Cool Stuff And Ideas for Making Cool Pictures in 2011

Happy New Year Everyone!

I know you all want to make great pictures in 2011. Here's some stuff and a few ideas that can help you in your quest!

New Full Body Female Fiberglass Mannequin LM1D. 69.2" 37.7" 26.3" 34.6"
Hey, don't be a dummy when it comes to lighting - and don't waste the subject's time. Buy a mannequin for about $130 and practice different lighting techniques until you master each one . . well in advance of your shooting session. What's more, the mannequin will not complain when you adjust the lights a million times :-)

Lighting idea: Place a light behind the subject and point it toward the subject to light the hair (left), or place a light behind the subject and point it toward the background to light the background (middle). The middle photo is an example of what a "separation" light can do.

Rogue FlashBenders ROGUERELG Large Positionable Reflector
This handy accessory increases the size of the light source . . . and as we all know: the larger the light, the softer the light; the closer the light, the softer the light. If you are serious about your flash photography, don't leave home w/out a Rogue FlashBender.

Lighting idea: Fold the FlashBender in a tube-like fashion to direct the light on a targeted area of the subject. That's what I did for the top left mannequin photograph, targeting the light on the mannequin's hair . . . OK, wig :-)

Here are two shots I took on the show floor at Photo Plus Expo in NYC using a Rogue FlashBender on my Canon Speedlite 580EX II Flash for Canon EOS Digital SLR Cameras.

Speaking of flash photography, my #1 flash tip is: Take the darn flash off the camera! Once you do that, a whole new world of creative flash opportunities away you.
For Canon shooters, here is an accessory for off-camera flash photography:Canon ST-E2 Speedlite Transmitter for Canon 580EX II, 430EX, 430EX II Speedlites

Two accessories for all brands of camears:
Pocket Wizard FlexTT5 Transceiver For Canon TTL Flashes and Digital SLR Cameras
PocketWizard MiniTT1 Radio Transmitter for Canon TTL Flashes and Digital SLR Cameras

Photographic Composition: A Visual Guide. Readers of my blog know that Dr. Richard Zakia is my photo hero. Read this book and you'll see why! Dick will show you a new way of seeing, for sure.

X-Rite ColorChecker Passport
Want accurate color? Check out ColorChecker Passport. This handy accessory, which is about the size of a passport, features color chart panels and a CD. You shoot the color chart in the lighting conditions in which you'll be working, pop the CD into your computer, open the ColorChecker Passport software and . . . voila! Getting images with accurate color is a snap.

Sun-Sniper Camera Strap
True story (just ask the folks who were on my Maine Media Workshop a few years back): One of my cameras fell in a quarry . . . because is slid off my shoulder. Simply put, that will never happen again, because I use the Sun-Sniper Camera Strap. If you shoot with two cameras as I always do, these straps will give you fast access to each camera.

Westcott 301 Photo Basics 40-Inch 5-in-1 Reflector
Seeing the light is of the utmost importance in photography. Knowing how to control the light is also key. If you are serious about taking people pictures, don't leave home without a reflector/diffuser kit. I certainly don't.

If you are not yet into HDR photography, check out Photomatix and HDR Efex Pro.

Photomatix. You can save 15% when you order Photomatix by using this code: ricksammon.

Nik Software’s HDR Efex Pro. Save 15% if you use this code: RSAMMON upon check-out on the Nik web site

Like the artistic look in a photograph: Try Topaz Adjust. For my "Old Havana '57 Chevy" photograph, I used the Spicify Effect. Click here to order Topaz Adjust. Hey, save a bundle when you order a Topaz bundle.

Explore the light – and have a great 2011!