Cool Three-Day (April 8, 9 and 10) "FOR" Sale on Photoshop Artistry: Fine-Art Grunge Composition

Above: Image by Sebastian Michaels.

If you would like to explore the world of serious Photoshop artistry and learn how to create imaginative, artistic images fit for canvas, there is a fabulous course you will want to check out: Photoshop Artistry: Fine-Art Grunge Composition.

If you order the class on April 8th - 10th, 2014, you get the "FOR" (Friends of Rick) discount. You save 67% off the standard cost, making your cost only $97.

Here is what others have to say about the course:

     "I have never in my life done a workshop that was that as inspiring, as much fun and as engaging as yours Sebastian - and I have done HEAPS of workshops ... absolutely wonderful!" — Heide Hoffman

     "I have learned more and had more fun from this course than from ANY workshop/book/DVD etc that I have ever purchased for photography. I cannot thank you enough for putting it together and pricing it so reasonably.  This is the BEST educational photography experience I have ever had!” — Martin Howard

     “Sebastian, this course has literally changed my life! I had been struggling along on my own trying to figure this stuff out, until you came along. I am now creating some images that at least come close to some of what I have been visualizing in my head all my life but had no way to express!”  — Terry Fleckney

You can see examples of users art on the Photoshop Artistry facebook page.

Above: Image by Sebastian Michaels.

You can get access to the Photoshop training everyone is raving about for fully 67% OFF during this promotion.  You will have lifetime access to over 60 training videos (applicable to both Photoshop and Elements), over 5 gigabytes of pro-designed bonus content, and even opportunities to get your work included in live gallery events set up exclusively for students in the course.

If you are looking for an exciting new direction to take your photography and you would like to hone your talents as an artist, you don't want to miss this offer.

  Another FOR (Friends of Rick) Discount

Above: Image by Dave Cross.

As a further testimony to how impressive the Photoshop Artistry course is, legendary Photoshop instructor Dave Cross was so impressed by it that he took the time to create an expansion course specifically meant to supplement the training — layering in even more of the techniques the top professional Photoshop artists take when creating their finest compositions. His class is Photoshop Non-Destructive Creativity.

There is a FOR discount on Dave's course, too: 50% off!

The approach Dave Cross adds to the mix truly pushes the main course over the top.  If you are really, serious about mastering the world of Photoshop artistry, you may want to pick up this course as well.

This course by Dave Cross was designed as a supplement to the Photoshop Artistry course listed up above, but it can also stand on its own.  It is only viable for Photoshop users, however.  Where the Artistry course also encompasses Adobe Elements, this course by Dave Cross is only for Photoshop.

If you like learning on-line, I have a several on-line classes. Check 'em out!

Explore the light,

P.S. Speaking of saving money, Topaz Detail is on sale for 50% off starting April 10 to the end of the month.

One and Two-Day "Rick's Backyard" Digital Photography Classes in Croton-On-Hudson, NY

If you like travel and outdoor photography, as well as Lightroom and Photoshop, I offer two ways to explore your creative vision in Croton-on-Hudson, NY - just about one hour north of New York City.

My one-day workshop on May 25 offers fast paced learning and fun.

My two-day workshops in June and October offer much more in-depth learning at a slower pace and with more time for personal attention – in the field and on your computer.

I hope you can come to Croton for what I call my "Rick's Backyard Workshops."

Explore the Light,

Today's Guest Blogger: Andy Smith

Thanks, Rick for asking me to do a guest post on how I made this sunburst image at Dead Horse State Park, Utah, during your 2013 Southwest Photo Caravan workshop.

All of Rick's 2015 workshops, by the way, are listed on his 2015 Workshops page.

Sunburst photos like this aren’t that hard as long as you follow a few simple rules:
1. Keep your lens clean to avoid excessive flares and dust.
2. Consider using HDR (where possible) to get the extremes of highlights and shadows from shooting into the sun with a back lit subject.
3. Keep your lens clean.
4. Use an aperture of f/22 to get the best sunburst effect.  This will aggravate any dust issues, so . . .
5. Keep your lens clean.
6. Place the sun right at the edge of an object to get an even better sunburst effect.
7. Did I mention you should keep your lens clean?

Here’s what happens if you don’t keep your lens clean!


1. If it’s HDR, you’ll do the HDR first - watch the white and black points to get the best results around the sun flare, but otherwise process to taste.
2. Despotting in Photoshop - this can be tricky, as even clean, high-quality lenses can have flares.  You can use the healing brush or clone-and-stamp.  You don’t necessarily have to remove all of them, a few flares can be part of the dramatic effect.  If the flare is sitting over a hard-to-fill place, you’ll probably have to leave it it.  Again, it’s a judgement call on your part.
3. Final processing - use Lightroom/Photoshop/Plug-Ins as you wish.  I used Nik Color Efex Pro on the tree photo.

That’s really it.  It isn’t all that hard.  It’s a fun technique for a lot of things and can turn an otherwise poorly backlit subject into something interesting.  Here are a few more examples of where I’ve been able to use it.

Above: South Dakota on one of Rick's workshops.

Above: Double sunburst on locomotive.

Above: San Miguel sunburst.

Again, thanks to Rick, and I hope you can find some fun sunburst shots of your own.

For more of my work, please see:

• • • • •

This post sponsored by X-rite - the world leader in color management.

Keep Portrait Lighting Simple - And Save a Few Bucks on My Home Studio Speedlite Starter Kit

rick sammon .jpg

I like to keep portrait lighting simple. Very simple. For example, for this portrait, inspired by Vermeer's paining, Girl With a Pearl Earring, I used only one Canon Speedlite in a Westcott Apollo soft box.

I used that softbox because it has a recessed front panel that lets me (and you) direct the light and shape the light on the subject.

I used the black side of a Westcott light modifier to darken the shadow on the shadow side of the model's face.

Careful lighting made the subject stand out from the black background.

My friends at Adorama have put together a cool speedlite accessory kit at a cool price that you can use to make dramatic portraits in the comfort of your own home - and on location. It includes the softbox, light modifiers and light modifier stand that I used - plus a sturdy background stand and larger background (which is way better than the piece of black material that I pined to my bookshelf. Just add your speedlite.

Here are two quick portrait tips: One - If you want an interesting portrait, don't light the entire face. Two - Keep in mind that the camera looks both ways. When you are shooting, know that the mood, energy and feeling that you project will be reflected in your subject's face - and eyes.

Above: See, you don't need a pro studio to get professional looking portrait. I took my Girl with a Pearl Earring image in my home office.

Here's a quick tip on all lighting: Shadows are the soul of the photograph.

Explore the light,

Save on Topaz Plug-ins - and awaken the artist within

I just finished my Topaz webinar: Awaken the artist within with plug-ins. If you missed it, here's the link for the one-hour presentation.

For now, you can save a few bucks (until March 30th) on these Topaz plug-ins when using my discount codes:

sammonweb6 - 30% off of all products, including the complete collection.
sammondenoise - 50% off of DeNoise only.

Use those codes upon checkout at the Topaz Web site.

During the webinar I shared some of my favorite images from my Route 66 trip. I created the opening images for this post with Topaz Black & White Effects. Below is my original image. I take you through the process in the webinar. You can see more of my Route 66 images in my Route 66 Gallery.

I teach digital imaging processing on all my workshops. I hope you can join the fun someday.

Above is a screen shot of the Topaz Black and White Effects control panel. If you want to get good at making black and white images, the first step is to learn about the effects of color filters on an image. The second step is to work with contrast.

Above: During the webinar I talk about reducing noise with Topaz DeNoise. It's the best way I have found to reduce noise.

Above: During the webinar I also talked about how I created this image with Topaz Restyle.

Explore the light,

P.S. I wanted to share this image during the webinar, but I ran out of time. I created it using Topaz Simplify 4 > BuzSim effect.