Rick Sammon’s Creative Visualization for Photographers

Rick Sammon is a photographer and tutor who’s made it his mission to help and teach the next generation of photographers. He’s a Canon Explorer of Light and prolific author, his latest book Creative Visualization for Photographers sets out Rick’s methods of making pictures.

The book is 270 pages long, and divided in to short easy to read chapters. I read the whole book cover to cover in a couple of days. Some chapters you will no doubt go back to re-read at a later date as the book stays relevant regardless of whether you are just starting out, or well down your own photographic road.

The Creative Visualization Process

Rick advises a six-step process creative visualisation process through out the book… I’m not giving the secret away to list the six steps

  1. select your subject
  2. consider compostion
  3. see the light
  4. find your focus
  5. expertly expose
  6. process with purpose

Throughout the chapters in the book, Rick’s enthusiasm for teaching is obvious; reading the book I almost imagined I had Rick guiding me through each page. I was really pleased to see not only an amazing set of pictures, but also the  source images – the one’s Rick took employing his creative vision. Rick, and the book, considers not only the creation of the picture with the camera, but also with the post production possibilities in mind.

It was really refreshing to see the significant crops taken out of some images to make the final composition when it was all but impractical at the taking stage.

Whilst Rick is a Canon Explorer of light the book is not a Canon how to manual – it’s for all kinds of photographers. The Canon photographers will soon see that despite a long career in photography Rick chooses his kit to meet his needs. If you regularly read Rick’s blog then you’ll know he favours Canon’s f/4 L-series lenses for their lighter weight and travel friendly sizes over the more expensive, bulky and heavier f/2.8 stablemates.

At the end of the creative visualization process comes the software step, Rick is a keen supporter of several tools to make post production simple and quick. As a photographer we want to take pictures – not really spend days tied to a computer. You’ll certainly find yourself more than interested in the trial editions of the Google Nik Collection of plug-ins  and several from Topaz Labs too.

Rick’s vision sometimes goes down the road of HDR, and he uses it as a tool to ensure his images meet what his mind saw in the scene. Our brains and eyes are way better than any camera when it comes to envisaging images.

My final thoughts

I wasn’t sure what I’d find in the book; would it be aimed at a different kind of photographer? The reality is that Rick’s expertise at “not-specialising” means that the book is suited to a wide range of photographers who want to make pictures that they love. Quite possibly if the photographer loves the picture, then clients will too.

I learnt plenty, and loved the open approach to sharing the whole process of getting to the final picture. If you want quotes, Rick has enough to keep you stocked up for a long time.

Rick’s passion for sharing his knowledge and skills with others has meant a large life-experience as he goes in search of better subjects to make his images from. You’ll be reading the book and thinking where can you go to capture your next “best photo”.


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Disclosure: Rick Sammon arrange for me to be sent a copy of the book to read and in order for me to create this review.

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