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Quick Photo Tip: A Visual Dichotomy

A visual dichotomy at work.

A visual dichotomy at work.

Di·chot·o·my
noun \dī-ˈkä-tə-mē

A difference between two opposite things : a division into two opposite groups. A division into two mutually exclusive groups or entities.The dichotomy between theory and practice.The process or practice of making such a division of the population into two opposed classes.

Ok, now that all of you know what a dichotomy is, I can get to the reason of why it can be an important part of our thought process when looking for subject matter to photograph.

I’m always telling my online students with the PPSOP  and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet, to look for that which is un-predictable. Something that conveys more than one idea. It’s all about keeping the viewer interested in what we have to say. That could be in using Line to move the viewer around the frame, or entertaining him with interesting Patterns, Shapes, and Textures at a location you found; to name just a few. As in the photo above, it could be in an interesting dichotomy that shows an American Flag, a sign that says Tamales for sale, and with an Hispanic woman posing for me in the back of her trailer.

The photo tells a story, and it’s one that the viewer will write himself. He has all the ingredients: An Hispanic woman, an American Flag, a trailer, and a sign that says Tamales for sale.

So when you’re out looking for ideas to shoot, keep a dichotomy in mind. Look for interesting parts of a puzzle that mean something totally different when photographed by themselves, but when added together convey a completely new and different meaning; that often works well together.

Man and his dog.

Man and his dog.

Here’s another example of a dichotomy at work. This huge bearded tough looking man with a very small pet.

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2015 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. I have two openings left in my next “springtime” workshop in Portugal.Next July 26th I’ll be back at the Maine Media Workshop for my 27th year. a fantastic place full of energy and lot of photographers on the campus to share your experience with. I always pick this same week as it’s the week of the Lobster Festival down the road in Rockland. A different set of photo opts: people watching and portraiture, color, light, and design.

I have one spot left for my “Autumn in Provence” workshop to be next October 21st. We’ll be shooting during the Fall foliage. In April of 2016, in conjunction with Epic Photo Tours, I’ll be leading a group to the coastal cities of North and Central Viet Nam. You’ll see and take pictures of subject matter you would only see in magazines like National Geographic.

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

JoeB

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Food For digital Thought: Proofread

I love Zydeco!!!

I love Zydeco!!!

How many of you have ever written a letter, poem, story, e-mail or perhaps an epic novel? If you did  you proofread it before you hit send, submitted it to a magazine, or your literary agent. It would make perfect sense, right? After all, it’s all part of looking good and proving to others that you’re half-way literate.

Well, would it not hold true for taking pictures? Wouldn’t you want to make sure that proverbial tree or lamppost wasn’t growing out of your girlfriends or mother-in law’s ( maybe you would in that situation) head, or including the rest of someone’s hand or foot? Truth be told, most people don’t think about it right before they snap the shutter; they’re always in a hurry. Sadly to say, those people rarely proofread so it’s probably no surprise there.

In my online class with the PPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshop I conduct around the planet, I tell my fellow photographers to always adhere to my three checks. First, the four-corner check. I take a quick gander at each of my four corners. If for no other reason, to make sure I had the right lens shade on for unwanted vignetting, or if my filter was the cause of the same problem.

Next, I always do my Border Patrol, which entails running my eye around all four edges of my frame to make sure what I wanted in my composition was in my composition, and what I didn’t want in my frame wasn’t. This includes making sure all of my subject’s fingers and toes were included.

Last,  I do my “Fifteen Point Protection Plan”. To make sure among other things, that there’s enough negative space defining the positive space, and making sure there’s balance between those two thoughts….as well as the things I would see in my four-corner and border patrol.

Redundant, you say? Yes, and redundancy is a good thing…at least in creating strong, and memorably photos it is. The key to this is remembering to always do it, as I have for the past forty-four years. The more you do it the faster you’ll get at it, until it becomes second nature and can be accomplished in mere seconds.

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2015 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. I have two openings left in my next “springtime” workshop in Portugal.Next July 26th I’ll be back at the Maine Media Workshop for my 27th year. a fantastic place full of energy and lot of photographers on the campus to share your experience with. I always pick this same week as it’s the week of the Lobster Festival down the road in Rockland. A different set of photo opts: people watching and portraiture, color, light, and design.

I have one spot left for my “Autumn in Provence” workshop to be next October 21st. We’ll be shooting during the Fall foliage. In April of 2016, in conjunction with Epic Photo Tours, I’ll be leading a group to the coastal cities of North and Central Viet Nam. You’ll see and take pictures of subject matter you would only see in magazines like National Geographic.

Don’t forget to send me a photo and question to: AskJoe@gmail.com, and I’ll send you a video critique.

JoeB

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AskJoeB: So, what do you think?

So, what do you think?

So, what do you think?

Valeriano, a past online student of mine with the BPSOP sent me this image to talk about. I always like to include what each photographer has to say, because so many of you out there have had similar problems or thoughts about one of your photos. Here’s what Valeriano had to say:

Hello Joe,

I’d like your critique about this photo. In particular I’m concerned about the slight motion in the clouds. When I shot this I was not thinking about getting a motion filled shot.

Though I just went with using a small aperture (f/16 or f/22 can’t remember precisely for this particular shot) in order to get everything in focus from foreground to infinity.
I was using a polarizing filter, which obviously cut the exposure of -2 stops, though slower shutter speed.

So what do you think about it? The main subject here is the sky, and the cloud placed on top-left third which is slightly blurred by motion. Is that something which can work for this kind of landscape photography or not?
Thanks for your critique.

Valeriano.”

In both my online class and my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshop I conduct around the planet, we work on how to incorporate the Elements of Visual Design into your photography. We also talk a lot about matching the light to the shutter speed and aperture combinations so you get the maximum depth of field or the fastest shutter you’re after.

Take a look at this video and it will hopefully demonstrate what I mean: http://www.screencast.com/t/jITnXaeR5LF

It’s a beautiful image with great light and color, so thanks for sharing it.

Here’s the link to the post on giving meaning: http://joebaraban.com/blog/giving-meaning-to-photographs/

One thing I forgot to mention in the video is the placement of the horizon line. Since you wanted to emphasize the sky, you were correct in placing the horizon line in the bottom thirds. when you want to emphasize the foreground, you place the horizon line at the top. If you have a mirror image, you place the horizon line in the middle. Of course I don’t adhere to any rules so forget what I just said and do what you think feels right. Ansel Adams once said, “There are no rules for good pictures, there’s just good pictures.”

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my workshop schedule at the top of this blog. I still have two spots left on my next “Springtime” workshop to be in Portugal next May 21st. My workshops in Myanmar and Provence are full at the moment, but if you’d like to be placed on my waiting list please let me know. My 27th year at the Maine Media Workshop will be next July 26th, and in April of 2016, in conjunction with Epic Photo Tours, I’m leading a workshop to the coastal cities of North and Central Viet Nam. What an incredible photographic experience. Photos that you would see in National Geographic are yours for the taking.

Come shoot with me sometime.

Don’t forget to keep those photos and questions coming to: AskJoeB@gmail.com and receive a video critique.

JoeB

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My Favorite Quotes: Hank Williams

I saw the light and the welder first, then moved the bankers into it.

I saw the light and the welder first, then moved the bankers into it.

One of my favorite quotes is actually the title to a famous country and western song entitled, “I saw the light”, sung by one of the true country legends, Hank Williams.  Not that I’m a die hard lover of country music or a religious person, but years ago whenever I was shooting on location, chasing and finding the light, I would sing a couple of verses to sort of celebrate my good fortune and timing.:

I saw the light, I saw the light
No more darkness, no more night
Now I’m so happy, no sorrow in sight
Praise the Lord, I saw the light.

If you’re interested, here’s Hank singing it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xtolv9kM1qk

Btw, my crew thought it was REALLY getting old!!!

The analogy I’m drawing is what I teach in my online class with the PPSOP, or in one of my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet.  I tell my fellow photographers that light is everything; you find the light and you’ll find the shot. The only exception is in photo-journalism/street photography where capturing the action can be more important.

I’m always looking all around my environment and peripheral vision for that moment when I see the light hitting or falling on something. Light is so fleeting that once you see it, you have to act fast or you’ll lose it. Sometimes the light returns, as in a cloud moving across the sky, but I’ve found after forty-four years of shooting that once it’s gone…baby it’s gone!!! Light will make the difference between going home empty handed, or being less satisfied because of a gray day when you could have slept in.

When you do see it, while running towards it, you should also be thinking about how you’re going to use it. Sometimes there’s a subject or center of interest already in the light, and sometimes I look around for something to move into the light.The faster you can determine that the better your chances are in capturing it.

Are you going to side light, back light, front light? These questions need to be addressed and put in order of importance. In other words, try to light your subject from as many points of view as you can. I always try to start out back lighting or from the light in the ten or two position. Then I’ll look at my subject as it’s side lit. Finally and rarely will I front light anything…why?

Because when you front light, you lose the third dimension, depth. The one exception is when the background behind your subject is dark, making it stand out.

Here’s what I saw when I see the light:

Imagine me singing away when I’m seeing the light!!!

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2015 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. I have two openings left in my next “springtime” workshop in Portugal.Next July 26th I’ll be back at the Maine Media Workshop for my 27th year. a fantastic place full of energy and lot of photographers on the campus to share your experience with. I always pick this same week as it’s the week of the Lobster Festival down the road in Rockland. A different set of photo opts: people watching and portraiture, color, light, and design.

I have one spot left for my “Autumn in Provence” workshop to be next October 21st. We’ll be shooting during the Fall foliage. In April of 2016, in conjunction with Epic Photo Tours, I’ll be leading a group to the coastal cities of North and Central Viet Nam. You’ll see and take pictures of subject matter you would only see in magazines like National Geographic.

Come shoot with me and we’ll sing in two part harmony.

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

JoeB

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No histogram here.

No histogram here.

Actually, the actual line came from one of my favorite all time movies, On the Waterfront from one of my all time favorite actors, Marlon Brando. Here is the actual scene for those old enough to remember it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_GGVDVrIcM

I’m writing this post as a result from another of my students taking my online class with the PPSOP just telling me that the Histogram is a great tool for figuring out the proper exposure.. It’s also come up a number of times when during one of my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet, I’ve walked up to a fellow photographer during the last rays of golden light coming from a beautiful sunset and he was studying the histogram on the back of his camera.

“What????? Are you kidding me?????”  I say to them. Ok, let me get this straight, they’re standing there looking at some diagram on the back of their camera, deciding if the exposure is correct? When there’s seconds of great light left? You do know what could and will probably happen…right? When they decide on the right exposure, the light will be gone. Light is so fleeting, that even for someone like me who has made light the number one priority in his photography over the past forty-four years, and is damn good at it, still has to react quick ( as in very quick) to get the shot.

I can say that in all these years, I’ve never thought about a Histogram, or any device created by the Digital Dork Gods that are suppose to make you a better photographer. What about these insane yet comical blinking lights that they also put on the back of your camera…why? So you won’t clip the highlights. Why would these digital dork Gods want to put these helpful tools on the back? To lead you down a one-way ticket to mediocrity. Why would you want to take a normal picture with a averaged exposure that a Histogram will do for you? I suppose it’s the safe thing to do, and to me safe means average.

Be a student of light and exposure, and the best way to achieve that is to learn how to bracket. Learn the shutter speed/aperture combinations, know when to overexpose more and when to underexpose more. Yes, I know that you really don’t need to know all that because that’s what Lightroom is for. Knowing how to adjust exposure in front of a monitor will definitely make you a better computer artist/digital technician but why not strive to be a better photographer. When it’s all said and done, twenty, thirty, or forty years down the road, you won’t have a clue as to what makes a good photo. What makes your pictures stand out from all the others.

In all these photos, including the one above, If I had looked at a Histogram to decide on what exposure looked the best, I would have lost the light and the shot in every one of them.

Btw, all these photos were created by bracketing and are all created in the camera, not sitting in front of a computer.

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2015 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. I still have a couple of openings in my Springtime in Portugal workshop. Next July 26th  I’ll be back at the Maine Media Workshop for my 27th year. It’s a great place to spend a week immersing yourself in your passion…without any interruptions. I have two spots left in my “Autumn in Provence “ workshop next October 21st. An incredible experience seeing this part of the country during the Fall foliage.

In April of 2016, in conjunction with Epic Photo Tours, I’ll be leading a group of photographers to the coastal cities of North and Central Viet Nam. You’ll be able to see and shoot photos you would only see in magazines like National Geographic.

Come shoot with me sometime…like Marlon Brando, be a contender.

Don’t forget to send me a photo and question to: AskJoeB@gtmail.com and receive a video critique of your image.

JoeB

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Life Before Photoshop: Asics Tennis Shoes.

Look ma, no Photoshop!!!

Look ma, no Photoshop!!!

For those out there that have been following these posts, I hope you’re enjoying them as much as I did when I was taking them…way back when Adobe was a type of house in the southwest part of the country.

It was never in question whether I could solve the clients problem or not. If I took on the project, then there could be only one ending…a happy one where everyone lived happily ever after. If there wasn’t a happy ending, you never worked for that advertising agency again. you became Persona non grata. If the art director went to another agency, and it happened all the time, your name went with him.

There wasn’t anything to help you in those days in the form pf post processing. Hell, in the early days there weren’t even computers….just me and my Kodachrome 25.

I teach an online class with the PPSOP, and I also conduct my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops around the planet. In both cases, my fellow photographers are not allowed to use any post processing. Everything they submit has to be right out of the camera. I want people to become better photographers, not better computer artists or digital technicians. don’t get me wrong. I’m not some old guy that can’t flow with the times; quite the contrary. I use CS5 to some degree  on just about every image I take..why not? Having said that, i like the challenge of getting it in one exposure, in the camera. To me, that’s what being a good shooter is all about.

The above photo was part of a advertising campaign for Asics Tennis Shoes. This ,particular shoe was worn by members of the Woman’s Olympic Volleyball team, and the client wanted a shot that was full of action while showing the shoe.

I created a way to make it look as if she was jumping for a ball by building a frame that could support her weight. To get it without the use of electronic flash just wasn’t going to work. We built a harness that had a large bungee cord attached to the top. We could pull her down, let go, and it would spring back with her with it. I used a shutter speed that was slow enough to record the ambient light in the gym, and a synch delay that would fire the large strobe in the soft box at the end of the exposure instead of the beginning. This is what creates the slight blur and feeling of motion. When we pulled her down and let go she sprang back up we would click the shutter at that moment.

Right before i started to shoot, we wafted some fog juice to add to the drama.

The production photo.

The production photo.

Since it was before digital, I could only get an idea of what I was getting by taking a Polaroid before the actual shot. After that I would bracket all over the reading my meter gave me. If it wasn’t right on the money, I had nothing to help make it right. Back then, it was just the way it was, and if you didn’t think you could pull it off, you just didn’t do it.

I never turned these kinds of assignments down. I loved the challenge of solving the problem, and never thought I couldn’t do it.

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com and watch for my 2015 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. Come enjoy Portugal, my next Springtime Workshop next May. I still have a couple of spaces left for my coordinated trip with Epic Photo Tours to Myanmar. A country full of rich photo opportunities, and offers a lifetime of memorably experiences. Come shoot with me sometime.

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

JoeB

 

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Santa Fe Workshops: Cuba 2014

One of so many great photos taken by my class. This one was from Vikki.

One of so many great photos taken by my class. This one was from Vikki.

I recently returned from leading a fantastic photo tour/workshop to Cuba. Several months ago the Santa Fe Workshops asked me to lead a group of photographers to this small island just ninety miles off the coast of Florida. However, in our unfortunate and misguided political reality, it might as well be a million.

Because of the embargo that was placed in October of 1960, we are not allowed to travel directly to Cuba. Having said that, the Santa Fe Workshops has set up a person-to-person cultural exchange program whereas people can travel to this exciting and romantic country with special visas. These visas are for the purpose of exchanging ideas and sharing the different aspects of each countries cultures relating specifically to the arts and the artists living there; whether they be photographers, writers, dancers, or musicians. The management team at Santa Fe have been doing this for years, and have developed a very good working relationship with the government. As a result they have become adept at making the Cuban experience a life long memory.

I’ve been leading workshops since the eighties, and I can tell you that this was one of if not the most memorable experiences I’ve ever been involved in. The way it was handled was to be expected from Santa Fe, but it far exceeded my expectations. Our Cuban guide and the three Cuban photographers that always traveled with us were professional, courteous, knowledgeable in Cuban history, and were very talented photographers in their own right; also really good guys to be around.

Our producer, Kip Brundage, who works with and produces these Cuban workshops, has years of experience in the advertising and corporate community and one could not ask for a more qualified and approachable person.

With our first class accommodations and great restaurants to be found everywhere, not counting the freedom we had to explore Havana on our own, made the trip all the more memorable. I for one can’t wait to go back.

I had a full class, so this slideshow of photos taken strictly by my fellow photographers might be a little long, but as you’ll see the extra effort to view their work will be worth the time. For me, these photos have captured the essence of Cuba.

 

I hope to lead another group at some point, so stay tuned for future details. I can absolutely you one of the best experiences of your life whether you’re a photographer or you just want to see the country and perhaps make friends with these warm, photogenic, friendly, outgoing people.

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my workshop schedule at the top of this blog. I still have a couple of spots left for my next “Springtime” workshop to be in Portugal next May 21st. Although my workshop to Myanmar in conjunction with Epic Photo Tours is full, as is my “Autumn in Provence” workshop so I’d be happy to place your name on a waiting list. In April of 2016, I’ll be taking a group to Viet Nam so although it’s a long way off, if you’re interested let me know.

Keep those photos and questions coming in to: AskJoeB@gmail.com.

JoeB

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AskJoeB: Would love to have your comment.

His original photo

His original photo

I recently was asked by a past student what I thought about his photo. As is always the case, I like to have the actual comments as a lot of my fellow photographers out there have had a similar question, or have experienced something similar in their picture-taking. Here’s what Sunil had to say:

“Hi Joe,

I shot this in Jaiselmer, the desert town of Western India. It was shot inside a fort which was built about 860 years ago ! The horizon lines do not appear straight at the bottom as this was shot from an angle. Would love to have your comments as I owe most of my photographic journey to the mentorship I did with you.

Warm rgds”

Sunil had taken my online class with the PPSOP in which I teach people how to incorporate the Elements of Visual Design into their photography. I also teach these elements in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet. One of the points I always cover is that people like to see people in pictures. This was actually a recent post I just wrote on the subject.

Here’s a little trivia for you…Henri Cartier-Bresson would compose a picture and have everything exactly the way he wanted. The, he would wait until someone ran or walked into his frame, and  at just the right place, he clicked the shutter. You would be doing no wrong to follow his thought process.

Here's what it looks like when it's a cleaner read.

Here’s what it looks like when it’s a cleaner read.

Take a look at this video: http://www.screencast.com/t/DYKLbTd5

Thanks for sharing it Sunil.

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my workshop schedule at the top of this blog. My workshop in Myanmar is sold out, so if you’re interested I’ll put your name on a waiting list.

I still have two spots left for my next “Springtime in Portugal” workshop to be next May 21st. I’m onboard for the 27th year at the Maine Media Workshop to be next July 26th, I have one spot left for my “Autumn in Provence” workshop to be next October 21st, 2015, and in April of 2016, in conjunction with Epic Photo Tours, I’ll be leading a workshop to North and Central Viet Nam. Come shoot with me sometime.

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

JoeB

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Life Before Photoshop: Caddy Collection

Look ma no Photoshop.

Look ma no Photoshop.

For all my fellow photographers that fell in love with taking photos in the digital age, there was actually a time when you had to create everything in the camera. A time when you had take a roll of film out of a canister and load in into your camera; compose, then focus all by yourself.

Now, you don’t have to do anything but bring the camera up to your eyes and click the shutter. If something ain’t right, well don’t worry because you can “fix it later”. I’ve heard this exact quote a lot with my online classes with the PPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet.

Don’t think for a minute that I’m some old-fashioned, medicare card carrying gray haired old man that has not kept up with the times. I might be old and gray, but i assure you that I’m fairly good with Photoshop and use it all the time; on just about every photo I take.

I like creating as much in the camera as I can, because to me that’s what a good photographer does. If there are things that I have no control over, or can’t fix before I “pull the trigger” (that’s Texas talk for clicking the shutter}, I have no problem working on it post-production.

In the photo above, I was hired by a man who collected Cadillacs. He wanted a poster to put up in his office, and he wanted to show the cars in his front yard. I scouted the location to determine whether it received morning or evening light, and determined that a late afternoon shoot would provide me with the best and latest light.

I set up my camera on a tripod and arranged the Cadillacs while looking through the viewfinder. The hard part was arranging the cars so they would reflect light, but not be blown out. It took the entire day to do it. I brought out a hose and we wet down the driveway  to catch any reflections I could while creating a sense of depth. Knowing that I had a small window of light, I waited until it was the way I wanted then took the shot.

All this was created on one piece of film.

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2014 workshop schedule.  I also have two places left for my coordinated trip with Epic Photo Tours in Myanmar next February. a fabulous country rich in photo opportunities. My next Springtime Workshop will be in Portugal next May. Come shoot with me.

JoeB

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I was finally satisfied when I sat the two farmers down on the bench.

I was finally satisfied when I sat the two farmers down on the bench.

I don’t know about you, but I’m never totally satisfied with the way my photos turn out …sometimes!!! What do I mean?

I’m a painter, In my much younger days I used a brush, and now that I have little time to waste on cleaning said brushes,  I’ve chosen a camera as the medium of choice. Sometimes I painted exactly what I saw, and sometimes what flowed from the various brushes and palette knives came strictly from my imagination. As a photographer, I pretty much look at things the same way. Sometimes I photograph what I see, but most of the time I take pictures of what I’d like to see.

Photography is very different to painting in one important respect. When I was painting, I started out with a blank canvas on an easel and began to fill it in until I had what I though was a work of art. Now the canvas on an easel is a camera on a tripod and I take away things until I’m satisfied with what I consider to be a work of art. But am I ever satisfied?

In my online class with the PPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshop I conduct around the planet, I’m always telling my fellow photographers to take more than one photo. That infamously thought of photo, know without any geographic criteria, as “the one and only”. That photo that’s taken when the camera is brought up to one’s eye (the usual height for all one’s photos), and without any thought to light, exposure, or point of view the shutter release is depressed.

Btw, every so often someone tells me that they took a workshop and was told by the instructor to never alter anything or you’ll surely go to photo hell; it has to be photographed as it is. Well that’s certainly admirable, and I can only think that a painter was not behind the camera. Those people take pictures and to each his own. I make pictures.

Don’t be satisfied with your first idea as the odds of it being a “keeper” or an “OMG” photo are mighty slim. Walk around, look it from different points of view, underexpose or overexpose, give yourself choices.

As far as ever being satisfied. Sometimes I am, and sometimes after looking at it later on my monitor, I wish I had done more…looked at it even another way. To me that’s a good thing that keeps me sharp and interested in the the future…photographically speaking. After all, the best picture I’ve ever taken may very well be my next one.

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2015 workshop schedule.  I also have two places left for my coordinated trip with Epic Photo Tours in Myanmar next February. a fabulous country rich in photo opportunities. My next Springtime Workshop will be in Portugal next May. Come shoot with me.

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

JoeB

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"Framing within a frame "is one of the  ways to create Visual Tension.

“Framing within a frame “is one of the ways to create Visual Tension.

I teach two online classes with the PPSOP that centers around the Elements of Visual Design, and how to incorporate them into your photography. In my part I class we work on Negative Space, Vanishing Points, Depth, Shape, Pattern, Visual Tension, Texture, Light, and Color.I also teach these in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops i conduct around the planet.

In my Part II class, which is a continuation, we work on Line ( the most important of all the elements), Form, creating Shadows and Silhouettes, and more on Light and Color. We also work on ways to see things that are not obvious to most people’s eyes…”Not what is, but what could be”, is the class mantra.

The following slideshow consists of images from both my part I and II class, and if you compare notes you’ll see these elements used in creative ways by my fellow photographers that are learning how to see differently. Keeping in mind that these students are not professionals, but people that have started to use the Elements to their benefitwhen composing their photos.

Enjoy:

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my ever-changing workshop schedule at the top of this blog. I have one spot left for my “Springtime in Portugal” workshop May 21st. I have my Maine Media Workshop coming up July 26th, which will be my 27th year.

Keep those photos and questions coming in to: AskJoeB@gmail.com, and I’ll send you a video critique.

JoeB

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AskJoeB: How would you have shot it?

Deb sent me this photo with a question. Since so many of us has had a similar situation, or have had similar questions, I like to include what was asked. Here’s what Deb had to say:

“I shot this picture of an iron bolt. I thought it had great potential but I just could not make it as interesting to the viewer as I thought it was. How would you have shot this subject?
Thanks,
Deb”

Deb, in my online class with the PPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I spend a lot of time on light. Where you place yourself in relation to the light source is the key in creating photos that have energy and visual interest. Before I raise my camera up to my eyes I want to know where that light is coming from, so i can position myself to create the strongest image I can.

Take a look at this video critique: http://www.screencast.com/t/tIOmY7ipOre

Thanks for the submission, and I hope this helps.

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com and from time to time, check out my 2015 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. I still have one spot open for my photo tour in conjunction with Epic Photo Tours to Myanmar, and I still have a few spots for my next “Springtime” workshop to be held next May 21st. in Portugal. These are two completely different destinations but what they have in common is their long history and the amazing photo opportunities.

Keep those photos and questions coming into: AskJoeB@gmail.com and receive a video critique.

JoeB

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Would it have the same impact without the student running to her graduation?

Would it have the same impact without the student running to her graduation?

From as far back as I can remember, and through all my research on the subject, I’ve known that people like to see people in pictures. In my online class with the PPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet, I stress putting people into their compositions.

Photos are a powerful way to communicate ideas, or tell stories, and in the digital age they’ve become paramount in sending information over the web. A scene without a person in it falls short in getting a message across to the viewer that’s thousands of miles away.

Showing a gondola in Venice floating by itself and moored to a set of stairs down one of the many canals, doesn’t say the same thing as a gondola with two tourists being chauffeured down the same canals by a Gondolier while having a glass of Chianti.

I’m always trying to put people in my photos when I’m trying to show scale to an environment. The viewer can relate to the size of a person since he’s familiar with average heights. Also, where you place the person in the frame will take on different meanings. For example, placing a person in the middle of the frame and close to the lens gives a feeling of intimacy, whereas placing the person  in the bottom right corner sends a message of loneliness; as well as the feeling of being small in the scheme of things.

Use people to add color to a ordinarily overcast day. Having someone wearing a red sweater will add Visual Tension and draw attention away from the fact that’s a gray day. Another way to create Visual Tension is by using body language, gesture, and stopping the action of someone and leaving it un-completed. Blurring a person walking or running through your composition not only adds interest, but adds energy to your images.

Silhouettes are a great way to introduce people to your photos. They are abstractions of a three dimensional reality, presented in a  tw0-dimensional representation. They add a sense of mystery and drama.

Use people as a ‘payoff”, when through the use of directional lines, you move the viewer through the frame to lead to him or her.Use people as parts that when designed together  create Shapes. When traveling, be sure to photograph the people as they are the key to the countries culture.

Finally, Pattern is a basic element of visual design and I like to use people to break the rhythm of patterns.

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2015 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. My next Springtime Workshop will be in Portugal next May, and I have two spots left in my photo tour in conjunction with Epic Photo Tours to Myanmar next February. Come shoot with me sometime.

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

JoeB

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Light rain falling.

Light rain falling.

I teach an online class with the PPSOP, and I also conduct my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops around the planet. One of my Springtime Workshops, I conducted was in Tuscany. We were based in Sienna, and each morning and afternoon we set out for various locations that I had scouted before the start of the workshop.

For most of the week we had great weather, but one morning we set out to capture the beautiful rolling hills and rows of Cedar trees indigenous to the Tuscany landscape. As we drove farther away from Sienna, on a very narrow two-lane highway, the skies became darker and darker, and rain was imminent. Katka, the woman that produced the workshop for me knew of a small pull out where we could park the van and cars. The morning light wasn’t going to happen, and then the rain came. Not a downpour, but even the light rain falling was enough to totally bum out my group.

Raining harder now.

Raining harder now.

We had parked  about fifty feet from a major curve that had arrows pointing around it, so I immediately began thinking of a way to turn the overcast, gloomy, rainy day into something positive and fun for the workshop. That is the ones that wanted to get out into the rain, which by the end of the shoot included almost everyone.

I had Petr, the co-producer get in one of our cars with one of my walki-talkis. I had him drive slowly around the curve, directing him via the walki-talkis to keep his foot on the brakes so we could introduce some color; while the workshop shot long exposures.

After a while we hardly noticed the rain and my fellow photographers were able to create several pretty damn good photos… I’m proud to say.

A rainy critique for one of mt hearty students.

A rainy critique for one of mt hearty students.

So, as I’m ofter heard saying, “You gotta do what you gotta do”.

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2015 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. My new Springtime workshop in in Portugal next May, and I have a spot left in my photo trip in conjunction with Epic Photo Tours to Myanmar. Two fantastic workshops that offer a great deal of history and photo opportunities then returning home with memorable photos to show for it.

Keep those photos and questions coming in to: AskJoeB@gmail.com, and receive a video critique.

JoeB

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