Creating a sense of place: Case Study #8

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:

  • Outside view of cottage
  • Bed
  • Stonewall with sign
  • Flowers
  • View from window
  • Light on curtains
  • Sparkling wine in two glasses
  • Key in door

post_8A_sq post_8B_sq

Do you see how how image tells a part of the story? This is what you’re looking to do with your detail shots.

Each of these images is like a single idea, and 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

Using Adobe Lightroom to Catalog Your iPhone Images

                                                                                                                                                 Taken with the iPhone 6s

Do you have a fresh new batch of pictures on your iPhone and you’re not sure what to do with them or you don’t know how to get them off your phone?

Do you shoot with your iPhone, but also want to find a way to import and catalog your images outside of the Apple Photos App?  

I have a solution for you.

Adobe’s Lightroom program is a good solution, but there’s a couple of things to keep in mind before you import those iPhone images.

If you are using your iPhone connected to the iCloud, your pictures will automatically go into your Photos app on your desktop computer. Since Photos is an Apple proprietary program, they have made it a little difficult to use an outside program for these images, but it can be done! 

You first need to export your photos out of the Photos app on to your desktop (or to a location you can easily find). This can be done by selecting the images you want to export in the Photos App. You can select just one or a whole series of images. Once you have made your selection, go to FILE / EXPORT / then select the location you would like your images to be stored on your hard drive. Once they are located on your hard drive, you can import them into your Lightroom catalog. 

For more information about importing your images into a Lightroom catalog, take a look at my Lightroom Quick Start Class where we teach you everything you need to know about setting up a Lightroom catalog.

Live Photos

Since the iPhone 6s model, Apple includes the “Live Photo” feature, It’s fun to use, but it can create some complications when storing your images. If you have the “Live Photo” feature enabled, it will record what happens 1.5 seconds before and after you take a picture. You get a 3-second video with movement and sound as well as the regular JPG image. 

You don’t need to do anything technically, just be sure this feature is turned on. There’s a little yellow button in the middle of the screen on the iPhone that allows you to toggle it on and off as shown in the image below.


You can get creative with this feature, but you need to think about it first. Some of my favorites that I’ve done with this feature are my dog playing with a stick on the beach. I caught the still image as he was jumping in the air, but the 1.5 seconds before and after showing him jumping and running after the stick.  A moment in time caught in a 3-second video!

When you try to import these images into Lightroom, they show up as one JPG file and one MOV file. As long as you are aware of this, it’s not a problem. However, the live photo portion of it loses its functionality outside of the iPhone. If you would like to re-import that MOV video to your phone, you can email or airdrop the video to yourself and import into an app called IntoLive which will create a Live Video file for you again. If you don’t want to organize and catalog the Live Videos, simply turn off that function in your iPhone’s native camera app before going on a photo shoot.

Please keep in mind, iPhone images are taken with a cell phone and won’t have the same quality, number of pixels, or sensor size that you have in your DSLR. For that reason, I usually use these images for fun social media shots or to document a shoot for its GPS location abilities. If you compare your DSLR images and your iPhone pictures side by side, you will certainly notice the difference. 

I still find it important to catalog my iPhone pictures and have them easily identifiable and at my fingertips in my Lightroom program. Taking some of these tips into consideration will make the process easier and more fun.

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.

Shooting After Dark: Car Trails

Car Trails

One thing I absolutely love shooting all over the world after dark are car trails. They are totally different from star trails and the night sky, lightning or just about anything else. You can be almost anywhere in any city and as long as you have your tripod and what looks like to be a decent exposure, you might come away with something very unique. I have been shooting car trails for about as long as I can remember and was lucky enough for Canon to do a six page article and give me the cover for EOS magazine with the entire article on capturing car trails. This kind of shooting is definitely addicting!

You do have to pay attention to your exposures, as long exposures with headlights and taillights might overexpose other parts of your image, and of course that stabilizer has to be off as with any long exposure but the payoff can be some pretty powerful photographs. Below are a few examples of different ways to capture car trails after dark and for me, it’s all about being at the right place at the right time.

In the first image below, I wanted to create a Warp Speed look from the movie Star Wars, and I attached suction cups to my Canon camera. With my sunroof opened, I put the camera between my sunroof and the windshield and used a cable release that I could trigger while I was driving. I waited until the Laker game was finished in downtown LA, as that gave me tons of traffic and along with the colored buildings, street lights and billboards, I captured a pretty unique perspective of downtown LA!

Car trails in Downtown LA after a Laker game

Car trails in Downtown LA after a Laker game

Milky Way and car trails in Sedona

Milky Way and car trails in Sedona

Los Angeles International Airport

Los Angeles International Airport

Sometimes I want more powerful car trails and a large bus or truck can be just the ticket. You have to make sure your exposure balances out but when it does, if you are in the right place at the right time, you have a good chance at creating some pretty magical shots!

The first shot below was in Death Valley on one of my workshops and while shooting the night sky with my students, a huge big rig came out of nowhere and stunned all of us. Since we were already set up to shoot 30 second exposures of the night sky, I had them quickly move their tripods to the direction of the road and fire off their shutter as fast as possible to capture all of the truck trails. We had to work insanely fast but were able to get the entire truck trails along with the night sky.

In the final shot below with the Eiffel Tower, I waited for large buses to go by me and get into the perfect angle with the Eiffel Tower in the background. I angled my camera also, as quite often, Eiffel Tower shots look better in magazines at a nice angle. I was also a little too close for comfort to the buses and traffic but sometimes with car trails, being pretty close can make all the difference in the world. But safety is always on my mind shooting anything after dark.

Truck trails in Death Valley National Park

Truck trails in Death Valley National Park


Final Thoughts

Great images can be captured all over the world, limited only by your imagination and how much effort you are willing to put into it. Once you try one method, don’t be content with that but think of other ways to improve on it and try even more ways. That’s what I’ve been doing my whole life and I realize that the sky is the limit with so many parts of your photography. Experimentation and imagination is the key and thinking outside of the box is what it’s all about. “Think different” as Steve Jobs said. Keep that in mind whenever you are feeling a little bit bored with your photography. And I have not even covered my favorite type of night photography: cities and architecture. Definitely my favorite thing to shoot around the world after dark but I will wait till a round two of this article for that.

But one thing is for sure. You need good gear to produce good results and I sure love using Really Right Stuff gear. For so much of my travel and stock photography  all over the world, and everything from car trails to star trails, to monks and ancient temples, they have helped me capture so many powerful images. Almost all of the above images used Really Right Stuff gear and what a difference it is compared to the pretty lame stuff that we had to use years ago. They really have been a game changer!  Nothing beats great gear!  but don’t forget…. When the sun goes down…. Don’t put that camera away!

-BPSOP Instructor: Scott Stulberg

Scott Teaches:

Eye to Eye: Capturing the Face

My Favorites Quotes: Van Gogh

Vincent Van Gogh is one of my favorite painters and I’ve studied and seen his work throughout my career, including during a workshop I conducted in Provence a few years ago; we actually shot at the asylum where he committed himself in Saint-R’emy de Provence.

Van Gogh one said, “I dream my painting then I paint my dream”.

For me this is all about pre-visualization. Having said this, I realize that a painter can paint anywhere so this (dreaming) comes naturally to the medium. The photographer must be in the presence of his subject, but pre-visualization is still possible and actually very important as far as making pictures is concerned.

I teach two classes with the BPSOP, and I conduct my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops all around our planet. In my online class I send to my students what I call my Did It Do It list for making strong photos; if you have the time to check out that category on my blog you’ll be that much ahead of the game.

One of them and perhaps the most important is “did you pre-visualize”. This is about seeing the image framed in your mind before bringing the camera up to your eye. Clicking the shutter is the easiest part of photography when you know ahead of time what it’s going to look like. For me this will often include moving things around, add or take away objects that either fit or don’t fit, or ask people to be in my shot. Bottom line is that I’m an artist whose medium is a camera instead of a paintbrush…I paint pictures with my camera.

As an advertising and corporate photographer for forty year the term pre-visualize referred to commercial photography. I would be given a rough layout by an art director or graphic designer and my assignment was to create the layout in either a natural outdoor environment or in my studio. After a brief discussion I would begin to visually assimilate some ideas in my mind and I always knew that if I could picture it in my mind I could replicate it on a piece of film.

In the above photo, I was shooting a brochure for a barge company on the Mississippi River. While sitting in this large office I saw the yellow slickers, the template, and several cans of spray paint. I immediately began conjuring up images in my mind and had this photo laid out in my imagination within a minute. After asking the powers that be if my idea was something that could happen, and getting a ‘yes’, I proceeded to transfer my idea to reality.

I found three men to wear the slickers, and spray painted them and the wall while having my camera on a tripod; it was just like painting my dream.

The term pre-visualization dates back to the photographer Edward Weston who first coined the phrase in 1921. He thought why limit yourself to what your eyes see when you have such an opportunity to extend your vision?” Weston spent a great deal of time in Mexico along with his son Brett who he took along to keep him out of trouble.

In Mexico he strengthen his practices and in so doing helped Brett  become a great photographer in his own right. Weston believed very strongly in the process of pre-visualization and by the way thought that cropping an image was tantamount to failure.

Another photographer in that era who became quite popular was Ansel Adams who had his own take, “The visualization of a photograph involves the intuitive search for meaning, shape, form, texture, and the projection of the image-format on the subject.

This notion is exactly what I teach in my classes and workshops, that is, using the elements of visual design; Shape Form, and Texture mentioned by Adams are three of them along with Line, Balance, Pattern and Color.

Alfred Steiglitz, the most important photographer of his time also believed in the concept of pre-visualization. “ I see the photograph in my mind’s eye and I compose and expose the negative. I give you the print as the equivalent of what I saw and felt.

So, my fellow photographers, pre-visualization has long been the cornerstone of creative thinking and there’s no question that it will absolutely enhance your images. The next time you go out shooting take some time to see the image in your mind before bringing the camera up to your eye.

Decide on what’s your message, and what reaction you want the viewer to feel. Then get the lighting and exposure correct and do as much as possible before the easy part comes…clicking the shutter.


-BPSOP Instructor: Joe Baraban

Joe Teaches:

Stretching Your Frame of Mind I 

Stretching Your Frame of Mind II

For More FREE Photo Tips…. Subscribe to our Newsletter

  • I really enjoyed this course on composition a lot and learned again as always! Have just been through some more of your critiques for others in class – I also love to learn by seeing work of classmates. A big “thank you” for a great four weeks! You are always kind and never discouraging! This has been wonderful and helps a lot!! Read More
    Séverine Blaise Understanding Composition
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13
  • 14
  • 15
  • 16
  • 17
  • 18
  • 19
  • 20
  • 21
  • 22
  • 23
  • 24
  • 25
  • 26
  • 27
  • 28
  • 29
  • 30
  • 31
  • 32
  • 33
  • 34
  • 35
  • 36
  • 37
  • 38
  • 39
  • 40
  • 41
  • 42
  • 43
  • 44
  • 45
Translate »