's.
I grew up in Paarl, studied in Belleville and currently live on Babylonstoren.
Ek is eintlik 'n Afrikanse plaasmeisie (kaalvoet kind) ek skryf net altyd alles in Engels want ek wil he die buitelanders en Engelse mense moet ook verstaan wat ek se :)

I've always been fascinated with photos, I admired them, and found myself longing to be able to capture glorious moments. To create art was what I wanted to do, and photography was going to be my medium.

I LOVE my friends, live music and beautiful cupcakes. I'm a very enthusiastic person and I laugh, a lot.
I LOVE meeting new people, seeing new places and learning new things. I get ecstatic when I'm taking photos
I LOVE adventure and to travel. I wouldn't mind to become a jet setter and taking photos all over the world.
Tea makes the world worth living and I LOVE a good wine with friends. After all, I was raised by a very good wine maker.
I LOVE black & white photographs and film photography

I'm also the type of person that will trip and fall on my face, but I will jump right up and laugh it off. And I make a lot of awkward jokes just to get my clients laughing hysterically (I love happy-laughing photos) 

My highlights in life is:
Seeing Tallest Man on Earth preform live - such beautiful music and experience.
Getting a hole-in-one at putt-putt (and beating my boyfriend)
Creating a very beautiful, very delicious rainbow cake. YUM
Being friends with a few very special people
Meeting & assisting Lizelle Lotter; my hero, idol, friend and teacher.
Every photography job I've ever done :)

Thus far I was lucky enough to have the best clients EVER. Seriously. Really awesome, good hearted people that I feel blessed to have photographed.

My dream  is to be really good at what I do. I have this theory/life goal to be good in all types of photography, so in a way I will be the ultimate photographer - ready to take on any challenge. The reason for this is because I enjoy all types of photography and I want to do them all. I want to learn from all the different photographers out there so that I can be the best that I can be.

It is a blessing to do what I do (a big thanks for my parents support, love and care). My parents have never stop believing in me (even if I did) they have done so much just to make my dreams come true.

The whole running-your-own-business-thing is quite stressful, especially with the fact that EVERYONE is a photographer these days. I still have a long way to go in my photography career and I'm eager to go on this adventure and see where it will take me one day. All I know is that I love my job  and that's what I'll be doing no matter what.

Till next time kids, stay happy xx

Smugs in San Francisco Tomorrow Night

I will be in San Francisco tomorrow to make a presentation for the Smugs of San Francisco. The event runs from 6pm to 9pm and is free. You can sign up at the link below.

 The description of the presentation is as follows: Vision, Light and Refinement - three things that are key if you are interested from creating individual photographs to developing a body of work. Master Photographer, teacher, author and podcast host Ibarionex Perello will share his own journey as a photographer and how developing a deep understanding and appreciation of light helped him refine his approach to photography and create his vision. Additionally, Ibarionex will discuss how the editing process is crucial to fulfilling on that vision and truly developing a creative voice. If you are in the Bay Area tomorrow, please sign up and join us.

For more information and to register for the event click here.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Candid Frame #153 - Robert Rodriguez Jr.

Robert Rodriguez Jr. was trained as a musician and graduated from the Berklee College of Music in 1990 and was a music producer for 12 years before transitioning to landscape photography and the desire to spend as much time in nature.

With visual story telling,  he discovered the potential to express a more creative and personal vision. Focusing on the Hudson Valley allowed Robert to discover not only beautiful landscapes often taken for granted, but the changing mood and character of the region. Seeking to capture the beauty, or convey the emotional qualities of a place or moment in nature, his images have elicited responses ranging from evocative, to spiritual and breathtaking. He frequently travels beyond in search of other dramatic and unique locations, including New England, the southwest, and Canada.

Robert takes pride in a hands on approach to creating his expressive prints, working on every stage, from the initial exposure and processing, to printing and framing. His prints have been purchased by private collectors and commercial clients throughout  North America. You can discover more about his work by visiting his website and his blog

Robert Rodriguez recommends the work of Art Wolfe.

Click below to stream the interview.

 You can also subscribe to the show via iTunes by clicking here.

Or you can directly download the MP3 files by clicking here.

Friday, August 24, 2012

5 Reasons Why Not to Become a Professional Photographer

A lof of people consider becoming a professional photographer. So, there are are no shortage of tips and suggestions for making such a leap. However, here is a list of 5 reasons you shouldn't use as impetus for going pro.

1. You hate your job. 
Being in a job that is not fulfilling and challenging is its own unique level of misery. If Dante had ever worked in a cubicle, he would have likely added another circle of Hell to his epic poem. But being in a state of misery and loathing it is not often the best state of mind for making a life change. Making a living from something you love involves making thoughtful and informed choices that will change the rest of your life. Making an impulsive choice based on such strong feelings might not result in the best decision-making, particularly when all that thinking is negative. Though your unhappiness can serve as the inspiration to make a change, it's your well-considered plan which will eventually lead you to successfully improve your professional situation.

2. You Think You'll Have More Time to Shoot 
If you are struggling finding time to shoot with your current 9 to 5, you're going to find it even more difficult when you are working 24/7 to build and sustain your fledgeling photo business. With your current role, you are responsible only for one job (regardless of how frustrating or onerous you feel about it), but there are other people at the business that handle the rest of it including accounting, sales, inventory, receptionist. All those hats end up piled on your head, meaning that you have less time to do more work. If you find time  with the job you currently have to go out and shoot, especially personal projects, you'll likely not only be able to continue this practice when you go pro, but it will likely make your free time that much more enjoyable and gratifying.

3. You Think You're Going to Become Rich
There are easier ways to become wealthy than becoming a professional photographer. Some of these even involve choices where you don't break any laws and don't risk sharing a jail cell with a guy named, "Meat". Though making a living from doing something you love can be vey gratifying, the work involved from procuring the job, creating the images, delivering the work and getting the client to pay you makes you feel like you earned every penny. The only way to achieve long-lasting success is to think of yourself as a business. And though it seems antithetical to a creative life, it's the kind of thinking that allows you rise above the tens of thousands of camera slingers who hang a sign outside of their home office and call themselves a "pro" but who only succeed in working twice as hard, but making half as much.

4. You Want to be Your Own Boss
There are definite advantages to this including someone not calling you on extending your 15 minute bathroom break. But the reality of being your own boss is that you are likely going to be the worst boss you have ever had. Now, you can't hide your oversights or omissions or your mistakes. You are ultimately accountable for everything that happens or doesn't happen. Though doing the laundry might make your signficiant other happy, it could simply be used as a distraction from the work that you really need to be doing to grow your business. Yes, your clothes may be clean and well ironed, but that will mean very little if you don't have any clients to get dressed for. If you need the fire underneath your butt to makes things happen, remember you are going to be responsible for gathering the kindling and lighting the match.

5. You're More in Love with the Idea of Being a Pro than Actually Being One
Sometimes, an unfulfilled fantasy is more gratifying than a fantasy made real. A dream manifested can be a wonderful thing, especially when it is the fulfillment of a lot of hard work. But it's the hard work that will take up the bulk of your waking hours and unless you can find that work satisfying and gratifying, you are going to have a hard time sustaining yourself between the time when you get to do what you love, making images. It's easy to get fooled by the glamour especially today in the era of the celebrity photographer, but photography is still a job, which will demand the best of you most days. That's both good and bad news.

Making the choice to go pro is giant leap of faith but the best things of life happen when you take a risk. The greater the risk of failure, the more satisfying the feeling when you succeed.

Just know where you are starting from. It really helps to figure out where you're going.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

How to Make Select Color Adjustments in LR

In this video tutorial, Ibarionex demonstrates how he makes select color adjustments in Adobe Lightroom without the need for selections and masks.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

"Prettiest Day Of The Year!"

Prettiest Day Of The Year!

"Prettiest Day Of The Year!"
©David A. Ziser

OK, this isn’t strictly a wedding photograph but it was made on the day of the wedding at the couples chosen venue last Saturday.  So, I guess it is a wedding photograph, right ;~)  I mentioned to my couple on Saturday, that they had about the best day of the year on which to be married. The temperature was ideal, the location was perfect, and the sky - all day and evening long, was astoundingly beautiful.

I made this image right after I photographed the bride and groom with this sunset as a backdrop.  Nature’s beauty persisted well into the evening and I just had to get a few more images.  Besides the wedding and reception were outdoors and everyone had the opportunity to enjoy not only the wedding celebration but also Mother Nature’s beauty. This is just an example of the kind of photographs I capture on the wedding day that will serve as perfect backgrounds for the album we’ll eventually design for the couple.

In addition to that, this is simply a beautiful sunset landscape image and can be truly enjoyed on it’s own merit.  I choose a super wide angle lens to capture the full effect of the clouds spreading across the sky and lake.  A tweak or two in Lightroom 4 brought out all the detail and color of this fabulous scene. When all is said and done, what can I say,  I really like it.

Camera specs: Canon 5D Mark III fitted with Sigma 12-24mm lens at 12mm, F7.1 @ 1/400 second, ISO 800.  Enjoy!  -David

Technique Tuesday On Wednesday: Magical Sunsets or How The CS6 Content Aware Tool Is Now My New Best Friend!

Good Afternoon Everybody,

photoshop_elements_10I couldn’t believe it – I was out cruising on one of my daily walks yesterday and saw that our local library was hosting a program on Advanced Photoshop that evening. Advanced Photoshop at the public library, and it was FREE – what a deal.  LaDawn and I headed out last night to check it out. Well, it turns out it was Photoshop Elements 10 – it seems the marquis sign didn’t have enough room for the word Elements. 

No problem, we sat through the hour presentation and I was quite impressed with the power of Photoshop Elements 10.  Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that we all switch to PSE10 but hey, if I wanted to get my feet wet with an image editing program, I would definitely jump into PSE10 for starters – it’s a pretty amazing piece of software containing most of CS6 features we photographers use regularly.  It was an eye-opening evening.

Magical Sunsets or How The CS6 Content Aware Tool Is Now My New Best Friend!

Sunset BrideIt seems every time I get back from a wedding, I just can’t wait to load up my images into Lightroom and check them out.  That was the case this past weekend, too.  Once I’m in Lightroom I just gotta play.  I found an image I really liked from my Saturday shoot and got a wild idea on how I might improve on the original image. 

I quickly sent the image over to Photoshop CS6 and proceeded to try my idea.  It worked like a charm.  I was able to create an even more dramatic image with the help of CS6’s Content Aware Fill Tool.  I was really surprised at how I obtained my final result so easily and quickly.  Why not hit the PLAY button below and see what I’m talking about – way cool!!!


Hey gang, that’s it for me today.  Just a quick note – we now have seven photographers registered for my Sunset Photo Walk in Rome, Italy.  Want to join me? Here is the link to register.

On that note gang, I’m out of here. 

Have a great rest of the day and I’ll see you soon,


Look for Pictures That Other People Don't Make

I was talking to a friend yesterday who mentioned something that he heard the photographer, Vincent Laforet said.

"Look for pictures that other people don't make."

It's a simple statement, but one that is full of insight.

I was thinking just along these lines when during this past weekend I had some students in my Digital SLR Bootcamp make pictures of a bandshell in the park where I teach the workshop. I encouraged them to not only make photographs from eye level, but to really play around and try different perspectives, focal lengths and compositions. I asked them not to settle for just one or two photographs, but to fully exhaust all the possibilities.

Some of the resulting photographs really surprised me. I saw in their  pictures perspectives and points of view that I had never seen myself, even though it's a location that I have visited countless numbers of times. In their photographs, these students were really revealing to me the limits of my own vision.

I know what makes a good photograph or at least I think I know most of the time. So, when I photograph a scene or a subject, it's easy to compose a shot thinking that this is the definitive interpretation of it. But is that really the only possibility?

I saw photographers taking risks, making choices that they were not sure would work or not, but still committing to making the photograph. Yes, there was a risk that the image might not work, but that didn't deter them from trying it out and seeing what could happen. They weren't editing themselves and judging the picture before they made it. Instead, they practiced photography and played and discovered what worked and what didn't and in several cases, revealed exciting and beautiful surprises.

Ask 10 photographers to photograph a car and likely 9 out of 10 of them will deliver just that. They will make a picture of a car. It results in a photograph that is nothing more than  a document. Then there is the one photographer who makes a photograph not of the car, but the qualities of the car that resonate with him or her. It could be the color, the shapes, the play off light off its surface. These photographers use the camera to create from not only what they see, but what they feel.

It's so easy to compose a photograph by following all the rules. Yes, it can produce a well-composed, well-exposed photograph, but it may not surprise me or anyone else. It may not make me feel anything. It won't reveal the world to me in a different way that's both exciting and liberating.

The best photographers do that and it begins when they make photographs that other people aren't making.

It's about photographing the world that expresses not only how I uniquely see it, but also which reveals my exploration of that world when I make non-traditional choices with the camera. When I am willing to take the risk and do something different, even though there is a possibility that it may not work, is whenI am really living in the spirit of what it means to be a photographer.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Photo Quote of the Week

I think the equipment you use has a real, visible influence on the character of your photography. You're going to work differently, and make different kinds of pictures, if you have to set up a view camera on a tripod than if you're Lee Friedlander with handheld 35 mm rangefinder. But fundamentally, vision is not about which camera or how many megapixels you have, it's about what you find important. It's all about ideas. - Keith Carter (from

Monday, August 20, 2012

"An Evening Kissed By The Sun"

An Evening Kissed By The Sun-0900-DZ_CraneW12-Edit

"An Evening Kissed By The Sun"
©David A. Ziser

I captured this image at Saturday's wedding. This was the first time I photographed in this location, Lake Lindsay, in Hamilton, Ohio.  I see now why the bride and groom selected this fabulous location.  One of Carla's priorities was that I do my best to capture a great sunset for the both of them on their wedding day. With a little luck and Mother Nature’s help, the sun cooperated completely!

Not only did we have a perfect sunset but, we also had beautiful cloud structure in the sky that really added to the very dramatic feel of this image. The secret to creating an image like this is to be sure that you have the exposure of the sunset perfectly exposed. The best way to do this is with the camera in manual mode. That way I can adjust the shutter speed to give me the exact sky density I want for my photograph.

DAZNOTE: The “live view” feature of the new DSLR cameras also give you decent visual feedback for your best exposure to create that perfect sunset for your clients. Don't overlook using it when setting up for a beautiful sunset composition.

I was using my brand-new Canon 600 TX – RT speedlights for this photograph. In the heat of the shoot I was challenged to get the backlighting exactly the way I wanted. With the speedlights in ETTL mode I wasn't quite getting the bright backlight that I prefer. Quickly switching the speedlights to manual mode gave me the full blast of light I wanted for this particular image.

We got a great set of images for Carla and Harry and I can’t wait for them to see the rest of the images!

Camera specs:  Canon 5D Mark III fitted with Sigma 12–24mm wide-angle lens at 12mm, F7.1 @1/400th second (HSFS), ISO 800.  Enjoy! – David

Quick Hit Monday: Canon 600 TX–RT Speedlight Review Coming Soon; Rome, Italy Sunset Photo Walk

Good late Afternoon Everybody,

Amazing WeatherI sure hope everyone had a great weekend. Our weekend weather was perfect for the wedding we photographed on Saturday.  In fact it was so perfect that we got some fabulous sunset photographs for the wedding couple – note today’s image of the day post. I'll be sharing a few more of them with you this week.

As usual we been super busy around the studio and it seems that there just aren't enough hours in the day to get everything completed. For a guy who's trying to slow things down a bit it seems that we've only become busier with many new projects.

Canon 600EX-RT Review In The Works!

One of the big projects I'm working on is doing a thorough testing of the brand-new Canon 600 TX – RT speedlights that I've been working with these last few weeks. The more I experiment with them the more impressed I am.

Wedding CandidPart of the challenge of testing the new radio controlled speed lights is the fact that I'm so used to shooting with my Quantum strobes. Bringing in the Canon 600 TX – RT speedlights into my shooting workflow introduces a brand-new learning curve for me. But never the less, the learning curve has been pretty quick and the more I play around with the new features of the strobes, the more I see the great possibilities they can bring into my wedding events and portrait sessions.

I was curious to see if the the 4 AA batteries would last for the entire wedding on Saturday. Even with a lot of intense “high-speed flash sync” shooting going on during the bridal session and the fact that the speedlights were dumping most of their power - most of their time on those specific images.  I was just hoping that they would make it to the reception. They did so with flying colors – I never changed batteries – I’m impressed! In two weeks I've got a giant wedding to photograph. That will be the big test for the new speedlights. I'll keep you posted.

Update on my Sunset Photo Walk in Rome, Italy October 13, 2012

Spanish StepsI've been pleasantly surprised to see how many photo walkers have signed up for my Sunset Photo Walk in Rome, Italy on October 13, 2012 [link]. So far, with just a brief mention in the blog on Friday, we have four walkers joining us – not as fast as we book with the event in Cincy but I’m still encouraged we’ll have a good crowd.  You can find all the info and REGISTER RIGHT HERE!

I’m even thinking that they must be able to speak English too since I only posted in English on my blog. Hey, even if we don’t all speak the same language, it will still be a blast!  I'm still using Google Earth – isn't that a great tool these days – to plan the entire Photo Walk. Other photographers have also sent me their ideas and suggestions for the walk as well.  I'll keep you posted as to how things develop.


Hey gang, it's getting pretty late in the evening so I’m cutting things short for this blog post. Tomorrow I have planned a very cool Technique Tuesday featuring wedding portraits and Photoshop. I think you will be “wide-eyed” and “drop jawed” when you see the results of two “before and after” photographs I'll share with you tomorrow. I sure hope you'll be able to join me.

On that note gang I'm out here. Have a great rest of the evening and I'll plan on seeing everybody again tomorrow.

Adios for now, David


The Danger of Knowing Too Much

Once you learn to deconstruct music
you'll never listen to it the same way again.
Photography, more than any other art form I know, is the perfect blend of technical knowledge meeting artistic expression to create visual magic. At least that's what I tell myself. The truth is less than perfect. The perfect balance is so hard to achieve with most photographers skewing too hard to one side or other of the balance point.

Here on the Candid Frame we often bemoan the fact that so much content out there is purely technical and about cameras and technique and not about photography. Photography disproportionately attracts a certain demographic; middle-aged, middle-class guys - my peeps. We have a tendency to pull the conversation towards the technical. In our defense, it has a lot to do with the way we were brought up and educated: we were pushed more towards the sciences, engineering and mathematics. We were encouraged to pull things apart and build things, to look at how things work, to be deconstructionists. Who can blame us when we apply the same philosophy to everything in the world: to people, relationships, to our art.

I noticed this early on in my own artistic endeavors. As a teenager and early twenty-something my passion in addition to partying and photography, was music. I loved listening to music and seeing bands play live so, naturally, I wanted to play in bands myself. To be in a band back then you had to be a deconstructionist. When you joined a band you'd be given a cassette tape of the band's material and you'd go away and spend a few weeks learning your part. This meant sitting with your instrument and a tape deck in your bedroom and tuning in to your part in each song, learning it by heart and playing along. It changes the way you listen to music forever. As a consumer of music you listen to music as a whole thing - you let the music wash over you and transport you. This is listening to music the way the musicians intended. As a wannabe musician you learn to pull the music apart in your head; to listen to the bass, the drums, vocal, keys and guitars all separately. You learn to tear it apart into measures of verse, chorus, intro, outro, bridge and solo and even more granular elements. You learn to find the key changes and the appropriate scales to use to build your solo from. You sit for hours listening to recordings of your heroes learning something note for note. When you have had enough of emulating others you try to build your own songs but you can never hear them like your audience can. You listen to your part and your band-mate's parts and any mistake or imperfection that you hear pulls your ear away from the whole.

When I got into video and filmmaking it was the same process. You take this thing that you love and you learn how to pull it apart into its components so that you can build it yourself. You learn too much to really enjoy your own work or the work of others anymore. There's a musicians joke that sums this up: How many guitarists does it take to screw in a light-bulb? Four. One to change the bulb and three to stand around mumbling to each other, 'I can do that better.'

There is still mystery and magic to be found in holy places.
The danger in attempting any art-form is that you will lose the magic in the experience that attracted you to that thing in the first place. It can be a high price to pay. In order to participate, you can't experience the art the same way as you audience ever again. Getting back to photography, I feel like the move to digital accelerated my understanding of the mechanics of photography so much faster than I had been able to achieve in the analog medium. Back in my film days I could get a decent exposure but I didn't understand the mechanics of exposure intimately until I moved to digital. Digital's instant feedback and the ability to experiment without additional cost made me technically a better photographer and I could now control exposure rather than just getting by but did this technical knowledge stop me from experiencing the magic of photography in the same way? Of course it is too easy to slip into nostalgia for the film days. The experience of being in a chemical darkroom and seeing an image slowly materialize before your eyes was so other-worldy and magical it captured our imaginations for a lifetime. The distance you got between exposing a frame and seeing a print was like a tiny jump back in time. In the digital darkroom everything is instantaneous and infinitely, minutely adjustable. You don't need to set hours aside to go there and the slow emergence of a print line by line inspires only impatience and frustration and not awe.

And yet I'd never go back; we can't go back. I love digital because it has made me a better photographer. I look back at my wet prints and all I see is dust and scratches and bad exposures and poor materials and mistakes. That is the price we pay for knowledge. So how can you experience the magic again? In music I can get it from forms I never learned to deconstruct: jazz, electronica and hip-hop. In film I find it in foreign movies that don't have to follow the Hollywood formula or short films or movies made for no money that don't have backers they have to answer to. In photography I find it by removing myself from the digital experience: by really spending time looking at monographs and by visiting my holy places, museums and galleries, where pictures transport you beyond the technical into the imagination and experience of the photographer.

There is no way to unknow what you know, or to turn it off. That boat has sailed. But in acknowledging your knowledge you can still find ways to experience the magic of photography. It is that magic I try to draw upon for inspiration not a newly learned technique or newly acquired piece of gear. It is so much easier for many of us to fall back on technique but, in my opinion, it is worth the effort to work harder to try to rekindle the magic that inspired you in the first place.

I'd love to hear any opinions you might have on this subject in the comments below.