Friday's Fab Photographer: Christie Mellor

It's Friday - time for another Friday's Fab Photographer here on my blog!

Thank you so much, Rick, for inviting me.  It’s such an honor! 

As a photographer, the creative process is largely made up of all the decisions I make before ever pressing my shutter button. Before taking the shot, I have thought through location, lighting, wardrobe and even weather. And while the goal will always be to get the best shot possible straight out of the camera, there’s a whole other creative journey that begins the moment the shutter is pressed. It's true that good editing will not save a bad photo, but it can turn a good photo into a great one!

Taking photos is an art unto itself, and I, for one, will be learning new things and bettering myself for as long as I live. Likewise, learning to use all of the amazing editing tools we have at our disposal will be a life-long endeavor. This pursuit is close to my heart, because how I choose to edit my photos is as much a part of my style as how I choose to take a shot. Wouldn’t you agree? Post-processing is part of how I tell my story, and one of my favorite story-telling techniques is to simply create a B&W image. When I say B&W, I mean the full range of warmer, chocolate-like B&W to the cooler, almost silver B&W photo.

I often open my photographs in Nik’s Silver Efex Pro and get beautiful and dramatic images.

By adding contrast, structure and a color tone, you can easily take one of Silver Efex Pro’s many presets and bring out the details that otherwise might get lost in your image.

One thing that has struck me looking back at my earliest B&W photos is how easy it is to convert an image to greyscale and just leave it that way, without drawing out the highlights and bringing details back from the shadows. There are so many amazing tools to help you not only convert the image, but really accentuate all of its elements! Nik’s Silver Efex Pro is just one of my favorites.

Even if you do not use a plug-in, you can get fantastic results using Lightroom and Photoshop. By paying close attention to highlights, shadows and contrast, you’ll be able to create something much richer and with more dimension than ever before. Everyone loves eye-popping color, but the next time you just want the focus on your subject, try a black & white!

Thanks again, Rick, for this opportunity.  You are a tremendous resource, and I so appreciate all you do to teach others!

Google +:

You Save While I Shoot in NYC

I'm off to shoot and teach at Photo Plus in NYC this weekend.

While I am shooting, you can save a few bucks on plug-ins! 

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. Note: You must use the United States web site.

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: RSAMMON.

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

Explore the light,

Catch Me at Photo Plus Expo in NY This Weekend - Even if you live in Pago Pago

I'm preparing for Photo Plus Expo this weekend. You can catch at least one of my talk at the Canon booth . . . even if you live in Pago Pago - as Canon will be streaming the presentations from its main stage. I will have the honor of sharing the stage and Speedlite booth with several other Canon Explorers of Light.

My Canon talks:
Speedlites - 1 PM Thursday
Speedlites - 10 AM Saturday
Main Stage - 1:45 PM Satruday

I'll also be at the SmugMug booth, where Andy Williams and I will be taking your questions for the DPE Podcast! Hey! You can save 20% on a SmugMug account when you use this code: RickSmug20.

SmugMug/DPE Q&A:
Thursday 11 AM
Friday 3 PM

I'll also be doing a quick demo at the Westcott booth. My favorite Westcott produce is the Westcott Apollo softbox.

Westcott Presentation:
3 PM Thursday

Want to get into HD videos with you Canon 5D Mark II and Canon 7D? Juan  Pons and I have a DVD for you.. which will be on sale at the show for $39.95! Swing by the Photoshop Cafe booth.

I'll also be hanging around the HONL, Nik Software and Lowepro booths.

Catch me at the show and say hi!

Explore the light,

Socialize Your Small Business - it's the key to success!

Because the business side of photography is so very, very important, I am starting one-one-one, on-line, one-hour business consulting sessions.

Here's how it works:

We discuss your business via Skype or Google Chat. I cover the main social media outlets - and how they can help you!

It's like having a private lesson in the comfort of your home.  

• You shoot me an email and we set a time. I am on NY time. I am booked until December, but we can set a day/time now.
• You prepay with PayPal. $95 for the one-hour session.
• You send me a link to your site and blog.
• You tell me your time zone.
• You tell me your goals.

Good luck with your business. Socialize it! It's key!

Explore the light,

Explore the Light in the Sunshine State on My Florida Photo Caravan

St. John's Pier, St. Augustine, Florida - in HDR. See the heart?
Join the fun on my second Florida Photo Caravan. It's a traveling, photographic educational experience starting in historic St. Augustine and ending in Miami’s exciting South Beach. On the road, we stop, and shoot, in Merritt Island and Delray Beach.

Dates: January 21 to 28, 2012.

This digital photography workshop will be action-packed with photo opportunities, digital darkroom info, and, of course, fun! With such a small group, you’ll have a great opportunity to learn through personal attention.

Here’s how it works: You drive. You book your own hotel rooms (we will recommend the group hotel). You pay for your own meals. We provide photographic instruction and guidance. And, we arrange shooting locations, meeting times, conference rooms, restaurants, etc.

Old Town in St. Augustine is a cool Town.
You'll need HDR Efex or Photomatix for HDR. Discounts here. You can also order Topaz adjust on that page, which will add to your photo creativity.

Workshop fee: $900.

We are limiting this Photo Caravan to 10 participants. Spaces go fast!

For information and an application: e-mail; or call 914-271-6132.

Tentative Schedule – Subject to Change
Saturday, January 21
PM Arrive in St. Augustine (Hilton Garden Inn)
PM Welcome Dinner at the Sunset Grill

We shoot before dawn - so you snooze you lose!
Sunday, January 22
- Shoot in St. Augustine: Sunrise shoot - Horses running on the beach
- Old Town Shoot
- Download/Photoshop, etc.
- Group lunch and dinner if you want to join the fun.

Before and after HDR.
Monday, January 23
- Second Sunrise shoot in St. Augustine. St. John's Pier
- On-location lighting – flash, reflectors, diffusers
- Check out and drive to Merritt Island (Fairfield Inn andSuites, Titusville, FL)

Bring your tripod and telephoto lens.
- Afternoon shoot at Merritt Island.
- Group lunch and dinner if you want to join the fun

Bring your tripod and wide-angle lens.
Tuesday, January 24
- Sunrise shoot in Merritt Island
- Bird photography
- Drive to Delray - meet for street photography walk.

HDR Rocks in the Colony Hotel in Delray.
Wednesday, January 25
- HDR Shoot in Delray
- Model Shoot
- Download/Photoshop, etc.
- Group lunch and dinner if you want to join the fun

We'll have models, too.
Thursday, January 26
- Sunrise shoot in Delray Beach – people/reflectors/diffusers/flash
- Check out and drive to South Beach (Blue Moon Hotel)
- Art Deco Hotel Shoot

You'll love the art deco lifeguard stands.
Friday, January 27
- Sunrise Shoot in South Beach
- Model Shoot
- Download/Photoshop, etc.
- Late afternoon/night shoot
- Group lunch and dinner if you want to join the fun.

Saturday, January 28
Bring your walking shoes. Lots to shoot!
- Sunrise shoot in South Beach
- Model Photography
- Final download/Photoshop, etc. – and group slide show
- Farewell dinner. Workshop ends.

Sunday, January 29th

Hope you can join the photo fun!