I have always had one if not several theme’s going on throughout my photographic career. Sometimes my theme’s last for several weeks, “shoot nothing but macro abstracts of peeling paint!” or several years, “shoot nothing but people over the age of 60 years old”. It is my belief, and not just in photography, but in life, that having a theme or a goal out there in front of your gives your life not only more meaning but also greater focus; pun intended!





We live in a huge world filled with so much photographic opportunity that at times it is really and truly overwhelming. So much so, that we don’t go out and shoot because we don’t even know where to begin.   But with a theme in your mind, amazing things begin to happen. You feel focused, alive and enthused. You’re on a mission and you’re unstoppable.



The choice in themes are as vast as there are stars in the sky. (See what I mean? There is a theme right there; the stars and the galaxies. Choose this theme and soon you will be labeled as that astronomical photographer.)



If simple themes such as lifestyle, architecture, business, industry or sports sound to broad, its because they are! Make it a point to really, really define the theme; reflections, eyes, shoes, tools, windows, smiles, flowers, old growth forests, barns, birds, steelworkers, carnival people, castles, three year olds, feathers, fruits, amusement parks, auto-junk yards, bridges, lighthouses, famous cities, taxi cab drivers, wind surfers, cowboys, librarians, gas stations, fast food restaurants, churches, the information age, rainbows, inclement weather, skateboarders, orchards, clowns, teenagers at leisure, nudes, bears, waterfalls, volcanoes, airplanes, crosswalks and doorknobs to name but a few.




If nothing else, shooting images centered around your theme will always lead to other discoveries.  And these same discoveries often translate into images that are quickly added to your existing library of winning images.





And in case you are wondering, I have been shooting this red ball with white stripes for more than ten years now. Who knows where this project may end up!


If your photographic passion seems to have turned luke warm, consider a theme, if not several theme. It may be just what you need to get your passion for image making back on track.





You Keep Shooting!

Bryan F Peterson/Founder BPSOP.com

Getting to know your Nikon D800E, Nikkor 70-300mm at 140mm, f/16 @ 15 seconds, 200ISO, Tripod

I can’t speak for all of you but I can speak for a large swath of us who live here in the Mid-West; it looks like spring might actually be on its way and this could not be better news! Most of us in living in the Midwest or Northeast are all too familiar with a winter we can’t wait to forget and nothing helps put the winter blahs behind us quicker than these beautiful and ‘warm’ spring days! If you have been looking for a reason to finally dust off the camera and get outside and start shooting the promise of spring just could be it!
Nikon D800E, Nikkor 70-300mm at 140mm, f/16 @ 15 seconds, 200ISO, Tripod
As for me, I have spent the last week shooting in Chicago, including this skyline shot. In addition I have been shooting a number of new “you keep shooting” videos which I will be sharing with all of you in the coming weeks! Also, in the coming months we will be bringing back some of our more popular specialty classes as well as bringing on some new instructors and new classes as well.
I wanted to also reach out to all of you and ask you to please share with me via email, any ideas you might have about what kind of classes you would like to see or what kind of changes/additions you would like to see here at the new BPSOP.com. I am wanting to offer nothing short of the best photographic educational experience out there and I know with your continued input, we will be able to continue to do just that!


Also, as you may have noticed, we are featuring a Photographer of the Week story here at BPSOP every Friday and if you would like to be considered or know of someone who you feel should be considered for these featured profiles please don’t hesitate in contacting me with the information as well! We love to celebrate the work of others who obviously share the passion for image making! This week we feature the work of Stephanie Cuneo and like all of us she too has a great story about how her journey got started!


And as always, if you have anything you would like to share with me about your experiences here at BPSOP please do not hesitate to write me.
Bryan F Peterson/Founder BPSOP.com
Student Interview with Stephanie Cuneo
1. Where do you live?
I live with my husband in Los Angeles where I have spent my entire life.  We live in a canyon on the West side of the city where we are semi-tucked away yet close to everything.
2. How did you get started in photography and what do you like most about it?
My husband and I have traveled extensively for many years and I recorded our travels with a point and shoot.   In 2011, I decided to move up to a DSLR  just before we took off for a trip to China.  When we returned I attended a travel seminar put on by Scott Stulberg, one of the BPSOP instructors.  When the lights dimmed and his slide show began, I sat transfixed and inspired at the thought of creating my own images some day.  He told me about BPSOP and the rest is history.  My love affair with photography had begun.
Photography is a never ending journey and that’s one of the things I really like about it.  It is a continual learning experience.  The excitement of making images that represent my vision is very rewarding.
3. Do you have a favorite photo subject or place to shoot?
Currently I enjoy travel photography and street photography.  That includes just about every subject!   I love to capture people doing everyday things in their environment.  I also I love to shoot old buildings with lots of history and character.  The more peeling paint and rusty hardware, the better!
4. Do you have favorite photographers you follow or photographers from the past you admire and why?
There are several photographers from the past that I admire with Henri Cartier-Bresson and Willy Ronis being at the top of my list.  I admire both of them for their candid capture of everyday life and storytelling.  Contemporary photographers include Nevada Wier for her capture of movement through long exposures, and Lars van de Goor for his mesmerizing images that capture spectacular light.
5. Where do you find inspiration?
I am inspired by following other photographers, and by attending talks at the Annenberg Space for Photography where photographers speak and show their images.  They discuss their thought processes behind their images.   I also attend a National Geographic speaker series that features remarkable photographers who give fantastic presentations and behind the scene views of what it takes to be a photographer for National Geographic.
In addition, I find participating in photography workshops to be very inspiring as well as educational.  I have attended workshops to Burma and the Palouse with Scott Stulberg; to Charleston with Donna Eaton and Kathleen Clemons; and to Napa and Cuba with Joe Baraban.  Being part of a workshop with an enthusiastic instructor and like-minded photographers is very inspiring and I always come away with new ideas to try.
6. Do you have any mentors? 
Joe Baraban and Scott Stulberg have both been mentors and have given me very candid and constructive critiques, praise, and encouragement.   Joe has encouraged me to believe in my abilities as a photographer.  That belief has fueled my drive to continue to grow.
7. What are some of your photographic goals?
I am very fortunate to have traveled to the far corners of the world, and I want to share my travels with others in such a way that they can feel like they’ve been there with me.  I want to keep my passion alive, and continue to grow as a photographer by constantly learning and trying new techniques.  Finding photography at a “mature” time in my life has made me all the more aware of how important it is to make the time to shoot.  I want to print some of my favorite images and see them hanging on my walls.  That might sound simple, but so far the print is not the same as my monitor and vision.  I will be very happy if I’m able to accomplish this!
8. Where can we see more of your work?
I invite you to visit my website at:  stephaniecuneo.com



  • "I want to tell anyone who is considering taking an online black and white class such as Athena Carey's, Take it! I felt that I needed something to jump-start my creative vision and this class turned out to be just the ticket." Read More
    Joe Reusser Black & White Fine Art Photography
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