≡ Menu

Anecdotes:

They could have been brothers.

They could have been brothers.

I was shooting a series of ads for Dewars Scotch in Edinburgh, Scotland, and one of the ads featured two men exchanging their secret fly-fishing spots to one another.

We scoured the city for an authentic Scottish pub that fit the layout that had previously been approved by the client…without any luck. It seems that all the old antique wooden bars, tables, and paneling had been bought up by entrepreneurs in the US to use in their new restaurants being built.

We found a room in the back of a boy’s prep school that fit the layout. The only problem was that it was an empty room and needed a lot of help to convert it to a typical Scottish pub. As I tell my online students with the BPSOP, and also my fellow photographers that take my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind”, if you’re going to use props and set things up (which I always encourage) make it look like you didn’t. It’s gotta look real to the viewer. Right before they click the shutter I have them ask themselves…”Do I believe it?”.

While we were dressing the room, my producer went out on the street to look for a couple of men we could use in the ad. Fairly easy since all the older men could have come straight out of central casting; everyone looked great. We picked out two separate men, total strangers, who agreed to play the role of the two fly-fishermen for a fee of $250.00 each.

I had a 12K HMI (a very large daylight balanced twelve thousand watt motion picture light) outside the window to act as the late afternoon light. To bounce light back into the men, I set up a roll of white seamless paper between us and cut a small hole in it to stick my 20mm lens through. That done, I couldn’t see anything except what I saw in the viewfinder. To make it more realistic and to get the men loosened up we use the real thing…a bottle of Dewars.

We had been shooting for quite a while and every time their glasses looked empty, my assistant would fill them up again. Finally, when I saw their glasses needed to be refilled I mentioned it, whereas I was told that the bottle was empty. They had consumed the entire bottle, drinking it ‘neat’ or in other words without anything mixed in it including ice.

It was over!

The two men, who never laid eyes on one another in their lives, were so drunk that they were laughing and falling over each other…and in a matter of an hour and a half had become close enough to be brothers. In fact, so drunk that they could barely walk and were in no condition to find their way home. It made us so nervous that we renting two private cars to drive each one home.

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2016-17 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me sometime and I’ll buy you a drink!

Keep sending in your photos and questions to: AskJoeB@gmail.com and I’ll create a video critique for you.

JoeB

Let people know you saw it here!
    { 0 comments }
    What else did I need to say pharmaceuticals lab?

    What else did I need to say to represent a pharmaceutical lab in a photo?

    Photography is the “art of subtraction”. Unlike painting where you start out with a blank canvas on an easel and fill it in until you have a finished work of art, the camera on a tripod starts out with everything the lens can see, and you take things out until you have a finished photo.

    The key to finishing up with a finished photograph, worthy of being on a wall is, in knowing what to take out and what to leave in. To me, this is one of the most difficult parts of the process; from the first idea/composition to the final act of clicking the shutter.

    I’ve been teaching an online class with the BPSOP for five years, and conducting my personal “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops for over thirty years, and one thing that hasn’t changes is that my fellow photographers don’t know when to quit. When to say ok I’m comfortable with what I have so it’s time to let go and click the shutter.

    I’ve found that people have a tendency to not trust their judgment and with that comes an insecurity in what they’re doing, and while they’re doing it..therefore their thought process centers around more is better.

    Years ago, perhaps a million of them, I was represented by The Stock Market”, one of the first, largest, and most popular stock photography agency in the world. The co-owner and photo editor told me that what she liked about my pictures was that I knew what not to to put into a photograph.

    For the most part, I’ve always tried to “keep it clean”. If something in your composition isn’t helping it then more than likely it’s probably hurting it…or at the least taking up unnecessary space. Sometimes you don’t even realize it until you’re sitting in front of a computer, and maybe you can fix it then; which doesn’t make you a good photographer.

    I do suggest three ways to help you out on that: My fifteen point protection plan, the border patrol, and the four corner checkoff. At least it might get you to see those pesky UFO’s…those parts of things that invade the edges of your frame – i.e., a part of someone’s hand or foot, the last three letters of a sign, half a light post, etc.

    The viewer will fill in the rest of the plant.

    The viewer will fill in the rest of the plant.

    Sometimes you don’t need the entire horse running through the field, maybe it’s just the neck and head. What if it’s just the grill of a 57′ Chevy? Try it sometime, and let the viewer work at filling in the missing pieces to the puzzle you left him.

    Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out the workshops I offer at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me sometime.

    Keep those photos and questions coming to: AskJoeB@gmail.com, and I’ll create a video critique of your photo.

    JoeB

    Let people know you saw it here!
      { 0 comments }
      What do you think?

      What do you think?

      I teach an online class with the BPSOP, and I also conduct my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops around our planet. I also like to have my fellow photographers submit images that they would like me to comment on. here’s one I recently received:

      Harry sent me this photo to take a look at. I always like to share what each photography says because someone out reading this may have had a similar experience. Here’s what Harry had to say:

      “Joe,

      Here is an image I made recently at a local park. This park is a very large former DuPont estate and the barns and houses are leased out to people. I have talked to the owner of this barn on previous wanderings through the park, as I’m lugging my camera/tripod and camera bag over my shoulder (No, I didn’t get photo of him with his horses or barn… still working up to it). On this day however, he was not there, but this purple flower caught my eye, and I stopped to shoot it. I have looked through the Windows Collection on your website and I would like to know what you think of this image and what you would have done differently.
      Thanks.”

      As you might know, I’ve been shooting windows and for several years and taking off with my dog to places that I select by closing my eyes and pointing to a spot on a map is one of my favorite things to do.

      As I said in my video, I have no control over the quality or the direction of the light so it’s just luck if I’m at the right place at the right time. I can tell you that it has to be an incredibly beautiful window, standing on it’s own without the support of light, for me to stop; if it’s entirely in the shade. Here’s a similar window i shot and was lucky enough to be there at the right time:

      Shot at the right time.

      Shot at the right time.

      Take a look at your video:

      http://www.screencast.com/t/Vtwz1G3nm0k

      Harry,

      Thanks for submitting to AskJoeB, and I hope I’ve been able to help. Be sure to send me your photo in case you ever get a chance to go back and take another look at it.

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

      Keep sending in your photos and questions to: AskJoeB@gmail.com, and I’ll create a video critique for you.

      JoeB

      Let people know you saw it here!
        { 0 comments }

        My Favorite Quotes: Henri Matisse

        Coloring outside the lines takes courage.

        Coloring outside the lines takes courage.

        I’ve enjoyed writing poss for this category for some time, the first one going back three years. As my fellow photographers that follow my blog know, I don’t limit these quotes to just photographers. Artists of all types and genres are my sources, and as long as their quotes make an impact (as it relates to teaching) on me, then I want to share it with everyone.

        My background is in painting and design, so part of my education was spent in Art History; specifically in the study of painting. Among my favorites was the French painter Henri Matisse. Not only known for his use of color, but he was also a printmaker and sculptor. Matisse once said, “Creativity takes courage”.

        I have often talked to photographers that take my online class with the BPSOP, and my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around our planet about stepping out from the coattails of photography past and present, and of those that would lead you down the path to mediocrity.

        I’m talking about those that follow (with the strictest regularity) rules meant to hinder any chance to being creative. Creative in the sense of following your own path instead of those others have blazed a million years before..at least during the onset of camera clubs…and now the ruts are are beginning to be too deep to climb out of.

        Coloring outsides the lines instead of listening to bad advise offered by those that are too afraid to do so themselves takes courage. We have become a  nation of sheep, and find it easier to go with the flow than follow the beat of a different drummer.

        For the most part, I’ve found that photographers want/need  to be safe in their approach to creativity and strive for that first, second, or third place ribbon awarded to those that follow the rules laid out in their respective clubs; or perhaps a big smile and gentle pat on the back from friends or family members…that love you unconditionally.

        Without the revolution started by these influential impressionist painters: Pisarro, Monet, Renoir, and Bazille, art may have never been so radically changed; they challenged the art world and won. As photographers we should consider ourselves as painters who have chosen a camera as our medium; our cameras on a tripod is the same as a blank canvas on an easel.

        Break all those silly rules that I’m sure all of you at one time or another have either read about or someone has been whispering in your ear; for the most part it’s really bad advice.  If your photos are constantly being degraded from fellow photo club members because they don’t follow their rules…start your own club and enlist only those that dare to be courageous.

        FYI, I know of people that have done just that.

        Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com and check out my 2016-17 workshop at the top of this blog. come shoot with me sometime and we’ll be creative.

        Don’t forget to send me a photo and question to; AskjoeB@gmail.com and I’ll create a video critique for you.

        JoeB

        Let people know you saw it here!
          { 4 comments }
          Will it stand the test of time?

          Will it stand the test of time?

          There’s so many aspects involved in taking a photo that you’ll remember and that will stand the test of time.

          Since I enjoy the game of golf and I often play (I’m a much better photographer), I can draw this analogy…to simply hit a golf ball straight and not necessarily far, it takes a number of things all working together at the same time: Your stance, grip, wrist, shoulders, head, knees, follow through,  tempo, back swing, and that’s not counting all the separate nuances that are associated with each one of those aspects. FYI, according to my brother, whose a Master Professional, only five percent of all the golfers in the world can do it repeatedly during an eighteen hole game.

          Well the same hold true for photography, fortunately for all of us there’s not quite so many!!!

          In my online classes with the BPSOP and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind’ workshops I conduct around our planet, we work on incorporating the elements of visual design.

          We also work on light, exposure, balance, composition, unity, rhythm, meaning, visual interest, and the ability to see past first impressions, are all some of the important aspects necessary before you click the shutter; if you expect your photos to stand the test of time.

          What do I mean by standing the test of time? I mean that when you look at your photo a day, week, month, six months, a year or longer, and it still looks as good to you as the day you shot it, then it will stand the test of time and become timeless. Will it convey the same meaning, tug at the same heartstrings, the same smile no matter how much time goes by?

          Moreover, if in the same stretch of time you take a second look at it and you wonder why in the hell you ever clicked the shutter, then maybe you shouldn’t have been so hasty. That’s where those aspects I mentioned come into play. A good photo is going to be a good photo no matter what new technology forces its way into the art of photography…and make no mistake, it is art.

          In fact, I find that the more plug-ins, programs, software, and buttons there are, the harder it is to take a simple photo and have it last through all these photo fads. Case in point, look at all the great photographers that shot with a lens and a camera. People like: Cartier-Bresson, Ansel Adams, Steichen, Haas, Lange, Eugene Smith, Newman, Walker, Penn, and so many more.

          Their images are more sought after today than ever before, and will continue their popularity even as our generations change hands and younger/newer photographers take over with more advanced, more powerful, newer, smarter, more megapixel cameras . I just don’t think you can say that with the type of photos that one sees every day. They will come and go as fast as the new spring fashions that come out year to year.

          For a photo to stand the test of time takes a commitment to the process. Take the time to get all these aspects going for you before you click the shutter, not in front of a computer. Think before you bring that camera up to your eye, and you’ll wind up shooting less and being more productive.

          Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com and check out my 2016-17 workshops at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me sometime.

          Keep sending me your photos and questions to: AskjoeB@gmail.com, and I’ll create a video critique for you.

          JoeB

          Let people know you saw it here!
            { 0 comments }

            Student’s Work: New York Workshop/2016

            "Taxi"!!!

            “Taxi”!!!

            I just returned from conducting my latest workshop in New York, and it will have to go down as one of the best group of people I’ve ever had…or close to it since so many had taken at least one if not eight previous workshops with me. The level of work was amazing and I was was proud to be a part of it. Nor only am I proud to show you their week taken during the week, but I would think you will agree that it’s pretty impressive work.

            Along with New Yorker (historian and photographer) Morning Slayter who produced this workshop, we shot a several places you’ll recognize in the slideshow: The Seaport, Memorial Gardens, the Brooklyn Bridge, Chinatown, Washing Square Park, the Village, Central Park, Calatrava Path Station, and a private hard hat tour of the shuttered hospitals on Ellis Island…not counting just walking around the city finding photo ops wherever you looked.

            My hat is off to Morning for all her had work, and the images you see would not have been possible without her.

            As I said, most of the people had taken my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshop, or had taken my online classes with the BPSOP…or both, and I would put their body of work against the majority of working professionals living through the US…and abroad.

            Group photo taken after the hard hat tour on Ellis Island.

            Group photo taken after the hard hat tour on Ellis Island.

            You’ll have to excuse me this time for the amount of photos I’ve selected, but it was very difficult and this is less than half of what I went through as to make it as short as possible. Just keep your finger clicking on the arrow and it will go by a lot quicker!!!!

            🙂

            I always try to select a photo to highlight and it was very difficult to do so. I finally settled on the one at the top that to me represents New York, albeit in a semi-strange (NY) way. It’s the one image you see happening more than any other when in the Big Apple.

            Enjoy:

            Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com and check out my 2017 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. March 10th, 2017 in conjunction with the Santa Fe Workshops, I’ll be leading a trip to the Oriente Province on the Eastern side of the Island. This will be my fourth trip to Cuba and I’m excited to see cities and parts I’ve never been to before.

            Send me a photo and question to: AskJoe@gmal.com, and I’ll create a video critique for you.

            JoeB

            Let people know you saw it here!
              { 0 comments }
              Isolating just the woman executive takes time.

              Isolating just the woman executive takes time.

              I’m not sure how many of my fellow photographers out there ever have the need to light and shoot a group of people and make just one of them stand out without the others knowing; and still make the lighting even on everyone. As they now say, “Being politically correct”.

              Having complete control of both your exposure and shutter speed is essential, to pull it off. In this executive portrait, I set up in an empty room in the company’s offices. By using  black board in between the lights that are on each of the temporary stand in models (we used so we wouldn’t take up too much of the real executives time), I was able to control the reflected light hitting each one separately. Using my Minolta One Degree Spot Meter model ‘F’ for both ambient and electronic flash readings I matched the light on all three executives.

              Now having the light readings the same, I then could control my DOF. I could have all three in focus, just the man in the middle, or the man on the left end. In this situation, the woman was the key executive, and the one the company wanted to feature in their annual report to the stockholders.

              By using a 300mm telephoto lens, I could isolate the woman at F/2.8 even though the next man was sitting close to her. I did this by getting as close to her as the lens would focus, approx. twelve feet.

              Then it was time for the real executives to come in and make it look as though they were in a real meeting; instead of looking at a whole lot of diffusion material. I tried countless variations where I had each executive doing something different; as though it was an actual working meeting.

              Remember that lighting takes a lot of time to make your photos look good. So many of my online students with the BPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around our planet just don’t take the time necessary when you’re using flash; either inside or outside. They tend to only think about the main subject and let everything else fall where it may…not a very good idea.

              Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2016-17 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me sometime.

              Keep sending in your photos and questions to: AskJoeB@gmail.com, and I’ll create a video critique for you.

              JoeB

              Let people know you saw it here!
                { 0 comments }

                Life Before Photoshop: Budweiser

                The finished product.

                The finished product.

                Looking back through all my post in this category, brings to mind all the years I spent without the help of Lightroom and Photoshop. I’m closing in on fifty years of shooting advertising and corporate photography, and I would say that three-quarters of those years were spent without their help. These years were during the period of time when computers were not invented, in their infancy stage, and later on when Adobe was a type of house in the Southwest part of the country.

                I was recently talking to a woman that had taken both my online class with the BPSOP, and several of my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around our planet. One of the things she said was, “I can’t imagine shooting and not seeing what you’ve captured while it is being developed.  That in itself, has to make one think very carefully before clicking the shutter. ”

                She’s right, but it was a lot scarier than that!!!

                Imagine a large production shot that included an out of town location, people, interior lighting you had to make believable, and important props that helped tell the story. Now imagine getting everything in the frame to be withing one stop of one another; from the front to the back, and from one side to the other…that’s not counting the exposure on the faces of the subjects. All this on one 35mm Kodachrome transparency.

                Now, imagine not being able to see your finished photo until you got back home, sent the film to the lab, then waited nervously until you saw the first three to four frame clips. I only knew it would be close ahead of time based on the countless meter readings I took with my Minolta One-degree Spot Meter and bracketing in one third intervals. Had it not been for this meter, I would have never been as successful as I was…plain and simple.

                In the photo of the boxer, Budweiser sent me a layout depicting a young Hispanic man posing with his trainer and manager, to be taken in the gym they worked out in. These were not to be models, but the real deal. I sent a location scout to San Antonio to check out his gym to see if it fit all the requirements. In other words, if it looked real. Needless to say I was exited when I saw the photos and quickly set up a date to take their portraits.

                Knowing from the photos that the room was going to be too dark to really work with, I took virtually all the lighting I had in my studio; I wound up using everything I took.

                Here’s the finished production photo with a video of how I achieved it with out the help of any post processing. Everything was created in the camera on one piece of film.

                http://www.screencast.com/t/lLw6jNdZiS

                Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out the workshops I offer at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me sometime.

                Keep those photos and questions coming to: AskJoeB@gmail.com, and I’ll create a video critique of your photo.

                JoeB

                Let people know you saw it here!
                  { 0 comments }

                  Personal Pearl of Wisdom: Hurry Up and Wait

                  What I was waiting for.

                  What I was waiting for.

                  When I’m out walking the streets whether it be in Paris, Lisbon, New York, recently in Cuba, or in my own backyard, I pretty much follow the same routine. That is, I look for all the elements of Visual Design, light, and color. Any of these are what I call pieces to a puzzle, and when I can get enough of these pieces, I look for something that can tie them all together. The final touch, the glue, the last “layer of interest” that can complete my work of art…my photo.

                  If I see something that fits the bill, and I have the time to wait, I’ll find a nice comfortable place to sit (hopefully) or stand and wait. The hurry up part is to get what I think is the best exposure and lock it in to my manual settings. I arrange my composition to allow for that certain something, and when it comes I’ll know it.

                  It could come in a second, a minute, or ten minutes. The longer I’m willing to devote to it depend entirely on how important I think the photo could be. One thing I know from years of experience is that if and when it comes, I’m not going to have a lot of time to shoot; and as Eddie Adams once said, “When you get lucky, be ready”.

                  The above photo was taken on my recent third trip to Cuba for the Santa Fe Workshops. We were in a small town an hour outside of Havana, and it was mid morning. The sun was sky high, and it was incredibly hot with little to no shade; too hot to walk around aimlessly. Across the small square I spotted a brick wall with a grouping of buildings behind it.

                  I immediately saw the yellow and turquoise shapes, and what I also saw were semi-squares that created a pattern.  These are two of the basic elements of visual design. I loved the way the colors seemed to be in harmony and quickly took a vertical approach, minimizing the semi-squares that weren’t yellow. I always take into account what I always tell my online class with the BPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around our planet, “It’s not what you put in your pictures that counts, it’s what you don’t put in that matters”.

                  What I saw.

                  What I saw.

                  Ok, the hurry-up part was done, all I needed was that certain something to happen. Several people walked by, but no one was wearing anything colorful. After a longer period of time than I wanted given the time of day and the temperature, I spotted a mother and daughter sitting on a bench behind me.

                  The daughter was wearing exactly what I was looking for, so I asked the mother if they would cross the street and walk by the concrete wall. The little girl began walking at a faster pace maybe ten feet in front, she suddenly stopped, and stuck her head into one of the semi-squares. I was able to get off one frame before the mom came into the frame, said something to the girl and took her away.

                  If I hadn’t seen past my first impression and used my Artist Palette, had my composition and exposure set, and was able to minimize an ordinary hot blue sky, I would not have been able to capture this moment in time.

                  Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out the workshops I offer at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me sometime.

                  Keep those photos and questions coming to: AskJoeB@gmail.com, and I’ll create a video critique of your photo.

                  JoeB

                  Let people know you saw it here!
                    { 0 comments }

                    Anecdotes: Anderson Consulting

                    Mano a mano

                    Mano a mano

                    Years ago I was shooting the annual report for Anderson Consulting, and they had me travel virtually around the world shooting their clients in action. A dirty job but someone had to do it!

                    One of their clients was Spain’s Social Security Department. Shooting in Madrid, Cordoba, and Toledo, I basically had a free hand to photograph the people in their environments; environment portraiture being one of my favorite genres.

                    We were there in February during carnival, and I was walking around looking for interesting subject matter in Madrid’s most famous square (packed with tourists and locals) The Plaza Mayor, and saw this local artist starting to draw this young girl’s portrait.

                    As I tell my online students with the BPSOP, and also my fellow photographers that take my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around our planet, always decide where you want to be in relation to the sun before you bring the camera up to your eye…and that’s just what I was doing.

                    In order to get the side light I wanted both on the girl and the artist, I needed to stand behind her; which is what I wanted to do in the first place. I wanted the artist drawing and the little girl looking over her shoulder at me as if she had just discovered that I was there.

                    To get her attention I would make the ‘psst’ sound and each time I did she would turn away from the artist to me, and just as she did I would click the shutter. It didn’t take long before the artist began to get upset, and finally he stood up, through his small piece of pastel on the ground, and started ranting and raving. He was yelling at me in Spanish and since I speak and understand the language just enough to get by, I knew pretty much what he was saying.

                    It didn’t take long before we had drawn a crowd, and as it grew people started laughing which made him more irate. He finally throw off his sunglasses, hat, and coat and “put up his dukes”…which made me start laughing;…which made him start jumping up and down.

                    Finally two local policia came up on each side and tried to quiet him down, and now he started in with them, which was not in his best interest. They picked him up by his elbows, and with him screaming what sounded like obscenities, carried him away.

                    That seemed to be a good time for me to make an exit from that side of the plaza. That was a very long time ago and for all I know he’s still locked up in Spain’s “ho-ho” house.

                    Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com and watch for my 2016 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. The end of July marks my twenty-eight year at the Maine Media workshops. It’s a wonderful way to immerse yourself for a week and think about nothing but photography. It’s the same week as the Lobster Festival down the road in Rockland, and offers a completely different set of photo ops than the beautiful Maine coastline, amazing lighthouses, and quaint fishing villages. The full description is at the top of this blog.

                    I have added a new workshop to my 2016 schedule. On September 21st, ten photographers will get together with me at my evening “meet and greet” to begin a fantastic five-day workshop in New York, New York. Check out my description at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me.

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

                    JoeB

                    Let people know you saw it here!
                      { 0 comments }
                      Nice and simple

                      Nice and simple

                      Since my background is not in photography but in painting and design, I still consider myself an artist; specifically a painter of sorts.

                      I tell my fellow photographers that take my online class with the BPSOP, and also those that are in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around our planet that a camera on a tripod is just like a blank canvas on an easel.

                      Ok, having said this, there are so many out there that don’t know when to stop painting…or in other words, stop adding things to a photograph. Either by arranging existing elements in your composition or by adding elements. I’m about “making not taking pictures”, photographing not what is but what could be., and this is what I suggest others try…but you gotta know when to stop!!

                      I use my artist palette when I’m looking for and taking photos, the same artist palette I show my students how to use. The palette that no longer has pigment on it but all the elements of visual design and composition. The key is knowing when to quit, and sometimes that’s the hard part. A lot has to do with security, and being insecure is a tough way to take your imagery forward, and it’s one of the main causes for overdoing it. This especially becomes evident when I see people’s photographs that have been over processed and saturated…to the point of being downright silly!!!

                      Let’s take painting for example. Adding more pigment won’t necessarily make your painting better, unless you were an impressionist. What it’s sure to do is make the pigments thicker and your canvas heavier. The last time I checked, paintings are not sold by the pound. The same holds true for photography. If you keep adding more and more light, and more props, it’s not going to create a stronger photo.

                      Remember that photography is the art of subtraction. Painting starts out with a blank canvas on an easel and you begin to fill it in until you have a finished work of art. When you have a camera on a tripod you start out with everything and start taking things out…or taking things out that you put in until you have a finished work of art. Therein lies the problem, knowing when to stop…when in doubt, cut it out!!!

                      I’ll leave you with this: It’s not what you put into a photo that counts, it’s what you don’t put in that matters.

                      Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com and watch for my 2016 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me sometime.

                      I have added a new workshop to my 2016 schedule. On September 21st, ten photographers will get together with me at my evening “meet and greet” to begin a fantastic five-day workshop in New York, New York. Check out my description at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me.

                      Don’t forget to keep those photos and questions coming in to: AskJoeB@gmail.com, and I’ll create a video critique for you.

                      JoeB

                      Let people know you saw it here!
                        { 0 comments }

                        Quick Photo Tip: Shooting Through Things

                        Through a fence.

                        Through a fence.

                        One afternoon while I was walking the streets of New York looking for interesting subject matter, I decided to look at things in a different way. Instead of my usual straight on approach, I began looking at things through fences, holes of various shapes, and shooting reflections off buildings. It didn’t take long to see things in an entirely new way, and I was really getting into it.

                        As I tell my fellow photographers that take my online classes with the BPSOP, and those that sign up for my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around our planet, always think about coloring outside the lines.

                        Reflections off a building.

                        Reflections off a building.

                        This works especially when you’re either getting bored or have temporarily lost some of those creative juices that feeds the desire to go out and take pictures. If it’s some new inspiration you’re looking for then I can promise you that seeing things in a new way will be just the spark you’re looking for to get that camera bag out of the closet and start shooting again.

                        Having said this, here’s another tip: Take your camera off auto-focus so you’ll have control of your DOF. I know for some this might be a scary notion, but just remember that there was a time when you actually had to focus all by yourself. Nowadays, the auto-focus feature is a luxury, not a necessity.

                        Shot through a hole.

                        Shot through a hole.

                        Manually focusing will enable you to focus past the fence, hole, or surface to whatever your subject matter is. Then, you can try different F/stops to get the desired effect as far as how much you want the foreground to be sharp. Try shooting at the widest aperture all the way down to the smallest. It won’t take you long to figure out what the best look will be.

                        Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2016 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me sometime.

                        I have added a new workshop to my 2016 schedule. On September 21st, ten photographers will get together with me at my evening “meet and greet” to begin a fantastic five-day workshop in New York, New York. Check out my description at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me.

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

                        JoeB

                        Let people know you saw it here!
                          { 0 comments }

                           

                          All seven steps.

                          All seven steps.

                          I teach online with the BPSOP, and I also conduct my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops around the planet. I teach my fellow photographers how to incorporate the elements of visual design into their photography. I also show them how to use their eye, and to see past first impressions. to not look at things but to see them.

                          There is a skill in photography called ‘seeing’, a few have it naturally, most people don’t, but can be shown the way.

                          The first step is the ability to frame just the part of the scene in front of you that makes a good, interesting photograph; this will take time to develop.

                          The second step is to fill the frame with your subject and to photograph ‘bits of things; pieces of the puzzle. Instead of the building just the window, instead of the window, the texture of the faded, peeling paint.

                          When out on the street and you look at the scene in front of you there are probably 30 or 40 good images you could take. Seeing is the ability to pick them out one at a time. Each potentially being the individual pieces that makes up the finished puzzle.

                          After a while you’ll realize that you have been walking around blind. It’s an epiphany, a sudden exciting realization that brings you into your own personal reality…perhaps for the first time.

                          The third step is ‘seeing’ the lighting and only taking images when the lighting is good, this takes a lot longer; a lot more discipline.

                          The fourth step is deciding on the best composition for your images, keeping in mind that balance is a basic element of visual design. Cropping only in the camera, and using the edges of your frame as a compositional tool.

                          The fifth step to consider is applying color contrasts, keeping in mind those colors that are in harmony, and juxtaposition of the light to your images; one of the best ways to generate Visual Tension.

                          The sixth step is simplifying the images, paring down the subject to its bare essentials. Remembering that it’s not what you put into a picture that counts, it’s what you don’t put in that matters.

                          The seventh and last step is grabbing the ‘moment’. The moment it all comes together, recording it to secure it’s place in our history…by clicking the shutter.

                          It’s a long, long learning curve.

                          I didn’t mention the word camera because it’s the least important part of the whole process. Clicking the shutter is the easiest part of photography.

                          Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2016 website schedule at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me sometime.

                          I have added a new workshop to my 2016 schedule. On September 21st, ten photographers will get together with me at my evening “meet and greet” to begin a fantastic five-day workshop in New York, New York. Check out my description at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me.

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

                          JoeB

                          Let people know you saw it here!
                            { 0 comments }

                            Quick Photo Tip: Get On Your Knees

                            Do you trust this man?

                            Do you trust this man?

                            I’ve been teaching online with the BPSOP and conducting my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops around the planet for many years, and one thing, among many, stands out. My fellow photographers will almost always bring the camera up to their eye, and whatever that height is to the ground is what POV the photo will take.

                            One reason is that it’s the easiest way to shoot. No muss, no fuss, no dirt on the knee or shirt to wipe off….therefore no problem. But there is one problem, and that is all your photos will take on the same look. If that’s your intent, then to each his own.

                            However, if you’re tired of all your photos looking the same, I suggest you approach your subject from a different point of view. Try looking at it from way down low, then way up high. Walk around and take a look from the side, then the back, then the other side. Of course the direction of the light is extremely important, and for me, dictates where I’m going to position myself.

                            If you’re able, try to combine both the light and a different POV. They can have a profound effect on the outcome of your end result, and can most definitely keep the viewer interested when you do.

                            The above photo was taken as part of an advertising campaign for CenterPoint energy; Houston’s main electric service provider. The client told the advertising agency who in turn relayed to me that they wanted to show how reliable their repair service was, and that their men were always there when you needed them most. You could be comfortable knowing that you were in good hands with the men at Center Point.

                            How do you represent that in a single photo? By your POV. To get their message across as quickly as possible, I wanted to show not only the man, but all the components as well, i.e., the power lines and poles, the truck, strength, and the man. To add the comfort level, I got down on my knees, and with a 20mm lens was able to capture all the ingredients…I made him larger than life.

                            Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2106 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me sometime.

                            I have added a new workshop to my 2016 schedule. On September 21st, ten photographers will get together with me at my evening “meet and greet” to begin a fantastic five-day workshop in New York, New York. Check out my description at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me.

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

                            JoeB

                            Let people know you saw it here!
                              { 0 comments }