Strengthen your photographic vision by incorporating the elements of design and composition.

© Joe Baraban

THE ARTIST’S PALETTE: Imagine yourself standing at some location with an artist’s palette in your hand. A recently stretched canvas is waiting on an easel, and a jar full of cleaned brushes sits on a small table next to you. Cobalt and Ultramarine Blue, Raw Sienna and Burnt Umber are positioned side by side while Chromium Oxide Green, Cadmium Red and Yellow lie together opposite them; Mars Black and Titanium White sit in the middle. They all have been squeezed from tubes and anxious to be mixed together.

Now, imagine that instead of all those wonderful pigments on your palette, they are the ‘elements of design and composition’. Terms like: Vanishing Point, Negative Space, Perspective, Tension, Color, Texture, Pattern, Light and Line, have been etched into the aged wood.
Everyone knows what happens when you mix red and blue, right? You get purple. How about when you mix blue and yellow together? Green, right again. But, what happens when you add Tension, a few Patterns, and Perspective together while taking your daughter’s portrait during an outdoor birthday party? Or Negative Space, some Texture, and a Vanishing Point when you’re composing a street scene in a small Tuscan village? Well, you’ll get the picture.
Remember you’re still an artist, but a camera on a tripod has now replaced the stretched canvas and easel.  Through examples of my own work, I’ll help you develop your ‘eye’ by showing you how to incorporate these ‘elements of design and composition’ into your imagery.  A new, finely tuned vision will be the result, and you will walk away armed with the ability to create powerful and memorable photographs.
 
CHASING THE LIGHT: With daily assignments and exercises to heighten your awareness of shooting during ‘the golden hour’ (early morning and late afternoon), you will gain a better understanding and sensitivity to light as it enhances every aspect of these important ‘elements of design’. The differences between backlight, side and front light will be studied, and last, learning to use the ‘angle of reflection’ in directing the light source to the subject will soon be an integral part of your visual thought process.
With provided software, students learn how to determine exactly where the sun will be anywhere on the planet from the moment it comes up at sunrise to the instant it sets; and where the shadows will fall days or even months before an important family outing, a personal trip, upcoming wedding, or commercial shoot.


SEEING PAST FIRST IMPRESSIONS:  Photographers tend to come across a location or a subject and take the first picture that they see, then move on leaving a lot still on the table. During the week, the class looks at what Joe calls the ‘Master Shot’. This is the first idea that pops into your thought process, and a photograph you could live with in case it started to rain on your parade.
After taking this shot and putting it safely ’in the can’, Joe will show you how to look for better ways to visually say the same thing or tell the same story.  Getting up close and personal, looking at it from way down low then way up high, changing lenses, adding or subtracting props, and putting in or taking out people. Then, look at it from various ‘points of view’ while constantly keeping in mind the direction of the light.
What’s important about the Master Shot and the following images is that while you’re shooting you learn the difference between one of my favorite expressions; taking a picture and making a picture.

THE “DOES IT” LIST FOR GOOD COMPOSITION:  In this workshop, Joe discusses what he considers the ten most important areas to remember when composing your photographs, and students learn to love what he calls the Fifteen Point Inspection Plan.  This is when the commonly used phrase 'use it or lose it' will start to make sense. Joe’s Plan will become an important addition to your camera bag that you take with you wherever you go.

THE PSYCHOLOGY OF GESTALT:  How we perceive and process visual input is a part of our everyday life and as photographers, it’s our prime objective to present this visual information in a way that takes control of what the viewer sees when they look at our photography. In our reality, making the mind work harder is not necessarily a good thing, but in photography it is.  By leading the viewer’s eye around our composition, or having them complete an image, or have them consider the scene, they are taking an active role, and when we can accomplish that, our images will definitely be stronger.  Discussions and exercises based on the five concepts of Gestalt will be an important part of this workshop 

Joe has conducted workshops in Maine, Santa Fe, California, Florida, Texas, Canada, as well as online. Intermediate to advanced amateurs as well as working professionals have all learned how to take their photography up a level.  
Joe promises that “stretching your frame of mind”, breaking the rules, and making mistakes in a supportive atmosphere is a great way to spend the week and learn!
At the end of this workshop, provided you have committed yourself to the process of making better pictures, students walk away with a much greater command of your craft, be at a higher level of perception, and have a redesigned portfolio to show off your new skills.
Since the workshop centers around the basic ‘elements of design’, Joe promises that everyone, no matter the skill level, can benefit from this class. A good knowledge of your camera and the ability to shoot on manual is all you need.

Joe's work can be viewed at: www.joebaraban.com

Testimonial:

“I just finished taking Joe’s workshop and it was nothing short of extraordinary. Because of Joe and the ideas and concepts he teaches, I see everything differently now. Whether I’m driving along a country road or watching TV, I now see negative space, vanishing points, color, light, texture, pattern, shape, line, color, angle of reflection, tension, perspective – everywhere. Knowing these critical elements of design have truly not only changed how and what I photograph, but have changed the way I look at the world in a very real way. Joe is the best teacher I’ve ever had anywhere, on any subject. If you are considering taking a class with Joe, I cannot recommend him highly enough.”

Shauna

 

Instructors

Joe Baraban

After receiving his BA in Journalism, Joe ventured out into the freelance world and never looked back. For the past forty plus years, Joe has shot professionally for clients from Coca Cola to Hennessy, Cessna to United Air Lines and Boeing, and from Microsoft to IBM and HP. He has shot the full line car brochures for Acura, Saturn, and Range Rover, not to mention campaigns for Acura, Jaguar, Mazda and Ford. The tourism departments for Alberta, Canada, Pennsylvania, Alabama, and Texas have contracted Joe to shoot images for their state campaigns. Just to name a few. Over the years, National Geographic, Life, Texas Monthly, Time, Geo, Newsweek, and the New York Times Magazine have used Joe for several of their editorial assignments. Recently, four of Joe's photographs, including three from the series "Window Dressings" have been added to the permanent collection of photography at the Museum of Fine Art in Houston, Texas.

Teaching people how to use their eye has always been one of Joe’s passions, and has conducted one-week workshops at the Maine Photographic Workshop (eighteen years), The Santa Fe Workshop, The Julia Dean Workshop in Hollywood, California, the Pacific Northwest School of Photography, the Texas Photographic Workshop, Objectif’s in Singapore, and the South Florida Workshop. He has also conducted continuing education classes at Rice University in Houston, Texas, and currently teaches online with the PPSOP, the premier online photographic workshop. He has been sought out as a guest speaker for various ASMP chapters (American Society of Media Photographers), advertising and art director’s clubs across the country, The Art Center in Pasadena, California, and Brooks Institute. He has given seminars at Photo East in New York, Photo West in San Francisco, and Viacom (the national photographic convention in Canada).

Joe writes an informative and educational blog you can view at: www.joebaraban.com/blog

His honors include two gold medals in the New York art director’s show, Gold awards in the national ADDY’S, Photo District News, and Photo Design. He has captured Studio Magazine Premier award, and The Don Belding award in Los Angeles. His images are part of the Texas Monthly’s 100 Best Photographs collection, and was selected to be on Ad Week’s Southwestern All Star Team.

Joe has had feature articles written about his work in Communication Arts Magazine (including the cover), Photo District News (including the cover), Japan’s Portfolio Magazine (including the cover), and Studio Magazine. His work has appeared in CA, Photo Graphis, and The Mead Annual Report Show. His expertise had also spurred an invitation to judge the prestigious Communication Arts Photography Annual.

On a personal level: Joe is the father of four grown children and “Papa Joe” to two grandchildren. He makes his permanent home in Houston, Texas, and resides part-time at his lake house retreat in Crockett, Texas where he has written two screenplays, and recently finished his first novel. He is known for his story telling abilities, dry and sometimes dark sense of humor, Hawaiian shirts and flip-flops. Not to mention the all-natural Bloody Mary Mix he recently bottled. He is an avid collector of antique toys, primitive masks, and antique photographic equipment. His hobbies include: cooking, fishing, reading, working on his Bonsai Trees, hustling pool, furniture making...and enjoying life’s adventures to the fullest.

Course Dates

Jul 27 to Aug 2

Tuition

$1150

Class Size

14