What’s Shutter Speed Got to Do With It? How to Take Better Photos.

Want to take better photos? The key is practice, practice, practice. And, if you get the chance to practice in the company of a pro, do it! Taking a photo tour with a legit photographer gives you the chance to ask all kinds of dumb questions and to correct one or two things that will immediately improve your shots.

Photo tips for beginners include choosing the right subject, like this red, rusty tractor.

Wandering around the Donaldson Farm, I kept waiting for the big tractors to talk to me as if I was in a Disney cartoon. Photo: The Open Suitcase LLC

Getting the chance to bum around with a professional photographer with an all access pass is a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon. And you don’t have to have tons of equipment or years of experience to have a great time and to learn to take better photos. I self-identify as a beginner-intermediate when it comes to using my DSLR camera, meaning I still have to think really, really hard about whether the aperture needs to be big or small to get a crisply focused background. Continue reading

Tips from a Pro: How to Take Great Travel Photos

Photographer-Avery-MeyersI fully intend to take dancing lessons before the first of my kids gets married. It’s one of my self-improvement goals. I have others, including “learn how to host an excellent dinner party” and “master intermediate plumbing” – I consider myself an advanced beginner, having repaired many running toilets.

Also on my list was the goal to improve my photography skills but it soared to number one with a bullet when I booked a bucket list trip to South Africa. Taking photos with my iPhone and compact camera would be fine, but I want better than fine for this trip. So I went looking for a professional photographer who would be willing to share some tips and techniques.
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In 2015 I Will…

Lose weight. Organize my closets. See my friends more. Volunteer. Eat kale. Watch less tv.

By Saturday I’ll be sitting in my bed covered with clothes that no longer fit me, spooning through a container of Peanut Butter Half-Baked while watching the Real Housewives of New Jersey and texting my friend who lives around the corner.

The self-improvement goals may fall quickly by the wayside, but I will make an effort to honor my travel resolutions for the new year. Inspired by Geoff Kohl’s terrific article, I’m sitting down this week to define my goals for 2015. I love his suggestion to “have one really rural experience.” I’ve visited my niece’s alpaca farm and have no interest in getting that country close again. But I have always wanted to camp. Like deep-frying a turkey, it’s an activity that terrifies me. Maybe I’ll take the leap this year. The latrines aren’t getting any younger after all.

Alpacas at home in McCaysville, Georgia Continue reading