Creating a sense of place: Case Study #10

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 this case study:

  • Storm approaching
  • Double rainbow
  • Candlelit bath
  • Sunset


Do you see how each image tells part of the story? This is how you create a visually interesting story and capture a sense of place.

Each of these images is a single idea. By combining several ideas, 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

Visual Maturity

Visual maturity often recognizes the need to slow down, observe, move closer, move back, move up or down, consider other lenses, return at a different time etc. all in an attempt to fully explore the subject and in the process we should make numerous other and equally compelling images; what I often refer to as ‘the picture with the picture.’ Work your subject, as if it were a block of wood or a stone and “chip away, chip away” and discover the pictures within the picture.

Take a look at the image on the right,  and clearly their is ‘more’ to the story due to the larger angle of view; we see roses hanging from a ceiling, (a ritual similar to Mistletoe), three patrons enjoying a beer in the bar, and the bartender herself framed up in the ‘distant’ corner, as the light streams from behind her, into an otherwise darkened, somber room.

Contrast this composition to the image of just that same woman in the opened window, and clearly it is a composition that is solely a ‘portrait’ of light and framing with a frame, the larger room and patrons be damned.

In my view, neither is better, but rather both offer an intended purpose.

Working your subject is part of the maturation process of vision development, and one way towards expanding that vision includes the awareness of the picture within the picture.

Nikon D810, Nikkor 24-120mm, 1250 ISO, Daylight/Sunny WB

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

The one simple thing that will improve your photos immediately

Adapted from Photography Essentials, taught by Brit Hammer.

The one simple thing that will improve your photos immediately

Creating a strong composition is that one simple thing.

Composition is a function of camera angle and framing.

Every time I photograph, these are the steps I follow to compose an image:

  1. Decide what the specific subject is
  2. Find a camera angle that shows off that specific subject
  3. Frame the image…so there are no distractions
  4. Focus

STEP 1: Decide what the specific subject is

Choose one specific thing. That means a key, not the key and the entire door. How the light shines through the pergola, not the entire sky. One specific thing.


STEP 2: Find a camera angle that shows off that one specific subject

As you learn to discern what specific part of a scene attracts your eye, begin to systematically explore the camera angles. By looking for your camera angle in a systematic way — rather than haphazardly — you’ll find that two things will improve: (1) the quality of your images and (2) your consistency getting good photos.

There are essentially three camera angles that I use because they work in most situations, from photographing people and animals to food and architecture. They are:

  1. Subject-level
  2. Top-down
  3. Bottom-up


Camera angle #1: Put your camera at subject level

The easiest thing you can do that will really improve your photography is to put your camera at the level of your subject. Remember, your eyes do not have to be at subject level — only your camera does!

These odd heights, such as floor level and table height, result in unexpected view points. They also feel very intimate. So put your camera where your subject is and capture that unexpected angle!



Camera angle #2: Top-down

When shooting top-down, you can simplify a scene and get rid of clutter. Sometimes this also creates a new way of looking at something. Either shoot straight down or at an obvious angle — between 45-90 degrees.

Shooting top-down is great for just about any subject, from people and animals to food, interiors, and still life. The top-down angle is especially useful for showing hands at work, so if you have young children, start photographing them top-down while they’re playing, coloring, or even washing their hands in the sink!

The secret to this angle is to be between 45-90 degrees above your subject.

Start shooting top-down and see what great shots you get!



Camera angle #3: Bottom-up

We’re used to looking straight out at eye level. Start looking upward — you might be surprised what you see! The secret is to make your camera angle obvious, between 45-90 degrees.

Shooting bottom-up works especially well for architecture and interiors but can also be used for photographing people, animals, decor, and food & drinks served in transparent dishes.

. . .

(This was a quick peek into the first two steps of Brit’s method to finding great images. Learn more when you sign up for Photography Essentials.)


Instructor: Brit Hammer

In Photography Essentials you’ll learn the techniques Brit uses so you can arrive at your own great images quickly and easily. With a bit of practice, they will become second nature to you!

Everything is explained simply and clearly.

We’ll work on one essential aspect at a time, broken down into parts like building blocks. By the end of the course the pieces will be put back together again so it all makes sense.

This course is for both beginners as well as experienced photographers desiring consistently great shots.


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)

Traveling with Adobe Lightroom

Have you ever wondered how to continue editing and cataloging your images with Adobe Lightroom when you are away from home?

There is so much to think about when preparing for a photography expedition and having a secure place to upload and edit your images is as important as your shooting locations and what cameras and lenses to bring.

What about traveling with a laptop? What about bringing external drives?

As a photographic workshop leader, I prefer to travel light. I have enough to bring with me without worrying about my laptop getting damaged in a wet, cold or damp environment.

 Traveling with a laptop

Here are a few ideas

You can use your media cards as an option for back up. Many cameras have 2 media card slots which will make duplicates of your images on a matching memory card.

You will be secure in the knowledge that your media cards are backed up, but it doesn’t allow you to edit or view your pictures at a reasonable size while you traveling. Many cameras now have wi-fi capabilities. You would then have the ability to upload your photos to your phone or pad, but it may not allow transfer of RAW or high resolution images to use while editing. Double check your camera’s instruction manual for more information on wi-fi.

It’s important to keep your Lightroom organization simple and that is why in my Lightroom classes I tell my students to only have one Lightroom catalog. The only exception to this rule would be if you were traveling with Lightroom classic and a laptop. Then you would create a separate catalog for your trip and then merge that catalog with the original upon return. But, as I mentioned, this method requires you to travel with a laptop. I believe I have discovered an easier way.

using Lightroom when Traveling

Adobe’s Photographers Plan

The method of storing your photos that I am going to explain requires a subscription with the Adobe Photographers Plan. If you already have a subscription, they will allow you to upgrade your storage to 1tb for an additional $5 per month. This will allow you plenty of storage in the cloud to use while  you are traveling. With this plan, you get both Lightroom Classic, Lightroom CC, and Photoshop as well as the Lightroom mobile.

The upgrade to the photographers plan is hidden on the Adobe site. Adobe doesn’t make this offer very obvious, and you need to dig a little after clicking on “manage your plan”. Scroll all the way through all of Adobe’s offerings and you will find it.

With Lightroom Mobil on your pad or phone, you can upload your pictures directly to Lightroom and do some basic editing. The editing in Lightroom CC (or Lightroom Mobil) is not as comprehensive as Lightroom Classic, but it’s enough to get you through while you are traveling.

Once you upload your images to your pad of phone in Lightroom mobil, your full resolution images will then get synced to the cloud as long as you have a strong internet connection. The only caveat here is that you need to be sure you have enough storage with Adobe. The regular photographer’s plan with Adobe only comes with 20GB of storage, so if you have a 32GB media card, you would need to upgrade your storage to the plan mentioned above.

How to Upload Your Images

It’s a simple process to upload your digital media to your pad or your phone. I use a dongle that connects to my iPad and iPhone. Once you are connected, the photos app will show an import tab that you tap on to import your pictures to your pad. (Be sure to have enough space on your pad to upload these files.) You can then select the images you would like to import into your camera roll. Once they are on your camera roll, you can import into Lightroom directly.

Once the images have been uploaded to Lightroom, you can choose to either erase the images on your pad or phone, or use that as an additional backup for your images.

If you are connected to wi-fi, Lightroom will send the full resolution images to the Cloud, safely storing your images for you until you return home.

This process will allow me to preview my images, do some minor editing and use the high quality digital images from my DSLR to use for social media.

Once you open Lightroom Classic upon your return, those images will be automatically imported to your hard drive and Lightroom Classic. Pretty cool, right!

You will need to tell Lightroom Classic in the preferences where to store the uploaded images. It’s a great way to not only back up images while traveling, but allows you to edit and organize on the road. Make sure to reorganize the location of the images when you return.

If this sounds like something you would like to try and need some assistance, please feel free to reach out with questions. I believe it will be a game changer for you as well.

In my Lightroom Quick Start class, I cover the basic tools so that you can use Lightroom as your go-to editing and organizational tool. This 4-week class covers the basics that will get you up and running quickly in an efficient way. Try our next Lightroom class and learn to use the essential program for editing and organization.

If you are interested in learning more about iPhone photography and Adobe Lightroom take one of my classes on these subjects right here at BPSOP!

BPSOP Instructor – Holly Higbee-Jansen

HollyHolly Higbee-Jansen is photographer, trainer, blogger, and workshop leader who enjoys teaching and the creative process. Her passions include teaching photography workshops in beautiful locations in California, Iceland, Costa Rica and the American West with her husband Mark. Holly also teaches online classes on Lightroom, Photoshop and photographic technique. Get Holly’s Free E-Book on “Landscape Photography and the Light and find out about her newest workshops at Jansen Photo

Reach Holly by email at and read her blog at:

Holly Teaches:

Lightroom Quickstart


Do you want to learn to create images that show the beauty of the scene you saw when you took the photograph? Do you want to learn the other essential side of digital photography, photo editing and get up to speed quickly?

This course is designed to get you up and running FAST in this incredibly powerful program. In this two week information packed class, you will learn how to import, organize and perform simple and effective editing processes that will let you produce beautiful adjustments to your pictures.

iPhone Photography
In this class, we will introduce you to the magic of iPhone photography using several shooting and editing apps that will give you the ability to make your pictures sing in a fun and easy way. You will learn how to crop, change saturation, brightness and affect the overall look of your pictures with HDR, drama and grunge filters and other techniques. You will be amazed at the simple and effective methods.

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  • I just completed the Art of Seeing course, and I just want to tell you that this course was everything I hoped it would be. It opened my eyes to look at a scene in a new and different way than I had been previously. I can honestly say I have seen a dramatic difference in my images now than prior to taking this class. Thank you to Bryan and Chris for the lesson plan and assignments given during the class. Chris, thank you for you critiques and suggestions to a few of my images. Your critiques and suggestions were greatly appreciated. I would recommend this course to anyone looking for ways to improve their photography and take better photos. Read More
    Vincent Valentino The Art of Seeing
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