Claude Monet

Since my background is in art and not photography, I studied Art History; among other areas in this field. My favorite painters were the Impressionists, and one of my favorite painters was one of the founders of that movement named Claude Monet. Actually, I really loved all of the Impressionist painters mainly because they saw things differently than the painters that preceded them, and as a result were not accepted for quite a while.

They broke all the rules and as I now tell my fellow photographers that I teach or mentor to.learn all the rules of photography, then as fast as you can… forget about them as they will most certainly lead you down the one way, one lane path to mediocrity…why you ask???? Because rules are impediments that will block your chances of ever observing the environment around you through better vision.

Monet said, ” In order to see, we must forget the name of the thing we’re looking at.”

In my online class with the BPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshop I conduct around the planet, I talk a whole lot on being able to “see past impressions”. In fact, it’s one of my many mantras and it can be so hard to do for people that have spent the majority of their life seeing and doing things with their left brain.

First, a disclaimer: There are those out there that suggest that this is a distorted myth…psycho babble. However, most psychologists agree that there’s enough basis in facts to accept it.

You see, the left side of your brain is the analytical side. Left-brained people tend to be more logical and objective, and rarely see any artistic content. Their photos will tend to be those that are “for the record”. It’s the linear way or the highway for them!!! The right-brained person tends to be more creative, expressive,  and intuitive. Ok, just how does this have anything to do with Monet or my approach to teaching people how to see past their first impressions?

In the photo above, a left-brainer will look up and see a group of traffic signs directing you to either go, avoid, or do something. When I first looked up I immediately saw shapes, as in triangles and one circle. I saw these shapes because for years I’ve trained my eye to “see past my first impression”. As a result I composed my photo to accentuate these important shapes…since Shape is a basic element of Visual Design.

The next time you go out don’t just look at the labels, be sure to taste what’s inside…see past your first impression.

-BPSOP Instructor: Joe Baraban

Joe Teaches:

Stretching Your Frame of Mind I 

Stretching Your Frame of Mind II

Developing a Strategy for Lightroom Organization


It’s important to develop your own strategy for Lightroom organization and keep it consistent. If you take some time to consider how you want to organize your images, it will save you a lot of time later on. First thing that you need to do is figure out how you want to set it up your naming system.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Lightroom defaults to date based organization. This catches beginners every time!



I would highly recommend you create your own folder system and set it up by location or event.

Most importantly, it needs to make sense to you and be easy for you to navigate.
Once you develop your method of organization, it’s important to keep it simple and be consistent.

Once you start your import and you have inserted your media card into your computer, it will either automatically open to the import screen or you can click import in the lower left-hand corner of the library module

This is where most beginners make mistakes by rushing through the import process. It can save you a lot of time and frustration if you are careful about where you put your pictures and how you organize them.

If you start by reading everything on the import screen. You would start in the top left corner to be sure it is importing from the correct location. Then follow to the top right of the screen and it shows where your folders will be importing to. Click on standard previews and the box that says’ “don’t import suspected the duplicates.”

I would strongly suggest you apply a meta data preset to the images. That mostly consists of your copyright which you can set up in the Metadata presets screen. To find that screen, navigate to the Metadata menu in the Library module and then click on “edit metadata presets”.

Here is where you would create a set of information to travel with your digital images. That information should include your name, phone number, email address and copyright notice. If you don’t want to add that information for privacy concerns, then skip this step.

After addressing the metadata, I add general keywords that apply to all of the pictures in that group. Later you can add more specific keywords to individual images.

Double check that your destination is correct and click import

Make sure you know where the files are going
Pay special attention to the location of the file for your destinations folder. This is where a lot of mistakes are made.

One thing to understand is Lightroom does not control your images, the actual images are not imported into Lightroom, but a digital facsimile. Attached to that digital facsimile are the image adjustments and location within your computers file structure. Your original files are left untouched. If you want to share the version of the image you have created in Lightroom, you would do that by exporting that version out of Lightroom. There is no need to export your images out of Lightroom unless you would like to share them or email them.

If you want to learn more about this amazing program for editing and organization, try my Lightroom Quickstart class, please head on over to the class page here.

Hope to see you in the next class!


BPSOP Instructor – Holly Higbee-Jansen


Holly 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:

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.






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.



For a complete list of Holly’s current workshops go to:

Jansen Photo Expeditions –

Holly’s Blog:

Facebook –

Instagram –


Creating a sense of place: Case Study #14

This post is one in a series on how to create a compelling series of images that convey a sense of place and tell a story.



Next time you’re taking photos, rather than trying to capture everything in a single image, take several detail shots to flesh out your story.

Have a look at the images in this case study:

  • Overview of al fresco brunch
  • Close-up of yogurt
  • Close-up of bread
  • Close-up of coffee

Do you see how each image tells part of the story? Each of these images is a single idea. By combining several images together, a story can be 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.



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

Light in Four Part Harmony

One of my favorite topics to discuss with students taking my online BPSOP classes,  and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet is the Light. Unless you’re street shooting where timing and and capturing a moment are important, Light is everything.

I’ve been a student of light for as long as I can remember, including those B/W years spent shooting with AP and UPI. I studied art and design, with a couple of semesters plodding through  Art History, where we studied each of the Masters and later impressionists approach. This is where I learned notable techniques like Renaissance portrait lighting.

When I first started studying the Light, I broke it down in what I termed Four Part Harmony: Hue, Intensity, Direction, and Quality.

Hue: Refers to the color of the light. The color is dependent on the time of day you’re shooting. When the sun is low on the horizon, it appears warmer since it’s going through more atmosphere. As the sun rises in the sky, the color of the light becomes bluer. The reason being that it’s going through the shorter blue and violet wavelengths.

Intensity: The intensity of the light is associated with how hard or soft the light source is. When you consider the intensity, don’t think of it as being either bright or dim. It means a whole lot more than that. One needs to think about it in terms of how it will render the final outcome to your photos. When you consider the Hue, consider the intensity as well. The lower the light is to the horizon, the more atmosphere it’s going through making the light much softer than it is when the sun is higher and going through less atmosphere.

Cloud cover can have a huge effect on your images, mostly when the sun is high and it’s a day that’s considered partly sunny. It’s a good time to shoot as it’s referred to as open shade. The only drawback is that with open shade, it’s hard to create the third dimension (depth) since you need side light to accomplish that.

Using artificial light can greatly impact the intensity of the light. Aiming your flash directly at your subject will render it harsh and contrasty. Shooting through diffusion, or bounced off a white umbrella, or bounced off the ceiling will provide a softer light; it’s the only way I light when I’m indoors.

Direction: There are three basic ways to light a subject. Side, front, and back. The first thing I ever do, before raising the camera to my eye, is to determine where the source of the light is. I avoid front light like the plague…why? because Form is a basic element of visual design, and it refers to the three-dimensional quality of a subject. When you front light, you eliminate the third dimension (depth) and as a result you’re left with the other two…height and width. Front light provides the least amount of information.

When you sidelight your subject you create the third dimension…depth. A simpler concept is when you side light, you provide shading to your subject. Side light is also used to emphasize the texture of an object; or any patterns in your composition. It’s also a good way to separate the subject from the background.

Back light is when the source of the light is behind your subject. It’s my favorite way to light since it adds a rim of light around the subject. When I’m shooting something transparent, such as water, grass, flowers, leaves, etc.,  the back light makes those subjects glow. It also can add strong shadows, and as I always say, shadows are your best friend.

Quality: The quality of the light affects mood and drama. It also refers to the softness or hardness of the light source. What kind of look or mood you’re trying to create is determined by how the light is used. Harsh direct light gives you sharp and defined shadows, where a softer diffused or bounced light might not offer near as defined shadows, and sometimes none at all.

My favorite light is available light. As far as the quality of the light goes, most of the studio shooters I know, including myself try to emulate available light and will go to great lengths and expense to do so. I can’t tell you how many “North Light Studios” there are to rent in NY. I say North light because it’s the softest. Since it faces north, you’ll never get any direct sunlight coming in to affect your photos.

-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 all the courses that you provide for us fledgling photographers. Your instructors truly inspire me to keep on working and improving at this craft. My first course with BPSOP was Understanding Exposure in 2014 when I had no idea what ISO, F-Stop or shutter speed meant. Since then, I believe I have taken close to 13 other courses with BPSOP!
    Sandi Holst BPSOP Student
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