Plug-ins for Portraits

© Rick Sammon
It's true! Everyone has an artist within. Sometimes, that artist is revealed. Other times, that artist is just waiting to be released.

Plug-ins were designed for the photographer/artist – because they can remove some of the reality from an image.

In this post I'll share with you some of my favorite plug-ins . . . for all the artists out there. You can save a few bucks on these plug-ins by going to my Creative Plug-ins page.

Before moving on, however, I am teaching studio and on-location lighting with my friend Dave Cross at his workshop center in Oldsmar, Florida in February. Hope to see you there. NAPP members save $100.

Above: Nik Software's Silver Efex Pro.

© Rick Sammon
Above: A straight shot I took of Catherine Hall at the Googleplex. Catherine's stick-on name tag (above her right elbow) proves she was there. So does the picture below.

See what you can do with one light!

© Rick Sammon
Above: Topaz Adjust/Simplify.

© Rick Sammon
Above: Nik Software's Color Efex Pro/Duplex/Image Borders.

© Rick Sammon
Above: onOne Software's PhotoFrame (left) and PhotoTune (right). PhotoTune lets you open up shadows and tone down highlights easily. Dozens of exposure and color adjustments are actually available.

I happen to like the strong shadow in my original photograph. However, when it comes to working with clients, they may not like that effect. With PhotoTune, you can fine-tune your images afterward, making your clients happy. :-)

PhotoFrames lets you add a creative edge in an instant. Here, too, you have tons of options.

© Rick Sammon
Above: Nik Software's Color Efex Pro/Midnight filter.

© Rick Sammon
Above: Here's a behind-the-scenes look at the setting for my Little Red Riding Hood portrait. Yes! I took the shots at Photoshop World at the Westcott booth.

For more on lighting, see my apps.

Explore the light,

HDR Fun Adds to Bird Photos in Bosque del Apache

I'm reposting this post from a few weeks ago because some folks asked me about other photo ops in Bosque.

Yes! Bosque del Apache is a mecca for bird photographers. The snow geese and sandhill cranes are a sight to behold.

But there are other great photo ops in Bosque.... especially if you are into HDR photography.

Today Juan Pons, Chris Klapheke and I took our workshop students on a cool HDR shoot in a junkyard.

When it comes to HDR photography, you'll get the coolest images when shooting in a high contrast situation - such as shooting from indoors to outdoors, which includes shooting from inside a car.

Above is one of my favorite images from our HDR shoot. I used the Canon 8-15mm fisheye lens on my Canon 5D Mark II. I created the image in Photomatix with a touch of Topaz Adjust (to bring out the grain in the leather seats). Below is another Topaz Adjust image.

To learn about HDR, see my post: HDR Must Know Info.

To $ave on Photomatix and the other plug-ins I use, click here.

Above is another HDR image I shot today. I could have brought out more of the details in the shadows, but.... shadows are the soul of the photographs, shadows are your friend... and light illuminates, shadows define.

If you like HDR, check out my iHDR apps.. for the iPad and a Mac!

So what about the birds today?

We saw tons of birds. Above: I used my Canon 400mm DO lens on my Canon 7D.

Tips: Crop creatively; crop out the dead space. Use focus tracking (AI Servo) when photographing moving subjects.

Shoot silhouettes. Use Nik Color Efex Pro's Gradual Filter to change the color of the sky. Again, see my plug-ins page to get a discount on the plug-ins I use, including Nik.

Leave some room in the frame into which the subject can fly.

Shoot with both eyes open so you can see other subjects that can enhance (or ruin) an image. Watch the background, too.

Explore the light,

P.S. Before I go, here is an image I created using the Midnight filter in Nik Color Efex Pro.

Download a Rick Sammon Image 'Till the End of the Year

Photograph © Rick Sammon
Hi All,

Until the end of the year, I am offering a one-time/personal, high-res download of one of my top selling images: "Here Comes The Sun." The cost is $9.99.

You can download the image from my SmugMug gallery and make your own print or screen saver.

If you are new to downloading images from SmugMug, here's how to do it.

Select an image in a gallery. Click on Buy.

Click on Downloads and make your purchase.

That's it!

Hey, if you are not using this feature in SmugMug to make yourself a few bucks, give it a try.

And if you don't have a SmugMug Pro account, you can save 20 percent by using this code: RICKSMUG20.

Explore the light,

Make "Check Your Histogram" Your New Year's Chant

© Rick Sammon. Purchase through my SmugMug site.
On my all my workshops, "Check Your Histogram" is the daily chant.

Your camera's histogram is your light meter. It will tell you if parts of your image will be overexposed and if the shadows will be blocked up.

The basic concept is to "move the histogram to the right." You do that by increasing the exposure until the "mountain range" (which shows the distribution of light levels) is mostly on the right - but without a spike on the very, very right. Most of your image data is on the right, which is why your want your histogram on the right.

Photographs © Rick Sammon
If you do get a spike, the brighter parts of the image will be overexposed, as illustrated by the picture on the right. The image on the left is properly exposed - you can see details in the white feathers.

Photograph © Rick Sammon
If you do get an overexposed area in an image, you can try to rescue it with the Shadow/Highlight control in Photoshop and Lightroom. But it's best to get the best in-camera exposure - by checking your histogram.

Explore the light,

Sammon in the Sunshine State

My Florida Photo Caravan begins with a special shoot: Horses on the Beach.

I have eight Florida events schedule for January 2012. I hope you can join one . . . or two!

St. Augustine
Free Seminar - Exploring the Light. Not part of the Photo Caravan. Not a photo shoot.
January 21 – 4 - 6 PM. Sorry Full!
Hilton Garden Inn
401 A1A Beach Blvd.
St. Augustine, FL
Register by email

Lots of birds to photograph at Merritt Island.
Florida Photo Caravan!
January 21 - 28
One of my favorite hands-on workshops!
St. Augustine, Merritt Island, Delray Beach, South Beach
Click here for info. Full but you can get on the waiting list.

Cool HDR photo opportunities in South Beach.
Ft. Laurderdale
Free Seminar - The Camera Looks Both Ways (People Photography). A cool, two-hour talk.
February 1 - 7:30 to 9:30 PM
1350 East Sunrise Blvd.
Ft. Lauderdale, FL

Master HDR on my workshop.
Delray Beach
Digital Delray Days
Hands-on Workshop.
January 30, January 31 and February 2
Colony Hotel
595 East Atlantic Ave
Delray Beach, FL
Click here for info

Seminar and Workshop - Two events.
February 4 - 5
See poster at the end of this post.
Click here to register.

Free Seminar. Sorry Full!
People photography: Lighting and Photo Philosophies
A cool two-hour talk.
February 6. 
7 to 9 PM. Doors open at 6 PM for book signing.
Hilton Garden Inn
Tampa Northwest/Oldsmar
4052 Tampa Road
Oldsmar, FL 34677 

Email to register.

Need a hotel room at a discount? Use this code - Sammon Seminar -  at the Hilton.

Rick's On-location and In-Studio Lighting Hands-on Workshop.
 February 7 and 8
Produced by Dave Cross workshops. Yes! Dave will be there, too!

Vero Beach
February 11
Seminar and Book Signing 10 - 3
Indian River Photo Club
Kight Center (V-Building ~ On 35th Street On Campus)
     Indian River State College
     3209 Virginia Avenue
     Fort Pierce, FL  34981
Email to register and then just show up!

I hope to see you in the Sunshine State. If not, click here for my other USA workshops.

Explore the light,

P.S. For my Florida Photo Caravan and Digital Delray Days, you need Photomatix or HDR Efex Pro. Get a discount here.