≡ Menu

Photo Ops

Personal Pearls of Wisdom: Don’t shoot because it makes you feel good, shoot because it looks good.

Feels good, looks good, and has meaning.

OK, I hope this doesn’t draw angry letters or bomb threats since at first this “Pearl of Wisdom” might seem a little harsh and insensitive but there’s a reason for my madness.

When I get a submission in my online class with the BPSOP, or a photo presented to me during one of the daily reviews in  my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct all over the place, there is usually feedback in the form of an explanation as to why the photo was shot in the first place.

I will often say to the photographer, “Ok, tell me about this shot. Why did you decide to click the shutter?” If I had a dollar for every time I’ve  heard someone say…”besides it was just so cute I couldn’t help myself”, I would be writing this posts from my own island after one of my staff brought me a blue and frothy drink with an umbrella hanging perilously down from one side.

That’s all well and good and I love having my fellow photographers feeling terrific about the world and the environment that surrounds them; but if the photo doesn’t have some meaning to others, it won’t stand the test of time.

I’m as sentimental as the next guy and I like feeling good about things that I see on a daily basis, but I’m also out there trying to take photos that look good…and if they make me feel good doing it so much the better; usually it’s one in the same since I love taking pictures.

For example, I’m walking down the street and I see a child getting licked in the face by a puppy I will probably say to myself, “oh how cute”, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to take a picture of it…unless maybe it’s my kid and puppy, and it’s going into a time capsule to be opened with they get engaged or married and I show all the guests how cute they were when they were little.

I digress.

Now, if that same child and puppy is not the entire puzzle but a piece of it, then I’m going to take a closer look. In other words if there’s something else going on around them, something that tells or completes a story, then I will stop…providing I obtain permission from the parent beforehand.

What if the kid being licked is a freckled-face darling little girl, wearing a white lace dress with bows tied around her pigtails while behind or next to them is a bunch of dirty, huge, hard hat wearing constructions workers sitting around having lunch? Then you have a dichotomy, and that would give the photo a different meaning…why you ask?

Because you would be combining opposites in the same composition and in so doing you’re creating visual tension.

See what I mean?

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com and check out my 2018 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me sometime. I’ve a couple of openings in my Springtime in Berlin workshop next May 23rd. A fantastic city with so many great locations we’re going to be shooting.

Send me a photo and question to: AskJoeB@gmail.com, and I’ll create a video review for you.

JoeB

When I think back to younger days I think about the expression Crossover Photography. I remember reading about the differences […] Read More

Every time I post an image in this category it takes me back to a time when life was so […] Read More

In the old days, and when I say old days, I’m referring to the days before the internet. The days […] Read More

Most of you have heard this expression that’s been around for a long time. Yogi Berra, the Hall of Fame […] Read More

Bokeh, usually pronounced Boo-kay (but that’s incorrect) refers to the artistic quality of the out of focus parts of a […] Read More

Photography is the “art of subtraction”. Unlike painting where you start out with a blank canvas on an easel and […] Read More

I’m not sure how many of my fellow photographers out there ever have the need to light and shoot a […] Read More

Since my background is not in photography but in painting and design, I still consider myself an artist; specifically a […] Read More

A conversation that often comes up is when one of my students taking my PPSOP class tells me that according […] Read More

I just love working on this category, and when I hear, see, or read something that directly relates to information […] Read More

Several of my students that take my online class with the BPSOP, and also in my “Stretching Your Frame of […] Read More

Karen submitted this photo of three seagulls. She asked me what I thought about the photo, and I like to […] Read More

While the experience and images of Cuba are still so fresh in my mind, I wanted to share this wonderful […] Read More

Besides my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around our planet, I teach a four week class with […] Read More

In my four week online class with the BPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct […] Read More

I wanted to write this post for all of those that have had interest in my upcoming photo trip to […] Read More

In my never ending quest to show my fellow photographers that take my online classes with the BPSOP, or in […] Read More

Through the years, I’ve collected a lot of quotes that were said by an artist of some measure and how […] Read More

In my online classes I teach with the BPSOP, I teach my fellow photographers how to incorporate the Elements of […] Read More

In the first part of my career, I shot a lot of oi and gas related photos, and the one […] Read More

In my famous quotes category, they don’t necessarily come from well-known photographers, writers, or musicians. They are quotes I’ve heard […] Read More

Valeriano, a past online student of mine with the BPSOP sent me this image to talk about. I always like […] Read More

I recently returned from leading a fantastic photo tour/workshop to Cuba. Several months ago the Santa Fe Workshops asked me […] Read More

I recently was asked by a past student what I thought about his photo. As is always the case, I […] Read More

Deb sent me this photo with a question. Since so many of us has had a similar situation, or have […] Read More

Andrew sent me this photo with the following question. I always like to share exactly what the photographer had to […] Read More

Daniel sent this photo to me for a quick critique. I always like to quote the photographer since so many […] Read More

Dawn is a very good shooter that recently took my “Springtime in Paris ” workshop. She sent me this photo […] Read More

As is usually the case, i like to show the actual text so that others might read it. The reason […] Read More

Maybe it’s a touch of voyeurism and maybe I’m just a people watcher who likes to observe how people go […] Read More

I’d like to think that there’s two photographers bottled up in this mind that’s been covered over with curly whitish […] Read More

I just love thinking back over my forty-three year career to all the funny things that happened during some of […] Read More

Well I’m back again with yet another example of what it was like when Adobe was a type of house […] Read More

I’ll occasionally pick up one of my many photo books, take it over to the couch in my studio and […] Read More

Rick sent me this photo to comment on and as usual, I like to copy and paste the actual words. […] Read More

 Veronica sent me this photo and as always I like to copy exactly what each photographer had to say. I’ve […] Read More

Daniel sent me this photo and asked me for “my thoughts and a critique”. I usually get more of a […] Read More

In my online class with the PPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the […] Read More

When I was  starting my career almost forty-six years ago, there wasn’t a lot of money for equipment, especially lighting […] Read More

Bonnie sent me this photo with a question. As I always do, I put the message from the photographer so […] Read More