The following article originally appeared in The Jewish Times in 2000.
CAPTURING THE MOMENT
Owings Mills’ Bradley Zisow, 25, has his own photography firm.
By Linda L. Esterson
Special to the Jewish Times,
December 29, 2000
He’s young, he’s confident, he’s energetic. At the age of 25, Bradley Zisow owns and operates Bradley Images, a professional photography company based out of his townhouse in Owings Mills’ McDonogh Township. For seven-plus years, Mr. Zisow has captured the moment professionally at more than 700 events, the last three years as Bradley Images.
His work is not limited to social affairs. Modeling portfolios, digital imaging and restoration, commercial photography, digital videography, and Web site design are all part of his services.
Mr. Zisow became interested in photography early. A graduate of Friends School, during his free periods he’d visit the photo lab instead of the study hall. “I lived in the photo lab,” recalls Mr. Zisow, who subsequently attended Villa Julie College to study photography, marketing and management.
Initially, he went into the photography business with two friends, but later branched out on his own. Mr. Zisow estimates he now spends more than 80 hours a week working. How about something as mundane as sleep? “Who needs to?” he retorts. “Work now, retire early. I’m young, I can do it. I need to keep it up while I’m enthusiastic.”
Enthusiastic is an understatement. Just watch him light up as he discusses his method for taking photographs at, for example, a wedding. “I’m not there to change the moment; I’m there to capture the moment,” he says. “When you’re dancing or cutting the cake, I don’t tell you to tilt your head. I capture it as it happens.”
His method includes not interrupting the bridal couple as they participate in the activities around them. “We’ll ask them but don’t drag them,” he says. “If the bride and groom don’t want to leave the reception, we don’t make them.”
So unobtrusively does Mr. Zisow work that, says Michelle Goodman, who used him for her wedding two years ago, “I didn’t even know he was around once the portraits were done.”
“I like the way he takes pictures,” says Jason Porter, who hired MR. Zisow for his April wedding. “They’re a little different, they’re edgier. He’s good with the camera.”
Mr. Zisow was one of the first in Baltimore to give newlywed couples and b’nai mitzvoth their proofs within days of their events – online. Using a security code on his website, clients and their families and friends can view the complete set of photos and select what they’d like to order. Ultimately, he predicts, proofs “in hand” will become a thing of the past. Everyone will view their proofs online.
With a staff of eight photographers and six videographers, Bradley Images can handle up to three events a day. Mr. Zisow feels that’s the maximum number of events the company can cover and still maintain its quality level. Mr. Zisow trains his employees to “shoot my way,” and he looks for people like himself – young and energetic.
“You can train technical but you can’t teach personality,” he says of his employees.
Mr. Zisow’s youth sometimes causes comment. “My favorite thing is when I walk into a job and I hear under [people’s] breath, ‘God he’s young,’” he says. On occasion, he adds, his youth also works to his benefit, especially in putting bar and bat mitzvah children he’s photographing at ease.
Mr. Zisow’s aspirations are high. They include, he said, “being as good as Shlomo [Cohen]. He’s an artist. Hid lighting, technical skills are excellent, his eye is excellent.”
Richard Dalcin, owner of Richard Dalcin Studios, a Pikesville photographer for 20 years, praises Mr. Zisow. “He reminds me of myself when I got started. You can see it in him that eh loves what he does and is excited about what he does.”
-Linda L. Esterson is a local free-lance writer.