Lightroom Tips

David Ziser's Digital Wake-up Call Seminar

This past Wednesday I attended David Ziser’s Digital Wakeup Call seminar. I mentioned it here and a few of you asked for my thoughts on the evening since this seminar will be traveling all around the country. So here goes:

The evening starts at 5pm and there’s various vendors in an expo-like area (for 1 hour). The products are all geared toward wedding photographers so it’s worth checking out, but getting to talk to other attendees in the business is probably the best part of that hour.

OK, on to the seminar itself. Honestly folks, if you’re a wedding photographer or want to break into this business I can’t imagine a better way to spend $60. I know you expect me to say that because David’s a friend but seriously, if I didn’t like the evening I’d just find a way to tactfully say it without being mean. I wouldn’t rave about it like I’m about to.

Anyway, my favorite part of the evening is that David goes at light speed. He easily packs 8 hours of material into that 4 hours. He doesn’t treat you like you’re fragile and don’t know anything. He does cover each topic well (like backlighting, posing, bouncing flash, to name a few), but he covers it fast and with great examples that continually got “oooooos and ahhhhs” from the crowd. Don’t let it scare you though. I honestly think you’ll welcome the pace because you learn a lot more and he’s so good at explaining things. Plus you get notes so you don’t have to scribble everything down. The notes not only cover his slides but also exactly which products he’s using in case you want to use them too.

The earlier part of the evening was spend on shooting the wedding, flash, and other topics around the event itself. Later in the evening he even went on to talk about some photo post-processing with Lightroom (and David knows Lightroom extremely well!). All-in-all I felt it was very similar to the way it was described on his website which is always important to me when I attend a seminar.

I think the best part of the evening is that David shares every bit of his secrets to make it in the wedding business. He never shows you a photo or a finished product and says “Well that’s one of my little secrets” (I always hate when presenters do that). He holds nothing back. He’s engaging, funny, and extremely professional.

A comment:The only thing I’d really have to comment on is that I wished there was a break around 7 to 7:30 ish. The break didn’t come until after 8 and I know it’s because he just wants to make sure he covers all the material. But I did have to get up and stretch for a minute. Even if you miss something though, you’ve got the notes to catch you up.



  1. Dianne 9 November, 2009 at 20:52 Reply

    I attended David Ziser’s tour in San Diego, CA, in May of 2009. I am not a wedding photographer, but found that the fast pace and many good tips were well worth the $60 and 4 hours. I agree that the “goodie-bag” left something to be desired if you weren’t a wedding or sports team /classroom photog.
    Interestingly, I purchased the software package as it was just the kind of thing I needed, but didn’t know exactly where to find. Any new software package will have a learning curve and this one is no different. I’ve used it a lot, have found it relatively easy to pick up, love all the things it can do, and believe that the add’l materials that David adds to it are fairly priced. The add-ons are produced in his studio and save time for the new user. Hard for me to understand why someone would be upset about where or how the CD was produced — it’s the material you’re after.
    This seminar worked for me this time.

  2. Ptero 7 November, 2009 at 21:19 Reply

    I attended David Ziser’s tour in Cary, NC.David is a great photographer and did provide some useful tips. I was disappointed that he did not cover the Lightroom section that was advertised in the tour. However, a major portion of his time was spent on product promotions (mainly the folks that sponsor his tours). Sorry, it did not work for me!!

  3. Carla Meyer 8 July, 2009 at 22:01 Reply

    I agree with Gerry Slater comment on April 21, 09. I tried to use one of the “coupons” in the goodie-bag ($100) but was told I couldn’t since it was for “new” customers only; I was an “existing” customer. I try to go to seminars to learn something new not to listen how great products are that they are pushing.

    I made the mistake of buying the software package for $500 and feel it was a complete waste of my money. It isn’t as easy to use as it was lead to believe. Plus it looks like they just burned a bunch of cd’s at home and put them in jewel cases. I wish they would stand by the product and offer to take this worthless software back.

  4. Gerry Slater 21 April, 2009 at 00:05 Reply

    Well-this comment probably wont see the light of day because it is not a rave review. I attended the Denver seminar recently. David is a wealth of knowledge, and I appreciated his tips and explanations. Unfortunately, I thought the 4-hours was laced with an over-dose of pumping up his sponsers, and silly unrelated egotistical anecdotes. The other thing I resented was the *goodie-bag* which was touted as containing lots of *valuable items*. This was again just thinly veiled advertising. Nothing in fact was given away, but rather discounts were offered if you bought this or signed up for that. Everything was contingent on you becoming someone’s customer. Sorry, you guys can rave all you want, I’ll stick to the Kelby Seminars.

  5. Michael 3 April, 2009 at 22:27 Reply

    Hey Matt!

    Just went to David’s seminar in Ft. Lauderdale on the April 3rd, too. My wife and I really enjoyed David’s class… a lot. He mentioned you and Scott being in attendance at his Tampa seminar. This is a truly a seminar that everyone needs to attend. It moves at lightening speeds. Far more free “$” items than the cost of admission. And top notch door prizes from top photography vendors. Interestingly enough the door prizes ADD to the enormous amount of information that David gives.

    (My wife and I brought jackets and food to snack on. We’ve been to a few other seminars and wanted to be prepared. LOL.)

    Stay young,

  6. Ana 3 April, 2009 at 14:11 Reply

    Hi Matt,
    funny, I attended to David’s class just last evening here in Fort Lauderdale and had the same exact thoughts. I even Twitted about him squeezing 8hs of info into 4hs. I am not a wedding shooter, but there’s a lot to learn even if you’re a commercial shooter like myself. His lights are extremely effective and pleasing , and at the same time nothing is too expensive or bulky stuff to carry around. And yes, the marketing part of the class is awsome and works for pretty much everyone in many areas.
    I agree with your earlier break suggestion, I was hungry and the place was cold, so I’d have welcomed 5 mins to recover in between.
    I LOVED the tip about shooting at high sync speeds with the camera upside down !!! Cooool! 😉
    Have a great weekend,

  7. Gwendolyn Tundermann 3 April, 2009 at 14:06 Reply

    I attended David’s first tour stop in Jacksonville and it was definitely well worth the $60. I was so happy he covered LR in the workshop because PS is so time consuming to use. I keep it handy for some things, but for most of my editing I use LR.

    Great blog, by the way! I’m glad I came across it!

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