We’ve Moved!

Posted in Editorial with tags , on Monday, January 25, 2010 by Miserere

by Miserere


Dear Readers,

We’re moving the blog to its own host and domain name. This will allow us to customise the blog to our needs, and hopefully make posting easier for us. From now on all new content will be published on EnticingTheLight.com.

Please update your bookmarks and RSS feeds. Anyone clicking through to any articles in the (now officially) old blog, will be redirected automatically to the new site. In fact, if you’re reading this, you already are on the new site. Did you even notice? 😀

Keep coming back for more articles, humour, and general Photography talk. If you don’t, we’ll miss you.



    –Miserere and Peter



Shooting Weddings Part 3 – Choosing a Client

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on Sunday, January 24, 2010 by Peter Zack

by Peter Zack


Shooting weddings can be a challenging and rewarding aspect of photography. I hope from these articles, you get some inspiration and tips that will help you develop your own style and business. The funny thing with a blog publishing setup, the articles are posted by date and you may be seeing the most recent first. If so, go to Shooting Weddings Part 1 and then you can follow each section in the series.
If you have a question or idea for this or other articles, contact us here.

So you’re looking at the title of Part 3 and saying, he’s mixed it up. The client chooses me to be the photographer. Nope that’s completely wrong for a number of reasons. I mentioned this in an earlier article and didn’t elaborate. This is in my opinion, as important as anything else you will do with your business. You must make every effort to meet the clients a couple of times to discuss what they want and your style of shooting. I said earlier that, we have to be open to different shooting styles and what the client wants. As photographers, like painters, we are better at some things than others. You might be a great street shooter and can nail that candid type of photograph better than anyone in your market. I might be a great landscape shooter and have the ability to visualize and capture a great landscape with the couple. Sometimes it’s very tough to meet the couple because we live in the internet world. They may be in a distant city and trying to book you online. In that case you should send them a large sample of your work via an FTP transfer site or something similar. Then call them to discuss what they want and and what you do. Make sure everyone is clear on what you offer and can produce.

So if you meet the couple, bring a big sample of you work. A completed wedding album would also be good. Don’t just show them your best stuff. Let them see what a package will look like. There should be no surprises for the couple when it’s delivered. Remember that it’s 2-6 weeks + for delivery and they have been waiting for the most important memento of that great day. Meeting them offers you some very big hints as to whether you will work with them. One of the biggest mistakes for both you and the couple is taking every job you get because you know you can do it and you want the income. It’s not fair to the couple and a mistake for your business.

I like this image for a number of reasons. Her face shows the love she feels, expressed fully. They are clearly having fun by the ocean. Nice afternoon light. It has an air of romance.

I like shooting a romantic and fun couple that really like to try different things. A bride that doesn’t mind ‘kicking up her heels’ and getting the dress dirty. The more adventurous she is, the better the photos will work. You need to assess the couple at the first meeting. I look for a few cues. Do they touch each other a lot when you meet? Are they comfortable in front of a stranger? Do they disagree on aspects of the wedding? Is he involved in the planning with a genuine interest or just can’t wait for all this to be over. Does he have ideas about certain photos? Do they hold hands? Can you sense that they are not only in love but also best friends? Do they get each other and you?

If the answers to these questions are an overwhelming yes, then I want these people as my clients. I say this from experience. I’ve take the wedding because I wanted the work and didn’t think these were important issues. Generally the work turned out fine and the customers were happy. But it was the most exhausting wedding work I’ve ever done and seemed like a mental battle to make each shot work the way I’d like. Why? We didn’t connect.

One good example is a couple I booked a few years ago. It was early in the season and bookings were slow. I had just moved to a new city and wanted to get established. At the meeting, I had noticed that she was doing all the talking. It felt like they were planning a funeral, not a wedding. There wasn’t much joy in the process. They sat in seperate chairs. I have 2 comfy chairs and a sofa in my office. I invite couple to come in and see where they choose to sit. There’s a table in front of the sofa and the chairs at one end. So if they go to the sofa, it’s a good start. If they sit apart in the chairs, I’m now looking at how close these 2 are. So this couple sit in the chairs. They never held hands or touched each other the whole time. I booked them anyway. Through all our discussions (they didn’t want engagement shots), they didn’t mention their comfort or lack of comfort with PDA (Public Displays of Affection). The entire wedding day was a workout for me. All the shots I had in my head were useless and I had to create a whole shot list based on very stiff and uncomfortable clients who wouldn’t kiss and didn’t like touching each other. If you were a street shooter as described above, you’d produce a better package for this customer than I would. They liked the finished product, but if all my customers were like this, I’d get a job flipping burgers and just take pictures of flowers.

Consider this. It’s not wrong to be this way. Some people are very shy and prefer their intimate moments at home. Others are not. It’s not for any of us to judge. The flamboyant clients may not last and the shy ones might celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. My point is, that you have to be able to work with them and get what they want. If you can’t, don’t take the job. It’s not fair to them and too hard on you.
I’ve said before that you need to be adaptable to their wishes and shoot in a style they like. But that doesn’t mean every wedding job is right for you or that you are right for them. Or that you have the skills and natural ability to shot the style they want. Consider your shooting style carefully and analyze your strengths and weaknesses. You might be a great candid shooter and can do a nice PJ style album. You might not feel comfortable creating and capturing good “classic” wedding shots. Those posed shots that you think look stiff and unnatural. We all excel at different styles.

Street shooting a wedding

This is an example of an adventurous couple who wanted to try different shots. We found an abandoned car that was unlocked for a fun shot.

Book the weddings that are appropriate to your comfort and skill levels. It does not mean that you can’t learn and practice other styles. How? Study other peoples work, study other portrait art forms and photography. Also when there is time, with the weddings you have booked, try a new idea for a few minutes. Go to a wedding every time with a new idea. Make each one a learning experience with a fresh approach to the work. Some couples want those close up shots that are really intimate. Maybe you’ve never tried this. So take some time with them and set up an idea. I’ve told couples that I’ve never done [this or that] and would like to try something different. If you have a good connection with the couple, they will agree and you might get a great series to give them and at the least, you have started to learn how to apply the lessons for the next time.

The other thing you can do is work with another pro on an off day. Volunteer your time to work with a respected pro once in awhile and watch his/her style. In fact work with someone of the opposite gender. If you are male, a female photographer is great to work with. They have a different and often more “romantic” eye. My assistant is female and I love the different look she can bring to a photo. But please do not book a couple that wants PJ style and you can’t do it. Taking the job for the money is a mistake. It could even land you in a courtroom. Reputations take years to build and seconds to wreck, never to be recovered.

This could ruffle some readers feathers but I hope more photographers would be in a courtroom when they can’t deliver what they promise.  Pushed out of the business  because they are incompetent. I don’t wish any photographer ill will but there are too many Cowboy shooters looking for a quick buck and not taking into consideration how important this day is to the couple and their family. They pass off a CD full of snap shots that your 10 year old could do.   I welcome competition in my market when the other shooters are all considerate and hard working pros. It makes me work harder and study the craft with more intensity. There’s a big difference between a shooter who studies and works this job every day, full time and those that take rent money every couple of Saturdays’ .

Consider this scenario. I have a photo of a grandmother that was a candid portrait at a wedding. I knew that she was the oldest member of the family and everything revolved around her. She was mentioned many times at meetings before the wedding day. I must have tried 40 times to get a nice shot of her not staring at the lens. Finally one series worked.  She loved the shot and so did the family. She said she hated having her photo taken (and it showed) and had never seen a good one till this.  Unfortunately, she’s no longer with us. The couple and members of her family wanted so many copies of the shot, I sold them the image and rights to it, to do as many reprints as they wanted.  If you are there just to make money and don’t care about the couple’s needs, then you deserve to be in front of a judge. Your work is far more important than you may ever know. If you mess it up, there’s no turning back the clock and a refund just doesn’t cut it.

Back to the article title,  you take your experience and use that to assess whether you will choose that couple to work with. If it’s doesn’t seem or feel right, or you can’t shoot it the way they want, be gracious and turn them down, recommend another photographer. Have a well reasoned explanation as to why you will not be able to take the job and hopefully you can get that from this article.  There’s nothing wrong with telling a customer that your style of work will not suit what they have told you they want in the album.

One further thought. Know your competition. How they shoot and how they work. Meet with them and look at their stuff. Have a relationship with them. I’ll discuss the reasons why in the next article.

So the title is correct, you choose your customers, not the other way around.

Cheers and good shooting – Peter Zack

Pei Wedding Photography

I’m a Photogrpher Not a Terrorist

Posted in General with tags , , , , , on Friday, January 22, 2010 by Miserere

by Miserere


This bold statement is the war cry of a movement started in the UK to educate the members of the public and law enforcement agencies about street Photography. In recent years there has been an increase in the number of photographers being harassed by police because they were taking photographs in public, and draconian measures have been taken in the UK to limit the rights of photographers. I’m a Photogrpher Not a Terrorist is trying to do something about it. Or at least make a lot noise.

If you are in or near London, UK, on Saturday, January 23rd, you might want to go to Trafalgar Sq. at 12:00 noon and let the British government know how you feel about their treatment of photographers. Check it out on Facebook too.

Addendum January 23rd, 2010

Thanks to Lawrence, who e-mailed me the BBC story: Photographers protest over UK terror search laws.

It seems like it was a successful demonstration in that the turnout was good, but nobody got hurt or arrested. The Guardian story reports 2,000 photographers protesting.

Photo Prints for Haiti Relief Fund

Posted in General with tags , , , , , , , on Monday, January 18, 2010 by Miserere

by Miserere and Peter Zack


UPDATE 21 JAN. 2010

PayPal were not happy with what we were doing and closed down Peter’s account. We have refunded all those who had purchased a print and will be accepting no further orders. We are very sorry it had to end this way as we believed we were doing something good. Thank you to all those who purchased a print, and we apologise for any inconvenience we may have caused you.

Keep the hope, and please donate any way you can.

Miserere and Peter


What We Are Offering

Here at EtL Miserere and Peter would both like to do something to assist the victims of the Haiti earthquake.

To that end, we are offering 8 photos from our personal files that you can purchase as prints. All profits* from this sale will be donated to the Canadian Red Cross Haiti Relief Fund. Why the Canadian Red Cross? For one, Peter is Canadian, but more importantly, the Canadian government has committed to matching any donations made by Canadian individuals up to a total of $50 million. This means your contribution will be automatically doubled!

We will be accepting orders for 4 weeks, but will extended the deadline if interest warrants it)


How This Will Work

You will purchase your print(s) via secure server provided by PayPal; you can use your credit/debit card and do not need to have an account with PayPal. The funds go to Peter Zack. At the end of each week Peter will take the donations to his local Red Cross branch. The receipt(s) will be published here on the site for verification. We will also publish the local phone number of the branch where the donation was made. All donations will be made on behalf of Enticing the Light. Also at the end of each week we will place the orders for your professionally printed photographs, which you should receive within the following week.


I Want to Donate but Don’t Want a Print

No problem! But beware of donation scams. We would recommend donating to a reputable organisation; below we list trusted Haiti relief efforts:

American Red Cross
Canadian Red Cross
American Salvation Army
Canadian Salvation Army

Please note direct donations will not receive a photo.


Print Options

Print Size

Please note that photos will have a white border around them, so image size will be slightly smaller than paper size given in table above.

The photos will be sent to your address within 2-4 weeks of the donation only dependent on printing and delivery times. At the moment we are accepting donations only from the USA and Canada as delivery pricing for other countries is too high to make economic sense. We recommend that our international readers simply make a direct donation to the charity of their choice.


Choose Your Photo(s)

We offer you 8 photos from which to choose from, all taken by us, and processed to make sure they print beautifully. Don’t think you need order just one; feel free to order as many as you like. The more you purchase, the more money goes towards the Haiti Relief Fund. And remember the Canadian government is matching your contribution!

Click on each image to see a larger version. When you know which one(s) you want, click on the appropriate size below the photo(s) and you’ll be taken to the PayPal payment page. You can order more than one print of each photo, but this will incur an extra $0.50/print to account for increased shipping costs. It’s of paramount importance that you include your shipping address when placing your order, if not, your shipping will be delayed while we contact you to get your address. Plus, it will annoy us. Please don’t annoy us 🙂



Thank You!

We thank everyone for taking an interest in this most worthy cause and appreciate any donations made either through this Enticing the Light print sale or directly to the charity of your choice.

Please help support our efforts by making your friends aware of our print/donation offer.


*From the amount of your contribution we will deduct Paypal’s transaction fees, and the printer’s printing and delivery costs; all the rest will be donated to the Canadian Red Cross, and in no case will EtL keep any money.



Voting Period Extended for Retrevo Awards

Posted in General with tags , , , on Monday, January 11, 2010 by Miserere

by Miserere


Dear Readers,

Thank you to everyone who has voted for EtL in the first Annual Golden Retrevo Awards. I just wanted to let you know that the voting has been extended an extra 10 days until January 25, 2010, so please keep on voting! Remember that each person can vote once each day. Just click on the badge on the top-right of the main blog page, on the badge below, or simply click here to vote right now.

10 Little Known Facts from the World of Photography

Posted in General with tags , , , on Thursday, January 7, 2010 by Miserere

by Miserere


  1. The word “Photography” was coined in 1839 by British mathematician and astronomer Sir John Frederick William Herschel (son of Sir Frederick William Herschel, discoverer of the planet Uranus). Hershel also coined the terms “negative” and “positive” as they apply to Photography. You can see a splendid portrait of him here.
  2. You can’t take a bad portrait of a lion.
  3. While the Leica brand is famously identified with Germany, they have also built cameras in Canada and Portugal.
  4. The single-lens reflex photographic camera (SLR) was invented in 1861 by Thomas Sutton, a native of Jersey (one of the Channel Islands)—it was a large format camera. The first 35mm SLR developed was the Soviet Union’s Спорт (“Sport”), from 1934. Because it wasn’t marketed until 1937, Germany’s Kine Exakta became the first 35mm SLR to be sold when it hit shops in 1936. Asia’s first SLR, the Asahiflex, was introduced in 1952 by Japan’s Asahi Optical Corporation (later to become Pentax).
  5. Around 1888, a Mr George Eastman, of Rochester, New York, decided he needed a unique name for his expanding company. In his own words: I devised the name myself. The letter ‘K’ had been a favorite with me — it seems a strong, incisive sort of letter. It became a question of trying out a great number of combinations of letters that made words starting and ending with ‘K.’ The word ‘Kodak’ is the result.
  6. Professional portrait photographers never ask their subjects to say cheese when posing them for a photo, what they are actually mumbling under their breath is please pay for this session, pleeeease…
  7. Nobody knows why East Asian girls make the peace sign when they pose for photos. That doesn’t mean you can’t have a Flickr Group for it.
  8. Henri Cartier-Bresson once asked Marilyn Monroe to “bless” his camera before a photo shoot. She acquiesced by placing her bum on it. I did not make this up!
  9. People in the 19th century didn't like being photographed, which is why they are all so serious in those old photographs. Actually, those images were Daguerreotypes, and it took 10-20 minutes to expose a plate—try holding a smile for that long!.
  10. The first portable, compact camera for the masses that did away with the need for a mule to carry photographic supplies was the Kodak Brownie. It was introduced in 1900 at a cost of $1, which is equivalent to around $26 in today’s money.

Vote for EtL!

Posted in General with tags , , , on Monday, January 4, 2010 by Miserere

by Miserere


Dear readers, I need your help. I’ve had the good fortune of being nominated for the first annual Golden Retrevo Award in the category of Photo & Video, for blogs covering digital cameras, photography, and video camcorders. Quoting CrunchBase.com: Retrevo is a shopping site focused solely on consumer electronics. The site, which is now one of the largest consumer electronics shopping and review sites online, aggregates product information, reviews and articles from blogs, forums, websites and manufacturers to provide shoppers with accurate, up-to-date shopping advice. Retrevo does their best to provide unadulterated product reviews by filtering out ads, eBay pages and online electronic stores like Best Buy and Amazon.

But being nominated is just the start…winning is the end, and to win, I need votes. Your votes!

If you want to help EtL win in the Photo & Video category, you need to vote once a day, and convince all your friends to do the same 🙂

How do you do that? Just click on the badge below to vote directly for EtL. I’ve also placed the badge at the top of the right-hand column in the blog. Voting ends on January 15 January 25, so hurry up! And because each person can vote once every day, the old adage of vote early, vote often, is especially true this time.

You can also click on the link below (clicking on it will immediately cast a vote for EtL)…and send it to your friends via e-mail if you want (wink wink, nudge nudge).


Of course, if you think EtL sucks, then feel free not to vote. Just don’t expect me to give you a lift to B&H next time your car breaks down 😛

Oh, and if you’re wondering what EtL would win if you guys vote enough times: Recipients of the Golden Retrevo Award will be invited to have their work showcased with Retrevo’s network of over five million monthly visitors. Cool…