Last summer, I took a class with Linda Meyerriecks of National Geographic Traveler Magazine. She suggested that as an emerging photographer, the best way to hone my skills was to give myself a project and keep heading out to the same place to take photographs. So, at her suggestion and in connection with another class taught by Howard Goodman at WCC, I spent some time last fall photographing the riders, horses and general beauty of Buxton Pond Farm in Bedford, New York over the space of a few weeks. It’s a fabulous place and everyone there was so friendly. As a photographer, it was the perfect subject as I could take portraits, action shots, and still life shots to add to my portfolio. I plan to head back there again when the weather warms up.
If you are looking to improve your photography skills, I highly recommend the self-assignment route. It gives you the opportunity to get to know a place and to really see it as well as a chance to review your photos and try something a new way if you are not happy with the initial attempt. It’s a great learning tool whether you are an emerging pro or an amateur photographer.
As part of the class, we also put together a book, which was a fabulous way to memorialize the project. With digital photography, it’s so easy to keep everything on your hard drive and backup CD’s that you often fail to print more than a handful of photos. Although I frequently shot for various magazines, and get to see some some of my work in print, the bulk of my work is for web sites and stock photography. Even when I take photos of my family and friends I find that I’m emailing them instead of making prints. The only good thing is no more guilt about all those photos in shoeboxes rather than in albums (I know the should be in archival boxes–and some are). Anyway, a photo book is a great way to make an album and for you pros out there and even you talented amateurs it might just be something you can sell as well. Once you make one they can print as many as you want so it is also a great way to share photos with your friends and relatives. Here’s a look at my book: The Riders of Buxton Pond Farm