My Favorite Quotes: W. Eugene Smith

W. Eugene Smith is probably one of if not my favorite photographer. Since the beginning of my career as an advertising, corporate, and editorial photographer, I shot mostly black and white. His images made a profound impact on the way I was starting to see, and I identified with just about all of them.

Bur recently, I discovered a side of him that I really felt made us kindred spirits; and it was all about the ways I approach teaching.

I teach an online class with the BPSOP, and I also conduct my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops all over the planet. I teach my fellow photographers how to incorporate the elements of visual design into their images, so when I read what Gene Smith said, I immediately saw so many parallels to the way I do things.

He said, “If I can get them to think, get them to feel, get them to see, then I’ve done about all I can as a teacher.”

Get them to think: One of the most common threads between photographers is that they’re in a rush to click the shutter. Sometimes that’s necessary, as in street shooting when a ‘moment’ occurs and you have to be fast to get it. Most of the time it’s not that important. What happens is that you wind up having to spend time in front of a computer to fix what you didn’t see when you ‘rushed to judgment’.

Think about what you’re doing when you’re trying to convey a message to the viewer. It can be any subject, i.e., landscapes, portraits, still lifes, etc. If the viewer doesn’t know what you’re trying to say/show, he won’t spend much time working to figure it out.

Get them to feel: Well it’s all about the difference between taking and making pictures. It’s about the total immersion into your new found passion and craft. It’s about mastering the light and understanding exposure. It’s about getting some dirt on your shirt or at least your knees. It’s about taking on the challenge of being a good photographer, not a good computer artist or digital technician. Let me explain further:

Determining the light and the direction it’s coming from before you raise your cameras up to their eye to me is the most important factor. Making your own decisions as to the correct exposure to use instead of letting the camera and Lightroom do the work for you, scouting ahead of time and pre-visualizing your ideas in your mind then executing it, and spending more time than the “I came, I shot, I left”  frame of mind I find happening all the time.

The “I’ll fix it later” mentally that has come along with the digital era, has sucked the life and breath out of the right side of our brain; the creative side.  Why should I bracket when I can do it in Lightroom? Why should I worry about the horizon line being straight when I can just use my straightening tool later in front of my computer? It just goes on and on.

Get them to see: Is it just a tree? I talk a lot about right and left brain thinking. The left brain is the analytical side while the right side is the creative side.

For example, if you were to look at a fence around a little league baseball infield, the left side would see a fence around a little league baseball infield. If you were to look at that same fence with the right side of your brain, you would see Pattern, Shape, and Line; three of the basic elements of visual design.

Make sure that when you’re out shooting don’t view things as they are and what you first see, look past those initial reactions to things so you can see what else they represent. It will open so many other photo possibilities.

-BPSOP Instructor: Joe Baraban

Joe Teaches:

Stretching Your Frame of Mind I 

Stretching Your Frame of Mind II

Enhancing Apple Photos with Extensions

Photos, the app that comes with every Mac has come a long way from its iPhoto beginnings. While not as flexible as Aperture (which has been discontinued), it’s an easier to use and learn application that has plenty of powerful features for your organizing and editing tasks.

While the Edit tools in Photos can accomplish much of what you might want to do with your images, Photos makes it easy to access even more powerful features via the Extensions option.
There are a couple of ways to edit your images in applications other than Photos. The most obvious would be right clicking on the photo or selecting Edit > Edit With. This will send your image to the selected application, but may not show the updates when you’re done. In my experience, Photoshop is about the only application that reliably works with Edit With.
A much better approach is to use the Extensions option in Photos.

When you select an image in Photos and choose Edit, you’ll see a … icon in the toolbar

Click on this icon and you’ll see any compatible extensions that are available to you

Not seeing anything? The App Store link will take you directly to many of the options available. In my case, I have both Pixelmator and Affinity Photo installed as replacements for Adobe Photoshop. I also use RAW Power as a more powerful raw editing tool.

Selecting one of the options here will open your image in that extension. In the example below, I’ve selected RAW Power to make adjustments to my image. When you do your edits with an extension, you’ll be taken into that application with all the features normally available if the app was launched and the image opened directly. However, the title bar of the app will be different – you’ll see Photos along with the name of the app you opened. More importantly, you’ll see Cancel and Save Changes buttons. Click on Save Changes and your adjustments will be applied and your image returned to Photos.

Choosing this method also means that you can back out of changes made later by choosing the Revert to Original option in Edit mode.

While Photos is an easy to use application, it’s a surprisingly powerful application that can be made even more useful through Extensions. And by using Extensions, you can avoid the headache of keeping your library updated, and having multiple copies of your images clogging up space. You’ll find Extensions available for HDR, black and white conversion, compositing images, creating text, and just about anything else you might want to do.


-BPSOP Instructor: Jon Canfield

Jon Teaches:

Mastering Apple Photos


Best of Photographing Flora – student’s work [part 2.]

We have more images! Part 2

Our first PHOTOGRAPHING FLORA course at BPSOP just finished and it was a blast! We have enjoyed creative work of our students so much, that it would be a shame not to share their fantastic pictures with the rest of the world. As image speaks for the thousands words, we will let you enjoy their work and their feedback below.

We are opening next PHOTOGRAPHING FLORA course in November, please join us here and learn how to take creative shots of flora too.


We are looking forward to meeting you in class!

Patrik and Monika Banas


Maureen Rogers


Virginia Winblad


Sunny Marker


Sabeen Mapara


Stanley Auspitz


Sarah Herman


Sarah Herman


Sabeen Mapara


Ruthie Kelly

Rene Little


Maurizio Zanchi


Leann Stella


Leann Stella


Ken Hastings

Best of Photographing Flora – student’s work [part 1.]

Our first PHOTOGRAPHING FLORA course at BPSOP just finished and it was a blast! We have enjoyed creative work of our students so much, that it would be a shame not to share their fantastic pictures with the rest of the world. As image speaks for the thousands words, we will let you enjoy their work and their feedback below.

We are opening next PHOTOGRAPHING FLORA course in November, please join us here and learn how to take creative shots of flora too.


We are looking forward to meeting you in class!

Patrik and Monika Banas

Alyda Gilmore

John Klingel


Ann Fitzsimmons


Benita Clarke

Thank you so much for such a fun course!  I really had fun and learned a lot.
Benita C.

Beverly Burke

I thoroughly enjoyed the lessons and the opportunity to try new creative techniques and experimenting with flora photography. I know that I will continue to use many of the new techniques presented in this class.  I feel the instructor’s critiques were very thorough and thoughtful.
Beverly B.

Carole de Beer

Dawn Schmitt

Debbie Lieske

Dina Damon

Doreen Mank


Francine Sreca

Thank you both so much. I learned a lot from you and really enjoyed the class. I still have many techniques to try and you’ve given me a lot to think about. I’ve certainly learned that flora photography is not as easy as many people might think. I thank you for your honest feedback. It has helped me grow as a photographer.
Francine S.

Jacques Wood

Jan Cafaro


Karl Gilmore

Thanks Patrik and Monika, I really enjoyed the class. I have taken other BPSOP classes, and admit that I was most nervous about taking this class. I learned a lot and it helped build up my confidence when taking flora pictures. Unfortunately, I’m thinking that, over the next few weeks, our house will no longer resemble a plant nursery like it has over the last four weeks 😉
Karl G.


Kudos to Patrik & Monika for this flower course. I have been taking flower photos for around 5 yrs, and was in a rut, this course gave me so many new ideas to tryout.I can’t wait to try some of the other ideas in this course. Thanks a million for your wonderful ideas for flower photography.

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  • "I can’t begin to tell you how much I learned and how much fun this class was! Bryan and Chris are passionate photographers and their sense of humor alone is worth the cost of the class:) I highly recommend this class and can’t wait to take my next class at BPSOP." Read More
    Patti The Art of Seeing
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