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Life Before Photoshop

Life Before Photoshop: Jaguar Shoot

Look ma, no Photoshop.

Look ma, no Photoshop.

One of the hardest photos to take without the aid of post processing is that of an automobile. I’m not talking about the new car you bought and is now sitting in your driveway for all to see on Facebook, I’m talking about a photo that will become a two page consumer ad and wind up in all the top national magazines, and possible billboards across the US.

Back in the film days, Photoshop wasn’t going to be invented for another five to ten years when Photoshop 1.0 was released in 1990. Even then it was in its infant stage and not all that helpful to make the clients cars look good.

A great deal of pre-production was involved from finding the right location using my Sunpath readings in combination with my Morin 2000 Hand Bearing Compass. Having enough room to maneuver around with either artificial light, or a series of reflectors was critical. Car prep companies were hired to bring the cars to the location, get the looking pretty enough to photograph, and take them away. No one was ever allowed to move or even touch the cars besides these companies.

Depending on the light, I would have them move the vehicles into the position I wanted, and on several occasions these cars were prototypes and came without motors; they would be rolled into position. Budgets on these shoots would sometimes be six figures, and that was over thirty years ago. Needless to say that a lot was riding on it and whatever you did you had to create in the camera on one piece of film.

As I tell my online students with the BPSOP, and also in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around our planet, take the challenge and try creating memorable images without the help of post processing. I’m not saying I don’t use Photoshop, because I do…all the time. I like the idea of being a good photographer and not a good computer artist.

To better explain how I shot this, take a look at this video:

http://www.screencast.com/t/9P5WO5jE3

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my upcoming workshops in 2016. Come shoot with me sometime. In conjunction with the Santa Fe Workshops, I’ll be leading a group to Cuba for the third time next March. Come join me in what I’ll guarantee you to be an amazing experience, and you’ll return home with memorable photos from a wonderful country.

JoeB

Life Before Photoshop: REI

Look ma, no Photoshop.

Look ma, no Photoshop.

For most of my career as an advertising and corporate photographer, Adobe had not been born. The name was synonymous with a type of house predominately in the southwest part of the US. Everything that you could think up in your imagination had to be translated to one piece of 35mm film. Everything you wanted to say, and the final exposure was in the camera before you clicked the shutter; you even did the focusing yourself.

Now, in the digital age that’s no longer necessary, and to many no longer important. Time marches on, but it’s a pity because it has taken away the chance for new photographers as well as those that have been shooting for years to simply be a good photographer, and not a better computer artist.

In my online class with the BPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around our planet, I encourage my fellow photographers to spend more time getting it right in the camera. Stop relying on a computer to either fix their mistakes or to do what they didn’t feel like doing when working on the final composition. Btw, this also goes for cropping their photos which in my personal opinion shows a tinge of sloppiness in the approach of a photographer’s technique; certainly a lack of discipline in his or her area of expertise. But that’s another story.

Having said that, I’m no purist when it comes to making my photos look as good as they can. I use Photoshop to some degree on every photo…why not? It’s no different as when I use to spend hours in the darkroom tweaking one of my images. However, I want to capture as much as possible before I click the shutter. For me, it’s a good feeling knowing that I can take a good picture…all by myself.

BTW, in my forty-eight years shooting professionally, I’ve never cropped on of my photos.

Now days the photo shown above taken for REI could have easily been created in the studio and using a computer; that’s no fun!!!

And that's the way it was.

And that’s the way it was.

The process started from scouting the best location using my Sunpath readings in conjunction with my Morin 2000 Hand Bearing Compass. Then after determining where to set up shop we climbed up the side of the mountain with all the gear and the team to help get me there. The final part was getting the climber in the right position ready to go at exactly the right time of day; not only cool, but just way tooooooo much fun…and needless to say challenging.

FYI, watching this guy free climb was frightening, but memorizing at the same time. And as this category is called, there was no Photoshop done to this image. What you see is exactly what I saw…no tricks, no mirrors, no nothing!!!

I will admit that it did cross my mind the potential Pulitzer Prize for spot news I might have received capturing the fall from the moment he lost contact with the mountain to the time he and the earth became one.

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and be sure to watch for my upcoming 2016 workshops. Come shoot with me sometime. In conjunction with the Santa Fe Workshops, I’ll be leading a group to Cuba for the third time next March. Come join me in what I’ll guarantee you to be an amazing experience, and you’ll return home with memorable photos from a wonderful country.

Keep sending in those photos and questions to: AskJoeB@gmail.com.

JoeB

Life Before Photoshop: Isuzu Campaign

Look ma, no Photoshop!

Look ma, no Photoshop!

Yes, those were the day my friend, those were the days. The days when Adobe was a type of house in the Southwest. When you had to be a good photographer and not a good computer artist. When you had to create everything created in your imagination in the camera. When you sometimes had to actually focus your own camera’s lens…can you imagine? Oh the horror!!!

Don’t get me wrong, as I always tell my online students with the BPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around our planet,  consider being a good photographer and capture as much as you can in the camera…including the best exposure.

I also tell them that I use Photoshop all the time, but to make the minor adjustments that I couldn’t achieve before clicking the shutter. For me, the challenge/fun  is doing it on location and not in my office in front of my computer.

I guess that the hardest production shots to pull off in the camera were in car photography. It was very difficult to get it right, and if you didn’t the car clients would not be happy. When the digital age really took hold, it spelled death to the car shooters that made a living just shooting cars. A great many of them had to close the door. agencies and clients were shooting the cars CGI style…in the studio against a blue or green screen. They would either go out and shoot the environment/landscape separately, or just buy one from a stock agency. The results were and still are mostly awful; the main reason is the light never matches.

Ok, now to the photo above.

This was shot for the cover of the Isuzu full line car brochure. I had a location scout find a road that would lead into the sunset and make the dirt the car kicked up glow from being backlit. I gave her the Sunpath readings and with her Morin 2000 hand bearing compass, she was able to pinpoint where the sun was going to set. I was positioned right over the road in a cherry picker so that the car would come out from right underneath me.

The dirt is actually called Fuller’s Earth. It’s a very fine powder used to accentuate dust or even explosions in cinematography. We spread it over the existing dust from the lift all the way down to the horizon. When the sun was at the degree I wanted, I had the car start driving to the sunset. I was communicating with the driver via walki-talki, to have him adjust the speed to maximize the glowing dust.

It was a lot more fun than sitting in front of a computer to achieve something similar…if I even had the skills!!!

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com and check out my workshop schedule at the top f this blog. Come shoot with me sometime. In conjunction with the Santa Fe Workshops, I’ll be leading a group to Cuba for the third time next March. Come join me in what I’ll guarantee you to be an amazing experience, and you’ll return home with memorable photos from a wonderful country.

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

JoeB

 

 

 

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