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Book Review: Captured By The Light: The Essential Guide to Creating Extraordinary Wedding Photography By David A. Ziser

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Captured By The Light: The Essential Guide to Creating Extraordinary Wedding Photography is unique in that not only does it cover wedding photography, but it does it as no other book on the market has done before. Sure, other books on wedding photography will step you through the paces and teach you the skills you need to photograph weddings, but Captured will not only go into some depth on the topic, but you'll do it in the famous Ziser way.

David Ziser is internationally renowned portrait and wedding photographer. He has been one of the leading trainers of wedding photographers for over 20 years and he writes the very successful DigitalProTalk blog. Captured is his first book and it is 288 pages long and is divided into 11 chapters.

Chapter 1, "If It Was Good Enough for Rembrandt, It's Good Enough for Me," explains how to make your clients look good. This is something the artists of old knew how to do, and in this chapter you will learn a set of basic rules that you will be able to take out on your shoots and produce repeatable results at each of your wedding or portrait sessions.

Chapter 2, "Just Set the Camera to 'P' for Professional (Not!!!)," will examine how to nail the exposure, and you won’t even need to use an exposure meter. Learning proper exposure is critical for getting the right shot and here you will look at several methods for getting the exposure just right.

Chapter 3, "You Already Own It, Now Make It Dance for You," will help put you in the right light. It is after all, great lighting that will help set you apart from your contemporaries. By learning these techniques for using your on-camera flash, you will be able to control where and how much light is needed to get that great look.

Chapter 4, "Kicking Your Lighting Into High Gear," means you sometimes need to have off-camera lighting as well. This means adding second or more lights to not only get the right shot, but being able to differentiate yourself from other photographers and their styles. Here you will learn how to use more than one flash, using color gels for effect, sync speed, and more

Chapter 5, "Kickin' It Up a Notch," will make your wedding shots sing with backlighting. The correct use of backlighting can many times create a money shot. You will see a number of techniques for creating this effect and this includes using silhouettes, accents, creative lighting of the background, and more.

Chapter 6, "Oh No! I Forgot the Flash," is about the use of natural lighting. This can be from an open window, to natural outdoor light, or from standing on a porch. You will look at several situations and how best to use the natural light around you.

Chapter 7, "Learning to See Differently," shows how you can make a difference by changing up the composition of your shots and creating your own style. In this chapter you will see several different scenarios and how to apply the rules of composition to create more engaging photographs.

Chapter 8, "Cameras, Lenses, and Lights, Oh My!," examines the gear that the author uses for his weddings. He begins with his cameras and why he uses the brand he uses. Next he looks at each of the lenses he has and what they are used for. Finally he talks about the lighting set up as well as how he carries all of his equipment to the shoot.

Chapter 9, "Walk with Me," will take you from the wedding through to the reception showing you his work flow. It begins in the studio with the preparation. You then get to the wedding, set everything up and then its show time. After the ceremony, it is the return shots that take center stage. Finally it is off to the reception.

Chapter 10, "Talk with Me," is a continuation of the last one but now targets the reception and how to work that portion of the wedding day. This chapter talks about shooting the room, candid shots, table shots, the first dance, cutting the cake, the bouquet toss, the wrap up, and more.

Chapter 11, "Bringing it All Together," is the final presentation. The finished product is more than the images, it is the story you are presenting of their wedding day. To do anything less than bring this day to life does your work an injustice. This chapter is a series of images that show a presentation to give you some ideas to create your own.

I have followed DigitalProTalk for several years and have always found David Ziser to be energetic, enlightening, entertaining, and very positive natured. When I say energetic, I mean in 2008 he was writing 3-4 posts per day (looking back I see he had 969), all while still shooting and training. He has since added training videos to his repertoire as well.

Captured takes all of these facets and puts them into print. The book is laid out with conversational dialog that examines what he is going to show you. Then, sometimes it is through a series of steps or sometimes by showing examples, but throughout, there are always plenty of photographs, diagrams, notes, and tips and tricks.

Captured By The Light is geared for the intermediate to advanced user and therefore one is expected to have fundamental knowledge of their camera and photography in general, but anyone with that knowledge will gain a lot of benefit from this book. Seasoned wedding photographers will gain much as well since the author knows the problems and challenges you face, and presents the solutions to make your work more gratifying. If you are a wedding photographer or have any desire to shoot weddings or portraits, then I very highly recommend this book.

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About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.