Rick's NYC-Area Model Photography Shoot: Learn Lighting, Posing & Composition

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Above: Our three professional models for the shoot.

Be one of 20 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.

The details:
• Cost: $279.
• Max 20 photographers.
• Your instructors: Rick Sammon and Westcott's awesome Dave Piazza.
• Three models, three shooting stations (max 7 at a station at one time).
• Learn about: Speedlites, constant lights, reflectors and other lighting techniques.
• Date/Time: November 4th (Tuesday), 1 - 6 PM (sharp).
• Location: 3rd Floor, Metropolitan Building, Long Island City, NY. Short ride from NYC.
• Photo gear on hand: A variety of Westcott lighting gear.
• Awesome props.
• You need to bring your own cameras and lenses.
• You can use the pictures on your web site, but you can not sell any of the images you take. You will sign a release stating image use.
• My friends from Adorama will be on hand with some special prices on the lighting gear we use.

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.

The props at the Metropolitan Building are awesome.

Shoot me an email to get on the info list. First come, first serve – as we are only accepting 20 participants on this awesome shoot.

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

Explore the light,

This post sponsored by x-rite - the world leader in color managements.

Removing Reality Adds a Touch of Artistry to an Image

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When we remove some of the true color from an image, we remove some of the reality. When we remove some of the reality, our images can, but not always, look more creative and artistic.

For artistic photographers, my friends at Macphun software have just released Tonality Pro – a plug-in/stand-along program that, as the company's president, Paul Muzok, says, For many photographers, crafting dramatic black and white images is their favorite form of creative expression, yet presents uniquely difficult and time-consuming challenges. We designed Tonality Pro to overcome those challenges, and be not only the best app for those passionate about monochrome image making, but also appeal to the casual photographer who is exploring the genre."

Click here to order Tonality Pro. Cost is $69.99.

All the plug-ins I use are listed on my Play & Save on Plug-ins page.

I used Tonality Pro to create the opening image for this post from the photograph above.

Key features are listed below, but here are my personal favorites:
• easy to learn - thanks to a thoughtful interface;
• easy to use – with sliders and brushes;
• fun factor – made possible, in part, by presets, sliders and speed;
• creative layer possibilities.

Official Key features:

   Professional image quality with proprietary 16-bit RAW processing engine;
   Advanced algorithms and a streamlined user experience for superior results;
   Scores of inspiring professional presets provide a wide range of one-click image styles;
   Built-in organic-style overlay textures, plus user-loadable textures, for incredible creativity;
   Unique adaptive exposure and smart contrast tools for advanced tone control;
   Multiple effect layers, each with separate opacity controls, blending modes and preservation of color data offer true advancements in creative tool sets;
Adjustable, pressure-sensitive brushes and masking tools for precise selective edits;
Advanced clarity and structure detail controls yield dramatic results;
   Proprietary grain engine with over 20 emulated film types;
Selective color using color channel sliders for unique stylistic expressions;
Glow, lens blur, vignette, photo frame and opacity controls for finishing touches;
Easy image sharing to popular social networks, and via email, instant messaging, AirDrop and SmugMug;
   Macphun Print Lab services, powered by MILK;
   Runs as either a standalone app or, in the Pro version, as a plug-in to popular image editing software like Adobe® Photoshop®, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom®, Adobe Photoshop Elements® or Apple® Aperture®.

My advice when working with Tonality Pro: start with a preset, and then apply different color filters to see how they affect the different colors in your image. This is important, especially when it come to skin tones. Learning about color filters will help you with your monochromatic photography.

When working with monochromatic images, contrast, highlights and shadows become more important. Consider those elements very carefully.

In picking a preset, let the image suggest a preset.

For example, I used the Wild West preset (in the Vintage presets) for the image above, created from the image below.

Below is a look at the Tonality Pro window (partial view) that shows the Vintage presets and just a few of the other creative options – too many to show in one screen grab.

I teach plug-ins (and Photoshop and Lightroom), as well as making the best in-camera image, on all my workshops. Hope to see meet you on a workshop – where we have a ton of fun.

Above: I took this photograph on my Death Valley Workshop. Join me/Hal Schmitt in 2015 for an awesome dunes/model workshop.

Develop your creative vision,

Three Filters For Making Better Photographs

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These three filters will help you make better images.

Polarizing filter. Benefits: Reduces reflections on water (and glass and foliage), but it can also make your pictures look sharper by reducing reflections on atmospheric haze.

Variable ND filter. Benefits: Lets you shoot at slow shutter speeds in bright light to create the "beautiful flowing water" effect.

Topaz Labs filters. Actually, Topaz offers many plug-in filter sets for creative and corrective image making. Topaz Black & White Effects is just one.

Speaking of three: These 3 books will make you a better photographer: http://bit.ly/1rHIrEi

Explore the light,

Topaz to the Rescue: Turn Outtakes to Keepers - and save a few bucks

In going through my images for my new Feather Friends Galley, I came across the outtake on the right. Taken early one morning in low light with the Canon 7D at ISO 800, a tightly cropped image showed a bit of noise. Plus, low contrast made the image look flat.

To reduce the noise, I used Topaz DeNoise. To add some color and a painter quality to the image, I used Topaz Simplify's BuzSim filter.

You can save 15% on Topaz plug-ins when using this code upon checkout: ricksammon. See my Play & Save on Plug-ins page for details.

Develop your creative vision,