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Registered and released

Registered and released

I’ve been an advertising and corporate photographer for forty-eight years, and in that time, I’ve had my share of legal problems over the unauthorized use of my images. For some incredible reason, people think that they can just come and take my photos for their own use and not pay for them. Since I’ve spent the majority of these years in film, it was a constant issue, and one that was very hard to find out about.

I had to see my photo in a magazine, a brochure, on a billboard, or for a second on the television. The only other way was to have someone (usually another photographer) recognize my shot and call me to let me know. I once was sitting at a light and glanced over to a bench next to a bus stop and saw a photo that I knew a friend of mine had taken. I decided to call him and “lo and behold,” he knew nothing about it.

In my online class with the PPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind Workshops” I conduct around the planet, I’m always telling my fellow photographers that putting a ‘C’ in a circle next to your name not fully protect it.  People always think it does, but I have some bad news for you…it doesn’t. Your image has to be registered with the Library of Congress to even be able to sue for infringement. Not only does it have to be registered, but if it was not registered before the commencement of the infringement, you will be severely limited in how much you can recover from settlement or suit.

Because most infringements of photographs involve an advertising use – and it’s virtually impossible to prove the amount of profits “attributable to the (advertising) infringement” – if the image is not registered prior to the infringement, you can only recover the license fee you could have charged for the use in an “arms-length” transaction. Compare that recovery with what you can get if registered before infringement; statutory damages of up to $150,000 per work infringed plus attorneys’ fees, expert witness fees, court costs and interest.

I was teaching at the Julia Dean Workshop in Hollywood and made a comment on the size one of my students had embedded her name and copyright mark on her submission for review. It was too large and quite distracting. Another of my students asked me if I had ever heard of a company called Digimarc. I said I hadn’t so he proceeded to fill me in on what is proving to be one of the best pieces of advice ever given to me in my long career.

Digimarc offers a way to protect your image with an invisible embedded watermark;a very simple and subtle way to help identify infringers of your image. The real beauty about using Digimarc is that they will monitor your images by continuously searching the internet (worldwide} for any infringement of your copyright. For more information, you can click on the Digimarc logo seen on this blog. Btw, I receive no monetary compensation if you register. I do it as a professional courtesy to my fellow photographers.

For this post, I’ve called on my attorney to make a statement about his experience on Copyright issues. Dana LeJune is a Houston based lawyer who is one of the foremost authorities on the current issues involving copyright infringement. Here’s what he had to say:

“Copyright infringement in the areas of music, film, photography, and architecture is at an all-time high. Home builders are hiring draftsmen (usually, licensed architects won’t risk it) to redraw house plans, ad agencies are downloading images from Google, or scanning them from magazines, and teens are using file-sharing to pirate popular music every day, in every part of the country.  Because litigating such a case can be very expensive for the copyright holder, the contingent fee arrangement may make prosecution affordable for the “little guy.”

Here’s what you need to understand: if the work was not registered before the infringement began, the potential recovery is often insufficient for the lawyer to pursue using the contingent fee arrangement. Without the ability to recover statutory damages and attorneys’ fees, and because of the likely inability to prove what profits were attributable to the infringement (in an advertising use), most lawyers will decline to accept the case.

The moral of the story is, REGISTER YOUR WORK REGULARLY. Photographers have a special prerogative to register their works, en masse, so there’s not a huge financial disincentive. Just make sure to list the name of each photo in the registration separately, even if on an attached list. This way the single registration for several hundred images will (probably) permit the recovery of multiple statutory damage awards for a single registration.

If you have any questions that are not answered by my website, www.copyrightsuit.net, I don’t charge for telephone consultations, so don’t hesitate to ask me a question. You may also email me at dlejune@triallawyers.net. Good luck and wealth for the rest of 2015 and 2016.”

That’s pretty sound advice, and it comes from someone that knows what he’s talking about. If you find that someone has used your photo without authorization and it was registered, calling my attorney would be an excellent idea. If it wasn’t registered, it wouldn’t be. Registering these days has been made as easy as it gets, and you can do it online with the Library of congress. There’s people that actually talk to you if need be.

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com and be sure tyo check out my 2016 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. come shoot with me sometime.

Keep sending in your photos and questions to: AskJoeB@gmail.com, and I’ll create a video critique for you.

JoeB

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My Favorite Quotes: Ralph Waldo Emerson

No blue ribbons here.

No blue ribbons here.

Ralph Waldo Emerson was a writer and poet who led the Transcendentalist movement in the mid 19th century. I’m not by any means a big lover and follower of quality literature and poetry, and not a follower of Transcendentalism, but what I remember reading about him was that he was a big supporter of individualism…and so am I. Only recently did I find a quote he said somewhere in the late 1800’s. It immediately stuck to me as it fits perfectly into the way I present my way of thinking to both my online classes with the BPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet.

He once said, ” Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail”. This really hit home to me a few weeks ago when I was asked to give a talk and show my work to a local camera club at their yearly Christmas dinner.

First, let me say that being a member of a local camera club has a lot of advantages. If you’re into the social aspects as in: meetings where you get together with people that share your love of photography, drink diet cokes and unsweetened ice tea while exchanging current trends, or enter into club competitions where the best photo is not always picked, then a camera club is the way to go….and can be a lot of fun. You can also take workshops given by other members…if you’re so inclined.

Having said that I’ve spoken at many camera clubs over the years and have judged several of their yearly competitions. At some point during my visit several of the members have pulled me aside and said that although they love my presentation, if they were to submit photo composed the way I compose, they would be made to stand in the corner and subsequently ridiculed in front of the entire membership.

Ok, maybe they didn’t say it exactly that way, but as far as the way I seen things, the truth is that my photos would never be accepted into their show; certainly not win any ribbons.

:-(

Here’s my standing reply to these few souls that have evidently lost their way, “Start your own camera club”.

These are the photographers that were given coloring books when they were young and were told to color inside of the lines. As a result, now, as grown-ups, they strictly adhere to all the rules of photography and woe be to those that deviate in any way.

I’m talking about the staunch supporters of the Rule of Thirds, never clipping the highlights, and the Leading in Rule, to name a few. They will never give up their life long beliefs nor have any of them ever been interested in my online classes or workshops…which is absolutely OK with me!!

Live by the rule, die by the rule seems to be their hidden agenda and mantra.

The few of my fellow photographers that want to venture out into the creative world where coloring outside the lines is the best way I know to taking photos “up a level”, and that stand out among others…then as Nike would say, “just do it”.

To be sure, I’m not saying to never follow the rules, or not join your local camera club. I’m saying to not live and die by those rules If you don’t believe in always following the rules, and following the same path as your camera club members, then don’t. Go your own way and blaze your own trail then maybe you can help others that feel the same as you (or more importantly don’t) get together and follow the path you’ve blazed.

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2105 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. come shoot with me sometime. July 26th will be my 27th year at the Maine Media Workshop…the granddaddy of them all. I’ve always picked this week as it’s the week of the Lobster Festival down the road in Rockland. It offers a completely different set of photo ops: color, motion, people, energy, light, and design. A great way to break up photos of the beautiful coastline, fishing villages and lighthouses that Maine is known for.

Keep those photos and question coming into: AskJoeB@gmail.com, and I’ll create a video critique for you.

JoeB

 

 

 

 

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Anecdotes: United airlines/Hawaii

It was me all along.

It was me all along.

I was shooting for five weeks in Hawaii for United Airlines and the Hawaii Department of Tourism. Along with some of the top hotels, they had formed a coop in which they all shared in the expenses.

I had sent my producer over a week ahead of time to scout locations for me to look at once I got there and to ultimately shoot. I had told her that I wanted to include some typical well-known tourists attractions, because they would look different when I shot them….why you ask?

For the simple reason that the tourists would get there sometime after breakfast and before lunch, or after lunch and before dinner. Either way, they would be there in the worst possible light, while I would be there before the sun came up and right before it set.

In these types of locations, it’s all about the light, and very few of my fellow photographers ever thinks about that. In my online class with the BPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet, I’m always stressing that the light is critical if you’re trying to take your photography what I refer to as “up a level”.

Knowing where the light is going to be, how long it will be there, and when it will leave is fundamental in coming home with that illusive OMG photo. The only time light can be second in the thought process is when you’re street shooting and “the moment” will and can trump beautiful light…especially if you’re shooting B/W.

One of the tourist attractions my producer found was on the Island of Kaua’i. It was the Kilauea Lighthouse, and it was one of the more popular attractions on the Island. At a popular lookout point I checked the light with my Sunpath readings coupled with my Morin2000 Hand Bearing Compass. After determining that it was a sunset shoot, I set out to add something to what would otherwise be a fairly predictable photo; even at sunset…another “layer of interest “.

There was a big enough budget that I could do pretty much what I wanted in terms of props. In this case the prop was a forty-five foot sailboat I chartered to have it tack back and forth close to the cliff. Since I knew where the sun was going to set, it was easy to backlight the huge sail.

We arrived at the lookout well in advance to make sure we secured the best spot, free from other tourists that might get in the way; not an option considering what the sailboat cost.

Right on time the sailboat came around the cliff and as it did, all the tourist that were also there started hooting and hollering while clapping at their good fortune. While the rest of the ‘weekend photographers’ shot with their small cameras with even smaller lens, I had my 600mm F/4 Nikor lens on.

The crown couldn’t believe it when the sailboat started going back and forth with the lighthouse overlooking it; they hooted, hollered, and clapped some more. Finally one of them came over to me to see what I was doing since I had a headset on with a voice-activated mike.

What I was doing was talking via a powerful walki-talki to one of my assistants that was on the sailboat with another walki-talkis. I was the one that was instructing the sailboat to tack back and forth. When the word got around to all the others, they began to hoot and holler louder than they had been…and applauded my entire crew.

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2105 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. come shoot with me sometime. July 26th will be my 27th year at the Maine MediaWorkshop…the granddaddy of them all. I’ve always picked this week as it’s the week of the Lobster Festival down the road in Rockland. It offers a completely different set of photo ops: color, motion, people, energy, light, and design. A great way to break up photos of the beautiful coastline, fishing villages and lighthouses that Maine is known for.

Keep those photos and question coming into: AskJoeB@gmail.com, and I’ll create a video critique for you.

JoeB

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Cuba: April 2015

Taken at one of the cultural events the group goes to.

Taken at one of the cultural events the group goes to.

Last November, the Santa Fe Workshops asked me to lead a photographic cultural tour to Cuba. It was a great experience not only for the group that was full, but for yours truly as well.

A few months ago they asked me to lead another group that went this past April, and of course I wanted to go back. It’s a fantastic country, with wonderful, friendly, and engaging people. The photo opportunities range from the cultural events we go to as part of the tour, as well as the “dawn patrols” and afternoon to late evening shoots we all go out shooting on our own.

I’ve been contacted again by Santa Fe to lead another group back to Cuba next March 15th. Once again I said oh yes!!! The Santa Fe Workshop is a top organization, run by professionals that have their participants wants and needs at the top of their list of things to do on a daily basis. I know that when I go, I don’t have to think of anything except shooting and working with my fellow photographers.

You might think that after being there twice, I would have seen and photographed enough to fill a long slideshow to the family. But as I often quote a 19th century French novelist named Marcel Proust to my online class with the BPSOP, and in my own “Stretching Your Frame of mind” workshops I conduct around our planet, “The only real voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes”.

One could keep going back to Cuba and find new photo opportunities each and every time, and I’m looking forward to doing just that. Here’s a slideshow of photos not that I took, but those from my group. As you can see, they’re truly indicative of the kinds of subject matter you see when you’re there with me. I would put a lot of these images up against the majority of self-professed professional photographers that are out there right now.

Enjoy the show:

I hope these images reach down into the soul of every photographer out there looking for places to see and photograph while inspiring you to join me. If Cuba has always been on your bucket list, I strongly suggest you see it before it changes forever as our government’s relationships with theirs becomes more and more open.

I can guarantee you as I did with all the photographers work you’ve seen in both these posts, an experience you’ll be talking about for years to come. Come join me next March 15th as I see things again with new eyes. For those that are interested, I can tell you that my group fills fairly quick. Now that we have an embassy in Cuba, the classes will fill even faster. Here’s a link to my trip in March: http://www.santafeworkshops.com/photography-workshops/workshop/1591

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com and check out my 2016 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me sometime.

Keep sending me your photos and questions to: AskJoeB@gmail.com, and I’ll create a video critique of your image.

JoeB

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Look ma, no Photoshop

Look ma, no Photoshop

I often wonder what kind of photographer I would have turned out to be had there been Photoshop way back when. Way back when Adobe was a type of house in the Southwest part of the US. What would I have done differently? It’s always a topic talked about with my online students at the BPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet.

Remembering back when whatever you did in terms of creating a photo that the client would buy, had to be done in the camera because way back when there weren’t personal computers.

The big companies were just starting to use computers, and these giant behemoths I was occasionally sent to photograph took up an entire floor to generate the power that can now be found sitting on my desk in my iMac 27 with 32 GB of RAM, a 4.0 GHz processor, and a three terabyte Fusion hard drive…maybe? Close?

In my opinion, I wouldn’t be near the photographer had I had access to Lightroom, Photoshop, and all the plug-ins that one can find out in the geek-produced/induced digital market. I would have wound up with a sore butt from the hours that would have been needed sitting in front of a computer to achieve what I did in the camera.

In terms of my imagination, and my eye, and always thinking about “coloring outside the lines” these things would not have been any different. It’s using that imagination and my ‘eye’ instead of digital help that I’m talking about. Using the Elements of Visual Design and composition, and being a student of the Light is what made me whatever I am today, and not a computer.

I even know how to focus manually!!!!

:-)

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a purist in any sense of the word. I love Photoshop, and I use it on every photo I take to some extent…why not!! I just personally like the challenge of getting it in the camera.

In the above photo, I was shooting for Rubbermaid outdoor furniture, and had two truck loads of their entire line that followed me down the California coast. We were in Big Sur at the Ventana Inn. Actually, we were on the roof of the Nepenthe restaurant and it was mid day.; not the ideal time to shoot as the light was hot and harsh.

I needed the light to be soft so it might replicate the period of time we were going for; it wasn’t going to happen without help.

If this would have been shoot in the digital age, creating that feeling in front of the computer would have been easy, but it wasn’t. Instead, to get that feeling I set up my 20X20 silk to diffuse the harsh light. coming from a sun that was directly above us. As you can see, this isn’t a small item, and it took an hour and a half just to set it up in the wind.

Think about a 20X20 piece of silk…that’s 400 square feet of sail, and if not tied down correctly on huge stands that were held down with sand bags, it would take my assistants over the ocean and deposit them in really cold water inhabited by things that can eat you…or maybe just play with you until you drown.

400 sq. ft. of sail.

400 sq. ft. of sail.

The good news is that it wouldn’t take me ( as I would be the only one left) near as long to break down what was left of the set.

:-(

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2105 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. come shoot with me sometime.  July 26th will be my 27th year at the Maine Media Workshop…the granddaddy of them all. I’ve always picked this week as it’s the week of the Lobster Festival down the road in Rockland. It offers a completely different set of photo ops: color, motion, people, energy, light, and design. A great way to break up photos of the beautiful coastline, fishing villages and lighthouses that Maine is known for.

BTW, happy birthday America…live long and prosper.

JoeB

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AskJoeB: “Working the Subject”

Working the photo.

Working the photo.

Valeriano recently sent me a photo he had taken of a lifeguard tower in silhouette. Since then he’s submitted another photo of the same towers. As usual I like to print what each photographer had to say because a lot of you out there have been in a similar situation or have had similar questions running through your mind. Here’s what Valeriano had to say:

“Hi Joe,
I’m submitting this photo to have your invaluable critique.
I’d been “working” the subject (the lifeguard tower) a bit that day. Walked around a lot, shot it with different lenses, composed vertically, horizontally, from down below and looking up, etc. Out of all the different compositions I’ve found while doing this exercise, I thought this one framing the subject through the fence was the more pleasing to me. I also decided to shot it with a side-lighting (4-5 on the clock) in order to still retain some details in the fence. I could have also done it by backlighting the scene (positioning myself in a different spot) but because of this amazing late afternoon light and these little white puffy clouds in the sky I preferred this lighting choice. While shooting some photos on this setup, changing filters, exposure, etc. two guys waled through the frame along the shoreline, and I decided to include them in the photo so to also add a bit more of sense of scale.

Thanks for your critique.
Valeriano.”

Valeriano, one of the  lessons I give in my online class with the BPSOP, and I also talk a lot about it in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around our planet, is showing people how to create visual tension. I’m not talking about the kind of tension that comes with mental or emotional strain, I’m talking about visual tension occurring when forces are acting upon one another. You have three of the ways in this photo: Contrast, the use of light, and framing a subject within a frame.

You also have an almost classic Vanishing Point created by the fence line. A great way to move the viewer around the frame.

Take a look at this video:

http://www.screencast.com/t/8CQVhyT8

Except for the problem with the filter, it’s a really good photo with lots of strong light and color combined with visual interest and tension.

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2016 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me sometime. I still have a couple of spots for my upcoming Maine Media Workshop this coming July 26th. It’s a great place to immerse yourself in your photography without any of your day to day distractions…like a family and work. I always pick this week (after 27 years) because it’s the week of the lobster Festival down the road in Rockland. It offers a completely different set of photo ops than what you would expect to see on the coast of Maine.

For those interested, here’s a link to a couple of posts I did on past workshops in Maine:

http://joebaraban.com/blog/2013-maine-media-workshop/

http://joebaraban.com/blog/workshop-stuff-2014-maine-media-workshop/

Keep sending me your photos and questions to: AskJoeB@gmail.com.

JoeB

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My Favorite Quotes: Anonymous

A simple idea can tell a big story.

A simple idea can tell a big story.

Through the years, I’ve collected a lot of quotes that were said by an artist of some measure and how the quote relates to my way of thinking; especially how the quote fits in to my three online class with the PPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet.

“ I always thought good photos were like good jokes. If you have to explain it, it just isn’t that good.”Anonymous

One of the many discussions I have at least once if not a hundred times in my four week classes with my fellow photographers is about making sure you’ve left the viewer with a clear understanding of what message you were trying to get across. I call it a “quick read”, and unless you’re image is an abstract, in which case you’re leaving the viewer to decide on what the photo is saying. You don’t want him/her walking away scratching their heads.

There’s always the possibility you’ll be standing next to your print at some exhibit or maybe even your camera club’s annual show where you’ll be able to talk about it. Sometimes it’s interesting to hear the story behind the photo and you see the photo in a new light. But in most cases a photo shouldn’t need a story to back it up. It has to speak for itself….as I said, a quick read.

Right before I click the shutter I always ask myself if the viewer is going to see and feel it the way I was experiencing it when I finished my composition and ready to pull the trigger…Texas talk for clicking the shutter release!!! It’s like taking an out of body experience and putting your mind in the mind of the viewer. Then I can step back and see if I’m getting my message across.

In the above photo, not very long after 9/11, I did a photo story on rural Texas, and how these people showed support for our country. In context with the other photos and subsequent text, I think the message came across as clear as day.

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2015 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. come shoot with me sometime.

This coming July 26th I’ll be at the Maine Media Workshop for the 27th year, and I always look forward to returning. It’s the granddaddy of them all and a great place to immerse yourself in photography. I always pick this same week as it’s the week of the Lobster Festival down the road in Rockland. It offers you a completely different set of photo opts that the beautiful Maine coastline one would expect to see and photograph. People watching and portraits, energy, color, and all the elements of Visual Design one would find on my “Artist Palette”.

Don’t forget to send me a photo and question to: AskJoeB@gmail.com, and I’ll create a video critique for you.

JoeB

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I made a new photo friend, and drank Grappa with him.

I made a new photo friend, and drank Grappa with him.

When I was an active advertising and corporate photographer, one of the areas of photography I was and still am known for was/is my environmental portraiture. What I like the most about this genre is what I tell my online students with the BPSOP, and with my fellow photographers that take my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops..and is one of my many personal pearls of wisdom…”Make a new photo friend”. I tell them that for me, talking to my subject before I ask to take their picture is as much fun as the actual process of composing it.

Whether it be a random person I’ve met on the street or a worker at some manufacturing or industrial plant, I’ll start a conversation with them from asking about their job to their kids (especially if they look like grandkids), to what brought them to the place we just met.

I do this for a couple of reasons: I’m curious by nature, and it loosens them up. The last thing I want to do is stick my camera in someone’s face because it will either put them off or frighten them. Either way it can’t or won’t lead to a successful portrait; one that appears as if they knew me long before I started shooting.

We were driving down the road in Provence when I saw this man moving baskets around a small building. I couldn’t tell what was in the baskets so we pulled over to find out.  I was hoping that he spoke even a little English so I could talk to him without our  French driver to translate. As it turned out he did speak enough English to communicate with me.

We started a conversation and it turned out that he was making Grappa, which is a grape based Brandy that originated in Italy. Grappa is made by distilling the skins, pulp, seeds, and stems, and can be very strong. The proof was when he gave us some to drink from a spigot at the end of a pipe…aged two hours!

It was a most enjoyable conversation and I walked away with a new photo friend. Btw, it’s always a good thing to send them a print, and these days it’s become so easy to e-mail a copy.

Don’t forget to send me a photo and question to: AskJoeB@gmail.com, and I’ll create a video critique for you.

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2105 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. come shoot with me sometime.  July 26th will be my 27th year at the Maine Media Workshop...the granddaddy of them all. I’ve always picked this week as it’s the week of the Lobster Festival down the road in Rockland. It offers a completely different set of photo ops: color, motion, people, energy, light, and design. A great way to break up photos of the beautiful coastline, fishing villages and lighthouses that Maine is known for.

JoeB

 

 

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AskJoeB: I’d like your critique.

I’ve had Valeriano submit a photo for me to talk about. As usual, I like to let my readers see what the people say, because sometimes people have been in similar situations or have had similar questions. Here’s what he had to say:

“Hello Joe,
I’d like your critique on this photo. I think I’ve picked up the wrong subject to be rendered in silhouette. Lacking an interesting shape from any angle I was framing it against the sun setting, I’ve finally come up with this photo. It’s a lifeguard turret, and since it is in very bad conditions (lot of crap and clutter added to its stairs so people won’t climb on it) I opted for a silhouette photo.

Regards,
Valeriano.”

Ok, first of all to those that might not know what is meant by a silhouette, a silhouette is an outline of something or someone against a lighter background. Typically, you want it to be dark to begin with. I love silhouettes, they are the perfect idea to think about before the sun comes up (dawn) and after the sun goes down (dusk).<

In my online class with the BPSOP, one of the lessons in my part II class is on the silhouette. My class spends an entire week shooting them because they provide so much visual interest and tension…One of the ways to create visual tension is the use of light and another is contrast. We also work on them in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops that I conduct around our planet.

Valeriano, take a look at this video: http://www.screencast.com/t/tZgoIrznGv2l

I hope this helps.

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com and be sure to watch for my 2016 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me sometime.
Keep sending in your photos and questions to: AskJoeB@gmail.com and I’ll create a video for you.

JoeB

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Lots of lines going everywhere.

Lots of lines going everywhere.

I teach my fellow photographers how to incorporate the Elements of Visual Design into their photography. In my online classes with the BPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet I explain that of all the elements, Line is the most important…why you ask?

Because without Line, none of the other elements would exist. In fact, you and I wouldn’t be around nor would trains, planes, and automobiles for the simple reason that we all have an outLINE.

Quickly, there’s all kinds of lines, but the three main ones are: Horizontal, Vertical, and Diagonal. Diagonal lines have the most energy and tension because it’s the anticipation of the lines falling forward.

Having said that, there are three things that all lines have in common: direction, length, and thickness. These three are what you want to be looking for when you’re out shooting. Forget that the road your standing, walking, or driving on is going to the horizon. Imagine it not as a road, but instead a Vanishing Point leading the viewer in a particular direction, either from right to left, left to right, or the foreground to the background. It’s anywhere from a few blocks to a few miles long, and it’s from two lanes in thickness to a four lane interstate.

What about a stand of Birch trees you often see in photos, especially when the leaves have turned during the Fall. They’re trees right? But what else are they? They’re a bunch of textured predominately white lines that all go in the same direction and are all different in length and thickness. They also form a pattern which incidentally is one of the basic Elements of Visual Design.

In the above photo, taken in Tuscany, After I had traversed the short distance from the bottom to the top of this small sidewalk from the street to another street above it, I looked back and saw a whole lot of lines, instead of the concrete ramp and railings.

This kind of thinking is what’s always part of my thought process. Since Line is so important to our virtual existence, not only do I look for lines but when I do see it, I break them down into the three categories to see what each one is doing and if they’re pertinent to my final composition.

So, the next time you’re out and about looking for subject matter, instead of using the left side of your brain and taking pictures of roads, golf cart tracks, and trees, switch that side off and click on the right side…the creative side and I can promise you that not only will your photos have more of an impact, but you’ll wind up having a lot more fun in the process.

They're golf cart tracks, but what else are they

They’re golf cart tracks, but what else are they

As Henry David Thoreau once said, “It’s not what you look at, it’s what you see”.

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2105 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. come shoot with me sometime. July 26th will be my 27th year at the Maine Media Workshop...the granddaddy of them all. I’ve always picked this week as it’s the week of the Lobster Festival down the road in Rockland. It offers a completely different set of photo ops: color, motion, people, energy, light, and design. A great way to break up photos of the beautiful coastline, fishing villages and lighthouses that Maine is known for.

Don’t forget to send me a photo and question to: AskJoeB@gmail.com, and I’ll create a video critique for you.

JoeB

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 Whenever I write one of these posts it takes me back to the days when I was traveling two hundred twenty-five days out of the year, and loving it. I was fortunate enough to hook up with some of the very best graphic designers in the country if not the world, and a whole lot of them were working in Texas; Houston, Dallas, and Austin to be exact.

Working with graphic designers in corporate photography was very different that working with Art Directors in advertising in that with corporate work you had more freedom to shoot what you wanted, and in advertising you usually had to follow a layout…or at least high-comped sketch of what the client expected you to come back with.

I was hired by s designer, that in turn was hired by an oil company in London to travel throughout Asia documenting the countries that they were either doing work for or about to. I was allowed to shoot anything I wanted as long as it represented the country in a positive way.

We were in the Philippines for several days with one of their employees as our guide and interpreter and one sunrise we found ourselves at a place somewhere in Manila Bay. It was a gray day and I was about to call it a morning when we saw this small boat anchored  on the shore. The sky was opening up a little so I thought I would shoot the boat against what I was hoping for something dramatic to happen in the sky.

As I tell my online students with the BPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet that Eddie Adams ( a well known Pulitzer prize winning photographer) once said, “When you get lucky, be ready”. As is usually the case, sunrise shooting is very quiet since there’s no one around that time of morning, and especially when you’re far away from the cacophony of morning sounds given off from a large city.

I was beginning to compose my photo, when all of a sudden a teenage boy jumped up from inside the boat and proceeded to scare the morning daylights out of us, while at the same time those same daylights had been scared out of him.

With the help of an idea, I quickly ( as in losing the light) regained my composure and had our guide ask him if he would pose for me. I had the young boy trade places with me (it’s a great way to show your subject what you want him to do). As I started to shoot the silhouette of the boy, the sun was rising creating this wonderful sky.

I got the shot (without any post processing) and gave the boy a five dollar bill for his time. He looked at it, smiled, then laid back down in the bottom of the boat and went back to sleep. As we were leaving, our guide told us that the five dollars we gave him was more than he made in a month. Wow, talk about making someone’s day…or month.

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2105 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. come shoot with me sometime. I still have a few spots in my next “Springtime” workshop to be in Lisbon, Portugal next May 21st.  July 26th will be my 27th year at the Maine Media Workshop…the granddaddy of them all. I’ve always picked this week as it’s the week of the Lobster Festival down the road in Rockland. It offers a completely different set of photo ops: color, motion, people, energy, light, and design. A great way to break up photos of the beautiful coastline, fishing villages and lighthouses that Maine is known for.

Keep those photos and questions coming into: AskJoeB@gmail.com, and I’ll send you a video critique.

JoeB

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Quick Photo Tip: Take It Indoors.

A rainy day.

A rainy day.

I teach three four week classes with the BPSOP, and I also conduct my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops around the planet. Mostly in my online classes, I’m always telling my fellow photographers that just because it’s cold, gray, and sometimes raining when you want to shoot outdoors, that doesn’t mean you have to put your camera away until the sun comes out.

Think of locations that are indoors, for example museums, churches, antique barns nearby, the lobbies of interesting buildings, historical homes, old train stations, etc. If you live in or just outside a big city, Google up the city or state’s Film Commission and or Tourist Bureau, and you’ll get a list of places that might just be the answer to your photographic woes.

For example, I live in Houston and if I wanted some indoor locations, I might go to this link: http://www.houstonfilmcommission.com/…or the Houston Tourist Bureau.

Btw, Museums usually wont let you take in tripods, so to get low light photos take a friend (another photographer) ) and use his/her shoulder to rest your camera on…works like a charm!!!

What about a farm nearby that you could get permission to shoot at. An old barn just might be a great place to spend some time in while your waiting for better weather. In fact, it would be a good place no matter what the light might be.

Sitting up a still life next to a window is always a good idea to pass the time; especially if it happens to be in an antique store or a house in an historical part of town. In the photo above, it was cold, gray, and rainy and all around dreary outside of an old house in Scotland I happened to be in. I saw this bowl, then I happen to see a bunch of fruit in the corner of the kitchen. I put the two together by a window and the two hours I spent playing around with different compositions was a lot of fun…and took my mind away from the gloom outside the window; the glass of wine didn’t hurt!!!

Always shoot variations.

Always shoot variations.

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2105 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. come shoot with me sometime. I still have a few spots in my next “Springtime” workshop to be in Lisbon, Portugal next May 21st.  July 26th will be my 27th year at the Maine Media Workshop…the granddaddy of them all. I’ve always picked this week as it’s the week of the Lobster Festival down the road in Rockland. It offers a completely different set of photo ops: color, motion, people, energy, light, and design. A great way to break up photos of the beautiful coastline, fishing villages and lighthouses that Maine is known for.

Keep those photos and questions coming into: AskJoeB@gmail.com, and I’ll create a video critique for you.

JoeB

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My Favorite Quotes: W. Eugene Smith

It was light, and it was available.

It was light, and it was available.

When I first started out in photography some forty-four years ago, I shot primarily Black and White. I worked for AP, UPI, and I was a Black Star photographer, a national photo syndicate. It was several years before I started working in color, and in that beginning period of time all my favorite photographers shot black and white.

Among them were:Henri Cartier-Bresson, Dorthea Lange, Walker Evans, Ernst Haas, most of the photographers in my favorite photo book called The Family of Man” to name a few. Having said that, my all time favorite photographer is W. Eugene Smith. His images speak to me like no others living or dead. As it happens, one of my all time favorite quotes was said by him. He said, “Available light is any damn light that’s available.”

As I tell my online students with the BPSOP, and also in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet, light is everything. You find the light and you’ll find the shot. I’ll often have a discussions with one of my fellow photographers (who insist that an on camera flash is the way to go), that in my long career I’ve never, and I mean not once ever felt that I needed this kind of contrasty harsh, bluish, hot ancillary light to make good photos.

To digress a moment, don’t you just love it when someone a couple of rows down from you uses a flash to record what’s way down on the stage…and all he’s lighting up is the back of a few heads a couple of rows in front of him. I get a better shot with just the available light.

I’m mostly an available light photographer. I’ve always found a way to use whatever available light is around me when I thought it was needed. The problem is that photographers these days just don’t take the time to look around them for help that may very well be hitting them right in the face. Remember that if you can see it, you can take a picture of it…especially now in the digital age where cameras can record images in very low light.

Any damn light that's available.

Any damn light that’s available.

Even in situations where there just isn’t any actual sunlight, look for man-made light like a flashlight over on a table, or a desk lamp, or as in the photo above, a welding torch laying over against the bags of cement. I had him pick it up and make it the brightest flame he could. As I say, you just have to open your eyes and look around…somewhere lurking in the shadows is the answer to your problem.

You just gotta…Stretch Your Frame of Mind!!!

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2105 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. come shoot with me sometime. I still have a few spots in my next “Springtime” workshop to be in Lisbon, Portugal next May 21st.  July 26th will be my 27th year at the Maine Media Workshop…the granddaddy of them all. I’ve always picked this week as it’s the week of the Lobster Festival down the road in Rockland. It offers a completely different set of photo ops: color, motion, people, energy, light, and design. A great way to break up photos of the beautiful coastline, fishing villages and lighthouses that Maine is known for.

Keep those photos and questions coming into: AskJoeB@gmail.com, and I’ll create a video critique for you.

JoeB

 

 

 

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Anticipating the action

Anticipating the action

No, I’m not talking about the song Carly Simon sang in 1971…for those old enough to remember it. I’m talking about how the word anticipation plays a key role in “Street Shooting”.

In my online class with the BPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet, I often talk about being aware of your surroundings at all times. This is when it will happen…that shot that could make your day!!!

I’m usually talking about keeping an eye out for the light, and how important it is in coming home with that illusive OMG photo. That keeper that will either go on your wall or in your portfolio…or both.

But in this post I’m talking about anticipating the action. The action that can occur at any moment when you’re walking down a street looking for photo opts.

A good sports photographer knows the sport he’s covering backwards and forwards. He knows it well enough to be playing in it, and at some level sometimes does. A good street shooter has that same instinct, or he at least should if he’s going to be successful.

I watch everything when I’m walking, and even have those proverbial “eyes in the back of my head”. If I see someone that’s sticking out of the environment around him for one reason or another, I’ll watch him/her for several minutes…with my camera halfway up my chest. If nothing happens, I’ll move on to someone else. Sooner or later I’ll see something that makes me focus in tight. I’ll watch and anticipate their next move. A move that I would maybe make myself. It’s people watching at it’s finest.

When I was younger and shot primarily B/W on the streets, I was always looking for that one shot, and if I was very lucky, and I mean very lucky, I might capture someone in a moment where they are expressing their thoughts in some form of body language or gesture. In the above photo, that’s exactly what happened. I was shooting and writing a story for a local Sunday supplement on Mardi Gras day and what the locals had to deal with as far as the crowded streets and sidewalks were concerned. I watched her for some time and just had a feeling that something was going to happen. In a brief moment she had summed up her day to me and because I had waited and anticipated I got the shot.

Btw, this photo is now in the permanent photography collection at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston.

One of my favorite things to do is to put on my longest lens and then put the camera on a tripod. I’ll position myself in a crowded area and in a 360 degree movement I’ll pan the people. An analogy for you old movie buffs is watching Robert Mitchum in The Enemy Below when he’s in a submarine panning the horizon at periscope depth looking for targets..Ok,  not actually an analogy, but for me it’s mighty close.

I could literally do that for hours, and on occasion have come close…as in the photo of the woman in a crowded square in Toledo, Spain.

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2105 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. come shoot with me sometime. July 26th will be my 27th year at the Maine Media Workshop…the granddaddy of them all. I’ve always picked this week as it’s the week of the Lobster Festival down the road in Rockland. It offers a completely different set of photo ops: color, motion, people, energy, light, and design. A great way to break up photos of the beautiful coastline, fishing villages and lighthouses that Maine is known for.

Keep those photos and questions coming in to: AskJoeB@gmail.com and I’ll create a video critique for you.

JoeB

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