Dramatic Portrait Light

There’s an old adage about portraiture: If you want an interesting portrait, don’t light the entire subject.

There’s an old adage about portraiture: If you want an interesting portrait, don’t light the entire subject. In other words, you can create interesting lighting by creating interesting shadows. And when it comes to shadows, keep this adage in mind: Shadows are the soul of the picture. Here’s something else important to keep in... Read more

Black-And-White Magic

I usually give how-to advice in this column, and I’ll do that here.

I usually give how-to advice in this column, and I’ll do that here. Before we begin talking about the "how" of black-and-white, let’s talk about the "why." Here’s the original color file from which I created the opening image for this column. I took the shot in Iceland on one of my travel photography workshops.... Read more

Quick Fix Fridays: Get A Move On In The Studio

In studio lighting, you can change the position of the lights, and you can change your shooting position.

In studio lighting, you can change the position of the lights, and you can change your shooting position. Both make a big difference in the end result. Here I changed position, and as you can see, it made a big difference. In the first photograph, my favorite, I am shooting slightly toward the light. In the second photograph, I am shooting almost... Read more

Quick Fix Fridays: Use A Telephoto Lens For Landscapes

When it comes to landscape photography, most photographers think wide-angle.

When it comes to landscape photography, most photographers think wide-angle. Sure, wide-angle lenses are great for capturing sweeping vistas. Telephoto lenses, however, are also well suited for landscape photography because they help us "cut the clutter" and frame details in a scene. Telephoto lenses can help us think like a painter: painting... Read more

Quick Fix Fridays: Shadows Are Your Friend

Novice photographers often work very hard to eliminate shadows from the background.

Novice photographers often work very hard to eliminate shadows from the background. Sometimes, that’s good. However, shadows can add a sense of depth and drama, and interest, to an image. Case in point: Here you see how the shadows in the background add to the dramatic mood of the photograph. You get strong shadows like this when you have a... Read more

The Painterly Image

For most photographers, taking pictures is only a part of the creative image-making process.

For most photographers, taking pictures is only a part of the creative image-making process. The other part, and for some photographers, even the most important part, is enhancing their pictures in the digital darkroom. Image enhancements aren’t new. Famed landscape photographer Ansel Adams and noted portrait photographer Yousuf Karsh of Ottawa... Read more

Quick Fix Fridays: Reduce The Noise In Your Nighttime Shots

My dad had a wonderful photo saying: "If a picture is so boring that you notice the noise, it’s a boring picture."

My dad had a wonderful photo saying: "If a picture is so boring that you notice the noise, it’s a boring picture." That said, noise could actually add to the mood of a picture. On the other hand, it can be distracting. It’s up to you whether or not to add, increase or reduce noise – which is easy to do with Lightroom, Photoshop... Read more

Quick Fix Fridays: Take a Hike!

Edward Weston, one of the most respected photographs of all time, said, "Composition is the strongest way of seeing." I agree.

Happy Friday! Edward Weston, one of the most respected photographs of all time, said, "Composition is the strongest way of seeing." I agree. When it comes to outdoor photography, I say, "Take a hike (or drive or ride) for creative composition." Let me explain. The opening image for this post is my favorite image from my first... Read more

Quick Fix Fridays: Two “Sammonisms” That Can Help You Make Better Photographs

I like to make learning fast and fun.

I like to make learning fast and fun. That’s why I developed what I call my "Sammonisms," one-liners that drive home an important photo tip. In this post I’ll share two of my favorites. All my "Sammonisms" are listed on my website: www.ricksammon.com/about. Here goes! Light Illuminates, Shadows Define Every picture... Read more

Quick Fix Fridays: Don’t Be So Quick to Delete

Today, among some photographers, there is a tendency to press the Delete button on the back of one’s camera if a picture is not, well, "picture perfect". Well my friends, don’t be so quick to delete and image.

Happy Friday! Today, among some photographers, there is a tendency to press the Delete button on the back of one’s camera if a picture is not, well, "picture perfect". Well my friends, don’t be so quick to delete and image. There is much you can do in the digital darkroom to save/improve a shot. Here are just two examples. I... Read more

Quick Fix Fridays: Quick People Pictures

Here are two quick tips to help you make better people pictures.

Here are two quick tips to help you make better people pictures. #1 "The camera looks both ways." It’s true, the camera really does look both ways: in picturing the subject, you are also picturing a part of yourself. In other words, you are a mirror. The mood, the energy, the feeling and the emotion that you project are reflected by... Read more

Quick Fix Fridays: Analyze This

As photographers, it’s important for us to analyze our images — to see what went right, so we can have repeat successes, as well as to see what went wrong, so we can avoid mistakes.

As photographers, it’s important for us to analyze our images — to see what went right, so we can have repeat successes, as well as to see what went wrong, so we can avoid mistakes. To illustrate how we can analyze an image, I thought I’d analyze the opening image for this post. Here goes. The letters in the image correspond to my analysis. ... Read more
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