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Did It Do It: Did It Tell The Story You Wanted?

    Did it do what I intended?

Did it do what I intended?

This is the third of twelve posts I’ve written on what I refer to as my “Did It Do It” list for good composition and ultimately/hopefully/usually ends up as a good photo. I pass this out as soon as I can to my students so they can get a handle on it and start incorporating it into their thought process. I call this one “Did it tell the story you wanted”

If I took a census of all the frequently made mistakes that all my students have made over the years in both my online class I teach with the PPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshop I conduct around the planet, a few quickly come to mind.  One of them is when the student explains to me what they were trying to achieve in their photo that is clearly esoteric. Sometimes it’s so esoteric that only the student/photographer himself gets it.

Now that’s really esoteric!!!

Whatever message they’re trying to send out (in a photograph) has to be able to stand on it’s own. I explain to my student that he/she won’t always be around to describe their thinking and make that idea clear, so unless it’s an obvious abstraction of reality where it’s best if the student lets the viewer decide what they think it is, the photo should be a “quick read”.

If you intended for the man that’s standing on a rock overlooking the ocean to be in deep thought, make it so his body language conveys that thought. Where you place him in the composition is so important. Putting him in the bottom right corner says something entirely different than placing him in the middle of the frame. Put yourself in the viewer’s place and think whether you would get the message. Right before you click the shutter “consider the scene, and its eventual outcome”.

In my photo of the boy I shot it for Russel Athletics, the story I wanted to get across in one photograph was that if if you work hard enough, no matter where you come from, or where you live, you can make it in the big leagues.

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, check out my 2012 workshop schedule and come shoot with me sometime.

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    { 2 comments… add one }
    • Debby Currie May 16, 2017, 1:20 pm

      Hi Joe,
      Love the light! The NS defining the boy. I can feel the concentration in the boy’s mind.
      Love the shapes on the barn and the cow in just the right spot.

      • Joe May 17, 2017, 12:40 pm


        The cow was in the right spot because we tied him up so he would be centered and not move.


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