Plug ins

Fix Creative Fatigue and Go on Safari

© Rick Sammon
I have two articles in May/June issue of Digital Photo magazine. One on fixing creative fatigue and one on digital wildlife photography. Check 'em out.

One idea to fix creative fatigue: play with plug-ins and awaken the artist within. Above I used the Polaroid Transfer effect in Nik Color Efex Pro to remove some of the true color from the scene.

Click here to get a discount on Nik and some of the other plug-ins I use.

When you remove some of the true color, you remove some of the reality. When you remove some of the reality, your picture can look more creative and artistic.


One idea for wildlife: shoot wide and make a photograph that shows the animal in its environment.

In the shot above I applied the Spicify filter in Toapz Adjust (another favorite plug-in) to the sky.

Explore the light,
Rick

P.S. Here's some more thoughts on getting inspired and motivated.

Create a Cool Image with Nik's Color Efex Pro


I'm running a fun contest for image-makers who live in the US. It's US only because I will ship an autographed copy of my book, Exploring the Light, to the winner.

I'll also feature the winning image here on my blog.

Use the two images below to create a cool composite, and then use Nik Software's Color Efex Pro as a finishing touch, as I did on the image above. My filter: Midnight. Be sure to tell me which filter/effect you used. A few folks have forgotten to add the filter.....

Try not to place the moon in the same position as I did.

© Rick Sammon
© Rick Sammon
You can simply drag the images to your desktop and start the Photoshop and Nik Software fun. Your file will be low res, and that is OK.

If you don't have Color Efex Pro, you can get a 15% discount by using this code – RSAMMON - when you order the plug-in from the Nik web site. While you are on the Nik site, check out the other plug-ins.

Post your image on your blog or site and let me know where it is by leaving a Comment here.

Deadline is January 16, 2012.

I took both of these images with my Canon 100-400mm IS lens on my Canon 7D.

Explore the light,
Rick

P.S. I teach stuff like this on my workshops. Shooting, too :-)

$ave on Plug-ins and Plug Into Creativity



Want to feel creative and save money at the same time? Check out these plus-ins and my discounts and offers:

Nik Software's Color Efex Pro & HDR Efex Pro - Save 15%
Save 15% if you use this code – RSAMMON – upon check-out on the Nik web site. Actually, you can save 15% on all Nik plug-ins - including Color Efex Pro! Just use the same code.




Photomatix - Save 15%
The image above was created with Photomatix. You can save 15% when you order Photomatix by using this code: ricksammon. Here is a short movie to get you started with Photomatix Pro.


Perfect Photo Suite - Save 10%
Save 10% on all the plug-ins in onOne's Software's Photo Suite 6: Perfect Portrait, Perfect Layers, Perfect Effects, Perfect Masks, Photo Essentials4. Just use this code upon checkout.


Topaz Adjust - save a bundle when you order a bundle
Topaz Adjust is just too cool. Above I used the Spicify Effect. Click here to order Topaz Adjust. Hey, save a bundle when you order a Topaz bundle.


Topaz B&W Effects - bundle it with Topaz Adjust
Click here to read about it!

Nik Silver Efex Pro - Save 15% 
Save 15% when you use this code - RSAMMON - upon check-out on the Nik web site

Have Some Plug-in Fun This Weekend – and Save a Few Bucks, Too!

Topaz Adjust/Portrait Smooth
Plug-ins expand the capabilities of Photoshop, Lightroom, Aperture, etc. They also expand your creative horizons.

Plug-ins are relatively inexpensive - and you can even save a few bucks by using my special codes below.

Here are my favorite plug-ins, favorite plug-in images, and favorite plug-in tips. 

For my picture, "Girl with a Pearl Earring," I applied Topaz Adjust/Portrait Smooth on the top layer (the original was on the bottom layer) and then I faded the Opacity to reduce the effect.

Photomatix Plus Topaz Adjust

HDR Efex Pro

My latest, favorite plug-in: Nik Software’s HDR Efex Pro. Save 15% if you use this code: RSAMMON upon check-out on the Nik web site. Actually, you can save 15% on all Nik plug-ins - including Color Efex Pro! Just use the same code. 

HDR Efex Pro tip: Use the Control Points and Curves to fine-tune your image – and to save time touching up your images in Photoshop, Lightroom or Aperture.

 Photomatix Plus Topaz Adjust
The image above was created with Photomatix - with a touch of Topaz Adjust. You can save 15% when you order Photomatix by using this code: ricksammon. 


Photomatix tip: Adjust the White Point and Black Point sliders first. If your highlights are washed out with even with the White Point slider moved all the way to the left, you missed capturing the entire dynamic range of the scene with your original HDR sequence. 

Topaz Adjust

Topaz Adjust is just too cool. Above I used the Spicify Effect. Below I used the same effect, but greatly reduced the noise. Click here to order Topaz Adjust. Hey, save a bundle when you order a Topaz bundle.


Topaz Adjust tip:  Press the Reset tab each time you work on an image - unless you want your previous effect applied to your current image. 
 
Topaz InFocus

Topaz InFocus is a relatively new plug-in from Topaz Labs. Click here to read about InFocus.


InFocus tip: Don't over-sharpen your images. The more you sharpen, the more noise you'll get in your images.



Bokeh
Check this out. Want to turn a picture like the one on the left into a picture like the one on the right? See below.

It's fast and easy with Alien Skin's Bokeh 2. You can save 15% when you order any AlienSkin plug-in by using this code upon checkout: RSA0901.

Bokeh tip: Spend the time in Photoshop making a VERY careful selection.

 Aline Skin makes more cool plug-ins. Click here for info.



Nik Silver Efex Pro
Hands down, the coolest way to create a black and white digital images is with Nik Silver Efex Pro. Save 15% off if you use this code: RSAMMON upon check-out on the Nik web site.


Silver Efex Pro tip: Experiment with the different color filters to see how they can enhance the tones in your images.

Explore the light,
Rick

P.S. If you like HDR, check out my latest app:


Rick Sammon's HDR Portfolio


My newest how-to app for the iPad is now available: Rick Sammon's HDR Portfolio - featuring HDR Dissolve™. This app is packed with photos (my latest), info and movies. A great way to learn HDR.

It's Topaz Tuesday. Have Some Creative Fun!

As many of you know, Topaz Adjust from Topaz Labs is one of my favorite plug-ins. It's great for plug-in fun – as well as creative enhancements.

All these images were enhanced with the Spicify effect in Topaz Adjust.

Spicify adds: color, saturation, contrast, detail and sharpness . . . if you want.

For the picture above, I also used the Spificy effect. However, in this case I reduced the noise to the point where the picture lost sharp detail, creating a painterly effect.

For the above image, I reduced the Spicify effect after I opened the picture in Photoshop by going to Edit >Fade Filter. Topaz DeNoise and Topaz ReMask are awesome, too!

Have fun with Topaz. You can save a bundle by ordering a bundle!

Here's a Topaz tip: Always press reset before you start to work on an image. If you don't, your previous settings will be applied to your image.

Explore the light,
Rick