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7 Surprising Benefits to Learning Digital Photography

You just got a new digital camera, now what?

You know you enjoy taking pictures and sometimes (most of the time) they don’t come out the way you envisioned.  There’s that moment, when you put the camera up to your eye and become emersed in your own photographic world.  It’s your design, your vision and now you need to learn to create that image and bring it on home.



There’s lots of benefits to learning digital photography.

Photography can enrich your life in many ways as a vehicle to document the special moments, allow you to be creative, and bring you together in a community with other like minded individuals.

And one of the best parts about it is it only costs you the initial investment of the camera and any lenses, tripods or accessories you might want.  There’s no film expense and very little output for printing because most images are viewed in digital format.

What about the benefit of the instant previews?  Isn’t that great, so you see exactly what your are getting right away?  You can take 500 images of the same subject, and it doesn’t cost you a thing and you have a pretty good idea of what you have created.

I’m not encouraging you to take the “spray and pray” photographic technique, that’s why we teach workshops. After taking one of our workshops, you learn to get the shot you envisioned with a minimal amount of wasted pixels (which equals less time editing in front of the computer.)


But that saying, it does allow you to easily experiment with your images.  Maybe you want to test out a different depth of field, or perhaps change your perspective.  You can expand your creative vision easily and “get into the zone” without running out of film or being concerned about the cost of printing.

And of course, it’s easy to share.  There are thousands of ways to share on the internet, I focus on just a couple and work those exclusively.  Try to develop a following on your favorite photography social media outlets by interacting with other like minded photographers. See below for my social connections.

What I love about photography is that it gets you outside, and puts you in another place where you  learn to see differently.  Many times we have been out on a drive or in a new location, and have been inspired to turn down a deserted highway or stop on the side of the road, just to see what kind of photographic opportunity might be there.  You are more apt to notice little details in your life that you didn’t see before once you have caught the photography bug and have a camera in hand.

But the biggest benefit of learning and using digital photography is what it does for your memory and your cognitive development. 

Yes, it’s true.

A study was done at the University of Texas, testing elderly in what  activities would help them keep their memory and their cognitive development intact.

Guess what came out on top? Digital photography!  Here is a link to that study so you can learn more for yourself.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat makes this article so interesting is that the combination of skills required to be a good digital photographer are what keeps your brain active and your memory fresh.  In order to be a good photographer, you need to learn mentally challenging skills like memorizing different steps to operate the camera, using creativity to visualize a shot, as well as learn new skills required for post processing.   Continuing to use these skills throughout your life and as you age, will help maintain a healthy mind (and of course offer you a new skill and passion). So get out there and shoot!


BPSOP Instructor – Holly Higbee-Jansen

HollyHolly Higbee-Jansen is a passionate photographer and photo workshop leader, and has been exploring her fascination with light since she was a young child. As a co-owner and guide for, she loves taking small groups of clients to beautiful places to help them explore their photographic creativity. Join them on one of their photographic workshops in iconic locations in California, the American West, Iceland and Costa Rica. Live life creatively!

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.


Lightroom Presets: Taking Your Photos from Good to Great

Lightroom Presets ClassIn this two week class, we will show you how to create your own presets to use over and over and create your own signature style. You will also learn to use third party presets to help with your creativity and enhance your editing power. You will receive detailed information on the website page each week, as well as tutorial videos to help you understand the course material.


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

Jansen Photo Expeditions –

Holly’s Blog:

Facebook –

Instagram –

YouTube –

Google+ –

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10 Tips for Photographing in Restaurants



Wish your travel photos included beautiful images of your meals?

Here are 10 tips to getting great shots, excerpted from Amazing Travel Photos Made Easy taught by Brit Hammer. This course walks you through how to great travel photos of all kinds, ranging from wildlife to nature, architecture, and food!



1. ​Shoot for only a minute at a time.

You’re there to partake in the experience, not photograph it. When food is served, get your shots within one minute and then put the camera away.

2. ​Be discreet.

Use either a small point & shoot camera or your phone. DSLRs call too much attention and might upset the restaurant and/or other diners. Do not use flash.

Turn off sound, especially when using auto-focus. Turn off sound when shooting with your phone.

In upscale restaurants, put the camera away or on your lap, out of view of wait staff, when not in use.


3. ​Be quick.

No one wants to feel as if they’re in a photo shoot.

Practice photographing your food at home so you know how to quickly find the nice angles and framing while at a restaurant.

4. ​Be courteous of all diners.

Take photos of your table-mates cutting food with knife and fork. Avoid photos of people with food in their mouths, or with an open mouth.

Do not include diners at other tables in your images. Not everyone appreciates being caught on camera without consent, especially while eating.


5. ​The devil is in the details.

Check the edges of your plates and glasses for stray food, and wipe away any smudges.

​6. ​Know what not to shoot.

Some things will just never look delicious, no matter how hard you try. Meals that are all the same color and brown sauces are best left alone.


7. ​Don’t get in the way of servers.

If you walk around to shoot the interior of the restaurant, be aware of the wait staff carrying dishes. Don’t get in their way.

8. When your food is served, photograph it right away.

Hot food looks best when still hot; cold foods look best before it melts.


9. Look at how your food is lit.

Look at how the light is hitting your food. Lighting from the back or side will create dimension and highlight the textures in the food.

10. Work with the light that you have.
If there is glare on your plate or table, either re-frame your shot or change your camera angle to get rid of the glare.

If light is dim, open your aperture wide open, to say f/1.8 (or to the lowest f-number). If using a point & shoot, use the “scenes” function for low light levels. (Check your camera’s menu.)



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 way you can re-live the experience and share it with others.

This course focuses on the creative side of photography and emphasizes getting all your shots in-camera. Any post-processing of images then becomes optional, not necessary.

You’ll learn how to get amazing travel photos using any kind of camera! It’s not about the gear; it’s what you do with it.

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

Quick Photo Tip: North Light

The next time you want to take a portrait of a friend, relative, spouse, your kids, or your pet, and you either don’t have the right lighting equipment (the flash on your camera is not the right equipment) or you can’t afford it,  think about the best source of light there is…North light.

If you want to find out just how important North light really is, just go to Google and type in North light rental studios in let’s say New York, and you’ll find several to choose from.

Why is North light so sought after?

Let me digress or a moment and say that in 1971 I opened my first studio in the bottom floor of an old house in Houston. I also rented one room upstairs that had a window that faced North. I used that for my only light (I couldn’t afford any lighting)  when I shot portraits. Back then I didn’t realize the importance of North light; the importance being that direct light will never come in the window keeping the quality of the light and color balance the same all day.

My clients (few but growing) loved the way they looked when I put them next to the window while adding a little white reflector on the dark side of their face. Since I studied painting and not photography, I remembered the way Rembrandt painted and now, three hundred and fifty years later, his light is referred to by photographers as Rembrandt lighting.

The above photo of a boxer, his manager, and trainer was shot for Budweiser beer. We had just finished a big production shot that included several hours of setting up lights in a very dimly lit gym in San Antonio. As I was heading to the bathroom I noticed this small window that was facing North. I went back to where we had been shooting, grabbed all three of them and took them back to the window. In a matter of about a minute I had taken a picture that the client wound up using.

What I tell the students that take my online classes, and my fellow photographers that join me in my “Stretching Your frame of Mind”workshops, make like simple for yourself. Find a window in your house that faces North, and try it out for yourself; you’ll be glad you did.

-BPSOP Instructor: Joe Baraban

Joe Teaches:

Stretching Your Frame of Mind I 

Stretching Your Frame of Mind II

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