Introducing My Latest e-Book: Conquer Photographic Composition - and Explore the Wonders of Iceland

Click images to enlarge.

My latest e-book is here: Conquer Composition - and Explore the Wonders of Iceland. The e-book features the same photographs and tips that are included in my iPhone and iPad app, Conquer Composition app  – with the addition of five photographs/tips and the location for each photograph.

The e-book is priced at $4.95. Click here to download from my on-line store.

In the e-book I share with you some of my favorite Iceland photographs that illustrate 34 important composition techniques - techniques you can use for all your photography.

Part I (pages 5 to 38) includes a composition technique and the location for each photograph.

Part I (pages 5 to 38) includes a composition technique and the location for each photograph. Part II (pages 40 to 73) includes exposure information for the photographs.

I created this e-book for Android device users who don’t have iPhones and iPads – as well as for photographers who prefer to learn from e-books. This e-book offers both photography and location suggestions for photographers who plan to visit Iceland.

For more in-depth advice on composition, check out my KelbyOne class: Composition - the strongest way of seeing.

And for more advice on exposure, see my KelbyOne class: Light - the main element in every photograph.

For hands-on training, check out my workshops!

Explore the light,

Seven Reasons to Attend My South Beach Speed Learning Photo Workshop

Each year, for the past four years, I've run photo workshops in Miami's famed South Beach in January. This year I am doing something a bit different: I am offering a small group speed learning class from January 15  to 17.

Have a non-photograph spouse? No problem. No charge. He/she can attend the photo and processing sessions as our guest. Fun dinners, too.

If you have never been to South Beach, and want to learn a ton – and have a ton of fun – in a short time, here are seven reasons to join the workshop. Another idea: give the workshop, or any of my workshops, as a gift.

1) Above: You will shoot at night and learn about long exposures - and how to get the very best in-camera exposure.

2) Above: You will learn about seeing the light, composition and creative visualization, the key to getting a good photograph.

3) Above and Below: I will show you how to enhanced your images in Photoshop and in Lightroom.

3a) Did I mention that l like to make learning fun? :-)

4) Above: You'll learn about HDR. I recommend downloading Photomatix for your HDR image processing. Learn about HDR in advance with my iHDR app.

I will also teach creative plug-ins, which you can download here.

5) Above: We'll shoot at sunrise, and work on our images during our download session.

6) Above: We'll photograph sun worshipers, and learn how to work with people, reflectors and diffusers. You will also master daylight fill-in flash - I promise you. So bring your speedlite.

7) Above and Below: At the end of the workshop you'll reflect on how much you learned and how much fun you had.

If you can't make South Beach, my other workshops are listed here.

If you like to learn at home, I also offer on-line training,

Explore the light,

P.S. The image below illustrates a good reason for snowbirds to register for the workshop. :-)

It's "Hey Rick! What's Your F-stop?" Friday

“Hey Rick. What’s your f-stop?” That is the question I get asked most on my photo workshops.

I reply, with a smile, “My friend. What is your creative vision?” That’s the much more important question, because my aperture and shutter speed ISO combination (called the Exposure Triangle) may not result in the photographer’s vision of how the scene should be captured. Lens selection, lighting conditions and camera-to-subject distance are also important considerations in convey one’s vision.

I understand, and appreciate, a workshop participant’s quest for a pro’s recommendations when it comes to camera setting. So I share my settings, but I always suggest other possible settings so the photographer can capture his or her own creative vision.

In this Friday feature, which will run from time to time if you guys like it, I will share my settings, and why I chose those settings, for some of the images I made while teaching a workshop that I co-led with my friend Hal “Bull” Schmitt, director of Light Photographic Workshops, to Alaska earlier this month. 

Photograph: Beautiful Grounded Berg

Camera: Canon 5D Mark III

Lens: Canon 17-40mm lens

Exposure: ISO 125. f/11 @ 1/800th sec.

Reasoning: I had three goals in making this photograph:

1) to capture the beauty of a grounded berg (an iceberg that has broken off from a glacier and, at low tide, is grounded);

2) to get great depth-of-field;

3) to have separation between the main grounded berg and the grounded berg in the background. Careful composition and a small aperture allowed me to achieve my goal.

Concept: Use a very wide-angle lens and small aperture to get great depth of field.

Hal and I hope to see you on our 2015 Death Valley Workshop.

Explore the light,

P.S. If you can't make a live workshop, I offer several on-line classes. Good fun, too.

Subject, Light & Composition

rick sammon for web 1.jpg

When it comes down to it, good photographs have a good/interesting subject, good light and good composition.

rick sammon cowboy 1.jpg

I talk about that stuff on my workshops and in my on-line classes.

Screen Shot 2013-05-09 at 8.18.15 AM.png

I also cover those topics in my books.

When you look through the viewfinder, before you shoot, think about the importance of light and composition – and how these element can be used to make a good image.

Explore the light,

This post sponsored by x-rite. X-Rite is the global leader in color science and technology. The Company develops, manufactures, markets and supports innovative color solutions through measurement systems, software, color standards and services.

Check out these cool x-rite products:
Passport Color Checker

Good Photographs Have Three Key Ingredients


When it comes down to it, good photographs have three key ingredients: an interesting subject, good composition and a good exposure.

Interesting subjects are subjective to a degree. Good composition and a good exposure are subjective, too. That's what makes photography – and all art forms – so personal.

From your personal point of you, it's important to pay careful attention to these key ingredients. Sure there are rules to follow, but it's important to break those rules . . . to follow your heart. And sure, it's good to listen to the advice of pros in portfolio reviews, but first listen, and then digest what they say. "To thine own self be true," as my mother used to say.

I'm not big on photo competitions, as judges choose winners based on their own subjectivity. But that is not to say that you should not enter a competition. Getting feedback is always good, as long as you take it with a grain salt.

And speaking of rules, you'll see that I started two sentences here with "And" and "But," something the nuns in Catholic grammar school told me was against the rules. Hey, it works for me, but might not work for an English teacher reading this blog. Or you.

All that said, a starting point for a good photograph is a good idea. I have two classes on Kelby Training that will help you get started. One is on Composition and the other is on Light. Check 'em out on my On-Line Training page. Both classes have been viewed more than 7,000 times, and I'm happy I got (a word the nuns frowned upon) a few folks started.

In viewing these classes, keep in mind the very personal aspect of photography . . .  yours and mine. As 1960s rockstar/heartthrob Ricky Nelson sang, "You can't please everyone, so you gotta please yourself."

If you like the stuff you see here on my blog, you can subscribe here.

Also, leave a comment on how you feel about your photography. Are you out to please others, or yourself? I'd love to hear from you.

If you like stuff like this, you can subscribe to my blog here.

Explore the light,

P.S. I took the opening photograph for this post in Antarctica, where the photo below of me was taken. Brrrrrrrrrr.

This post sponsored by Perfectly Clear - super sharp photos with super low noise.