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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:


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.


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