BetterPhoto has been really important in my life since spring of 2005. It seems hard to believe that every day I react to the Photo of the Day as I open up my computer, and I’ve taken just about every course there is to take.
A group of us took Jim’s One Year Course, and many of us are still friends today! I have just gotten back from taking a portrait workshop in Knoxville with Terri Beloit, who lives just south of Seattle. She’s been a friend since that One Year Class and we still manage to get together once a year or more. Despite the fact that the workshop was about people, we managed to get in two days of nature/landscape photography in the Smoky Mountains first! There are so many friends from that group, and we still connect either personally or through Facebook.
I have been a photographer for only about 12 years. My first “good” camera was a Nikon film camera and I still use many of my lenses from that. What really jogged me into taking photography more seriously was the advent of digital cameras combined with finding Better Photo!
As a former teacher for 42 years, married to a college professor, I love to travel, since we would mutually have summers off. We have traveled to Russia, and much of western Europe and have relished every minute of capturing those trips. I only wish I had had the skills then that I am developing now, for way better pictures. Many of my favorite classes at Better Photo have had to do with travel photography.
I am most inspired by capturing humor in my pictures whenever I can. Capturing the beauty in a child’s face is exhilarating, but it’s even better when that face shows surprise, or love, or heart-tugging emotion, and a genuine belly laugh is contagious.
Given a good mix of photographing children/families and some beautiful scenery and street scenes, I can be content for hours. I love relaxing photography when I can wait for the sunrise or sunset, but I love the rush of a fast child session, too.
If I could return to one place to take better photographs than the last time, it would be Ireland. I would take my 70-200 lens, one wide angle lens and my 50mm lens, or the new 24-120 lens, which is great for travel.
I still haven’t decided what kind of photographer I’m going to be when I grow up!
There are two things in art that move me: those that touch my heart and those that excite my senses. I am, therefore, drawn to images that show emotions and those that make me feel as if I’ve been touched. On the one hand, I love to photograph human and animal expressions that reveal something about the way the subjects are feeling or thinking. On the other, my images tend toward texture shots, those that show detail, surface patterns and depth.
(c) Fran Saunders
It has taken me a long time to discover these inclinations. Long ago, a psychology professor said I was a “touchy-feely” type person and surrounded myself with the sensations of different textures. She thought that because I was severely hearing-impaired, my other senses, particularly my eyes and sense of touch were more meaningful to me. Then, a several years ago, a visitor to my very first solo exhibition said, “Is it true to say that you see beauty in simple things?” And more recently, a fellow artist remarked on how she loved the detail in my images. They say you should listen to your viewers, and how true that seems to me now. After heading in a trillion different directions with my art, I am now settling into my personal style and hope to be doing more of this type of work in the future.
(c) Fran Saunders
(c) Fran Saunders
I was one of those baby boomers who loved her Kodak Brownie. All through my life, I've had an avid interest in taking photos. About a year before I retired in 2006, I received my first DSLR and have never looked back. I'm firmly entrenched in the Canon family, where my 24-105mm f/4 is my street lens of choice, although I usually carry two or three to particular shoots.
Just before I retired I also discovered BetterPhoto.com, and I've literally lost count of how many classes I've taken. I now have a firm grounding in photographic principles and take classes many times just for the fun of it. Of course, I need to push myself to see that the quality of my art matches my knowledge! I've particularly enjoyed working with the many wonderful instructors at BP, and believe their critiques and interest in my work have inspired me to keep learning and growing, two things I hope will last a lifetime.
During my review of our customer experiences, I check in with our students and read the reviews from their courses. I saw this testimonial from one of Deborah Sandidge's students. When I read Susan's words, it echoed what we hear from a lot of our photographers, "I didn't feel like an artist before"
"I have always wanted to be an artist but never felt I had the talent. This class and the skills I acquired with Deb's help, started me on the path that until now I had only dreamed of. Although I am not that well versed in Photoshop, Deb was right there offering support and assistance. I was able to accomplish even more than I hoped for. She immediately responded to emails and requests for assistance and was quick with critiques and tips. She was extremely motivating and an excellent instructor! FINALLY I feel like an artist. Thank you Deb, for teaching this class and sharing your talents. Please create a part 2!" By Susan Shingleton member since: 5/27/2009
Was there a turning point with your photography that you felt you could call yourself a photographer or artist? We'd love to hear from you.