November NYC Ultimate Model Shoot

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If you want to learn about lighting, and if you want to photograph three awesome models in a totally cool location, this workshop is for you.

• Three Models.
• Three instructors: Me, Joe Brady and Dave Piazza.
• Three Lighting Sets.
• Several Natural Light Sets.
• Only 15 photographers - so you get to shoot a lot!
• You get to play with a ton of Westcott gear. Click here to download the PDF.
• Cool HDR possibilities, too!
• You sign up through Eventbrite. Only 2 spots remaining.

More info:
Be one of 15 (we reduced the size of the group) photographers on this awesome NYC-area model shoot – where you will learn about model photography and lighting – and get to use the images on your web site. You can sell the image ONLY if you work out a deal directly with our models.

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Above: Our three professional models for the shoot. The model in the opening image for this post is the same model on the right in the above set of images.

Above: What could be cooler than photographing cool models in this cool location? 

In addition to photographing the models, you can make HDR images – but you need to keep clear of the model sets. New to HDR? Check out my iHDR app.

For processing HDR images, I suggest Photomatix. Get a 15% discount here.

Above: Those of you who have been on my workshop know this: I like to make learning fun! You'll have a ton of fun on this workshop with the models, props and mirrors. This is a hand-held (as you can see) HDR image.

Above: Picture yourself, and our models, here.

The details (Please read very carefully):
• You sign up through Eventbrite.
• First come, first serve – as we are only accepting 15 participants on this awesome shoot.
• Cost: $279. Refund, minus $50 cancellation fee, 30 days before the event. Sorry, no refund after October 4.
• Max 15 photographers.
• Your instructors: Me, Westcott's awesome lighting expert Dave Piazza and color master Joe Brady.
• Three models, three shooting stations (max 6 at a station at one time). You get to shoot at each all locations. If you have an idea for a shot, we can probably do that... just know that others may take the same photo.
• Learn about: Speedlites, constant lights, reflectors and other lighting techniques.
• Date/Time: November 4th (Tuesday), 1 - 6 PM.
• Location: 3rd Floor, Metropolitan Building, Long Island City, NY. Short ride from NYC. Do a Google search to get location and directions.
• Parking is challenging. Best to take a cab or subway. If you drive, leave some time to find a spot.
• No need to show up early. Session does not start until 1 PM.
• Photo gear on hand: A variety of Westcott lighting gear.
• Awesome props.
• You need to bring your own camera, lenses and tripod.
• You can use the pictures you take on your web site, but you can not sell any of the images you take – unless you work out a deal directly with our models. You will sign a release stating image use.
• My friends from Adorama will be on hand with some special prices on the Westcott lighting gear we use.

Above: One of our perfect settings to learn about lighting.

Above: Our goal will be to make environmental portraits like the one above, which I took in Venice, Italy . . . using just one Canon speedlite in a Westcott Apollo softbox. All my gear is listed here on My Gear page.

Above: We'll work with professionals models, like the one pictured above. I took this shot in the Westcott Warehouse, believe it or not. Here's a video to prove it. :-)

The props at the Metropolitan Building are awesome.

Speaking of working in challenging conditions, I took this shot (using Westcott Spider Lights) at Photoshop World, again in an exhibit area where lighting conditions were challenging.

During our shoot Dave and I will talk about controlling, shaping and balancing the light.

Again, first come, first serve – as we are only accepting 18 participants on this awesome shoot. Register here.


About the opening image for this post: I took the shot with two Canon 600EX speedlights  & a Canon STE-E3 transmitter in the Canon booth at the Photo Plus Expo show in the Javits Center last year. Camera: Canon 5D Mark III. Lens: Canon 24-105mm IS.

Hey, if shots like this are possible at a trade show, imagine what we will do at the Metropolitan Building!

As a prelude to the class, you may want to check out my KelbyOne class: Light – the main element in every photograph.

All my workshops are listed on my 2015 Workshops page.

If you would like me to review your work after the shoot, we can set up a Godfatherly Advice session.

Explore the light,

P.S. Brooklyn Bridge Park (pictured below) is about 20 minutes away. Go there for a nighttime shoot after the workshop. Cool photo ops, and good restaurants, too!

One Photograph - 24 Photo Tips!

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I love teaching photography and sharing my photographs. So, I thought it would be fun to see how many photo tips I could give that apply to this photograph - which I took with my Canon 5D Mark III camera and Canon 24-105mm IS lens. Also: Tiffen polarizing filter and Black Rapid strap.

Here goes.... but first, this image was taken on the Death Valley Photo Workshop that I teach with Hal Schmitt. We hope to see some of you in February, 2015. Register here!

1 Never underestimate the importance of a good subject.
2 Never underestimate the importance of a good location.
3 Watch the background.
4 Expose for the highlights.
5 Focus on the face.
6 Pay attention to light on the face.
7 Shadows are the soul of the picture.
8 Props Rock.
9 Composition is the strongest way of seeing.
10 Play with plug-ins.
11 Direct the subject.
12 Frame the face.
13 Separate the subject from the background.
14 Chase and catch the light - you snooze you loose.
15 Placement of the horizon line is important.
16 Burn and dodge carefully.
17 Cropping gives us a second chance at composition.
18 Be prepared with the right lenses.
19 Don't skimp on a filter.
20 Master technique, but.... (see number 21)
21 The most important thing about a picture is the mood/feeling.
22 Make pictures, just don't take pictures.
23 Explore the light.
24 Have fun!

Like landscape photography - and sand dune photography in particular? Check out my basic Landscape Photography class on Craftsy. Click here to get 25% off!

Explore the light,

P.S. If you like model photography and want to learn about studio lighting, my next class is in NYC on November 4th.

Rick's Backyard Digital Photography Workshop - Learn Digital Photography From Start to Finish

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Each year I offer an intimate (10 photographers) digital photography workshop in my "backyard" – Croton-on-Hudson, NY. It's one of my favorite workshops of the year- and I have been running the workshop for 6 years.

Cost for the two-day workshop, which includes a fun welcome dinner, is $600.00. (Private lessons in my backyard are available, too.) 

2015 Dates: July 16 - 18. Shoot me an email to get on the official announcement list.

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We shoot along the Hudson River at sunset and at the New Croton Dam. I teach lighting and composition – two ingredients that make a good picture. I also talk about the value of thinking like a painter, which frees us up from the limitations of photography.

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I take the students to the largest Buddhist Temple in the United Sates. We shoot indoors and outdoors. We make straight shots and HDR images.

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I show the participants how to shoot and process panoramas, too.

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We have plenty of time to process our pictures using Photoshop and Lightroom. We also cove creative plug-ins. The group slide show/critique is the highlight of the workshop.


I stress the importance of making pictures rather than just taking pictures. Making pictures is way more fun and creative. 

Left Photograph: Jeremy Pollack. Right: Photograph by Joe Brady.

Left Photograph: Jeremy Pollack. Right: Photograph by Joe Brady.

We also have portraits sessions, during which you'll learn about speedlites and fill-in flash.


I hope you can join me someday in my "backyard" for a rewarding digital photography learning experience.  Shoot me an email for more information. Please keep in mind that these workshops fill up very fast.

Places to Stay
Comfort Inn (15 minutes from Croton)
Bed and Breakfast (in Croton). Our recommendation.


All my workshops are listed on 2015 Workshops page.  I hope to see you on one someday soon.

Explore the light,

P.S. I call the opening image – an in-camera HDR image taken with my Canon 5D Mark III and enhanced with Nik Color Efex Pro – "Sunset in the Park with Rick."  Yes, the title of the image was inspired by the play, "Sunday in the Park with George," a musical inspired by the paint by Georges Seurat, "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte." 

70-200mm f/2.8 Lens vs. 70-200mm f/4 Lens

Note: This is not a technical review. Just some food for thought.

When it comes to choosing a 70-200mm lens, Canon shooters have two IS (Image Stabilization) choices:

Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 (over $2,000) and Canon 70-200mm f/4 (around $1,000). Both lenses are super sharp and offer fast focusing.

The f/2.8 lens is more expensive, heavier and takes up more room in a camera bag than the f/4 lens. If you shoot indoors and in low light, the f/2.8 lens is a good choice because you can shoot at a lower ISO and faster shutter speed. What's more, you can add a Canon 1.4x converter (my converter of choice) and still have low-light shooting flexibility.

However, f/4 shooters don't really need to worry about shooting at a slightly higher ISO settings because they can reduce the noise in Lightroom and Adobe Camera Raw and with plug-ins like Topaz DeNoise.

The f/2.8 lens beautifully blurs the background when set at f/2.8. However, f/4 shooters can blur the background using plug-ins like Focus Pro 2.

All my plug-ins are listed on my Save on Plug-ins Courses page.

I have both lenses. The image above was taken with the f/4 – my current favorite 70-200mm lens. Check out the sharpness of the eagle's eye.

I took this photograph of a very cool looking dude in a train station in India with an older 70-200 f/2.8 lens - when I was shooting film!

I am waiting for a photo op to use the newer 70-200mm f/2.8, as 90 percent of my shooting is done outdoors. :-)

All my gear is listed here.

Explore the light,

Today's Guest Blog: Dave Ray Gives a Preview of Our 2015 Java/Bali Workshop

Today's guest blogger is my friend Dave Ray. Dave and I are planning an August/September 2015 Java/Bali photo workshop, so we thought we'd give you a preview of what's to come.

Shoot me an email to get on the info list.

Take it away, Dave.

As the earth formed, a gigantic ring of fire emerged around the Pacific Ocean. At the SW corner of that ring, continental plates thrust up the ocean floor creating a tropical archipelago of over 14,000 islands. The action continued as dozens of active volcanoes perforated these tropical isles.

Above: Volcanoes Mount Bromo & Mount Semeru at Sunrise, East Java

These volcanoes continually shower their mineral rich ash over the landscape, blanketing these lush isles with some of the most fertile soil on the planet.


Above: Steep field farms in the Tengger Highlands, East Java

And fertile ground meant that there would be abundant food to support a growing population.


Above: Javanese Rice Planters, Trenggalek, East Java

Sufficient food guaranteed that these people would be able to devote much time to pursuits beyond merely seeking their next meal—building great civilizations & developing stunning arts.

Above: Borobudur Crescent Moonrise, Central Java

 So, they built huge monuments like Borobudur—still the world’s largest Buddhist shrine 1,200 years after it was completed.

Above: Batik Tulis (TOO-lees)

As Java converted from Hinduism & Buddhism to Islam, some locals opted migrate so that they could keep following Hinduism. They fled across the narrow straits to Bali—complete with an Exodus opening-of-the-Red Sea kind of story. There they grew prolific in building Hindu temples.

Above: Yellow Temple, Bedugul, Bali

And, like their Javanese Muslim cousins, developing the rich arts—including some of the world’s finest wood carvings.

Above: Balinese Religious Procession, Ubud, Bali

 Zeal for preserving their traditions assures that you’ll even see their beautiful young children performing in their ancient dance rituals.

Well, that is a quick look at the photographic possibilities that this workshop offers. I have more than 20 years experience living in SE Asia, and I am happy to be working with Rick on this awesome workshop.

I hope to see you on the workshop. To see more of my work, please visit my web site.

Dave Ray

• • • • •

Dave: Thank you for sharing your images and insight.

Photographers: This workshop will fill up fast, so get on the info list by sending me an email.