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Personal Pearl of Wisdom: Use It Or Lose It.

  If you’ve taken my online classes with the BPSOP, or have come shooting with me in one of my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around our planet, you’ve undoubtedly been exposed to several if not all of my personal pearls of wisdom at one time or another. If you’ve done both classes and workshops you’ve head them a lot more times than once!!!

Defending myself, I can only say that they are helpful hints that when thought about can make the difference in your photos standing the test of time and certainly will keep the viewer around for that important “give me six”.

One of my all time favorites, and one I’ve been touting for years is, “Use it or lose it”.

Right before I click the shutter I check for any UFO’s. Those are things you didn’t want in your photos but weren’t paying enough attention to see them.

These can be any unidentifiable objects scattered around your composition. I say unidentified because the viewer won’t know what they are, even if you do. Generally I refer to those UFO’s that sneak in to one of the edges of your frame….without you noticing.

They come in all shapes and sizes and are usually distracting. They can be anything from someone’s foot, to a piece of a lamppost, to part of another building, etc. When I say to use it I mean to take a step back and put more into your photo, or swing your camera around to see them. At least enough so the viewer won’t scratch his head wondering just what it is; not a good thing to see.

When I say to lose it, well that pretty much speaks for itself…as in get rid of it completely; which will probably simplify your photo as well.

In the photo above I took while walking the streets in Paris, if I hadn’t check my border patrol I would not have seen the foot of a man standing just at the edge of the frame. I wanted to keep the photo simple so I lost it instead of using it by including more of him.

Ok, here’s the easy part, or the hard part if you ask enough of my fellow photographers what they think. The easy part is to use your 15PPP, do your Border Patrol, and check those Four Corners. The hard part is remembering to do them.

I once had a student tell me that she put a small yellow post it note on the back of her camera, and all it said was 15PPP-BP-FC. She kept it on until she didn’t need it anymore, but in her mind it would always be there.

Whatever works!!!

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my workshop schedule at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me some time. This coming January Along with William Yu, I’ll be taking a group to China to photograph the flooded rice terraces and also the tribal villages. Next February in conjunction with the Santa Fe Workshops, I’ll be returning to Cuba for the fourth time. My next springtime workshop will Berlin next May; an incredibly beautiful city.


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