Monthly Archives July 2007


Good morning everybody. Here we go:

  • First up: we’re expecting my new book, “The Photoshop CS3 Book for Digital Photographers” (shown above) to hit bookstores this week!!! If you haven’t ordered yours yet, you can order it now over at Barnes & or, or you can find it in bookstores by this weekend.
  • Larry Becker let me know that there’s a $100 rebate on Epson P-3000 units (those way cool photo viewing/photo storage units), and you can get the unit, and the rebate, over at B&H Photo. Here’s the link with the details (by the way, I have one of these which I use for backing up on location, and then seeing if I “got the shot” while still out on location. Once you have one—you’ll wonder how you lived without it).
  • Remember last week when I mentioned that Stephanie Shimerdla over at Obsidian Dawn was going to create some custom brush sets just for NAPP members? Well, good news: the first set has been posted and they’re available for free download from the NAPP member Website.
  • A buddy of mine was just asking me if there’s an easy way for him to get his many thousands of slides converted over to digital, (he’s all digital now and those slides are just sitting in boxes doing nothing). I told him it’s time to buy a slide scanner, block out a few weeks, and get to work. Well, as luck would have it, I ran across a new service today that will do the “dirty work” for him (or you), at a pretty reasonable price (starting at about .19¢ per 3,000 dpi slide scan). It’s called ScanCafe, and for all the details click here.
  • If you’ve got a second, check out the work of NAPP member Joan West, who took the stretched-pixel effect (like the one I’ve been teaching in my Down & Dirty Tricks Session at Photoshop World) and did a very clever layout that combines the stretched version of the photo with an inset version of the same photo still in tact. It looks very cool. Click here to see her member portfolio (you don’t have to be a member to view her portfolio).
  • The prestigious Lepp Institute of Digital Imaging is offering NAPP members a 15% discount to attend any of their workshops. Click here to see their schedule of upcoming workshops (including workshops from Ben Willmore and Fay Sirkis). For the special code you need to get the discount, visit the NAPP member’s Web site.

That’s it for today’s news. Have a great Tuesday! :)

I got lucky enough to spend the day shooting and learning from one of the hottest Wedding photographers in the industry todayâ”the amazing David Ziser. David was hired to shoot a huge black-tie wedding in Cincinnati and was kind enough to invite me to come up and spend the day with him so I could see behind the scenes how he shoots a wedding of this scale.

It was really an amazing experienceâ”and even though I was technically there just auditing the wedding, I still wound up shooting about 1200 frames (it was a really long day—-we shot for five hours before the ceremony even began, and didn’t leave until after 2:00 am).

The shot above (click on it to see a larger version–then scroll down to the next post for a slideshow from the wedding) was taken about three hours before the wedding, shot handheld at 400 ISO using a single Nikon SB-800 flash to light the bride (I had the flash set at full power, aiming nearly straight up. It didn’t really bounce (the ceiling was too high), but the flash spilled just enough light onto to her that it worked. It took a number of test shots to get it where it didn’t light the aisle too much, and I added a little vignette effect in Lightroom to help darken the aisle carpeting a bit.

As for the wedding shoot itself; David was amazing (a true master); I kept taking notes all day, I really learned a lot, and I can’t remember when I’ve worked that hard (and had that much fun).

Now, it’s time for the news (Scroll down to the next post for a slideshow of some of other wedding and reception shots, then the post following that is today’s news update).

About the images in the slideshow above: the only light source I had for both the wedding and the reception was that one Nikon SB-800 (there are no shots there with just natural light).

Most of the time the flash was mounted on the camera (although I did handhold some wireless off camera flash shots) and I used either bounce flash (bouncing off any white ceiling that wasn’t too high), or I would turn the flash head completely sideways (aiming directly to my left) just to let a little of the light from the flash spill onto my subject, so that way the shot was mostly the ambient room light with just a little bit of flash on the subject. I dragged the shutter quite a bit (using a slow shutter speed like 1/10 to 1/20 of a sec.) to get more ambient room light (the slower the shutter speed the more background room light you get).

We basically shot in three locations: (1) A hotel suite where the bridal party was getting ready (2) a beautiful and historic Hilton Hotel in downtown Cincinatti where the reception was held, and (3) an absolutely beautiful synagogue where the wedding ceremony took place.

And yes; the violin and sheet music shot was totally set-up (the violinist was very kind to help me out like that, considering her violin was from the 1700s). Also, if you’re wondering how I got that light behind the couple dancing; I cheated. There was a video crew there taping the event, and they had a light attached to the top of their video camera. I positioned myself so the video crew was behind the couple and when the couple danced directly in front of their video light, I was ready for it and got the shot! :)


Hi everybody! Here’s what’s up:

  • This is amazing: I found this link on, and it’s to a short video clip from the TED conference that shows an engineer from Microsoft demoing some new imaging technology developed by a company that Microsoft recently acquired. It’s a peek at the near future, and definitely worth checking out (it pretty much blew me away). Click here to watch the clip.
  • My publisher contacted me this week to let me know that the Chinese translation of my book, “The Digital Photography Book” is the #1 bestselling photography book in China (the graphic above is from the Chinese publisher). I have a friend who speaks simplified Chinese, and I asked him to translate the ad, and that’s when I found out why it’s #1. Apparently they had to slightly change the title of the book for it to appeal to the vast Chinese market, so in China the book is called, “How to pick up women.” (OK, I made up that last part, but I bet it would sell better with that title).
  • Larry Becker turned me on to this image in a NAPP member Mike Goodwin’s online portfolio (NAPP members get a free online portfolio that’s visible to the public), and you really have to admire the retouching job he did. He shot a car on the floor of an Auto show, and then did a pretty masterful job of isolating the car and putting it on a studio background created right in Photoshop.  Click here to check it out.
  • While I was over at this weekend, another post caught my eye; a link to a site where you can find camera manuals for just about every make and model digital camera ever made. It’s pretty useful, especially if you’ve either misplaced your manual, or you’ve bought (or are thinking about buying) a used digital camera. It’s over at
  • Just a quick reminder; if you’re thinking of going to Photoshop World (Sept 6-8, 2007 in Vegas) you only have until Friday to register early and save $100. Here’s the link.

Well gang, that’s it for this Monday. Have a good one! :)

Here’s a couple of quick things:

  • Corey Barker has just launched an online course called “Adobe Illustrator Down & Dirty Tricks” and if you’re into Illustrator–you’ve got to check this out (Corey is just a wizard at Illustrator, and he’s got some amazing techniques). Get the full details (or sign up for the class) at (don’t forget: NAPP members get a HUGE discount on these courses).P.S. While you’re there, check out Matt’s online Lightroom 1.1 course).
  • Mikkel Aaland just released a book that looks really interesting called “Photoshop Lightroom Adventure” which includes case studies from a demanding road test in Iceland (you’ve probably heard about this Icelandic adventure that Adobe sponsored earlier this year, and this book grew out of that amazing trip). Here’s a link to the book (published by O’Reilly Publishing).
  • Remember how I mentioned those cool brush sets from Obsidian Dawn earlier this week? Well, as soon as I posted that, my NAPP crew wrote to tell me that they had already been working on a special deal with Stephanie Shimerdla (the artist behind the site), who will be providing exclusive custom brush sets every few weeks just for NAPP members. Check the member home page for more details (see what happens when I go away for a few weeks? I should do that more often, eh?).
  • Just a reminder: only 7-days left to save $100 on Photoshop World Registration (the conference and expo is held Sept. 6-8, 2007 at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino on Las Vegas). Click here for info or to register.
  • Here’s another one I picked up from John Nack’s blog: it’s a list of 80 Photoshop Text Effects, compiled over at Worth checking out.
  • Scroll down one more post for some great news about equipment insurance for photographers.

That’s it for now. I’ve got some interesting news for Monday, so have a great weekend and we’ll see you then! :)

If you’re a professional photographer, check this out: NAPP is partnering with Hill & Usher to make equipment and professional liability insurance available to qualifying members. Hill & Usher specialize in this type of coverage for photographers, videographers, graphic artists, and other art related interests. Premiums for customized package policies generally start at $500 per year, with flexible monthly or quarterly payment plans offered in most programs. If you’re a NAPP member, click here to jump to a special area we’ve created on the member site with more information.