Anecdotes: You’re Perfect

by Joe on October 14, 2014

in Anecdotes

"You're perfect".

“You’re perfect”.

One can’t shoot advertising and corporate photography for forty-four years and not have amassed several funny stories during this time. Some included the client, some the designer or art director, and some when I was sent on my own to shoot whatever I wanted. This was the case when a graphic designer and his client (a paper company based in Houston) hired me to work on a brochure that was featuring a new line of paper. It was to be called “Kromekoat”.

The idea was to shoot things that were chrome, and it needed to somehow say Texas. Those were the only stipulations, and besides those two, I could shoot anything I wanted. I had read that the Texas State Fair was coming up in a few days and one of the main attractions was the giant Ferris Wheel that has the word Texas in large letters on one side. Now all I needed was something chrome to take with me.

I found what I was looking for when I walked into a CVS Pharmacy near my studio. I was walking by a rack of sunglasses and spotted a plastic pair that looked just like chrome. As I tell my online students with the PPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet, follow my Did It Do It list for good composition. One of the points I mention is to Pre-Visualize.

I quickly imagined the finished photo in my mind and the next morning my assistant and I took off for Dallas and the Texas State Fair.

My idea was to find one of the Carny men that worked the games in the carnival section of the fair, and have him put on the chrome sunglasses so I could take a portrait of him in front of the Ferris Wheel. As the sun was starting to set, I still hadn’t found just the right man to pose for me. When I had less than twenty minutes of late afternoon light still available I started to get nervous. I had one afternoon to get the shot and it looked like I was going to miss it.

The sun was getting low enough that there was only a few places left that had sunlight. I was about to throw in the towel and call it a bust, when I took a quick look at my assistant and there was this epiphany that hit me over the head like a big pizza pie…”You’re perfect”, I said. “Quick JD, put these glasses on and look towards the sun.” He did and I got the shot.

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com and be sure to check out my workshop schedule at the top of this blog. Next February in conjunction with Epic Photo Tours, I’ll be leading a group to Myanmar. My next Springtime Workshop will be next May in Portugal. Come shoot with me sometime.

Don’t forget to send me a photo and question to: AskJoeB@gmail.com.

JoeB

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What else do you see besides clouds?

What else do you see besides clouds?

“It’s not what you look at, it’s what you see” This quote, written by nineteenth century author, poet, and philosopher Henry David Thoreau (you might remember him from your American Literature class as the author of Civil Disobedience) is probably one of my all time favorites and one that I’m always sharing with my online class at the PPSOP, my six-month private mentoring program, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshop I conduct around the planet.

My workshop and classes are all about using the six principles of Gestalt and the elements of Visual Design and composition to aid you in taking your photos what I refer to as “up a notch”. Line, Form, Shape, Texture, Pattern, Perspective, Tension, Light, Color and Negative Space are the elements we work on every day and there out there all around you. you just have to see them.

You walk up to a tree and you see a tree. But what else is it? It’s the whole made up of several parts. It’s made up of Lines, Patterns, Texture, and various Shapes. How does it relate to the environment around it? How is the Light affecting it? Does it tell a story? Does Color factor in?

What about golf cart tracks or a stream? Does the golf cart tracks converge at a point on the horizon creating a Vanishing Point, leading the viewer around the frame to that point? Does the river sparkle or glow because the light is coming from behind it? Does it lead the viewer in and out of the composition suggesting more content outside of the frame? How could power lines running along a small highway be of any interest?

 Do you ever look at an old decayed window and see the beauty in it? Can you envision how father time has transformed it into a cacophony of colors, shapes, textures, and patterns.

What about something as simple as clouds in the above photo? Do they create a design? Shapes? Do they suggest some type of colored line that divides the frame from white to gray?

The next time you go out shooting, don’t look at things the way they are, look at them the way they could be.

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2014 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me sometime. Join me in my next Springtime Workshop next May in Portugal.  I only have two spots left for my joint trip with epic photo tours to Myanmar.

Don’t forget to send me a photo and question to: AskJoeB@gmail.com.

JoeB

 

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AskJoeB: Would It Be More Dramatic?

by Joe on October 4, 2014

in Photo Ops

Crop or not to crop.

Crop or not to crop.

Dawn is a very good shooter that recently took my “Springtime in Paris ” workshop. She sent me this photo to take a look at. and as usual, I like to put the exact message my fellow photographers send me. the reason is that so many of you out there have similar questions or have been in similar situations. Here’s what Dawn had to say:

“Hi Joe,
Attached is an image I photographed a few days ago at the Mucem, the  new museum in Marseilles, as it left the camera. I wonder if it would be more dramatic, if that’s not too serious a word, if I were to crop the sides and the foreground to make the 3 people bigger? Crop the sides to the edge of the blue-ish lights at the top left and to the edge of the horizontal light on the other side; and cropping the foreground so the side railings end at the same point. This would reduce the depth of the scene, however……
Thank you in advance for your comments,
Regards,
Dawn”
First of all, as I tell people that take my online class with the PPSOP, and my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet, NEVER CROP your pictures in front of a computer. You’ll never know where the edges of your frame are and you won’t be able to use those edges as a compositional tool. Henri Cartier-Bresson said that when you crop, you lose the integrity of your original composition. If it wasn’t good enough at the point of clicking the shutter, then it never will be.
That said, since you know how I feel about cropping, you must be talking in theory and would have cropped it the way you thought before clicking the shutter!!!
:-)

Take a look at this video:

http://www.screencast.com/t/PAvVrpgc

Nice photo Dawn, and thanks for sharing it.

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and be sure to follow my 2015 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. My next “Springtime” workshop will be in Portugal next May. A wonderful city filled with history and photo opportunities. I still have two spots left with my photo tour in conjunction with Epic Photo Tour to Myanmar. Talk about history and photo opts!!!

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

JoeB

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Quick Photo tip: A Cheap Safari At Your Door

September 29, 2014

How many of my fellow photographers that have taken my online class with the PPSOP, or been with me in one of my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet can afford to go photograph wild animals? Probably not that many, and fewer still can get away for that long. For […]

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Food For Digital Thought: Roaming

September 29, 2014

It’s interesting to note that whenever you hear the word roaming in these days of rapidly changing technology, you immediately think of your ‘Smart Phone’. Well, while that’s true, I conjure up something completely different. I think of the psychology of Gestalt, and how it plays such an important part in keeping the viewer of […]

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Quick Photo Tips: Plain Old Window Light

September 23, 2014

When I first started shooting, that is to actually make a living at it without a day job, I had very little equipment and no lighting whatsoever. Even if I could have afforded it, I wouldn’t have known what to do with it at the time. So I’ll always thank the Art Gods for including […]

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AskJoeB: What Do You Think?

September 18, 2014

Canice sent me this photo to ask me what I thought. As usual, I like to show what the person said so that others that might be feeling the same thing, or have gone through similar situations can read what was said. Here’s what Canice had to say: Hi Joe, Attached is an image I […]

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Food For Digital Thought: An Idiom For Photographers

September 13, 2014

Before I go any farther, let me define the word Idiom. An idiom is: (1) An expression that cannot be understood from the meanings of its separate words but that has a separate meaning of its own. (2) A form of a language that is spoken in a particular area and that uses some of […]

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Workshop Stuff: 2014 Maine Media Workshop

September 8, 2014

One of the posts I look forward to writing is right after one of my workshops. As most of my followers know I recently wrote a post on my last “Springtime” workshop, this time in Paris this last May. It was followed by a second post on the Eiffel Tower competition where everyone went out […]

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Quick Photo tip: Photographing Your Kids

September 2, 2014

I have four grown kids ranging from twenty-five to thirty-eight and two grand kids ages seven to nine, and have been taking pictures of them most of their lives. Not so much with my three daughters and one son as they all have “flown the coop”, and leading grown up lives!!! There was a time […]

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