Spend the Weekend With Me On My creativeLive Class: On-line and perhaps in the cL Seattle studio

Come this October, I'll be giving a 3-day class - A Rick Sammon Photography Weekend - on creativeLive. Because my "specialty is not specializing," I will cover many of the topics you asked for - from the shooting side to the business side of photography. 

Scroll down to see my Class Outline. It's quite comprehensive.

New news: I will be introducing two super affordable, never-before-seen accessories for speedlites. When I say super affordable, I mean super affordable.

You (and five other assistants/students) have the unique opportunity to possibly join me in the studio. Click here to watch the movie for info.

In-studio student details:

1. Record a (short) video saying why you want to join me in Seattle.
2. Post it to your Blog, YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, Etc.
3. Tweet the URL to @creativeLIVE with the hashtag #SammonLIVE

We'll find you!

Deadline for your video: Monday, September 26th!

Click here to read about the creativeLive experience from past studio alumni.

Behind the Scene - The Making of the Video

As with all the cL instructors, I made a video to promote the class. If you check out the other instructors' videos, you'll see that they make the videos fun and creative, as well as informative.

We shot the 2-minute video in my living room - where I actually do a lot of my studio-type shots. The idea here is this: you can get great shots in a home "studio" (which will be one of segments in my class.)

What a blast. The video will be posted in a few weeks on creativeLive, YouTube, Google+, etc. Check it out. I mentioned a very cool aspect of the class in the video.

For now, I thought I'd show you a few of the screen grabs and stills from the shoot. And, of course, I'll include some photo tips.

The opening image was a test shot to check the lighting and exposure. Although it looks as though I am on stage or in a studio, I am actually, as I said, in my living room. See what you can do with a cool background and some creative lighting!

Tip: The background can make or break a portrait. When using a soft, cloth background (as I did) create some folds, which add depth to the background. Use side lighting to accentuate the folds. Use a gel over the background light (s) to tint or change the color of the background.

Above: Here's a behind-the scenes shot that shows some of the gear we used. Below are the links to the gear.

Westcott TD6 Spiderlite kit. The large software had no gird, but the smaller one did.

Handy Zoom H4n recorder.

Two Tram wired mics.

Westcott Background Support.

Westcott Black Background

Three Induro tripods, one Gitzo tripod, and one Manfrotto tripod.

Gorilla pod (holding Zoom H4n to tripod)

To read more about my cameras and lenses, click here.

Tips: When using a soft box (or any lighting set up), remember that the closer the light is to the subject, the softer the light. And when it comes to size, remember that the larger the light, the softer the light. Also, don't aim the light directly at the subject. Rather, feather the light by aiming it slightly in front of the subject.

Audio tip: Use wired mics for best results. And, DO A SOUND CHECK before your actual shoot. Our sound check revealed an incorrectly inserted battery in one of the mics.

Above: Here is a diagram of our basic set up. Note: this diagram and items are not to scale.  Neither is the man in the diagram :-) Also, the background was not flat. The idea here is to give you an idea of the lighting/camera set up.

Camera 1: Main camera on a tripod. Canon 5D Mark II with 24/105mm IS lens.

Camera 2: Camera mounted on Kessler Krane. Canon 5D Mark II with 17-40mm lens.

Camera 3: Camera mounted on a tripod. Canon 7D with 50mm lens.

Tip: We used three cameras so that we had three different angles from which to choose the segments for the final video. After the shooting session, we spent about 1/2 hour shooting close-up to be used as inserts in the final video. The total shoot took less than two hours - because it was very well planned out in advance and because the lights were all set up the day before the shoot.

On the top left of the diagram you see a small light. It's a flood light that I picked up at The Home Depot.

Above: Here's a frame grab from the final video. For the guitarists out there, I'm playing a Fender Strat plugged into a Fender Delux 90 amp. That's my Martin DC-16RGTE in the background. (I used to teach guitar and piano lessons - and still play with friends, recently with Steven Inglima, Joe Brady and John Isaac.)

Tip: You'll noticed that we changed the lighting just a bit by adding another floodlight on the right from The Home Depot.

Above: Here's a quick snapshot of my view of the set up. Notice the camera atop the Kessler Krane near the ceiling. Mounted on the camera is a SmallHD video monitor for easier viewing. (Yes, next time we'll get a long cable to mount the SmallHD closer to the camera operator. Or, maybe I could get fellow Canon Explorers of Light Gale Tattersal or Vincent Laforet to help me out.) Hey, I would have made a better exposure for this behind-the-scenes shot, but the main focus was shooting the video, so I had to shoot fast.)

Above: Frame grab from the video showing an aerial view from the Canon 5D Mark II/17-40mm lens mounted on the Kessler Krane.

Above: The production crew for the shoot – talented college students from Croton-on-Hudson, New York:

Left: Marco Sammon, who operated the camera on the Kessler Krane and who helped with the lighting/camera set up and with the all-important test-shots.

Right: Kevin Vail, who shot with two cameras and offered creative suggestions for the shoot. Kevin, who is editing the video, is shown with the Kessler Pocket Dolly and Canon 7D and Canon 50mm lens. You'll see some of Pocket Dolly segments that Kevin shot in the video, which includes a nice slide down the neck of the Strat. See more of Kevin's videos.http://vimeo.com/kvail

Tip: Work with creative people younger than you are . . . especially at my age :-)

I'll let you know the video is up.

I hope to see you in October on creativeLive. Stay tuned (so to speak) here on my blog for updates and info.

Class Outline

Day 1: Friday, October 21


9:00 am - Welcome/Class Outline with Slides - and some photo tips, of course. Also, a walk through on the different lighting sets: Speedlites, Small Strobes, Small Constant Lights, Spiderlites, Indoor Available Light.

Setting Goals/Four Levels of Learning.  

Rick’s Best Easy, Affordable and Totally Cool Speedlite Shots. Affordable is key here. Hey, if you have a Westscott Apollo and a speedlite  you can "Shoot Along With Rick™."

-- Lunch --

Interview with David Ziser. Topic: Portraiture. DZ is da man!

he Camera Looks Both Ways — People Photography. My best shots from around the world.

What Does Your Photography Mean to You? I want to hear from you during the class.

Speedlite Shooting Session. Another quick, affordable, cool tip.

Day 2: Saturday, October 22


9 am - Business of Photography/Self Promotion/Social Media Marketing. It's a business, ya know :-)

Continuous Lighting / Home Studio Part I: One light with accessories.

-- Lunch --


Interview with Hal “Bull” Schmitt. Topic: Fighter Pilot Lessons Applied to Photographers.

Continuous Lighting / Home Studio Part II: Three lights.

What Does Your Photography Mean to You? I want to hear from more of you during the class!

Speedlite Shooting Sessions. Another quick, affordable, cool tip.

Day 3: Sunday, October 23


9 am - Travel Photography. Not just pretty pictures. Practical tips, too.

Macro Photography. We'll photograph butterflies in the studio......

-- Lunch --


Interview with Catherine Hall.

Rick's Photo Philosophies (one liners). Practical advice for photographers.

What Does Your Photography Mean to You? If I have not heard from you, now is the time.
After three days, the students shoot Rick!

(Again all times Pacific - We now begin at 9 AM, so all times are moved up 1 hour)

Explore the light,

P.S. If you are new to my work, you'll find some of my latest photographs and tips, tricks and techniques in my apps.