A twenty-five cent photo.

A twenty-five cent photo.

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 when I took lots of pictures of them, and my fellow photographers that have taken my online course with the PPSOP, and my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshop I conduct around the planet always are amazed when I show them some of mine in response to some of their submission they always have the same disclaimer…”It’s all they would let me take”, or “After one shot they wanted to quit”, or “This is the only pose thy would give me”, or finally, “They had a complete meltdown when I asked them to smile”.

“What’s yours secret”?, they always ask.

It’s easy, pay them!!!!! I’ve always felt that if you were going to take them away from what they were doing, it seemed only fair to pay them for their time; and it has always worked.

When my kids were just past the walking for the first time stage in their life, I was taking their picture for family personal use as well as using them for some of my jobs. At first they wouldn’t hear of being photographed. Covering their eyes and laying on the ground was their way of saying no. So, I offered to pay them twenty-five cents. It worked like a charm. Then as they got a little older, it went to fifty cents. Around the age of ten, it became a dollar, and that meant they agreed to be photographed for as long as I needed, because it was mostly for my work.

By this time, they were as good looking and better all around models that took direction better than any model their age a client could pick. This held true for all the modeling agencies in Houston.

The dollar became five, then twenty-five, fifty, and finally one hundred dollars by the time they were teenagers to young adults. You ask why? When a client wanted to look at model portfolios, I would always put in whichever of my kids would fit the profile of who they were looking for.  If one of them was picked, I would tell them it was one of my kids and the rate was one-hundred dollars for whatever use they wanted. A price my kids gladly agreed on.

The difference in price between a model registered with an agency and one of my kids could be a quite a lot. One of my kids charged a hundred dollars and the modeling agency would easily charge a thousand dollars or considerably more depending on all the different places the photo would be seen. There was never an issue concerning Nepotism with the advertising agencies. It was always about the money.

So, next time you want to photograph your kids, pay them for their time. A quarter can go a long way, which is exactly what my daughter (photo shown at the top) charged to get on the teeter totter with our dog Lucy.

A fifty cent charge by another daughter.

A fifty cent charge by another daughter.

Visit my website at: www.joeBaraban.com and check out my 2014 workshop schedule. Come shoot with me at the Maine Media Workshop July 27th, or in Paris May 28th, Jerusalem September 17th, or in Cuba November 4th.

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

JoeB

 

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Having fun with the effects of Proximity.

Having fun with the effects of Proximity.

One of the most diverse, interesting, and sometimes complicated of all the principles of Gestalt that I teach both in my online class with the PPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshop I conduct around the planet is referred to as Proximity. If you’ve ever felt that your composition was a little off and you weren’t sure why, you might have been suffering from a Proximity flaw.

There are several ways Proximity can add or detract from our photography:

The proverbial tree, lamppost, building, or telephone pole that seems to grow out of your subject’s head is one of the not so good ways Proximity can affect our photographs. I’m sure you have either seen it in other images, or have been guilty of it yourself, but have you ever wondered why you didn’t notice it right before you pulled the trigger (that’s a Texas euphemism) for clicking the shutter?

When we taking pictures out in some location, we’re in a three-dimensional reality, so it’s easy to see the relationship between one object and another. The problem comes when you try to convey your image that was taken in a three-dimensional reality, and display it in a two-dimensional representation…as in a photograph. Since the photographer is physically present, he or she can tell that a tree or a pole or some object is in the distance and not growing out of someone’s head. That is if the photographer is paying attention. When a picture is taken that fact is lost; you’ve lost the third dimension, depth.The tree is now in a two-dimensional contact with the person and the viewer will interpret the two as being one since they’re both in focus and appear to be on the same plane.

This is a very good reason why you need to study every part of your frame before taking the picture. for those of you that have taken my workshop or class, I talk about my “Fifteen Point Protection Plan”. It’s the best way to see this effect and rectify it…how you ask?

By simply moving over a step.

There are times when you can use this flaw to your advantage, and have fun with it; as in the photo above taken by a student in my online Gestalt class, and the photo I created of the cop with the fan on his head.

An intentional use of Proximity.

An intentional use of Proximity.

The funniest example of which I don’t have a photo is when I saw a friend of mine’s five year old putting his thumb and index finger out in front of him aimed at his mother’s head and touching them together several times in rapid succession. I asked him what he was doing and he said that he was pinching his mother’s head. Try it sometime; it’s a great stress reliever, and it was Proximity in action!!!

Stay tune for more on the effects of Proximity.

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and be sure to look for my 2015 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me sometime. I still have a couple of spots left for my workshop (in conjunction with Epic photo tours) to Myanmar next February.

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

JoeB

 

Another way Proximity can make your images stronger is by grouping your subjects together so that a relationship or common bond is created. Research suggests that the viewer prefers to see similar objects grouped together, and by placing objects close together you will be offering the viewer an explanation of the message you’re trying to get across.

One example is when you purposely arrange the elements of your composition so that they relate to one another and becomes a visual unit.

 

We all love repeating forms, shapes and colors, and if you can include these in your grouping, it will create a pleasing rhythm and a sense of unity that will keep the viewer around longer. Another good example is watching a flock of Geese fly overhead. I for one find it visually interesting and will usually watch them until they become dots on the distant horizon.

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Moving the viewer around the composition while discovering new things.

Moving the viewer around the composition while discovering new things.

Well my fellow photographers, this is the last in the series of my “did it do it” list for good composition. This is number twelve, and if you study all of them, you’re imagery will most definitely go what I refer to as “up a notch”. As I’ve said all along, these are not rules since rules will hinder your creative thinking. They are guidelines to making strong photos; photos that will be remembered.

Will your composition make people want to give your photograph more than a cursory look? Well first things first. First let’s see what the dictionary says about the cursory:

cursory |ˈkərsərē|
adjective
hasty and therefore not thorough or detailed : a cursory glance at the figures.

In other words, will it make the viewer want to stick around and spend more time looking. In order for the viewer to be more thorough or detailed, you have to provide enough elements for him to be thorough with.

In my online classes with the PPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet, I teach my fellow photographers how to use the elements of Visual Design and Composition to create strong photos. A lot of what I teach includes the power of Gestalt. The methods we use to gain attention to our photos will vary, but what’s important is how we manage what the viewer perceives and processes when he/she looks at the visual information we lay out to him in the form of a photograph.

Visual input is a part of our everyday life. As photographer’s it’s up to us to present this information in a way that will control what the viewer sees when looking at our imagery. The more ways we can get the viewer to move around our composition, while at the same time leaving and entering our frame, the longer they will stick around. The more things we can get the viewer to discover ( layers of interest) while moving him around will also keep him around longer. This is how the elements of Visual Design can play an important part in giving our images more than a cursory look.

Isn’t that just what we want?

Here’s a short video that will better explain my thought process when composing this image: http://www.screencast.com/t/Jd0rPYN8

:-)

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2014 workshop schedule.  I also have two places left for my coordinated trip with Epic Photo Tours in Myanmar next February. a fabulous country rich in photo opportunities. Come shoot with me.

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

JoeB

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Anecdotes: Sal and Judy

August 15, 2014

Years ago, I was asked to shoot a brochure for a printing company in New Orleans. The theme of the brochure was “something’s cooking at Upton”. The designer had me go to five of the best known restaurants in and around the city; best known not to the tourists, but to the locals. I was […]

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My Favorite Quotes: Ansel Adams

August 9, 2014

Ever since I started teaching workshops, back in 1984, I’ve collected quotes written by various artists. Whether they were photographers, painters, writers, musicians is of no relevance. The important thing to me is that they are artists, and at the top of their game in their respected fields.; of course the quote has to deal […]

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Workshop Stuff: Eiffel Tower Exhibition

August 3, 2014

In my recent Springtime in Paris workshop, that incidentally was a huge success, I had ask the class to photograph the Eiffel Tower sometime during the week. Since it’s the most iconic structure in France, or any country for that matter, I thought it might be fun to have a juried exhibition and award a […]

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Workshop: “Springtime in Paris”

July 31, 2014

I recently returned from my annual ‘springtime” workshop. This year it was in Paris, France and I have to say that it’s one of my favorite cities in the world for photo ops, good wine and food. Being around a group of good shooters doesn’t hurt, and seeing so many again from previous workshops is […]

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Food For Digital Thought: When Do You Need a Release

July 22, 2014

I’ve been asked several times by my online students with the PPSOP, my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet, and several of you that had ask me on my blog as to when you need a model release. The following is an article I had Dana Lejune (http://www.triallawyers.net/, my attorney, […]

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Food For Digital Thought: Texture

July 16, 2014

In my online class with the PPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet, I teach my fellow photographers how to incorporate the elements of visual design into their imagery. One of the basic elements is Texture. Texture, simply put refers to the surface quality of a shape. […]

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Anecdotes: The Circus

July 10, 2014

Texas Monthly Magazine, based in Austin, sent me to do a photo story on the clowns of Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey circus. I spent a week backstage in Houston at what use to be called the …and a week in Buffalo. It was a great, once in a lifetime assignment since I always […]

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