How to make your images come alive

The secret to amazing images

Have you ever seen a beautiful image and wish you could take something just like it?

It’s easy to think that the secret to an amazing image lies in the technique or in having special gear. Sure, those things are nice, but they are not what makes an image come alive.

The secret to an amazing image is YOU, the photographer, and how you’re feeling.

Are you engaged with your subject?

As an instructor, the first thing I notice is how the photographer feels about their subject. Are they curious? Are they exploring? Are they engaged in some way?

When the photographer is engaged with their subject the resulting images feel alive!

Case in point: Mike Ferrari was in my Finding Beauty class, and it was exciting to see his progress from week to week. It was obvious when everything clicked into place and he was enjoying the act of photographing.


Now here’s Mike’s sharing his story

Like many others taking classes at BPSOP, I’ve played with photography off and on for most of my life. This includes darkroom work back in high school and manipulating Polaroid SX-70 images during college.

I’ve gone down many paths, and as an active birder I even tried my hand at bird photography, which proved to be quite challenging!

My skills improved after several classes in composition, black & white fine art, long exposure, and travel photography, but I was still missing a coherent vision of what kind of photographer I wanted to be.

That is, until I took Finding Beauty. During this class I remembered how good it felt to take upbeat, positive photos.

Brit’s guidance made an enormous difference to my photography. Her class helped me become more focused on simplifying my images. As the class progressed I began taking more intimate nature photos, especially around my yard. These were subjects I had ignored in the past — I must have thought I needed to seek out larger vistas.

Over the four weeks I began shooting square crops in-camera and was encouraged to switch my camera’s default color profile from vivid to a softer look.

After Finding Beauty, I stepped away from posting images for 30 days while I took Brit’s tutorial Find Your Artistic Voice. That freed me from worrying what other people like. This was tremendously helpful, and I often wondered why I didn’t do something like this earlier.

The tutorial helped me wrap my head around what kind of photographer I’d like to become. As it turns out, my voice has been there all along. Now I know what I’m looking to achieve when I shoot, which resulted in a greater success rate and a faster image selection process.

While I’ve only just begun to develop my style, which will take time and work, my goal is to convey depth, contrast, texture, drama, atmosphere, story, luminance, and strength in inspiring nature and travel images.

I was really pleased to have taken Brit’s Finding Beauty class as well as her Find Your Artistic Voice tutorial. A lot of developmental threads came together for me, and I now have a much more focused and authentic approach to my photography. I also appreciate Brit’s upbeat, motivational comments, and I highly recommend these classes!

— Mike Ferrari, student in Finding Beauty




Finding Beauty

Authentic Photo Stories

Celebrate Your Life in Beautiful Images

Photography Essentials

Amazing Travel Photos Made Easy

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



Brit Hammer is an international award-winning photographer, bestselling author, and a celebrated artist whose work is aptly described as fresh and optimistic.

Brit’s students love her intuitive eye, patience, enthusiasm and holistic nurturing because the results are unbelievably incredible and inspiring student growth.

Visit Brit’s website at

Learn more about creative development and one-on-one mentoring with Brit

Follow Brit on Instagram


“There are great photographers and great teachers, but it is rare to find a great photographer who’s also a wonderful instructor; Brit embodies that rare combination.” — Tennessee Rick Elliot


Let’s go BLUE!

We continue sharing the best work of our PHOTOGRAPHING FLORA students. Last time we were presenting green color, which is very common in the nature.

But today let’s have a look on much less common color in Flora world – and that is a color BLUE! Just for fun – try to close your eyes and think about all the blue flowers you know…

Done? What you got? Two, three? Iris? Hyacint? Well, if you would start exploring online, you might be surprised how many there are in blue.

Nevertheless, blue IS the rarest flower color, seen on only 10 percent of the 280,000 flowering plants on Earth. This has to do with the fact that there is no blue pigment in the plant kingdom and colors that appear to be blue are actually permutations of violet or purple.

And that’s why we are always so positively surprised by plethora of amazing assignments in blue color taken by our students in PHOTOGRAPHING FLORA classes – that’s why we would like to share them with you!


And what do our students say about Photographing Flora class?

I really like the way you teach.  I learn so much from your critiques and have watched all of them.  You are a great educators.  I am looking forward to the next class.
Leslie Hammond

Thanks Monika & Patrik. Great class! Learned quite a lot from your extensive workshop materials, and challenging assignments. My floral photography endeavors will continue to improve.
Jay Salzman

I enjoyed experimenting with all these techniques! Wonderful class! Thank you!
Anna Blatterman

I’ve enjoyed this class and cannot believe four weeks have gone by! Over the course of the month I’ve tried many of the techniques! Thank you so much. Focusing on flowers and photography has helped divert attention from world problems and the disruption of life.
Glenda G


PHOTOGRAPHING FLORA class begins July 3rd, please join us here and learn how to photograph Flora too (and not only in blue color 😉 ).

We are looking forward to meeting you in class!

Patrik and Monika Banas

Disclaimer: We are big St. Louis Blues fans – so our love towards blue is biased 😉


Jana Jezkova


Heather Sugioka


Holly Middagh


Lynn Riding


Michaela Nesvadbova


Tomas Feller


K. Leslie Hammond


Mariel W


Darja Nezvalova


Darja Nezvalova





Creating breathing room

In Finding Beauty we approach creating quiet, minimalist images from several different directions.

One of the ways is by creating breathing room, which is not necessarily the same as negative space.

How do you create breathing room?

Finding a quiet image in a busy scene often means to choose one specific subject and to find a way to isolate it. Some of the ways of doing that are:

  1. Move around the subject until the background is clean.
  2. Frame tighter….but not too tightly.
  3. Change image orientation (or aspect ratio).
  4. Take a step back and zoom in.
  5. Use a shallow depth of field.

Examples of quiet images

Below are examples of quiet images from some of the students in the Finding Beauty class.

What ideas can you glean from these to apply to your own photography?


“Brit taught me to look for ways to distinguish and distill the qualities that define the beauty I see until what I am left with is a minimalist expression of that beauty. Great class!” — Dorothy Rosenbladt


“Brit urges students to make images mindfully, to strip away the non-essential to find beauty in detail and simplicity. She urges us to go further and find beauty lurking in another part of the image. Her critiques are delivered with care, kindness  and understanding of the level of skill of the student.” — Anne Forbes


“I had never given much thought to negative space or to finding pictures inside of a picture. My eyes are open to so many new ideas.”— Ann Kern




Finding Beauty

Authentic Photo Stories

Celebrate Your Life in Beautiful Images

Photography Essentials

Amazing Travel Photos Made Easy

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



Brit Hammer is an international award-winning photographer, bestselling author, and a celebrated artist whose work has aptly been called “fresh and optimistic”.

Her students love her “combination of extensive and well-organized photographic design principles…intuitive eye, patience, enthusiasm and holistic nurturing [because the results are] unbelievably incredible and inspiring student growth.”

Visit her website at

Follow her on Instagram

Simple Watermarking on the iPhone – Add Awesome Text to Your Photos in Seconds



Here’s a way to create a simple watermark on your iPhone!

Watermarking should be part of your work flow if you are posting images online, and here’s a really simple and creative way to add text and watermarks to your images using one of the apps I talk about in my iPhone Photography Class here on BPSOP. This app is called WordSwag and it’s available for not only the iPhone, but for Android as well.

Its simple interface allows you to create text, watermarks or add sayings and quotes to your images in seconds. You can also import a PNG file with an invisible background from Photoshop and use it on your Smart phone. I give you some tips in this video.

Your creativity will be unmatched!

Take a look at my video here and let me know what you think.


Learn how to Watermark with Wordswag from BPSOP on Vimeo.

Good luck watermarking and I’ll see you in the next iPhone Photography class!


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, 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:  [email protected] 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.


Instagram – 

Facebook –

  • "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." Read More
    Patricia Tedeschi - Galarneau Celebrate Your Life in Beautiful Images
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