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Quick Photo Tips

Quick Photo Tip: Stop, Look, and Listen

I stopped, I looked, and I listened.


I’m guessing that most of you have heard this saying, but how many know its origin? There have been films with this title, numerous songs sung by an assortment of people, and even a game show, but it was originally a slogan made up for a pedestrian safety campaign in the UK.

I recently saw it written somewhere and immediately though of a photo I took at a flea market in Paris a million years ago with my fellow photographers that were taking my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet. To this day I still think about it when I go out street shooting or mention it to the students that take my BPSOP online classes; unfortunately my pet dinosaur didn’t survive the asteroid like I did.

I digress!

Ok, let’s talk about each word and how in the hell it could possibly relate to the art of “making” interesting pictures. To make it easier to explain my thought process, let’s use these words as they narrate the photo above.

STOP: While walking around looking for interesting subject matter and how said subjects interacted with the light (light is everything), I immediately stopped when I saw these sunglasses and the way the light was dancing on them. They seemed to be sparkling, and as I slightly moved from left to right different parts of the sunglasses were in what is known as “The Law of the Light”, and would glow.

I knew that I had one piece of the puzzle and needed a couple more pieces to make a visually interesting photo…one that would also tell a story. I decided it was worth hanging around.

LOOK: As I was standing there I observed several people walking by and give an occasional glance to the sunglasses but weren’t interested enough to stop. I thought that if I would just be patient and wait long enough I might just get lucky and add another piece to the puzzle; and perhaps complete the work of art I was beginning to form in my mind. I was looking for just the right person.

LISTEN: My patients was rewarded as a couple of women stopped and began studying the rows of sunglasses. I non-nonchalantly moved closer to put myself in a position to capture whatever might happen next, while listening to their conversation. They were asking each other which pair they liked and one of them (the one not in the photo) pointed to a single pair.

At that moment I brought my little Lumix DMC-LX5 up to my chest ( in crowded places my small Lumix is more discreet) so it would be closer to my eye just in case I got lucky, and when you get lucky be ready. The other woman reached out her hand and pointed to the pair she liked, and when she did I grabbed the shot. I was ready for it!!!

I still have to spots open for my Springtime in Berlin workshop to begin the end of May.

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.


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