Introducing Rick Sammon's Light It! An iPad App That's All About Lighting

My latest app, Rick Sammon's Light It! – has just arrived. The iPad app is designed to help you make (not just take) professional-quality digital SLR people pictures – without spending a small fortune on professional lighting accessories. It's ideal for photographers who want to learn about shooting with an accessory flash and basic lighting accessories. Some of my favorite photo philosophies are included, too.

The 1.5 hour training app (packed with 1.5 GB of info) includes both video lessons and before/after photographs. At 1.5 GB you want to download the app from your home computer and then transfer it to your iPad.

Click here see the intro movie - and a mini-lesson on lighting.

Click here to order the the app. Pricing note: the app is being offered at the introductory price of $8.99 until September 30, 2010. After that, the app will be priced at $10.99.

I took the illustrative photographs with a range of Canon digital SLR cameras – from entry-level to top-of-the-line models. While watching the video lessons, you’ll learn how pros photograph people indoors and outdoors, in bright light and in low light, at home and on location, and even in a studio. In looking at the photographs, you’ll see the effects of my recommended techniques.

In the easy-to-follow and fun video lessons, some of which were originally shot for our Wiley Publishing DVDs, I’ll show you how to use reflectors, diffusers, a flash, flash accessories, basic strobe kits, basic hot-light kits and more. I also cover camera settings, as well as some of my photo philosophies. Although I often refer to specific cameras, the basic camera settings can be applied to any digital SLR - and even some compact cameras.

Two of the videos in this app – Top 21 People Photography Tips and Top Ten Digital Photography Tips – feature some of my favorite digital SLR pictures from around the world, accompanied with how-to tips, of course!

This is a basic, or starter, app about lighting. However, as you will see, pros use many of these techniques and accessories to get great shots. (Yes, we are already working on Light It II!)

The movies, shot by Emmy-award winner David Leveen, are divided into five sections:

Basics: 33 Minutes
Outdoors: 15 Minutes
In Your Home: 16 Minutes
On-Location: 12 Minutes
Studio Shooting: 23 Minutes

The total viewing time is about 1.5 hours.What’s more, I have included more than 100 end-result pictures in the app to illustrate the techniques I discuss in the lessons. So in effect, the app is taking a private lesson with me – but only at your own pace.

The app was developed by Craig Ellis of Great Oak Software. In discussing the app, Craig said, “My goal with the design of Light It! was to make it an intuitive yet rich learning experience that showcases Rick’s favorite lessons that are embodied in beautiful videos and before/after photographs. His lessons are fun and easy to follow where he makes learning fast – so user experience supports that flow. I am especially proud of look and feel where iPad users should be immediately familiar, comfortable, and productive using the app to become seasoned photographers in taking better people pictures by learning from the teachings of Rick Sammon.”

This is my fifth app. My other apps: Rick Sammon’s 24/7 Photo Buffet, co-developed with Dr. Dave Wilson; Rick Sammon’s Social Media Marketing for Photographers, co-developed by Juan Pons, my business partner in the Digital Photo Experience; Life Lessons We Can Learn From Mother Nature, also developed by Juan Pons, and Butterfly Wonders, another Pons/Sammon app. Click here to see all my apps.

I hope you enjoy this app. Let me know by shooting me an email at ricksammon at

Explore the Light – and explore the joy of people photography.

Rick Sammon

P.S. My publisher, Wiley, has put together a special page for ordering my books and DVDs. Click here to check it out.

Turning a Snapshot into a Great Shot in Maui: Controlling the Light

Photographs © Rick Sammon

DPE co-founder Juan Pons and I, as well as several members of the Digital Photo Experience gang, are just back from the 2010 Maui Photo Festival & Workshops. What fun, and what a fantastic learning experience.

One of the highlights of the event was the "Hula Dancers at Sunset" shoot, organized by DPE contributor Randy Jay Braun, a local photographer on Maui. Many of the presenters chimed in with tips on using reflectors, diffusers and a flash. Here is just one example.

We made the opening picture for this post by controlling the strong, direct and unflattering sunlight. Two diffusers were held between the sun and subject to soften the shadows, and a gold reflector was held to bounce some light onto the darker side of the subject. The gold reflector also added a beautiful glow to the subject's face.

See! It's easy to turn a snapshot into a great shot - and it's easy to control the light.


Snapshots to Great Shots: Make the Picture

Today at the Maui Photo Festival, we had fun demonstrating how to turn a snapshot into a great shot.

After finding a willing subject, who was on her honeymoon, I took a snapshot of her along one of the busy hotel paths. Then, I grabbed a red table cloth and had two assistant hold the table cloth behind her - which created a studio-type atmosphere. Basically, we made the picture.

The lighting on the subject was soft and sweet. Notice the natural hair-light, too. We also made the picture by choosing the location based on the light.

We made a quick video of this snapshot-to-great shot moment. It will be posted on DPE soon!

Explore the light,

24/7 Photo Buffet App Sale! One Week Only.

Just about a year ago, I met Dr. Dave Wilson in a helicopter during the Maui Photo Festival. We were both taking pictures while flying high over beautiful Maui.

When we landed, I asked Dave, "What do you do in real life?" He replied, "I'm an app developer."

I said, "How cool is that! Do you think we could develop an app together?"

Within four months, we had our first iPhone app: Rick Sammon's 24/7 Photo Buffet.

A few months later we launched Rick Sammon's 24/7 Photo Buffet for the iPad.

I supplied the content, Dave did all the cool programming.

You can read about, and order, the apps here.

To celebrate our first year of working on apps, and to celebrate the Maui Photo Festival, we are offering a sale on both the iPhone and iPad versionsof 24/7 Photo Buffet – from August 22 to August 29.

The $4.99 iPhone version is on sale for $1.99.
The $8.99 iPad version is on sale for $3.99.

Again, this sale ends August 29th.

Explore the light,