Conveying a Photographic Idea Quickly and Easily with "Sammonisms"

Text and Photographs by Rick Sammon

I have what my photo workshop participants call, “Sammonisms.” Sammonisms are short sayings, expressions and adages that, like quotes, convey a photographic idea quickly and easily. Sammonisms work for digital SLR, mirrorless and smartphone photographers.

In my 20th KelbyOne class (use out in early 2020), Sammonisms – Speed Learning Advice for Making Awesome Images, I share with KelbyOne members 52 Sammonisms (and a bonus tip), each illustrated with one of my favorite photographs from my travels to more than 100 countries.

Sammonism #1: Use Your Camera Like a Spaceship

One of my favorite “Sammnonisms” is: "Use your camera like a spaceship." In other words, move your camera up and down, and even angle it sometimes, for an interesting perspective and creative composition.

Recently, I was thinking of that particular Sammonism when I and a photographer friend, Tom Spatig, were in an underground hide in Botswana photographing elephants at a watering hole. Tom used his Platypod for making time-lapse iPhone movies. Below is Tom's setup using his Platypod:

Sammonism #2: Go for Gesture

I use my Platypod to steady my shots. Check out my elephant shot below. Here, I was following another “Sammonism”: "Go for gesture."

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