Have Some Plug-in Fun This Weekend – and Save a Few Bucks, Too!

Topaz Adjust/Portrait Smooth
Plug-ins expand the capabilities of Photoshop, Lightroom, Aperture, etc. They also expand your creative horizons.

Plug-ins are relatively inexpensive - and you can even save a few bucks by using my special codes below.

Here are my favorite plug-ins, favorite plug-in images, and favorite plug-in tips. 

For my picture, "Girl with a Pearl Earring," I applied Topaz Adjust/Portrait Smooth on the top layer (the original was on the bottom layer) and then I faded the Opacity to reduce the effect.

Photomatix Plus Topaz Adjust

HDR Efex Pro

My latest, favorite plug-in: Nik Software’s HDR Efex Pro. 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. 

HDR Efex Pro tip: Use the Control Points and Curves to fine-tune your image – and to save time touching up your images in Photoshop, Lightroom or Aperture.

 Photomatix Plus Topaz Adjust
The image above was created with Photomatix - with a touch of Topaz Adjust. You can save 15% when you order Photomatix by using this code: ricksammon. 

Photomatix tip: Adjust the White Point and Black Point sliders first. If your highlights are washed out with even with the White Point slider moved all the way to the left, you missed capturing the entire dynamic range of the scene with your original HDR sequence. 

Topaz Adjust

Topaz Adjust is just too cool. Above I used the Spicify Effect. Below I used the same effect, but greatly reduced the noise. Click here to order Topaz Adjust. Hey, save a bundle when you order a Topaz bundle.

Topaz Adjust tip:  Press the Reset tab each time you work on an image - unless you want your previous effect applied to your current image. 
Topaz InFocus

Topaz InFocus is a relatively new plug-in from Topaz Labs. Click here to read about InFocus.

InFocus tip: Don't over-sharpen your images. The more you sharpen, the more noise you'll get in your images.

Check this out. Want to turn a picture like the one on the left into a picture like the one on the right? See below.

It's fast and easy with Alien Skin's Bokeh 2. You can save 15% when you order any AlienSkin plug-in by using this code upon checkout: RSA0901.

Bokeh tip: Spend the time in Photoshop making a VERY careful selection.

 Aline Skin makes more cool plug-ins. Click here for info.

Nik Silver Efex Pro
Hands down, the coolest way to create a black and white digital images is with Nik Silver Efex Pro. Save 15% off if you use this code: RSAMMON upon check-out on the Nik web site.

Silver Efex Pro tip: Experiment with the different color filters to see how they can enhance the tones in your images.

Explore the light,

P.S. If you like HDR, check out my latest app:

Rick Sammon's HDR Portfolio

My newest how-to app for the iPad is now available: Rick Sammon's HDR Portfolio - featuring HDR Dissolve™. This app is packed with photos (my latest), info and movies. A great way to learn HDR.