Crash Plan cloud based backup storage

Decided to finally take the leap to Cloud Base backup storage. While I have plenty of local backups and redundant drives my 16 hard drives and over 30 TB of images are finally going to crash plan so off site storage. 

Now are fire or a flood or theft won't mess me up. I recommend it highly and its truly unlimited storage. For someone with so my date this is very important. The only downside is it slow for me to upload images to server. For others you could get varying results on up speeds. Other than the speed everything else is great. Hope I won't need to use it but it does give me peace of mind...

Are your files backup? Do you store them off site?

Quality of Light

Quality of light is the key to getting a amazing images. Its really a simple concept but often never followed. No matter if you like shooting ambient (natural light) or using flash the quality of the light that our subjects are under is key. 

I am constantly reminded of this fact when I look at intermediate and professional work. Their quality of light is often terrible and in turn make the image flat and boring. No attention to direction, horrible of camera light placement ect.

Recently I drove past a "NEW" studio of a local wedding photographer and in the window sat example images that IMO were terrible. There were so many things wrong with these images (remember the photographer thinks these are their best work!) but the recurring theme was the quality of light. I almost park my car and entered their store to hear why the work was so terrible. WHY is your work so bad I wanted to ask!

I know I sound like a jerk here but remember that this photographer is charging money to a uneducated public who has no idea of how bad this work really is. There is really no excuse for such low quality images. Why can I judge this photographer? Well no matter if you like my work or not I know I have excellent quality of light in all my images. Its what makes them stand out from the rest of our overpopulated world of social media imagery. I spent years developing technique to produce good light in all situations. This kind of work should not be welcome to anyone who truly love photography. 

I could go on and on but I just feel bad that people are paying good money for bad photography. Please if you ever need a photographer, even if its not me take the time to study the quality of light in their imagery. In the end you will get images that will last a lifetime and be proud to have hopefully hanging on your walls. 


I actively teach lots of photography students and I cannot stress learning/knowing the fundamentals enough (the basics). Its the foundation of good photography period. I think when someone is learning and they look at other experienced photographers work the forget the the fundamentals at still be used.

NO photographer can escape using the key ingredients to make outstanding imagery. However you see so many so called PRO's here in Cincinnati who can't or won't follow this simple rule. 

So learn those fundamental and your work will improve...


Nikon D500 Camera of the year?

Is it true? Well as an avid photographer and tech geek I will say I do believe that Nikon's have had the upper hand over Canon for some time. I used both in a production setting so I am not just saying this. I been able to compare up close in both shooting and post. 

Here is a link to maybe why? What do you think?

Mini Sessions? Why you shouldn't do them...

Wow this is so trendy these days "Mini Sessions" and its driving me nuts! Its all I see these days is advertised Mini Sessions by other photographers or photographer selling their Mini Session training secretes (especially around the holidays).

I absolutely disagree with this formula for MOST photographers. Most photographer have been in business a few years and do not have a brick and mortar store as well as a staff to handle clients. Mini Sessions is a volume game and I do not recommend my students do them at all and here is why...

Mini Session is another CODE for cheap photography! This is something as a collective group we need to avoid. Photographers who couldn't sell their services at their normal and reasonable prices are now resorting to "spending less time with their clients and offering a lower price point" in the hopes of booking clients. All this will do is attract cheap client, waste your time and devalue your services.  

Mini Sessions take just about as long to do as a normal session. The only savings in time is your spending less time photographing your clients (in most cases 1/2 hour) but everything else that you would normally do for a normal session is about the same. Client communications, payment collection, further communications, prepping and setup, photographing, post productions, selling, image delivery and so on are virtually the same.

Most photographers are way to cheap to begin with and by charging less devalues you. Giving access to you at a cheaper price will not inspire a client to spend more with you later down the road. Why would they? What they got in the Mini Session will be good enough for most people and most will just wait until you have another Mini Session sale to book with you again.

Just because everyone else is doing it doesn't mean you should too! Let them drive themselves out of business with this model. It won't work... unless you a big established photographer. Don't be fooled! 

Value yourself and don't give it away. If you have to do that you might as well just hang up your camera... sorry but lets face reality!


Nikon has the best sensor for JPEG? Just JPEG?

Check this out. Nikon has the best JPEG sensor? Here is the article on that test that was done.

"The Camera Store uploaded a new video comparing the JPEG files from different Canon, Nikon, Sony, Fuji, iPhone, Pentax, Olympus and Panasonic camera and came out to the conclusion that Nikon produces the best overall JPEG files:"

Click here to see the video...

Smart Phones vs. DSLR

With the massive presence of smart phone camera's being used out there the real question is how good are they compared to DSLR's?

The short answer is smart phone camera's are still not even close to the imaging capabilities of a DSLR. However they are easier to use so for the average person they are truly amazing. The smart phone camera is always with you and for the most part can create images just as good as a DSLR in good lighting conditions. Where things change is when the light is not as good. This is where MOST DSLR shine...

So for the average person a smart phone camera is fine for easy conditions but when things get difficult the DSLR has tons of advantages. Since most of us use cameras to take picture of people we alway need to worry about being able to stop the action. This is the number one issue with new photographers is they can't stop the action which causes blurry out of focus image. 

So the DSLR wins hands down and I could write a book about that however the smart phone has come along way and some day COULD rival a DSLR. When will that day come? I would say 5-10 years... who knows but we certainly live in exciting times. 


Why are you not a good photographer?

First equipment will not make you a better photographer! I can't tell you how many people I know who have better gear than me who can't shoot to save their life.

Second training/practice which most people don't do enough. Taking one photography class will not help you in the long run. While you certainly will learn something like anything it take time to develop real skills. You need to invest in yourself and LEARN from a real photographer. Don't take a class from someone who travels more than you do. While I am at it take a class from a photographer who focuses on people. See below why shooting a landscape is one more why to hide from people. 

Third and this is the real kicker! If your not good with people you can't be a good photographer. Having a bad personality or being shy won't cut it. Great photographers are great people persons and also probably not bad psychologist as well. 

Forth and this is a good one. Because you take better images than your friends does not make you a good photographer. Thats like saying your a great football player playing against children when your an adult. Also getting lots of like in Facebook or Instagram means nothing. People love mediocrity and will always like something that doesn't make them feel bad. Your bad photography doesn't hurt their feelings. Why not like it! 

Well sorry but its the truth...



Outdoor Lighting Masterclass (natural light & Flash) private Farm with models

Sign up for this all day Outdoor Lighting Masterclass (natural & flash) on private 100 acre Farm.  The first day April 23rd is SOLD OUT so we are opening one more day! We already sold two spots so only 7 more spots left. You won't find better education and a better value anywhere in this part of the country. 

 This class includes:

• A unique private location with two massive barns one of which was built in the civil war era. Other highlights are 7 other outbuildings, fields, fences, grass and more

• Two outstanding commercial looking models

• How to overpower the sun with flash lesson  

• Studio Strobes and all equipment provided for the best learning experience

• Small workshop size with 5:1 student to model ratio

• Professional makeup Artist  

Official Website with larger images on this workshop can be seen by clicking link



Used Gear Swap

Need a great deal some new gear? Have some old gear you want to sell? Then come to this used gear swap. 4 camera's and over 12 lenses as of now! Also come and meet some new people and talk some shop at the studio.  

There is no additional SELLING fee's charged to buy or sell any items at the swap. These items are for sale. Prices are determined by the owner of the equipment. 

Only requirement is that if you want to place something here in this ad is that you show up with the item to sell. Please send me a detail list of your items you want to sell and I will post them in the main list. If you intended to come and check out what's available all you have to do is RSVP that you're coming. Real simple… you might be able to sell a used item or pick up a good deal on used gear. Also NO FEE unlike almost every other place that sells used gear especially locally. Why give all your hard earned money to them just to make it easy to sell? 

Over a 4000+ real local photographers will see this through meet up and my other connections. Also keep in mind people are coming who are not in this Meetup so you have access to their items and a potential sale to them.


Why no advertised price? Since most of these items are not mine I cannot be responsible for the accuracy of the advertised price. Again Since most of these items are not mine. So I will not post it here...

Item condition? Again Since most of these items are not mine I cannot be responsible for the accuracy of the advertised condition of the item. That is between you and the seller or vice versa.  So I will not post it here...

Warranty? Again Since most of these items are not mine I cannot be responsible for the accuracy of the advertised condition of the item. That is between you and the seller or vice versa. I will say that most will come without warranty since items are used. That is between you and the seller or vice versa.

Item availability? Again Since most of these items are not mine I cannot be responsible for the accuracy of the advertised items availability to you when you do arrive. Item could be sold before you arrive or some other factor.

Item images? Again Since most of these items are not mine I cannot be responsible for the accuracy of the advertised items images. You can inspect and work your own deal with the buyer or seller. 

Payment? Again Since most of these items are not mine that is between you and the seller or vice versa. HOWEVER I would advise CASH since its the easiest. I can however take credit card for the items I am selling (with a small fee) but this again is all up to the seller and what is negotiated. 

All theses item have a basic value that would be easy to fine before you arrive BUT the seller could want more or less. Some of these items might also be hard to find. Also keep in mind you actual get to see the time unlike most online sellers. 



Here is what will be for sale as of now. I have already collected a good amount of gear that is for sale for something like this. All gear here is used unless noted. Please send me a detailed email if you would like something added for all to see. I will except anything that is photography related and that includes other technologies that support photography like a computer, hard drives, ect. If your not sure just email me and ask... I will updates this regularly if I get more items. 



• Nikon D800 (full frame digital)  

• Nikon D600 with grip (full frame digital)

• Nikon D700 (full frame digital)

• Nikon D300 (DX digital)

• Nikon F2 (Film)  

• Mamiya 645 AF (Medium Film)   




• Nikon 18 -105mm VR f/3.5 - 5.6 AF

• Nikon 24 -120mm f/3.5 - 5.6D AF

• Nikon 80 - 400mm f/4.5 - 5.6D ED AF

• Nikon 105mm Micro f/2.8D AF

• Nikon f/4mm IF-ED AF

• Nikon 70 - 200mm f/4 - 5.6D AF Macro Zoom

• Nikon 24mm f/2.8D AF

• Nikon 85mm f/1.8D AF

• Nikon 30 - 70mm f/2.8D AF Macro Zoom

• Canon EF 100mm f/2 USM

• Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM

• Canon Extender EF 1.4x II

• Mamiya 45mm f/2.8

• Mamiya 80mm 2.8 

• Mamiya 80mm f/4 Macro 

• Mamiya 105-210mm f/4.5

• Minolta 135mm f/2.8  

• Sigma 150-500 in Nikon mount w/B&W uv filter  



• Nikon SB 910 Speed-Light

• Nikon SB 800 Speed- Light  

• Nikon SN-26 Speed-light

• Nikon MB-D10 Camera Grip

• Canon CP-E4 Battery Pack

• Canon BP-E6 Battery

• Canon E Dust Cap

• Canon Battery Magazine BGM-E11A


• Apple Time Capsule 3TB 802.11N Model (never opened)


Thanks for looking and lets all have some fun and sell some gear!

All the gear featured here is for sale. The no fee is referring to an extra change by me for hosting event, providing space to sell your items. I don't want to imply that these items are FREE. All sales are final and I am only providing the place for us to showcase gear. I am not responsible for any of the items, their conditions or the transactions here at the swap. 



Happy New Year

Happy New Year from michael Zero. May this year bring peace and joy into your life. Have a wonderful New Year's Eve and be safe everyone! 



Photography Tip

Since all beginner photographers start out shooting Ambient Light (natural light) it is best to put your self in the BEST light so to speak for great portrait work. So the time of day matters most and the light at the begging and end of the day is best. Also days that have consistent thin clouds make for some great soft light. So to recap...

Shoot at the beginning or end of the day

Choose days with consistent thin clouds for amazing soft light

Also try to create images that shape the face. Flat light or even light across the face doesn't shape the face and won't make for a more interesting photo.

Happy Shooting...




At the Farm

A few images from my farm location. Yes you can book this both for portraits and get a chance to photographer here at workshops. Amazing location that is second to none that can ad that special look. Why get your images taken at the same place everyone else does? Ault Park anyone! 


New Computer

Just upgraded my main system to top of the line Apple iMac. Its an amazing machine and SO FAST!

4 ghz, 24 GB Ram, 512 SSD Drive, 4 GB Video Ram, 5K 27 inch monitor.

I been using Macs for years and IMO they are they best computer you can buy. However when getting a new system they are so much work to get everything ready for production work. It will be worth it but now I must get off all my content on my two other older computers. Lots of work ahead of me but it will be worth it.

You should see this screen. Amazing!



Canon or Nikon?

I wanted to talk about Canon and Nikon. I have been a Canon shooter for most of my professional life and I have had experience with the Canon 40D, 5D mark II and the 5D mark III. All great camera's but I am just not feeling the love like I once did with Canon!

I am a fanatic about print quality and dynamic range and I feel as if Nikon is just giving you more for your money. In short my D600 outshoots my 5D mark III as far as the quality of the RAW files are concerned. This is so apparent in the shadow detail on the D600. I would say 3 to 6 stops of pull depending on your starting ISO. There is so much info in these D600 files its amazing, really amazing! The dynamic range is amazing!

With that being said the 5D's did make me a better shooter from the simple fact as you just needed to pay more attention. Its ability to get great skin tones is key and in general I like the files it produces. They just look better... however I am seeing my new 5D mark III seem to be 1 stop to dark in most settings. Even when shooting full manuel I feel I have to shoot a stop of 2 brighter to get the look I am going for? Its just seems to meter darker than I would like and the meter in general wasn't as accurate.

So basically I shoot both Nikon and Canon and both still have advantages and disadvantages but I am starting to learn in Nikon's direction. I will have a more in-depth review of the D600 vs. 5D mark III soon.

So at this point Nikon's sensors across the line are far superior that Canon's. Even Canon's latest camera is not even as good as some of Nikon's entry level cameras? Sorry Canon your behind for now? Nikon wins easy...




Want to be a pro photographer?

One bright sunny day you were dreaming a bit and thought maybe I could become a pro photographer. You know the ones who travel and shoot at all those exotic locations working with all those pretty and famous people. The ones that charge lots of money and have lots of fun. Can't be that hard right? All I have to do is buy that awesome camera I saw at Cost Co, Walmart, Bestbuy (sales person said is would take great pictures) and push a button. Sounds like fun. RIght?

Well for all those who are newbies and just thinking about starting a photography business here is a link you should take a look at. I found this one day that really shows what a true pro does vs. what other think you do. Check it out... its an eye opener!

The secret life of a wedding photographer. Or any pro really...

This is something that I will be going over and over for years to come but the industry is changing and you better be ready to succeed in this super competitive world of pro photography. Its not all rainbows and sunshine. With that being said if you can navigate the pitfalls it can be a fun and rewarding career.

With that being said if your are a customer think about who your hiring and you do get what you pay for. Take 10 minutes to educate your self why hiring the lady down the street is not the best idea and in reality in not a pro but someone who just so happens to have a better camera than you do. That fact does not mean they are a photographer. 


I am going to start bloging

I have stayed away from giving my personal feelings on subjects related to photography and the state of the professional photography. I have been asked many times what I think about this and about that but it never felt right to publicly say anything. I think now is the time where I must add my two cents so to speak. 

I promise to be honest and try my hardest not to make too many spelling and grammars errors. More importantly I might say things that could be hard for some to hear. I think photography is a strange place these days and for people who just want to hear positive stuff don't read this blog. 

Lets see how long I can keep this up? I think in the end that will be the hardest part!