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Quick Photo tip: Photographing Your Kids

A twenty-five cent photo.

A twenty-five cent photo.

I have four grown kids ranging from twenty-five to thirty-eight and two grand kids ages seven to nine, and have been taking pictures of them most of their lives. Not so much with my three daughters and one son as they all have “flown the coop”, and leading grown up lives!!!

There was a time when I took lots of pictures of them, and my fellow photographers that have taken my online course with the PPSOP, and my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshop I conduct around the planet always are amazed when I show them some of mine in response to some of their submission they always have the same disclaimer…”It’s all they would let me take”, or “After one shot they wanted to quit”, or “This is the only pose thy would give me”, or finally, “They had a complete meltdown when I asked them to smile”.

“What’s yours secret”?, they always ask.

It’s easy, pay them!!!!! I’ve always felt that if you were going to take them away from what they were doing, it seemed only fair to pay them for their time; and it has always worked.

When my kids were just past the walking for the first time stage in their life, I was taking their picture for family personal use as well as using them for some of my jobs. At first they wouldn’t hear of being photographed. Covering their eyes and laying on the ground was their way of saying no. So, I offered to pay them twenty-five cents. It worked like a charm. Then as they got a little older, it went to fifty cents. Around the age of ten, it became a dollar, and that meant they agreed to be photographed for as long as I needed, because it was mostly for my work.

By this time, they were as good looking and better all around models that took direction better than any model their age a client could pick. This held true for all the modeling agencies in Houston.

The dollar became five, then twenty-five, fifty, and finally one hundred dollars by the time they were teenagers to young adults. You ask why? When a client wanted to look at model portfolios, I would always put in whichever of my kids would fit the profile of who they were looking for.  If one of them was picked, I would tell them it was one of my kids and the rate was one-hundred dollars for whatever use they wanted. A price my kids gladly agreed on.

The difference in price between a model registered with an agency and one of my kids could be a quite a lot. One of my kids charged a hundred dollars and the modeling agency would easily charge a thousand dollars or considerably more depending on all the different places the photo would be seen. There was never an issue concerning Nepotism with the advertising agencies. It was always about the money.

So, next time you want to photograph your kids, pay them for their time. A quarter can go a long way, which is exactly what my daughter (photo shown at the top) charged to get on the teeter totter with our dog Lucy.

A fifty cent charge by another daughter.

A fifty cent charge by another daughter.

Visit my website at: www.joeBaraban.com and check out my 2014 workshop schedule. Come shoot with me at the Maine Media Workshop July 27th, or in Paris May 28th, Jerusalem September 17th, or in Cuba November 4th.

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

JoeB

 

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Having fun with the effects of Proximity.

Having fun with the effects of Proximity.

One of the most diverse, interesting, and sometimes complicated of all the principles of Gestalt that I teach both in my online class with the PPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshop I conduct around the planet is referred to as Proximity. If you’ve ever felt that your composition was a little off and you weren’t sure why, you might have been suffering from a Proximity flaw.

There are several ways Proximity can add or detract from our photography:

The proverbial tree, lamppost, building, or telephone pole that seems to grow out of your subject’s head is one of the not so good ways Proximity can affect our photographs. I’m sure you have either seen it in other images, or have been guilty of it yourself, but have you ever wondered why you didn’t notice it right before you pulled the trigger (that’s a Texas euphemism) for clicking the shutter?

When we taking pictures out in some location, we’re in a three-dimensional reality, so it’s easy to see the relationship between one object and another. The problem comes when you try to convey your image that was taken in a three-dimensional reality, and display it in a two-dimensional representation…as in a photograph. Since the photographer is physically present, he or she can tell that a tree or a pole or some object is in the distance and not growing out of someone’s head. That is if the photographer is paying attention. When a picture is taken that fact is lost; you’ve lost the third dimension, depth.The tree is now in a two-dimensional contact with the person and the viewer will interpret the two as being one since they’re both in focus and appear to be on the same plane.

This is a very good reason why you need to study every part of your frame before taking the picture. for those of you that have taken my workshop or class, I talk about my “Fifteen Point Protection Plan”. It’s the best way to see this effect and rectify it…how you ask?

By simply moving over a step.

There are times when you can use this flaw to your advantage, and have fun with it; as in the photo above taken by a student in my online Gestalt class, and the photo I created of the cop with the fan on his head.

An intentional use of Proximity.

An intentional use of Proximity.

The funniest example of which I don’t have a photo is when I saw a friend of mine’s five year old putting his thumb and index finger out in front of him aimed at his mother’s head and touching them together several times in rapid succession. I asked him what he was doing and he said that he was pinching his mother’s head. Try it sometime; it’s a great stress reliever, and it was Proximity in action!!!

Stay tune for more on the effects of Proximity.

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and be sure to look for my 2015 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me sometime. I still have a couple of spots left for my workshop (in conjunction with Epic photo tours) to Myanmar next February.

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

JoeB

 

Another way Proximity can make your images stronger is by grouping your subjects together so that a relationship or common bond is created. Research suggests that the viewer prefers to see similar objects grouped together, and by placing objects close together you will be offering the viewer an explanation of the message you’re trying to get across.

One example is when you purposely arrange the elements of your composition so that they relate to one another and becomes a visual unit.

 

We all love repeating forms, shapes and colors, and if you can include these in your grouping, it will create a pleasing rhythm and a sense of unity that will keep the viewer around longer. Another good example is watching a flock of Geese fly overhead. I for one find it visually interesting and will usually watch them until they become dots on the distant horizon.

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Moving the viewer around the composition while discovering new things.

Moving the viewer around the composition while discovering new things.

Well my fellow photographers, this is the last in the series of my “did it do it” list for good composition. This is number twelve, and if you study all of them, you’re imagery will most definitely go what I refer to as “up a notch”. As I’ve said all along, these are not rules since rules will hinder your creative thinking. They are guidelines to making strong photos; photos that will be remembered.

Will your composition make people want to give your photograph more than a cursory look? Well first things first. First let’s see what the dictionary says about the cursory:

cursory |ˈkərsərē|
adjective
hasty and therefore not thorough or detailed : a cursory glance at the figures.

In other words, will it make the viewer want to stick around and spend more time looking. In order for the viewer to be more thorough or detailed, you have to provide enough elements for him to be thorough with.

In my online classes with the PPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet, I teach my fellow photographers how to use the elements of Visual Design and Composition to create strong photos. A lot of what I teach includes the power of Gestalt. The methods we use to gain attention to our photos will vary, but what’s important is how we manage what the viewer perceives and processes when he/she looks at the visual information we lay out to him in the form of a photograph.

Visual input is a part of our everyday life. As photographer’s it’s up to us to present this information in a way that will control what the viewer sees when looking at our imagery. The more ways we can get the viewer to move around our composition, while at the same time leaving and entering our frame, the longer they will stick around. The more things we can get the viewer to discover ( layers of interest) while moving him around will also keep him around longer. This is how the elements of Visual Design can play an important part in giving our images more than a cursory look.

Isn’t that just what we want?

Here’s a short video that will better explain my thought process when composing this image: http://www.screencast.com/t/Jd0rPYN8

:-)

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. Come shoot with me.

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

JoeB

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Anecdotes: Sal and Judy

Sal and Judy.

Sal and Judy.

Years ago, I was asked to shoot a brochure for a printing company in New Orleans. The theme of the brochure was “something’s cooking at Upton”. The designer had me go to five of the best known restaurants in and around the city; best known not to the tourists, but to the locals. I was to take a portrait of the owners, and had received a free hand to approach the portraits in whatever manner I wanted.

As I tell my online students with the PPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet, if you want to take your photography what I refer to as “up a notch”, scout your locations ahead of time. Know where the sun is going to be so you’re not somewhere at sunrise when you should have been there at sunset.

The fourth restaurant on my list was Sal & Judy’s Restaurant on the South side of New Orleans. I went there the day before to meet the owners and to determine when the best time to shoot was going to be. I pulled up in front and the pink building hit me in the face. I was ecstatic!!! A pink building…wow!!! That faced West!!!

As I stood there an idea started to form in my mind. It was Pre-Visualization at it’s finest. I tell my fellow photographers that if I can visualize a photo in my mind, given the time I can re-create it on film.

As I stood there I saw in my mind three bands of color spreading across the frame from left to right. I saw a band of blue (the sky), a band of pink (the building), and I needed a third band of color. something that would tie it all together…including the portrait of Sal and Judy…an idea leaped out from my mind.

I introduced myself to Sal and told him I was the one sent to take his and his wife’s portrait. I asked him if he knew anyone that had a green convertible, thinking that the odds were not in my favor. He looked surprised and said, “Well hell yes, I have one”. This was way tooooo good to be true I said to myself.

“What do you own?” I said to Sal. “A 1966 Oldsmobile Cutlass Convertible”, Sal replied. I thought I was hearing things!!! I asked him if he would bring it the next day, and explained my idea. I told Sal what to wear and to have his wife wear something that would go with the green car. When they showed up driving the car, I knew I had struck pay dirt…a portrait for my portfolio.

As I started shooting, one of the waitresses came out to tell Judy something. I immediately saw her black and white striped uniform and knew what I had to do do add a “layer of Interest”.  I had all three women come out with a screwdriver on their trays to add yet another splotch of color.

It was great fun and it reminded me of the days before photography when I was an art major studying painting and design. I was still painting, only I had changed the medium from a paintbrush to a camera.

:-)

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. Come shoot with me.

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

JoeB

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My Favorite Quotes: Ansel Adams

Shooting right into the sun at sunrise is about energy.

Shooting right into the sun at sunrise is about energy.

Ever since I started teaching workshops, back in 1984, I’ve collected quotes written by various artists. Whether they were photographers, painters, writers, musicians is of no relevance. The important thing to me is that they are artists, and at the top of their game in their respected fields.; of course the quote has to deal with some area that I’m interested in.

Years ago while studying a body of work by Ansel Adams, I came across a quote he said that has stuck with me all these years, and one I mention in my online class with thePPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet. Ansel Adams said, “There are no rules for good photographs, there’s just good photographs”.

What makes this quotes so important to me is that I’m always defending it to my fellow photographers. If I had a dollar for every time a student told me that he was taught to never clip the highlights, shooting into the sun is a bad thing, or practice the Rule of Thirds, or the Leading in Rule (always have your subject walking into the frame), or how about this one….stay away from the color red, it’s to hard to photograph (who in the world said that?), I’d be on my Island right now. I’d be sitting on a chaise lounge on my beach, waiting for another blue and frothy drink to be brought to me; a drink with an umbrella hanging perilously down from one side.

Now I’m not suggesting that you don’t know what these rules are, as it’s important to know them. I’m suggesting that as soon as you know them…forget them. That is unless you want to be taken down the one way rode to mediocrity.

So my fellow photographers, what constitutes a good photo? Well, if you’ve been following my posts, you would remember a category I called “did it do it”. On my list is concepts that I think makes a good photo. At least they do for me, and I’ve thought about this list for most of the forty-four years I’ve been a photographer.

I can tell you from years of experience, the students of mine that stop listening to people who lived and died by these silly rules and started shooting what felt and looked good, never looked back. As I’ve always told my kids, “Color outside the Lines”.

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

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

JoeB

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Workshop Stuff: Eiffel Tower Exhibition

First place

First place

In my recent Springtime in Paris workshop, that incidentally was a huge success, I had ask the class to photograph the Eiffel Tower sometime during the week. Since it’s the most iconic structure in France, or any country for that matter, I thought it might be fun to have a juried exhibition and award a special memento to the photo that was judged (I stayed out of it) by  three independent people (artists in their own right) as being the most unusual and creative photograph taken during the course of the workshop.

Several photos were taken after our farewell dinner at Procope, the oldest restaurant in Paris. A private coach picked everyone up after a fantastic meal and great wine and went to the Eiffel Tower at sunset ( 9:41pm) for one last shoot. I gave the first place winner a Crystal Eiffel Tower made by Swarovski.

The second, third, and honorable mention are the first three in the slideshow. All the rest were finalists.

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com and check out future workshops at the top of this blog.  In conjunction what Epic Photo Tours I’m leading a workshop to Myanmar, and I have two spots left. I’ve had so many past students tell me how fantastic and safe it was. The company has led several trips there and have established a great photo guide that will be with us every day.

Springtime in Paris workshop.

Springtime in Paris workshop.

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

JoeB

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Workshop: “Springtime in Paris”

Sunrise at the Louvre

Sunrise at the Louvre

I recently returned from my annual ‘springtime” workshop. This year it was in Paris, France and I have to say that it’s one of my favorite cities in the world for photo ops, good wine and food. Being around a group of good shooters doesn’t hurt, and seeing so many again from previous workshops is a great treat. I have people from all over the world and to have two women coming from Australia to shoot with me again after being in my last “Springtime in Tuscany” is a pretty good feeling.

Most of the photographers have either taken my online class with the PPSOP, or have taken my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet. In these photos there are lots of elements from their ‘Artist Palette’ they walk away with from my online classes. If you’re wondering why you like so many of these photos for one reason or another…that’s the reason.

This time I’m going to divide my students work into two posts. This first one is about the city, it’s architecture, famous landmarks, and people. The next post will showcase the Eiffel tower. Since the Eiffel Tower is probably the most photographed structure in France, I had decided a little creative competition would be a good thing…a motivator, if you will. An exhibition and competition to the workshop participants to portray the famous structure in the most unusual and creative way. I had three people (not in class) decide on the first, second and third pace photo. First place was a crystal Eiffel Tower designed by Swarovski.

Enjoy the show:

FYI, it was difficult to narrow down the photos to a reasonably amount, so if you get tired looking at them, I’ll understand…although they’re awfully good photos!!!

Springtime in Paris workshop.

Springtime in Paris workshop.

Visit my website at:www.joebaraban.com, and be sure to watch for my 2015 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. I have two spots open for my workshop in conjunction with epic photo tours to Myanmar. Why don’t you come shoot with me sometime.

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

JoeB

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He made it real easy for me...no release required!!!

He made it real easy for me…no release required!!!

I’ve been asked several times by my online students with the PPSOP, my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet, and several of you that had ask me on my blog as to when you need a model release.

The following is an article I had Dana Lejune (http://www.triallawyers.net/, my attorney, write for my blog. Since he’s an expert on the subject, I thought it would be great for you to read it straight from him. I guarantee you that what he says is the Gospel and can be taken to the bank. It might be a little long, but you know how lawyers are!!!

Here’s what he had to say:

“These days, it is commonplace to view photographs in newspapers, websites, and magazines depicting everyday people in a bustling city square, busy airport, or crowded stadium. Most will look at such pictures without a second thought. However, this might make one wonder if all the people in these photos are aware they are forever encapsulated in a stranger’s photograph. More importantly, how would they react if they were to find out? If a photographer isn’t careful, he can be held liable for violations of the laws governing invasion of privacy. This area of the law can be vast, encompassing common law, constitutional law, statutory law, and international law. However, this article will focus on three specific types of privacy incursions, which photographers must consider in their art: (1) Intrusions and harassment in the course of photography in public places; (2) The dissemination of misleading or false information; and (3) the appropriation of name or likeness.

Intrusion upon seclusion: One who intentionally intrudes, physically or otherwise, upon the solitude or seclusion of another or his private affairs or concerns, is subject to liability to the other for invasion of his privacy, if the intrusion would be highly offensive to a reasonable person. A claim for intrusion upon seclusion requires the matter into which there was an intrusion is of the kind that is entitled to be private, and is kept private by the plaintiff. This comes down to what the average person views as a matter of one’s private business. Photographers shooting in a public place will generally be shielded from this cause of action. The courts have determined anything visible in a public place can be recorded by means of a photograph since this amounts to nothing more than giving publicity to what is already public and what anyone would be free to see.

Simply put, there is just no reasonable expectation of privacy in apublic place, which would lead an objective viewer to weigh a plaintiff’s interest in privacy over a photographer’s interest in shooting there. So an individual who spots himself in a magazine advertisement walking to work on a crowded city street, generally should have no cause of action against the photographer.

False Light: A photographer who gives publicly to a matter concerning another that places the other before the public in a false light is subject to liability to the other for invasion of his privacy, if: (a) The false light in which the other was placed would be highly offensive to a reasonable person, and (b) The actor had knowledge of or acted in reckless disregard as to the falsity of the publicized matter and the false light in which the other would be placed. False light invasion of privacy can be, and often is, compared to defamation. However, there’s a few major caveats which differentiates the two. First defamation only requires “publication,” which means that the communication merely requires communication to another person. False light, on the other hand, requires “publicity.” This means that in order to be successful in a false light suit, the plaintiff must show there was a wider communication of the information to the public at large.

Additionally, a key component to false light is the manner in which an individual is depicted, not what is actually stated. That is to say, the photographer doesn’t have to actually make a false and defamatory statement to be liable. A photographer could be liable for false light so long as a reasonable person would insinuate a highly offensive false impression. For example, often certain religious fundamentalist photographers will take pictures of men walking near massage parlors or adult entertainment clubs. These photographers could be liable for false light invasion of privacy, if one of these men subsequently loses his job or gets divorced as a result of the publicity of this image.

Despite the damaging consequences such acts can have on an individual, false light remains the least-recognized and most controversial aspects of invasion of privacy law, and many jurisdictions do not recognize this cause of action at all. While photographers should be aware of false light invasion of privacy; in many jurisdictions, including Texas, a photographer cannot be held liable for merely depicting another in a false light in a photograph.

Appropriation of name or likeness: One who appropriates to his own use or benefit the name or likeness of another is subject to liability to the other for invasion of his privacy. Unlike intrusion upon seclusion and false light, this cause of action surrounds the commercial nature of the photograph. It is only when the publicity is given for the purpose of appropriating to the defendant’s benefit the commercial values associated with the name or the likeness that the right of privacy is invaded. Put another way, there must be something unique or special about the individual’s name or likeness that would result in commercial profit from using his image in the photograph in question.

For example, if a photographer captures a picture of George Clooney standing next to a brand new Ferrari and uses it for an advertisement for Ferrari; the photographer could be liable for appropriation of name or likeness. However, a picture of a local pizza delivery boy doing the same—much less likely.

Example: A group of patrons at a dog-racing park were photographed in the stands, and the park printed the picture in an advertising brochure. The patrons were not identified by name and were not considered celebrities or prominent members of society in any form. The court concluded that there was no unique quality or value in the patrons’ likenesses that would result in commercial profit to the park simply from using a photograph that included them, and their action failed. If you use a photograph for a commercial purpose, it’s a good idea to get a release. However, shots of public scenes will likely fall into the ” no reasonable expectation of privacy” category regardless of its use. It just wouldn’t be practical to try and get 10,000 releases for a photo of a section of a football stadium.

Photographers Must Be Aware of Their Surroundings. Generally, a photographer shooting in public would have scant liability to those who incidentally appear in an image. Nevertheless, photographers should do what they can to protect themselves. A prudent photographer should always carry prepared release agreements, and seek permission to publicize an individual’s face in a photograph.”

Btw, Photos used for education or news stories do not generally require releases because there’s no appropriation issue. However, these uses could become susceptible to false light defamation, or claims for commercial appropriation by a celeb or professional model.  

When shooting children, always have a parent sign a minor release.

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and be sure to check out my upcoming workshops. I have two spots left for my photo trip (in conjunction with Epic Photo Tours) to Myanmar. This top rated company has been taken groups there for a long time and the testimonials have been outstanding. I’ve had several past students tell me that it was one of the best experiences since they’ve been shooting…a first class adventure.

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

JoeB

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Food For Digital Thought: Texture

Information type of texture

Information type of texture

In my online class with the PPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet, I teach my fellow photographers how to incorporate the elements of visual design into their imagery.

One of the basic elements is Texture. Texture, simply put refers to the surface quality of a shape. The use of texture can grab the attention of the viewer, and can be a powerful tool in creating good photographs. There are three kinds of texture: Detail, Drama, and Information.

Detail is just that. By moving the camera in close to an object, the camera records the detail while the actual objects becomes less important. An example would be a close up of a rock formation.

Drama is the kind of texture we see that adds to your composition. In this instance, texture plays a supporting role rather than the principal role as in the detail variety. The color or contrast of this texture is what’s relevant here so it’s important to consider that in your composition. An example would be a large canyon with layers of different colored rock.

Information is when we utilize this texture to communicate an idea that will enhance the final impact of your image. An example would be an image of a decades old rusty car in the desert (shown above). This texture alludes to the history of which the car was a part of.

We think of texture as prickly, sharp, rough and hard. Texture can also be smooth and cold. Since we were young, texture has been instilled in our thought process. As a result, we’ve been aware of touch: Don’t touch that it’s sharp, don’t touch that it’s wet, don’t touch that it’s dirty, don’t touch that you don’t know where it’s been.

Texture, as an element of design, can best be accomplished during “golden hour’. This is when texture can be viewed as a bolder relief. Late or early light adds richness to texture and saturates the color within it.By using texture, we can make the viewer feel like touching the photograph. It can add realism and character to your images.

Here’s some examples of Texture…enjoy:

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2014 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me in Jerusalem September 17th.

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

 JoeB

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Anecdotes: The Circus

From Left to right: yours truly, the boss clown, and my assistant.

From Left to right: yours truly, the boss clown, and my assistant.

Texas Monthly Magazine, based in Austin, sent me to do a photo story on the clowns of Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey circus. I spent a week backstage in Houston at what use to be called the …and a week in Buffalo. It was a great, once in a lifetime assignment since I always wanted to be a clown when I was a kid.

I had mounted a 2400WS strobe head in a large softbox and mounted it on a boom. I rolled it around taking portraits of the clowns that were waiting to go on.  Some were resting, or changing clothes, some were applying their make-up, and some were just “clowning around” for the camera.

I shot while in costume.

I shot while in costume.

What makes this story funny is that for the week my assistant and I were actually in clown make-up and joined in with the clowns. One of the things we did was to be part of the seventeen clowns that piled out of a tiny car and were met with mallets being swung by dwarfs…what a gas!!!

I shot the clown portraits while in costume, and found it to relax the other clowns by being a member of the tribe!!!

Here are just a few of the portraits.

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2014 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. come shoot with me in Jerusalem this coming September17th

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

JoeB

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