Creating a sense of place: Case Study #11

This post is one in a series on how to create a sense of place.



Next time you’re taking photos on holiday or during a celebration, include detail shots to flesh out your story. Details shots, when added together with photos of people, help show the mood of your scene.

Have a look at the images in these two case studies. They are variations on the same theme, taken in the same location.

post_11A_sq post_11B_sq

Do you see how each image is different from the rest yet is obviously part of a series? The secret is variation. Now imagine these images as part of a larger series that includes people. Can you see how having a variety of images of the surroundings helps create a sense of place?

Each images is a single idea. By combining several, a story is created.


  1. Vary the camera angle in each shot. Shoot up, down, out, across, or through a subject.
  2. Frame your subject tightly to omit clutter. Reveal part of the subject.



Amazing Travel Photos Made Easy

Celebrate Your Life in Beautiful Images Part 1

Celebrate Your Life in Beautiful Images Part 2

Photography Essentials

No post processing skills necessary for any of Brit’s courses.


Amazing Travel Photos Made EasyAmazing Travel Photos Made Easy teaches you how to create a collection of images that not only documents your holiday but that conveys how it felt to be there.

This course focuses on the creative side of photography and emphasizes getting all your shots in-camera.

You’ll learn how to get amazing travel photos using any kind of camera!



Get your camera to finally do what you want!

Do you want to take better pictures but don’t know where to start? Or have you been photographing for a while, but the results are hit and miss?

Everything is explained simply and clearly. This easy to follow course is designed to grow your confidence and skill.

Even if you’ve been photographing for a while, Photography Essentials will help you get great shots consistently.


Celebrate Your Life in Beautiful Images Part 1Celebrate 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.

Ever wonder if the craziness of your life is, indeed, worth celebrating? The answer is a resounding YES!

Start taking images that that look like they came out of a glossy magazine.

This course focuses on the creative side of photography. You’ll learn how to capture images of your everyday life in a fresh and exciting way.

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

Do you wish you had images of your loved ones that capture who they are as a person? What about a series of images that portray your life as nicely as a wedding photographer portrays a wedding?

Get ready to have fun creating lifestyle photos that you can’t wait to share with your friends and family.

This course delves into creative ways to capture even mundane moments and beautifully photograph even camera-shy loved ones. They’ll finally stop saying they don’t like seeing themselves in photos!

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

Choosing Your White Balance

Having the option to change/choose the WB, at ant given moment is probably my second most liked feature of shooting digitally. (Changing ISO, from one shot to the next if I desire, is my favorite feature; this coming of course from a guy who shot film for 30+ years.) It was around 2pm on this 93 degree July day in Lyon, France, and with my WB set to the Daylight setting, the image looked exactly as it should; a scene of kids playing in the fountains at mid-day. (See this image in comments section)

However, I wanted to create the warmth of the 93 degree day, and so I chose to manually set a ‘custom’ WB of almost 9,000 Kelvin and without question this resulted in a much ‘warmer’ golden image.

In so far as overall exposure, easy stuff; F/22 for front to back sharpness, and needing also a freezing action shutter speed of a 1/1000 sec, I chose 640 ISO, and as I metered for the strong backlight I adjusted my shutter speed until a 1/1250 sec indicated a -2/3rds exposure. With the camera in CH Motor Drive Mode, I just fired at will, at those times when I felt my overall composition was one of an active and filled frame. 

You Keep Shooting,

-BPSOP Founder – Bryan F Peterson

Bryan Teaches:

Understanding Exposure & Your DSLR

Understanding Color, Seeing Color & Composing Color

Understanding Close-Up Photography

Mastering Nikon Flash Photography

The Art of Seeing

Understanding Composition

Find beauty all around you

Beauty is everywhere, but can you see it?

“Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams.” – Ashley Smith


It’s too easy to take for granted the innate beauty all around us: the flowers, trees, and blue skies. But what if you slowed down and really looked…

What if you pulled over off the highway to watch a beautiful sunset?
What if you took the time to feel the warm sunshine on your skin?
What if you listened to the sound of birds chirping?

What would your life be like then?

Life becomes manageable when you slow down. It ceases to feel rushed, overwhelming, and hectic.

“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.” – Jawaharlal Nehru


When you slow down, you begin to use all of your senses: sight, hearing, taste, touch, smell.

Fresh strawberries taste better when you slow down long enough to smell them. Food is more nourishing when enjoyed fully. The same goes with any other experience.

What do you want your life experience to be? What do you want it to look like?

Find and see the beauty all around you, and your life changes for the better.

“Beauty awakens the soul to act.” – Dante Alighieri


What students say about Brit’s teaching:

“I’ve taken many classes. With the way Brit taught and explained things, I finally said, ‘I get it’. She made me enjoy taking photographs.”

“I have taken quite a few courses offered by BPSOP and learned so much from each one of them. All of your teachers are stellar. Brit Hammer’s class and method of critiquing took me to another level, and I am so appreciative. The video format and her commitment and energy she puts into her students’ work is inspiring and makes you want to work that much harder to utilize her suggestions for improving your photographs.” – Patricia Tedeschi – Galarneau (Celebrate Your Life in Beautiful Images)

Like a Moth to a Flame

Food For Digital Thought: Like a Moth to a Flame

For those of you that follow my blog, you’ll know that I put a lot of time into writing about the Light. You’ll also know that I always will say that Light is everything, unless you’re out street shooting and capturing the moment which can possibly be more important. Humor, is one other genre that can be as effective as beautiful light.

Having said this, that type of light is not the subject of this post. I’m talking about the light that can actually take away from your subject or center of interest. The light that’s not part of your main message but actually competes with it.

Over the past thirty-thee years of teaching my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind”workshops and in the six years of teaching  my online classes with the BPSOP, I seen a lot of photos that demonstrates this phenomenon and have often brought it to the attention of all my fellow photographers.

Just like a moth to a flame, the viewer will be attracted to the brightest part of your composition whether its your subject or not. Just like a moth to a flame, we are drawn towards the light or in some instances the value of a color; value meaning the lightness or darkness of a color. It’s an unconscious effort because it’s inherent in our DNA.

To know the basic reasons is to take a look at human behavior. As a species, we are Diurnal. In simple terms we are day creatures, spending the majority of our waking hours in daylight. As a result, light is an instrument used for our survival; as in sitting close to the fire so the monsters won’t get to you….a residual belief from the pre-historic times when you could be eaten by a really big predator.

So back to my point about light taking valuable information away from your thought process. If you rely on the meter in your camera to make all your exposure decisions (a big mistake) you will undoubtedly run into this. You might have the right exposure on the subject in your foreground, but what about the exposure in the background?

What if you’re shooting under some trees, or in open shade where your subject just happens to be in the shadow. You might get lucky and have your subject exposed correctly but out where the sun is shining it’s three or more stops brighter…making it way too overexposed. The viewer will not look at your subject, he will be drawn to the overexposed area…the not-so-pretty part of your photo.

Changes in the light levels can be an indication that something has happened in the immediate environment. The viewer will rely on the perception of the environment that surrounds him and that’s why he will re-focus his attention on bright areas of light in our images.

As I said, the value of a subject can and will direct the viewers attention away from your subject. A good example would be a group of people in a photo and one of them has a very bright colored shirt on compared to all the others; that’s where the viewer will look.

It’s so important to remember my pearl of wisdom…the whole enchilada. It can become easy to concentrate so much on the message you’re trying to get across to the viewer that you fail to see other things that can take away from the same message you worked so hard to get.

There are some good things you can do with this scenario. By putting the light in just the right place or places you can get the viewer to interact with you. This is one way to get and keep the visual information that we lay out to the same viewer in the form of a photograph.

-BPSOP Instructor: Joe Baraban

Joe Teaches:

Stretching Your Frame of Mind I 

Stretching Your Frame of Mind II

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  • Thank You for this course. I am just loving everything about it!!! I know how much work it is to put courses together and you have done a fantastic job. Your materials are very good, and I love your critiques! Wonderful course!!! Read More
    Mark After The Click
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