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Life Beforte Photoshop: Bacardi Rum Shoot

Look ma, no Photoshop.

Look ma, no Photoshop.

Here’s yet another in my series I call Life Before Photoshop. These images are from years of shooting when the word Adobe referred to a type of house in the Southwest; years before Photoshop, Lightroom, and any other software or plug-in you can readily find in the annals of those beloved magazines called Popular and Modern Photography. I’m hoping that they’re not the only source one has for important information.

As I often tell my online students with the PPSOP, and in my “Stre5tching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet, I’m here to tell you that I’m far from a purist. I often use Photoshop to tweak an image of mine if I couldn’t achieve what I wanted “in the camera”. The majority of my forty plus years as a corporate, advertising, and editorial photographer were spent without any help from a computer. For me, the challenge comes in creating an image that originated in my imagination and was transposed into a photograph before I clicked the shutter…not after. I want to be a good photographer, not a good digital technician; but that’s just me.

Over the past few years, I’ve come to realize that the digital world has made my fellow photographers lethargic and apathetic; in other words lazy. “Why worry about it now when I can fix it later” is a statement I’ve heard way toooooooooo many times. I always thought photography was the art of making pictures, not being a very good computer artist??????? Go figure.

I digress again!!!

The above photo was taken for Bacardi Rum…unfortunately before a lot of my readers were born.


After an initial conversation with the Art director, I decided on shooting in Sarasota, Florida. I did this for the white sand and beautiful water. We started out early in the morning, and had the company transport the pool table and set it up on the beach. As you can imagine, this took several hours to set up, while about a hundred onlookers watched in disbelief. After determining where the sun was going to set with my Sunpath program and Morin2000 (hand bearing compass), we started setting up the shot. Right as the sun was setting we started shooting and stopped when the last rays of sun slipped into the Gulf of Mexico. Everything you see was created in the camera.

The art director checks out the composition with Rum and coke as well as Rum and soda.

The art director checks out the composition with Rum and coke as well as Rum and soda.

Btw, the model was Miss Bacardi for the year, and was flown in from LA. The entire story will be coming up in a post from my new category called Anecdotes. Be sure not to miss it!

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com and check out my 2013 workshop schedule at the top of this page. Come shoot with me sometime.

Don’t forget to send me a photo and question to: AskJoeB@gmail.com.


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    { 4 comments… add one }
    • David September 27, 2013, 3:32 pm

      I too spent the majority of my life thinking “…the word Adobe referred to a type of house in the Southwest”.  Beautiful photo even if it is “just a liquor add”.  🙂

      • Joe September 28, 2013, 7:53 pm

        Thanks David.


    • Philippe October 1, 2013, 5:26 pm

      I love to study your photos. Light source at about 2 o’clock. Objects very close to the edge of the frame, or close to each there but without overlapping for visual tension. The top of the glasses just below the horizon line. The left arm of the model a little back for some negative space to define the body. The position of the white ball to lead the eye to the model, the red ball between the bottle and the model. Perfectly straight horizon and vertical lines. No UFO’s! Flawless image. Typical Joe Baraban photo 🙂

      • Joe October 2, 2013, 9:46 am

        Thanks Philippe,

        You’re getting very good at determining why a photo looks the way it does, and why we like it!!!!!


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