Next App and e-book: Hey Rick! What's Your F-stop?

I'm working on my next app and e-book: Hey Rick! What's Your F-stop?

The idea, generated by the question I get asked most on my workshops, is to offer photographers in the field and at home quick and easy access to camera settings that will help them make great images.

For now, I plan to include info like this for the photograph above:

Situation: Backlight subject (posed) at sunrise or sunset.

Camera: Canon 5D Mark III
Lens: Canon 70-200mm f/4
ISO: 500
Exposure: f/32 @ 1/320th sec.
Exposure Compensation: - 0.33
Flash: No
Tripod: No
Photoshop/Lightroom Tip: Use gradual filters to add or to intensify colors.

Is there anything else that you think would be helpful? Post a comment here.

Shoot us an email to get on the info list.

If you can't wait for the app, see my apps on my Apps page. Lots of how-to info.

Explore the light,

Have Some Plug-in Fun This Weekend

Want to have some photo fun this weekend? Play with plug-ins. They help you awaken the artist within.

Check out all the plug-ins I use on my Save on Creative Plug-ins Page.

Spend some time checking out the links below. Good info and good plug-in fun.

Here's a link to my post: HDR Must Know Info.

Learn about Photomatix Pro.

Learn about Nik HDR Efex Pro.

You'll find more plug-in examples in this post from last year.

Explore the light,

Bosque Workshop Day IV: Shooin' Silhouettes

© Rick Sammon
Why do we like silhouettes? I would like to hear your suggestions here on my blog – or on Google+.

Maybe it's because silhouettes are more dramatic than photographs in which we can see details, as illustrated in the image below.

© Rick Sammon
Maybe it's because millions of years ago we looked for prey and predators at sunrise and sunset . . . when there is a changing of the guard between the nighttime and daytime animals . . . and when there is the greatest danger of being eaten. Actually, that is my theory. Subconsciously, we are always on the lookout for danger. Another theory: silhouettes can simply be pretty. :-)

Whatever the reason, silhouettes are fun to take and create. Here are a few tips:

– Slightly underexpose your image. That will darken the shadows for a more dramatic image.
– Shoot toward the sun.
– Increase the contrast and color in Lightroom or Photoshop.
– Increase the saturation in the digital darkroom.
– Look for a clean background.

© Rick Sammon
Here's another tip: Think color. If the background has little or no color, add color. In all of these images I added a touch of color with Nik Software's Color Efex Pro. To get a discount on all Nik plug-ins, as well as some of the other plug-ins I use, click here.

I am returning to Bosque with Juan Pons in December 2012 for another workshop. If you are interested, shoot me an email.

Explore the light,

P.S. You'll find more photo tips in my apps

Correct & Create With Plug-ins. Save a few bucks, too.

Plug-ins for Lightroom, Photoshop and Aperture can be used to add an artistic flair to images. The creative possibilities are endless. Above I used two filters in Nik Color Efex Pron 4 – Bi-Color User Defined and Image Borders – to create a more artistic rendition of the image below.

One of the cool things about Color Efex Pro 4 is that you can add filters. Try it, you'll like it.

Plug-ins can also be used for image correction. Below I used the Spificy filter in Topaz Adjust to open up the shadows, as well as to add some color to the sky.

Below is my original image. As you can see, the shadows are blocked up and the sky is dull.

To get a discount on all Nik products and to check Topaz and some of the other plug-ins I use, click here.

Explore the light,

My #1 Expoure Tip: Expose for the Highlights


When it comes to getting a good exposure, here is my #1 tip: Expose for the highlights - the brightest part of the scene. In the above photograph, I did just that. 

The best way to ensure that the highlights are not overexposed is to check the histogram on your camera's LCD monitor, and to make sure you don't have a spike on the right.

In the photograph below, I didn't exposure for the highlights, and you see what happened: the detail in the leading edge of the bird's wing is lost. 

Sure, you can recover up to about a stop of overexposed areas in Camera RAW, Lightroom and Aperture. But in this case, the details were too far gone.

Below are two more examples of why it's so important to look for the brightest part of the scene and to exposure for that area. Learn how to see the light, and expose for the light, and you'll be much happier with your exposures.

Of course, all rules are meant to be broken, as illustrated by the image below. :-)

Explore the light,