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Quick Photo Tip: Self Assigned Photo Essays Are Fun

Pat in the Hat

Pat in the Hat

Since I first began teaching my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops in 1983, and also my online classes with the BPSOP six years ago, I’ve talked to my fellow photographers about what to shoot when they’re traveling.

I’m not talking about the expected and inevitable photographs any above average photographer will take in the course of their vacation. I’m talking about a theme,  a running thread that can accompany the photos your family expects you to show them upon your arrival back home.

A simple essay/project for lack of a better word. It can even be a prop you brought with you or bought while shopping. Doing wide angle close-ups of menus on outdoor tables with as much of the surrounding environment also in the frame. A piece of clothing works, and that’s just what I’m talking about now.

After my springtime workshop in Sicily last year, Mikki, myself and another couple ( that were in the workshop) went to Portugal for three days.  Being photographers, we set out to shoot as much as humanly possible, and Pat always had her red hat.

Russ was doing just what I’m talking about in this post…his self appointed photo essay. Joining into the fun, wherever we went we both looked for locations or settings that we could put Pat and her red hat in.

Naturally, the photo essay was called “Pat in the Hat”, and the above photo I set up was one I took while we were strolling around in Lisbon.

So the next time you go on vacation, grab yourself a prop and throw it in your suitcase; or buy one in a spur of the moment decision whole in a famous local market. Take just one three inch red high heel shoe with you and put it in different settings…some predictable, some not. It will make the viewer wonder, and if he wonders it means he’s spending more time looking than he might normally do before walking away.

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my workshop schedule at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me sometime. On July 30th I begin my 29th year at the Maine Media Workshops. I’ve had the same week since the beginning. It’s the week of the Lobster Festival down the road in Rockland. It offers a completely different set of photo ops than one would expect when coming to photograph the coastline, lighthouses, and fishing villages of Maine. Come join me and spend a week completely immersed in your love for photography.

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

JoeB

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