Thursday, August 25 presents
Rick Sammon, Professional Photographer

Chat with a Pro Shooter!
October 26, 2000

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Linny: Are there any celebrities who have taken up photography seriously as a result of your working together?

Rick Sammon: Dana Delany, I think was one of my best students. She really enjoyed photography, and I think she got some really good pictures. I was in Botswana with John O'Hurley--Jay Peterman from Seinfeld, and he got some good pictures too. However, none of the celebrities are going to give up their day job to play travel photographer.

Lisajo: How did you create "Last Catch"?

Rick Sammon: This is one of my favorite digital creations. It started with two very boring pictures; one of a man walking down a beach, and the second picture was just a picture of a flat ocean and blue sky. In PhotoShop I twirled the water, added the moon, which I did with lens flare filter, and then I pasted the man into the picture on a second layer, and then I reduced the opacity of that layer so you can sort of see through the man. Many people asked me where the idea for this came from, all I can say is that I have no idea. However, if you play in the digital darkroom, you will come up with original ideas too. So play and have fun!

Harry Waldvogel: Do you present any workshops or tours?

Rick Sammon: Yes! I teach for Popular Photography Magazine, and my tours are listed on Popular Photography Photo Tour website which is at I also teach for the Palm Beach Photographic Center, and their website is The information is also on my website at Out of all the things I do, I really love teaching photography. I love the enthusiasm of the students. On this same subject, I just returned from China for Popular Photography where we had 32 students, and we got thousands of great pictures!

Lisajo: Is it possible to purchase any of your prints? I Love "Last Catch" and "Lion Kill, Botswana."

Rick Sammon: Sure! Please email me at we can talk about the size at that time. Thank you!

Beffie: Is it possible for a person to make a living solely on photography? What is the demand for quality photographs like?

Rick Sammon: There are many people making a living of photography. Many of the people I know, including myself, combine writing skills with photography skills. And by doing that, especially for travel photography, that gives you an advantage over someone who takes only pictures. Most of my books are text intensive, a lot of text. To get back to your question, there are a lot of photographers making a living, but it is a very, very competitive field. So never give up! And I never gave up! A publisher at one time or another rejected each one of my twenty books.

Leilah: Your photographs are spectacular. Do you have any tips for someone studying photography as a major in college?

Rick Sammon: Thank you for the compliment. I'm glad you like my pictures. My advice is to take pictures for you. I like photographing people the most. And I've developed, I guess, a talent for doing that. But if you ask me to photograph a rocket ship or a bridge, or a telephone I doubt I could do as good a job as I do with people. So basically, follow your heart. Following up on the question about studying photography, most likely you will have to do some things you don't want to do (in life) to do the things you want to do.

This picture is a daylight fill-in flash picture. If you want to take pictures of people you must learn to use daylight fill-in flash.

Snapshot: I use a point-and-shoot camera now, but I have been looking at SLRs. Can you recommend a good camera?

Rick Sammon: I would recommend for your first SLR a moderately priced camera. The important thing is the lens. I'd recommend getting a 28 mm to 105 mm zoom. That's a good starter lens. From there you can get other lenses, but that's a good place to start.

Karen Mainer: What do you pack in your small, over the shoulder camera bag? What are your basics?

Rick Sammon: First of all, I don't have a small over the shoulder camera bag. My philosophy is you wimp out, you wipe out. In other words, you have to have gear with you to capture the pictures you want to get. My basic system is as follows. 2-35 mm SLRs, 17--35 mm zoom, 70--200 mm zoom. A flash, tons of film, batteries, several filters, my digital camera, and my camera cleaning kit. That's my basic system. For wildlife photography, I'll pack in another bag a 100--400 mm zoom with 1.4x teleconverter.

Loves Pictures: Do you enjoy shooting pictures more in black and white or color?

Rick Sammon: I shoot all my pictures in color. However, when I get my pictures in my computer I turn just about everyone into a black and white picture to see how it looks.

This picture of Frigate Birds, Galapagos was originally a color slide, but I liked the black and white image better. Following up on the black and white questions, black and white photography is a lot of fun.

Anna Lee: I was wondering if you think that the disposable cameras available are any good? Do you have any tips for using these cameras to make the most of what they can do?

Rick Sammon: They used to be called disposable cameras, today they are called one-time cameras because companies like Kodak recycle them. The one time cameras today take better pictures than the earlier cameras, basically because of the ISO 800 speed film. With this fast film, people are getting a much higher percentage of sharp pictures and properly exposed pictures. I carry one of these with me just about all the time for fun shots.

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