Free Perfectly Clear Webinar - and save 10% on this awesome plug-in

Don't miss my free webinar on Perfectly Clear - one of the awesome plug-ins I use to enhance my images.

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Day: September 3, 2015
Time: 6 PM Pacific

It's a two-part webinar: Part I: Travel Photography in Cuba. Part II: Quick tips on using Perfectly Clear.

Hey! You can save 10% on Perfectly Clear upon check out from the site by using this code: Rick10.

If you miss the webinar, it will be archived here.

Explore the light,

One-Hour Canon EOS 5Ds Shoot: Making “Images with Impact”

Click images to enlarge.

When I teach a photo workshop, I begin by asking each participant, “What is your goal?” I ask that all-important question because setting a goal is important if you want to get a high percentage of good images.

Different photographers have different goals. I thought I had heard ‘em all, until a few years ago. One of my workshop participants, Gary Potts from Las Vegas, Nevada, responded, “I want to make images with impact.”

I helped Gary (a very good photographer by the way) achieve his goal. Gary, like many of my photo workshop participants, helped me, too. Now on my photo workshops, I often give the assignment: make images with impact.

Guess what? I often give myself that same assignment. That is what I did when I spent about an hour with Gary and my wife Susan at Techatticup, Nevada during Photoshop World 2015.

Here are my favorite images from the shoot, along with camera/lens info and some suggestions for making images with impact.

1) Opening Image - Alter time. When we alter time, but using a very fast or very slow shutter speed, we remove some of the reality from a scene. When we remove some of the reality, an image can have more impact. In the opening image for this post, I altered time by applying the Radial Filter/Zoom in Photoshop to the sky area of my photograph. That filter created the impression that my exposure was several minutes long (needed to blur very slow moving clouds), when in fact it was 1/200th sec.

To alter reality even more, I applied the Duplex Filter in Nik Color Efex Pro, which added a painterly-look to the image.

Info: Canon EOS 5Ds, Canon 14mm lens.

2) Above – Shoot HDR. I teach HDR on all of my photo workshops. When I teach HDR, I stress the importance of capturing the entire dynamic range of the scene: from the darkest area to the lightest area. This image was created from a seven-exposure set of RAW images. (Bracketing with 5Ds is quick and easy.) Notice how you can see into the shadows yet the highlights are not blown out. I used Photomatix (my #1 recommended HDR program) to create my HDR image. You can get a discount on Photomatix on my Plug-ins page.

Info: Canon EOS 5Ds, Canon 14mm lens.

3) Above – Get Up-Close-and Personal. If you want the person looking at one of your images to feel as though he or she was right there with you when you took the shot, shoot close to the main subject. Wide-angle lenses let us shoot close, the wider the lens, the closer you can get and still get good depth-of-field.

Wide-angle lenses also let you get everything in the scene in focus, which is how a scene looks to our eyes. The combination of shooting wide and close, and getting everything in the scene in focus, can produce an image with impact. And yes, the dramatic sky in this image, as well as the sky in the follow image, helps to create an image with impact . . . but remember: it’s the way the sky is captured (with a super-wide angle lens here) and processed that adds impact.

This is an in camera HDR (0 EV, -2 EV and +2 EV) image. For this and the following in-camera HDR image, I chose the Art Vivid mode.

Info: Canon EOS 5Ds, Canon 14mm lens.

4) Above – Go Ultra Wide. Following up on using wide-angle lenses, if you want an image with impact, going ultra wide can help. Ultra wide-angle lenses not only help us capture extra wide areas of a scene, but they also bend light and subjects in a cool and interesting way, which can produce an image with impact, as illustrated by the way the clouds are dramatically captured in this in-camera HDR (0 EV, -2 EV and +2 EV) image.

There is something else about this image that creates an image with impact: incredibly sharp detail, which is a testament to the capture quality of the camera’s 50.6 MP image sensor. And speaking of the camera's capabilities, the in-camera HDR is awesome.

Canon 5Ds, Canon 14mm lens.

 5) Above – Combine Techniques. This image combines a few image-with-impact techniques: shooting HDR (Photomatix again), going ultra-wide (Canon 15mm lens), getting it all in focus, adding some texture and color in Nik Color Efex Pro, and having an interesting subject, which of course helps us create an image with impact.

Info: Canon 5Ds, Canon 15mm lens.

6) Above – Use Plug-ins. Plug-ins can help create images with impact. Plug-ins can also help us awaken the artist within. I used the BuzSim filter in Topaz Simplify (also listed on my Plug-in page) to create this painterly-quality image, which is a close-up of a section of the rusting truck in the vertical image above. Yes, shooting close-ups is also a technique for creating images with impact, especially when you fill the frame with color and detail.

Info: Canon 5Ds, Canon 24-105mm IS lens.

If you want more tips, tricks and techniques for making images with impact, as well as some image-processing techniques, check out my latest (and 36th book), Creative Visualization for Photographers.

If you like photographing old cars, check out my Capture the Classics workshop in Atlanta (where I took this image) later this year. Good fun in an awesome location.

If you can’t make a photo workshop, check out my KelbyOne on-line classes.

Explore the light,

It's Macphun Friday: Intensity Pro's Presets are Pretty Cool, but the Adjust Panel is Awesome

rick sammon carmargue_edit.jpg

When I teach Macphun's Intensity Pro (and other plug-ins) on my photo workshops, I suggest starting with presets. With a preset, you may get a cool-looking image with just one click of your mouse, as illustrated below.

A preset, however, is only the start of using Intensity Pro (and all plug-ins). For almost endless creative options, I suggest using the creative options panel, called the Adjust panel in Intensity Pro.

In the Adjust panel, you have total creative control, among other things: Shadows, Highlights, Contrast, Vibrance, Micro Sharpness and Structure. With total creative control, you can create one-of-a-kind images.

Whatever plug-in or stand-alone digital enhancement you use, experiment with  creative options to awaken the artist within.

Save 10% on Macphun software when  using this code upon checkout: RICKSAMMON.

All the plug-ins I use are listed on my Save on Plug-ins page.

I took the photograph of a Carmargue horse in this post on my 2013 Provence photo workshop. Click here for info about my return workshop to Provence later this year.

Explore the light,

Topaz to the Rescue: Turn Outtakes to Keepers - and save a few bucks

In going through my images for my new Feather Friends Galley, I came across the outtake on the right. Taken early one morning in low light with the Canon 7D at ISO 800, a tightly cropped image showed a bit of noise. Plus, low contrast made the image look flat.

To reduce the noise, I used Topaz DeNoise. To add some color and a painter quality to the image, I used Topaz Simplify's BuzSim filter.

You can save 15% on Topaz plug-ins when using this code upon checkout: ricksammon. See my Play & Save on Plug-ins page for details.

Develop your creative vision,


One-Day Croton-on-Hudson Photo Tune-up on May 25: Photography, Photoshop & Plug-ins

I'm doing a one-day photo tune-up in my "backyard," Croton-On-Hudson, NY. It's a condensed version of my more intensive Croton Creative Workshop, listed on My Workshops page. It's kinda like playing speed chess. We'll get in as much as we can in several short sessions. You will be running around on this workshop, as opposed to the much more relaxed and personal feeling of my standard Croton workshops.

Here is the info (subject to change):
• May 25, 2014. Rain date June 1.
• 9  AM to 6 PM - later if you stay for the optional dinner.
• Only 8 participants.
• Cost $149 per photographer. (Plus small processing fee.)
• Bring your camera gear and laptops.
• Photograph at the Buddhist temple in Kent, New York 40 minutes away. One hour shoot. We shoot here for two hours during my Croton Creative Workshops - where there are fewer people around than on a weekend, which could get busy.
• Lunch (not included in price).
• Process your images in Photoshop (or Lightroom, but I can show you some Photoshop techniques) at local bed & breakfast.
• Short play with plug-ins sessions. You can download from my Save & Play with Plugs-ins page.
• Speedy speedlite session at bed & breakfast. A much longer session (with a model) on my Croton Creative Workshop.
• Early dinner (not included in price).
• Swing by the New Croton Dam for a quick shoot or a sunset walk along the Hudson River. We do both on my standard Croton workshop.

rick sammon for site.jpg

More images and places to stay.

Space is limited. Shoot me an email if you are interested in this learning experience.

Please note that we will be on a strict time schedule.

Explore the light,

This post sponsored by x-rite. For more information,  and to save up to $40, click the logo below.