Conquer Composition – on line!

Outside of Tucumcari, New Mexico.

Outside of Tucumcari, New Mexico.

Famed photographer Edward Weston said, "Composition is the strongest way of seeing."

I agree, which is the reason why I call my KelbyOne class on composition: Composition – the strongest way of seeing. In the class I cover the basic rules of composition and why you should break them. I also cover the most import composition technique: composing emotionally.

Check out the course comments . . . and for those of you who have watched the class, thanks for all the positive feedback.

Speaking of KelbyOne, my friend Scott Kelby also has an in-depth class on composition. It's called Crush the Composition. Check out the course comments! As you will read, Scott provides an awesome learning experience.

Have fun conquering the composition.

Explore the light,
Rick

Deal of the Week!

Get a 41% discount on Photoshop Artistry: Fine-Art Grunge Composition.

The Most Important Accessory for Outdoor Portraits

When I give a seminar on making outdoor portraits, I suggest using a reflector/diffuser kit – the single most important accessory for the outdoor portrait photographer.

Sure, a speedlite is a valuable accessory, and I have one with me at all times. But if you are on a budget or want to travel very light – and can take ONLY ONE accessory – the reflector/diffuser kit is the way to go.

What? You thought a leaf blower was the most important accessory? Well . . . it can create a beautiful "wind in the hair" effect.  :-)

Reflectors and diffusers enable us to control the light – turning bad/hard light into good light. I used a large reflector, like the one pictured above, to illuminate the model in the opening image for this post. The reflector filled in the shadows on the models face created by the harsh sunlight. It also added some nice catch-light to the model's eyes.

Quick Tip: When using a reflector, the subject often becomes brighter than the background – so you need to meter the scene carefully.

Above is another example of how a reflector enhanced a portrait. Below is a behind-the-scenes shot of me using my Westcott Lighting Kit and Tote.

Quick Tip: When using a reflector, tell the subject NOT to look at it: the reflected light can be blinding.

Diffusers soften harsh light.

Above is an example of how a diffuser turns harsh light into pleasing light.

Above is a behind-the-scenes shot of me using the diffusion panel in my Tote Kit.

All the gear I use for my on-location portraits is listed on My Gear Page. For more of my travel portraits, check out my World Portrait Gallery.

One final Quick Tip: Always respect the subject. Respect the subject and the subject will respect you.

My next model shoot is in NYC on November 4th. All indoors, but we'll use reflectors and diffusers, as well as Westcott Ice Lights, Spider Lights. Speedlites, too.

Learn about light on-line with my KelbyOne classes.

Explore the light,
Rick

Deal of the Week!

Get a 41% discount on Photoshop Artistry: Fine-Art Grunge Composition.

Learn Landscape Photography with Me – Anytime and Anywhere

Sunrise on the Mara.

Sunrise on the Mara.

If you like landscape photography, I offer several options for improving your images – anytime and anywhere.

On my workshops.  In 2015 I am offering workshops that include landscape photography: Death Valley, Provence and Croton-on-Hudson, NY.

Sunrise at Angkor Wat. 

Sunrise at Angkor Wat. 

On my workshops we shoot and process, and have a ton of fun doing both! All are welcome.

After sunrise on the Oregon Coast. 

After sunrise on the Oregon Coast. 

On-line. I have a new on-line class on landscape photography with Craftsy: Landscape Photography in the Great Sand Dunes National Park. It includes five HD video lessons and a virtual classroom - where you can share your shots and get my feedback. Very cool! Right now, you can get a 50% discount!

All my KelbyOne on-line courses are listed here.

Sunrise on the dunes in Death Valley.

Sunrise on the dunes in Death Valley.

On-the-go. My iPad and iPhone apps provide on-the-go learning. For landscape photographers: iHDR, 24/7 Photo Buffet and 50+ Tips for Nik Color Efex Pro.

On YouTube and Vimeo.  Scroll down to the bottom of my On-Line Classes/Video page and you'll find several videos that I shot in Iceland and on the Oregon Coast that focus on landscape photography.

That's me speaking for Canon at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. 

That's me speaking for Canon at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. 

At my seminars.  I share my favorite landscape photographs - and tips, tricks and techniques - at my seminars. I give more than a dozen seminars each year, and love each and every one. What's more, most are free – thanks to Canon sponsorship.

Mono Lake before the crack of dawn. 

Mono Lake before the crack of dawn

Well my friends, I hope to see you . . . somewhere!

Sunrise on Route 66. 

Sunrise on Route 66. 

To help you find the best light for your landscape photographers, my friend Craig Ellis and I developed Photo Sundial. This all-in-one app gives you the sun, the stars, the moon - and much more. Never miss another sunrise or sunset again.

The app is great for on-site shooting, as well as for trip planning. Twenty-five photo tips, too!

Hey, if you find a better priced and more fully-featured sun-finder app, please let me know. 

Explore the light,
Rick

Three Filters For Making Better Photographs

rick sammon.jpg

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,
Rick

Don't Be a Dummy When It Comes to Studio Lighting

One easy and affordable method for honing your home studio lighting skills is to practice lighting techniques with a mannequin, which you can easily order from Amazon.com.

When working with a dummy, you can place lights in different positions for different effects – without a live “model” complaining and for charging you overtime - and without wasting a client's time.

Here you see in my mannequin photos, clockwise from the top left, the effects of using:
- one main light;
- main light, background light set to 1/2 power and a hair light;
- main light, a background light set to full power and a hair light;
- and main light and a light behind the subject pointed at the subject.

For my mannequin photos, I used Canon Speedlites and Westcott diffusers for this series of images. I fired the Speedlites with my Canon wireless transmitter.

My "Girl with a Pearl Earring" photograph was taken with a Canon Speedlite in a Westcott Apollo Softbox. Click here to read about the shoot.

Remember, when a subject shows up in your studio, you can’t waste time. Otherwise, you may look like a dummy.

My next lighting workshop will take place in NYC on November 4th.

Explore the light,
Rick

Deal of the Week!

Get a 41% discount on Photoshop Artistry: Fine-Art Grunge Composition.