I was a professional wedding photographer for twenty years, and I did over a thousand weddings.  When digital came around, I went into the lab business for a while (pictage.com) and got to print oh pretty much everybody’s new digital work – and the images were terrifying.  Blown out highlights and contrast, etc.  I decided that what photography needed was a lampshade instead of a flashlight shaped device for the flash, and thus came up with the Gary Fong Lightsphere.  There’s more information about me on wikipedia, and I’ve penned my memoirs as well (which can be found if you go to amazon and search for my name)

I’m the lucky husband to the beautifully stunning Melissa Carl, who was a pro photographer also, and attended my workshop.  We met at that class, and fast forward to the future – (nine years later?) we are staring at beautiful twins, Wesley and Willow.

13 responses

26 07 2012
Francois Cleroux

Hi Gary, love the blog and your products. Do you have any of your wedding images and/or portraits posted on a site so we can see your work??

3 12 2012

Hi Francois! Yes I froze my wedding photography website the after my last wedding and kept it intact. It is now 10 years since it has been frozen. Please see it as “http://www.storybookweddings.com” – that was my wedding work. For my commercial and ad campaigns, google any of the Fuji S1/S2/S3 ad campaigns as I did all of those too.

2 09 2012
Tim Schantz


I read the intro to your book. The women you refer to in the first few paragraphs to include my wife, Mara Blom (Schantz). You might recognize her maiden name, as her father is John Blom. This is the website of her business http://www.artisticimpressionsbymara.com. Contrary to the false impression given by your book, she has a successful and longstanding business in Phoenix Arizona, with thousands of satisfied and repeat customers. Her business is profitable, she is sought after, well known in the market, and a professional. Her partner in the video is named Karen Carey and she runs a similarly successful photography business in Philadelphia. The video is parody on reality shows of today; and ironically, their presentations and seminars adhere to many of the same concepts you put forth your book as it relates to fledgling photographers and the industry, except they are a bit more careful about how they deal with the facts and treat others. You owe them an apology for your mischaracterizations and disparagement.

Best of luck on your international speaking engagements and with the ongoing sale of your book.

14 12 2012

Hi Tim –

If I recall correctly, there was no indication that they weren’t successful. I just called local photographers in Orange County to see what local presence there was. I do remember speaking with Mara quite a long time ago, and knew her father of course. What I was commenting on was the content of the video – the message is confusing. At first both of them are in a scene where one of them is frustrated about their studio’s performance, and then in the next scene they declare they’re going to “kick ass” and arrive at a private hangar to fly off in a Cirrus.

When this is put out there to attract attendees, and I did point this out – what is the message? They promise to transform attendee’s studios, but to what level? When the video was scripted, what was the motive? To appeal to what pitch that would create a call to action? The hopes of being able to own Louis Vuitton luggage?

Studios, as you all know, are in general experiencing smaller revenue year over year. I enjoy helping people, but as the book clearly states, those days of five figure averages has passed because of technology. The two ladies in the video, are most likely successful BECAUSE they have been in it a long time and have a loyal clientele. It’s not a startup message that is accurate. I have literally spent hours with certain people, guiding them with everything I know after twenty years in the business, and honestly, the new market is much much lower. To start a full-time studio operation as a novice and have a decent income is incredibly unlikely. To pitch that after going to a workshop it may be possible to arrive at the executive air terminal, and have your pilot help you stow the bags is absolutely misleading. Absolutely.

I watched the video about a dozen times, trying to look at it with fresh eyes. Each time, I came away with the impression that it portrays or represents that a novice wedding photographer can live a multi-millionaire lifestyle after a workshop – honestly – preys on the gullible. This is the main motive for the book, to warn the novice about the Rockstar myth, and to warn the Rockstars that the social network behaves like a contemptuous child, who is a superfan of the Jonas Brothers one day, and completely drops them for Justin Bieber as fast as people abandoned myspace.com

I stand by my criticism of the video. To now be informed by you that it is a “parody” on reality shows (I can see it now, with the slow-motion runway walk, in the style of “Dragon’s Den” or “The Apprentice”, but those people truly do own those jets. They truly are in the top 1%. If that is the case, if the Cirrus is yours, or Ms. Carey’s, etc. then make that clear. Then the message should read, “Ms Schantz and/or Ms Carey do own that Cirrus, but the disclaimer is this – they earned this lifestyle and maintain it because of longtime loyal customers, something that you earn after decades of professional practice. That would not be misleading.

Tim, this video was one of very many that I could have spotlighted. This one happened to be popping in front of me just as I was finishing up that section. Probably during that week, 15 more videos like it, (with wedding photographers coming out of limos, holding big L series 70-200 lenses that they rent just for the video) appeared.

So yes, for the disparagement, I offer my apology. But to the industry and the participants at your workshop, perhaps an apology is in order for some of them. The ones that won’t be picking out hides or instrumentation add-ons for the Cirrus.

I’m always open to discussions – Gary Fong

13 03 2013
Tim Schantz


Somewhere in the eight paragraphs above is the apology that was sought. Much appreciated, and accepted.

Continued good luck with your international speaking engagements and the ongoing sale of your book.


2 09 2012
Gabe Pedrosa

Hey Gary, am a big fan! Love your collapsible diffuser. Question for you on workflow – just recently moved to LR4 from Aperture3 and going through the Kelby Training videos, Matt suggests moving/using an external drive for all my images. What are your thoughts on this? Right now, I use my MBP17’s HD and like he warns, am running out of space. My issue is this – I use iPhoto for everyday stuff but LR4 for my important images. Do I then (1) move all my work images off the MBP and onto an external and leave the rest on my HD for iPhoto/Photo Stream to use; or (2) consolidate everything and move both personal and work images to an external drive and just get used to that workflow? Your advice would be greatly appreciated.

6 09 2012
Joe Sachs

Not sure if this is the best way to contact you, but I heard you may be able to help me. My photography company is one of the ones listed that has had images stolen by Romalho. Has there been any progress on this matter. Is my next step to contact an attorney? Thanks for your help.
Joe Sachs

29 11 2012
Renee Aaron Tips: Wedding Photographer’s Mistake Educate Others |

[…] to other vendors in the industry. While researching, I came across a video that was posted by Gary Fong. A wedding photographer reached to him, “who found himself in a pickle: after doing a “great […]

11 12 2012

Hi! Just got The Puffer as as gift and it’s amazing! Love it. http://girlintheyellowdress.com/2012/12/10/in-a-softer-light/

31 01 2013
Jesse Coleman

Hi Gary,

We met briefly at my booth during CES2012, where I was presenting the Mosy Mount. At the show you gave me your business card and told me about your manufacting operation- I’d like to follow up on that conversation. Please contact me at your earliest convenience.

Best regards

25 03 2013

Hi Gary,

I bought a sailboat last year and this weekend I found some paperwork that has your name – or someone else with the same name. Since I am super curious and absolutely ❤ my boat, I wonder if we could connect and you could answer some questions that I have.
Thank you and have a great day!


7 04 2013
Victor Fabian

Chrome cone.
When and how to use it and what are the advatages of Chrome cone.
Which way to insert it in the Lightshpere?
I have Canon 5D MK II. Canon Speedlight 580EX II.
Sincerely, Victor Fabian

3 08 2013

Gary: you took some great photos of Gen X kids at Tam High School in San Francisco. Today the Chronicle ran several of them, and I feel like they speak for my generation. How can I obtain licensing to make one or two of your Tam High photos the back cover and insert photos of an upcoming rock album?

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