This past weekend, I had the opportunity to spend two days with legendary wedding photographer, David Ziser. David has been shooting weddings in the Cincinnati, Ohio area for over 40 years. His lectures at the Wedding and Portrait Photographers International pull in over 800 attendees.
This Saturday, I had the honor being his assistant at a wedding in Tampa, Florida. It was a smaller size wedding of about 70 guests held at the Heritage United Methodist Church in Clearwater, Florida with a reception immediately following at the Florida Aquarium in Tampa.
Working with David was a fantastic learning experience for me. It was also the first time I’ve been an assistant at a wedding, so the responsibilities were a little different than I was used to.
The bride (Becky) and groom (Paul) wanted to have a “first look” before the ceremony. So, we photographed the couple when they first saw each other on their wedding day. We then visited different locations around the sanctuary at Heritage United Methodist Church. It’s a beautiful modern church with many angles and leading lines that make for great photographs.
From there, David found a great area on the grounds of the church where we took all of the family and bridal party portraits. We also had some fun taking photos with the bridal party at the pumpkin patch that the church had going on. A wedding day is generally on a tight schedule, so it was nice to have all of these portraits complete before the ceremony.
After the ceremony, we headed across town to the Florida Aquarium at Channelside in Tampa, Florida. David does some amazing environmental portraits and being able to take photographs in this gorgeous room (complete with sharks and sea turtles swimming by) offered some fantastic photo opportunities. I assisted David with the lighting as not only did we have to light up the bride and groom; we also had to light up the room which was very dark and we had to light the fish in the aquarium! It was a very tricky photo, but David pulled it off. You can see a photo from before the reception on David’s blog (here).
It was a fun reception complete with a visit by two ADORABLE penguins. The guests all seemed to have had a great time in a very cool venue.
Being able to work for David was an amazing learning experience, something I’ll never forget. I learned many new technical techniques from him during the day. I also witnessed how he worked the event with the utmost in class and professionalism. David is famous for his amazing images. But, David Ziser’s 30 years of success in the wedding photography industry is because of the level of service he provides his clients.
Two days later, I headed back to Tampa to attend a workshop that David was teaching. The class is part of the Dave Cross Workshops held at Studio 3 in Oldsmar, Florida. It was an intimate class that allowed us to ask a lot of questions and to be involved in the class. It was nice to see Tony, a fellow photographer, who was a participant in my photo walk, in attendance at David Ziser’s class.
We spent the morning reviewing different lighting techniques and how to make lighting exciting. We also had some informal portfolio reviews by LaDawn Ziser, which were great.
In the afternoon, we headed over to Phillipe Park in Oldsmar, Florida. Our beautiful model, Liz, was a great sport as we hiked around the park.
I took some pictures throughout the day, but my focus was more on the directions given to the model. It was very interesting how a simple gesture change could turn a good pose in to a great pose.
We headed back to the studio to review the pictures taken at the park and we had some additional time to touch on various topics.
Between the wedding on Saturday and the class on Monday, I feel great right now about all that I have learned. I also can’t wait until my next event to use some of these new found techniques. David and LaDawn Ziser are two amazing individuals and it humbles me to have had the opportunity to work with both of them.
Also, this is my second time heading to the Dave Cross Workshops. Dave has brought hosted workshops with some of the biggest names in the photography industry. It’s a rare opportunity that someone can have access like that. If you are looking to excel your photography or design skills, I strongly recommend you check out his workshops.
In closure, I wanted to include some of the photos I took at the workshop. It shows what a great job David does at finding an ideal backdrop and posing the model in a way that is very beautiful. I also included a quick photo of David in action with some of the students photographing as well.
I hope you enjoy.