Behind the Lens with Donna Krischan
Want to take better pictures? Seek out tips from photo pros around you.
Unlike many nature photographers, I have not been taking pictures all my life. In fact, I started just before my 40th birthday. Around that time, I lost my job as an information systems manager, so I was faced with the challenge of finding a new career.
My husband, a botanist, asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, and it immediately hit me. I wanted to be a nature photographer!
I had no experience, but it didn’t matter. I was ready to be a student and soak up as much as I could from others in the business.
Learn From the Best
As my dream grew, I studied photo magazines for inspiration and information. The articles about wildlife and nature photography were always my favorites. They were a visual feast!
After studying the magazines and making a few visits to the photography section of my local bookstore, I zeroed in on the nature photographers whose work I admired. I called them my modern-day masters.
With a little digging, I started finding weeklong workshops with some of these masters. I became a workshop and seminar junkie, attending everything I could find within a day’s drive.
The workshops proved to be the ultimate learning experience, totally immersing me in the subject. Every single class I took made me a significantly better photographer.
Making Time for Class
I know not everyone is able to do weeklong workshops, what with family commitments, time constraints and tight budgets. But I encourage every budding photographer to try to make time. Even a weekend or a one-day event is worthwhile.
It also helps to get involved online. Online photo magazines like apogee.com are wonderful. Blogs are also terrific resources for tutorials and tips.
Talk to folks at your neighborhood camera store. They may offer classes to help you get started, and they probably know of local camera clubs that focus on education.
Always remember that the most important thing you need to do is get out there and take lots of pictures. Between that and a little help from modern masters, anyone can learn to be a photographer at any age!