Storytelling 101: Long live white rhino

Below is excerpted from Amazing Travel Photos Made Easy taught by Brit Hammer.


 

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MEET YSTER. Yster is a white rhino. “Yster” in Afrikaans means iron, and anyone given this name is a fighter and a survivor. The name suits him perfectly.

Orphaned at age 3 1/2 weeks when poachers killed his mother for her tusk, little Yster was left for dead. He had stood by his mother’s side for four days when rescuers found his mother’s carcass and took him to an animal rehab center to be hand-raised.

Eventually Yster found his way to Legend Wildlife & Cultural Centre and to Ranger Arrie, who hand-fed him 30 liters of milk. Each day. Thing is, you can’t just buy milk from the local grocery store to feed a rhino calf. Nope, Yster’s milk is a special blend mixed each day for him.

When I met him, Yster was 14 months old and doing great. He even had an older girlfriend who would help him remember how to be a wild rhino. The plan was to release him onto Entabeni Conservancy, a large wildlife reserve, once he reached sexual maturity so he could live life as wild rhinos should.

(The beautifully produced video of meeting Yster is shown in the course material for Amazing Travel Photos Made Easy.)

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WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, WHY, and HOW

If I told you I was going to show you images of my trip to a wildlife reserve in South Africa, would you expect to see only individual images of wildlife? Or would you expect to see landscape and nature photos showing where the animals live? How about images showing what the animals eat, whether plant or animal? Furthermore, would you also expect to see some photos showing where I am in relation to the animals, such as sitting in a jeep at a safe distance or standing behind a fence? If the animals live in an enclosure, would you expect to see some shots showing that enclosure?

By asking “who, what, where, when, why, and how” before you shoot, you’ll come home with a concise series of images rather than an odd assortment of shots that don’t reflect what your experience was like.

Who is present — are you traveling with friends, family, or alone?
What are you doing on your trip — visiting the sights, hiking in nature, taking a cruise?
Where are you — in a city, nature reserve, or somewhere else?
When are you traveling — in autumn when the leaves have changed color or in the heat of summer?
How did you get there — by plane, train, boat, automobile, skiis, horse, bicycle…?

 

A NOTE ON GEAR

Many people think that you need to have an expensive camera to take good photos, but that isn’t true. The best camera to capture any moment of your life is the one you have with you — whether that be your phone, point & shoot camera, or DSLR.

That also means gear is not important for any course Brit teaches. Nope, what matters most is that you are “in the moment” to capture the shot and that you can be fast enough with your camera to capture it.

 

SIGN UP NOW FOR THESE CLASSES TO LEARN STORYTELLING

Amazing Travel Photos Made Easy

Celebrate Your Life in Beautiful Images Part 1

Celebrate Your Life in Beautiful Images Part 2

 

No post processing skills necessary for any of Brit’s courses. You may even use your phone!

 

Amazing Travel Photos Made EasyAmazing Travel Photos Made Easy

Learn how to capture these experiences:

  • landscapes
  • seascapes
  • cities & architecture
  • wine & dining experiences
  • nature
  • wildlife

 

Celebrate Your Life in Beautiful Images Part 1 Celebrate Your Life in Beautiful Images Part 2

“Celebrate Your Life in Beautiful Images Part 1” gets you started photographing how you want your life to look and what you want more of in your life.

Part 2 takes you further by focusing on capturing the essence of your loved ones — think about the little things that you’ll always remember, such as how they hold their favorite coffee mug in their hands!

 

Get a taste of how Brit will work with you:

You can also work with Brit privately

Mentoring: Schedule a live session with Brit via Skype

Get a private image video review: Private Video Image Reviews

Find out about all of Brit’s courses, including Photographing Fine Art & Craft

Pack a Punch with Lightroom Presets

Lightroom presets class
If you are new to using Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, you may not be familiar with the use of presets. Once you have learned the basic organization and develop modules in Lightroom in my Lightroom Quick Start Class, you’re ready to move on to presets!

Presets are a collection of saved settings that you can readily recall and apply to any photograph in a Lightroom catalog. BPSOP is happy to offer this class on Lightroom presets to help you take your images from good to great!

You can either purchase presets or create your own. Once you have learned how images are edited in the develop module of Lightroom, you can create your own custom presets that reflect your own style.

Perhaps you like the way a landscape image looks, or a set of adjustments on a portrait. This is where you can save these presets to use on other images in the future. These presets are not necessarily a one touch image editing solution, but it’s a good place to start.

Each preset will not likely work as a final adjustment for every image. Think of it as a place to start your photo editing and you can tweak each image to your liking without going through all of the basic adjustments. You can then move into the fine tuning of your image right away.

 

Lightroom Presets

 

They can serve as creative inspiration

Presets can help you enhance your Lightroom editing skills. When you apply your favorite preset, you can look at its settings, adjust them to your liking, and understand how they affect your photo. This will extend your understanding of Lightroom, enhance the way you go about editing, and achieve a more diverse range of styles for your images.

They are a very efficient and powerful way to boost your Lightroom editing abilities for results that would otherwise take ages to even imagine on our own. Even if you are a novice Lightroom editor, it is never too early to learn the power of Lightroom presets.

Presets can truly become your photographic inspiration. As you develop your own photographic style, your audience may expect a certain look from you. But maybe there are other times, when you need some simple creative inspiration. That’s where you can easily see many variations of the same photo and choose the one you like the best and continue to edit that picture to its final edition. See the samples below. All of these editing adjustments were done in one click, and can be undone just as easily.

 

 

Presets Can Speed Up Your Editing Process

Lightroom presets will help you avoid repetitive tasks that are applied to every image and allow you to put your creative time and talent to better use. If none of your presets work for a particular image, it’s much easier to apply a preset that is similar to your projected outcome than start from scratch, and then work on your image from there.

 

Focus Easier on Your Work Flow

If you decide to purchase presets from a developer, they will typically organize them by type and style. For example if you need presets for portraits, or for landscapes, it will be easy to find just the right preset for your project if you decide you don’t want to create your own.

There are also adjustment brush presets that will allow you to edit specific areas and features of your photos. No need to create a whole new preset for your portrait retouching. A set of of portrait brush presets will help you edit skin, eyes, lips and hair with ease.

 

Join us for our next class to learn the power of presets! 

In this two week class, we will show you how to create your own presets to use over and over and create your own signature style. You will also learn to use third party presets to help with your creativity and enhance your editing power. You will receive detailed information on the website page each week, as well as tutorial videos to help you understand the course material.

You can sign up here!

 

Holly Higbee-Jansen is a passionate photographer and photo workshop leader, and has been exploring her fascination with light since she was a young child. As a co-owner and guide for www.JansenPhotoExpeditions.com, she loves taking small groups of clients to beautiful places to help them explore their photographic creativity. Join them on one of their photographic workshops in iconic locations in the American West and Iceland. Live life creatively!

Reach Holly by email at:  hhjphoto@gmail.com and read her blog at: JansenPhotoExpeditions.com/Blog

BPSOP Instructor – Holly Higbee-Jansen
Holly Teaches:

 

 

Storytelling 101: Let them eat cake

Ever wonder how to tell a story with your images? Here is an excerpt from the Celebrate Your Life in Beautiful Images (Part 2) course material to whet your appetite.

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Let’s look at a slice of lemon meringue pie that I ate outside in a small cafe. It was summertime and I was sitting under a tree eating my lunch. For dessert I ordered what turned out to be a lovely lemon meringue pie, garnished with a single nasturtium — a lovely bright orange flower that can be eaten. Only it was too pretty for me to eat…so I photographed it, instead.

These images were not styled. The fork landed on my plate the way it’s shown. The light was filtering through the leaves the way the image is shown. All I did was notice the beauty and capture it.

 

BEFORE…AND AFTER

This is probably the simplest way to show a story arc. Two shots with one showing “before” and the other, “after”. Each image can stand alone, but together, they tell a story.

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WHAT CHANGED BETWEEN SHOTS?

Do you see how almost everything is the same? All that’s missing in Shot #2 is one thing (the cake). That’s one way to build continuity in your story.

The CAMERA ANGLE is the same.
The FRAMING is the same.
The DEPTH OF FIELD (DOF) is the same.
The BACKGROUND is the same.
The LIGHTING is the same.

Did you notice there were no hands in either of those shots? Okay, then how did I tell the story?

Answer: By using implied action. I showed the same subject both “before” and “after”. The action is implied, but remember that I needed TWO images to show the action. One image was not enough.

When viewed alone, does each image tell the SAME story as when shown together? Let’s find out…

storytelling101_03

STORY “A”

When you see a piece of pie with a fork, what story does that imply? What thoughts passed through your head when you looked at that image?

I want to eat that piece of pie.
Drats, I can’t eat pie.
It looks pretty…but I don’t like pie.
I like that flower though.
I should buy myself some pretty flowers.

storytelling101_04

WHAT ABOUT STORY “B”?

When you see an image of a flower on a plate next to a fork, with no food, what story does that tell? What thoughts passed through your head when you looked at the second image, by itself?

Nice flower. But…um…why is there a used fork next to it?
I wonder if that flower is edible.
Pretty picture.

Did any thoughts of PIE pass your mind when you just look at that image by itself, without having seen the first image? Probably not.

 

CONTEXT

Each image adds context. Did you see how the story changed, based on adding another image?

 

SIGN UP NOW FOR THESE CLASSES TO LEARN STORYTELLING

Celebrate Your Life in Beautiful Images Part 1

Celebrate Your Life in Beautiful Images Part 2

No post processing skills necessary to take these courses. You may even use your phone!

“Celebrate Your Life in Beautiful Images Part 1” gets you started photographing how you want your life to look and what you want more of in your life.

Part 2 takes you further by focusing on capturing the essence of your loved ones — think about the little things that you’ll always remember, such as how they hold their favorite coffee mug in their hands!

Celebrate Your Life in Beautiful Images Part 1 Celebrate Your Life in Beautiful Images Part 2

 

Other BPSOP storytelling courses taught by Brit Hammer

Amazing Travel Photos Made EasyAmazing Travel Photos Made Easy

Learn how to capture these experiences:

  • landscapes
  • seascapes
  • cities & architecture
  • wine & dining experiences
  • nature
  • wildlife

 

Get a taste of how Brit will work with you:

 

You can also work with Brit privately

Mentoring: Schedule a live session with Brit via Skype

Get a private image video review: Private Video Image Reviews

Find out about all of Brit’s courses, including Photographing Fine Art & Craft

Food For Digital Thought: Light at the Edge of Darkness

Front light right on the edge of darkness

Front light right on the edge of darkness

Light is one of my favorite subjects to talk about…why? Because light is everything to me, and that’s why over the past five years of writing these posts I have written several on the subject; my mantra is you find the light, you’ll find the shot.

In one of my online lessons with the BPSOP, I talk about my clock, and always knowing where the sun is on it. In other words, Printif you look at my clock you’ll see where the camera is in relation to the subject. From there you can determine if your subject is going to be side lit, back lit, or front lit.

Print
For example, if the source of the light is coming from behind the 8,9 or 3, or 4 then you’re subject will be side lit. If the light is coming in from the 10 or 2, I call that the “law of the light where the angle of incidence equals the angle of reflection; my favorite way to light people.

If the light is coming from behind the 11,12,or 1, then it will backlight the subject. Last, if the light is coming from behind the 5,6,or 7, then your subject will be front lit.

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Light right on the edge at 10 o’clock

By the way, I avoid front light like the plague, and when I’m shooting with my fellow photographers that sign up for my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around our planet, it’s easier to physically show them the difference between all the different ways just my merely turning the subject or have them move around the same subject.

The reason I avoid front light is because you won’t be able to achieve depth, you’ll only be able to show height and width. You can show the third dimension by having the sun behind the 9 or 3…which is true sidelight.

Now, I’ve talked about the clock before but what I want to add to the mix is placing your subject just at the edge of darkness. what I mean is placing your subject right where the light ends and the dark background begins. I like to do this for a couple of reasons:

The first reason is that it will create visual tension.  Two of the ways to create visual tension is through contrast and the use of light. The second reason I like to do this is because of the Figure-Ground concept in the psychology of Gestalt; putting a light object or subject against a dark background.

I said that I don’t like to front light, but the one exception is when I have my subject in the light but right on the edge of darkness so that I’m taking advantage of Figure-Ground; as I’ve done in the photo above.

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.

After trying to work out the schedules for the past couple of years, next January I’ll be doing a workshop with William Yu in China:

Yunnan China with William Yu

Although the workshop/photo tour has filled, we’re putting people on a wait list, so be sure to check out the description.

-BPSOP Instructor: Joe Baraban

Joe Teaches:

Stretching Your Frame of Mind I 

Stretching Your Frame of Mind II

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