Normally Conrad does our Sunday book review, but he’s off this week so your stuck with me. While he’s better at this than me, I do read many photo books and feel qualified to chip in.
Today I want to talk about Captured by the Light: The Essential Guide to Creating Extraordinary Wedding Photography by David Ziser.
David has been around the circuit for a long time. While I’ve met him and spoken with him a few times, I don’t really know him. What I do know is that he is universally respected in the industry. He knows what he’s talking about, and his book proves it.
While there are many wedding books out there, this one is the most recent and accordingly contains up-to-date advice. And when I say advice, I don’t mean pie in the sky concepts, but detailed, concrete advice. I appreciate that it’s concrete, If you buy a how-to book, theory is fine, but details and specific advice is better. Here, David talks about posing, composition, exposure, location lighting, gear and there’s plenty of talk about flash.
You may have seen David on the workshop circuit. If you missed him, this book is the next best thing. It’s really a wedding-shooter’s workshop in a book. After reading this book, I feel like I have been taken step-by-step through a David Ziser wedding.
I don’t agree with everything David teaches, but then again I don’t agree with everything anyone else does. Nit-picking the advice isn’t helpful. From a conceptual standpoint, there’s no fault in this book. But there are things you should know. David is a Canon shooter. While all the advice he gives in the book is helpful to anyone, Canon shooter or not, the gear info is Canon-biased so if you are a Canon hater, pass on this book. If you’re open minded, you’ll learn tons no matter what brand you shoot. Also, David uses Quantum flashes. Again, if you don’t use this brand of flash, you may not directly benefit from some of the information he shares on this subject, but conceptually, you can still get something out of the advice regardless of brand.
Some younger aspiring professionals may think David’s photographic style isn’t edgy enough. I disagree. Edgy may get you the admiration of your friends, but it’s the bride’s father who hires the wedding photographer and for the next decade or so, that guy is old enough to appreciate properly executed, traditional wedding portraiture done in beautiful light, with care and concern for the bride and her memories.