Creating a sense of place: Case Study #5

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:

  • Art on wall
  • Detail of artwork
  • Close-up of “crack” in wall
  • Stone wall and profile of chairs


Do you see how each image tells 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


No post processing skills necessary for any of Brit’s courses. You may even use your phone!


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!

Learn how to capture these experiences:

  • landscapes
  • seascapes
  • cities & architecture
  • wine & dining experiences
  • nature
  • wildlife



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

Shooting with Post-Processing in Mind

If you’re a serious landscape Photographer, it’s important to keep in mind your creative vision from the time you take a shot to the time you post process it.
Why is this important?

If you put some serious thought into what you would like to do with the image in post-processing, it will help you with your creative vision at the time you take a shot.

Yes, there’s a lot to think about, especially for the beginning landscape photographer. Do you have your camera on a tripod? Do you have the right shutter speed? What is the subject of your photograph? What is in the foreground? What is in the background? What does the edge of your frame look like?

The sharpness of your image is determined by your shutter speed and the steadiness of your Big Sur Photography Workshopcamera. Sure you can hand hold a shot at a fast shutter speed, but is it going to be the right ISO for your final image? Have you taken the time to slow down and consider all areas of your image? The tripod not only gives you a stable, steady picture but also forces you to slow down and think about your composition and exposure elements. If you don’t have a sharp picture when you take it, you won’t be able to fix that in post-processing.

Additionally, if your ISO is too high, you may be creating unwanted noise in your image. Yes, there are noise reduction filters, but wouldn’t you rather get it right in camera and not have to worry about taking it out later in Lightroom or Photoshop?  Many people shoot with auto ISO and the new digital SLR cameras can handle it. But I am still of the old-school thought that the lower the ISO, the sharper your image will be and the less noise.

As a result, a tripod would be your best bet. And yes, a tripod can be heavy and cumbersome, but if you’re serious about your landscape shots, the tripod is essential. You will get used to carrying it, and soon it will become an essential part of your landscape photography arsenal and you will notice how much better your images will become.

Big Sur Photography Workshop with Jansen Photo Expeditions

What about those shots when you’re shooting waves breaking over rocks in the ocean? How do you want those waves to appear? Do you want them to be sharp and freeze the action as they spray up over the rocks? Or do you want the water to have that milky flowing feeling? Notice how the light is hitting the waves and the water behind it. You can enhance the light later on in Lightroom to bring the picture to what you saw.

Big Sur Photography Workshop with Jansen Photo Expeditions

These are two completely different shutter speeds for the sharp waves and the milky water effect, so you need to be very conscious of what your shutter speed will render.  The f-stops in between sharp and milky will most likely just render the water blurry, and again, this is not fixable in post-processing.

When you keep your post processing in mind when shooting, you will not only be getting the sharp well-composted image that you’re looking for, but your picture will have a balanced exposure and be ready to receive the enhancements you worked so hard to learn in Lightroom.

Do you need to learn the essentials of Lightroom from organization, to editing, to presets? Do you want to be able to find an image at a moment’s notice and know exactly what it needs to bring out the scene you saw when you shot the image?

You will learn all of this and more in the upcoming Lightroom Quickstart Course. This class includes 4 weeks of lessons, videos and access to my knowledge of Lightroom and Photoshop.

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 –


Food For Digital Thought: Creativity

AF5A9107-copy-330x500Here’s a very interesting concept I want to share with all of you. Something to think about when you’re shooting:

There’s two men swimming in the ocean, and while doing so one of the men sees a gray spot against a calm blue horizon. That man decides to swim to shore, the other man doesn’t and is eaten by a huge shark. By reacting to something different, the man that swam to shore survived. He saw something different!!!

Creativity is the gray spot. It was that which was the most different. As photographers we want the viewer to react (and will always react) to that, which is the most different.

Imagination keeps us young. It’s the gas and oil that keeps our mind running smoothly. Hopefully, the kinds of people that will look at our work do have some semblance of being creative…or they wouldn’t be bothered…so who cares about them??? That goes for ourselves as well. Let everyone else be predictable in his or her approach to shooting pictures. Remember that good photographers follow the more traditional ways and adhere to all the rules. The great photographers “follow the beat of a different drummer”, and break the rules.

Most people put a high value on creativity, but since it’s an intangible commodity it’s also misunderstood. It takes a somewhat flexible mind to even get close to realizing its importance in our society. I’ve had students in my workshops tell me that in order to be really creative you have to be original, and they also say that there aren’t any photos left that haven’t already been taken. While it’s true that there aren’t very many if any original ideas left, the creative part comes in when you take those existing ideas and show them in a new way. Marcel Proust, a French novelist said, “The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes, but having new eyes”.

One way to see new landscapes is to what I call “Seeing past first impressions”. The great photographs that you aspire to take will come with seeing new ways to look at old ideas. Go out and be prepared for the unexpected. Eddie Adams, a Pulitzer Prize winning photographer once said, “When you get lucky be ready”.

In my opinion, one of the best inventions to ever come around, hell bent on stifling creativity is the Histogram, and those pesky blinking areas in the back of your camera that tells you that in a certain part of your frame the highlights were clipped (see my post on this subject). DANGER-COMBUSTIBLE-DO NOT MIX THESE WITH CREATIVITY-HARMFUL IF SWALLOWED!!! Truth be told, they actually slow the process down and no doubt were put there because that’s our world now. If you free yourself of those things your photos will have a much better chance of moving “up a notch”.

To my way of thinking it’s going to do more harm than good, and wind up complicating those creative juices. Learn to feel/see/ find the light, then be creative with it. It’s so important to be able to sense when it’s changing all around you and make immediate corrections without looking at your Histogram because make no mistake, light is so fleeting that just a few seconds can make the difference in going home empty handed or excited because you just took the best photo of your photographic life.

Spark those creative juices. Shoot photos without looking through the viewfinder. Stand on top of something, lay on your stomach, shoot with the lens you like the least, etc. I tell people to take art classes as a way to expand your current thought process; as a way to get new ‘creative juices into your veins. This is what I always tell my online students I teach with the BPSOP, and my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshop I conduct around the planet when they ask what else they can do to take stronger photos.

If you really want to enjoy the power of creativity in it’s purest form, KNOW YOUR CAMERA,  UNDERSTAND WHAT GOOD COMPOSITION IS, MASTER THE ELEMENTS OF VISUAL DESIGN, HOW EXPOSURE WORKS, and FOLLOW THE LIGHT. In my opinion you could forget everything else. I did and my photos still come out pretty good.

Be creative, stay thirsty, and survive my fellow photographers.

-BPSOP Instructor: Joe Baraban

Joe Teaches:

Stretching Your Frame of Mind I 

Stretching Your Frame of Mind II

From Ordinary to Extraordinary!

I am often asked what separates an ordinary photograph from an extraordinary photograph. Most ‘ordinary’ photographs have one thing in common; most were shot at EYE-LEVEL!

Most extraordinary photographs became extraordinary because the photographer CHOSE to change his/her point of view and in the case of many landscapes, this usually means taking the ‘extra’ time to get down low and use the very foreground that you are standing on as the ‘lead’ line of your story-telling image. That was certainly the case again when shooting the receding ocean waves here in Iceland a few days ago and it has certainly been the case many many other times
in my career.

Who would have thought that practicing the art of “reaching new low points in your life” could have such an impact in elevating your work to even greater heights!
You keep shooting! Nikon D810, NIkkor 14-24mm F/2.8, F/22, focus at one meter, 1/8 second shutter speed, 100 ISO, on tripod.


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


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  • "Star Trails and Night Photography is one of the best classes of the 20 classes in BPSOP I have taken. I have thoroughly enjoyed Mike Shaw and the simplicity of the instruction. Mike tells you the settings of your camera to get the MILKY WAY. Your fellow students will be amazed at the photos. I recommend that you take the class. " Read More
    Skip Duemeland Star Trails & Night Photography
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