Archive - December 2012


Denise Bird, Kona, Hawaii, United States

How long have you been a photographer?

Just a couple of years, although I dabbled in it as a hobby back in the 80s and 90s.

What first piqued your interest in photography?

I took a photography class at a local community college way back in the days of film. After completing an assignment to describe my life in one black and white photo, my appetite for the creative was sparked.

What is your photography forte? 

I don’t think of myself as having a specialty, but I love taking candid shots of people, animals, or anything that doesn’t change just because I am trying to capture it on my camera.

What tip or trick have you learned along the way that made the biggest difference to the quality of your photos?

Focus, focus, focus. When photographing a person or an animal, focus on the nearest eye.

What about photography inspires you?

I am amazed at the beauty found in all of Heavenly Father’s creations. Simple and elegant or complex patterns: God does it best. Plants, flowers, fruits, birds, animals, and, most especially, people.  I love to capture a moment in time or an emotion and to tell a story. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words. Since all things were created by Him, every picture should testify volumes of His divine existence.

How do you decide what to shoot and how to shoot it?

I try not to force things. I really prefer to capture something that is real and not staged. Heavenly Father usually provides me with all kinds of opportunities. How to shoot depends on the available light and movement of the subject.

Where is your favorite location to shoot?

I love shooting at the ocean. Its constant movement and surprising shapes hold a never-ending fascination for me. I could sit for most of a day just taking pictures of waves. Good thing I live on an island.

What do you love about photography? 

Being able to capture, keep, and share the moments of this journey called life.

What advice would you give to new photographers?

Pray for inspiration. Never get discouraged. Look at your mistakes as great opportunities to learn, grow, and improve, for that is what they are.

What types of photos have you shared with the Church and its members?

People, animals, flowers, landscapes, seascapes, underwater, aerials, objects. Pretty much anything I have that the Church would want, I share.

What is your favorite lighting?

The golden hours when the sun is starting on its descent toward the ocean.

Where is your dream location to shoot?

Right here at home.

How important is Photoshop to your final image?

I run all my photos through Lightroom first for any small tweaks and only use Photoshop for the heavy lifting (replacing faces, removing logos, and so on). 

—Denise


Becky Cooper, Los Angeles, California, United States

How long have you been a photographer?

I first picked up a camera in 2004 and have been learning about photography and taking photos ever since. My first camera was a Canon Powershot S60, and I fell in love with it right away. Since then I have been switching between a Powershot G12 and Canon 7D.

What first piqued your interest in photography?

That there is more to it than just taking a photo; you can actually capture emotions and details unseen to the naked eye. For example, a newborn baby—parents may not think about capturing the details of his tiny fingers and toes, details that fade away as he gets older. Or walking through a flower garden—you can't easily see the little details that make up the beauty of a flower, but a camera can enlarge those details and amaze the mind. 

What is your photography forte?

Creative photography. I like to step outside the norm and bring new perspective and color to a subject.

What about photography inspires you?

The opportunity to capture an emotion that may comfort or inspire someone else.

What tip or trick have you learned along the way that has made the biggest difference to the quality of your photos?

I once came across a quote that says it all for me. To paraphrase, telling a photographer that her camera takes awesome pictures is like telling a guitarist that her guitar makes good music or an artist that his paintbrush is amazing. Great tools don't replace talent.

What has made the biggest difference for me is realizing that learning to take great photos never ends. I'm fortunate to work in an environment where I am surrounded by talented photographers and artists every day. I have the opportunity to admire their work and learn from their experiences, and they teach something new each day I go to work. I do use software to add to my photos, such as Photoshop and Lightroom, but those tools cannot remove what comes out naturally from within the photographer.

Where is your favorite location to shoot?

Nature—outside, wherever there is natural light.

What do you love about photography?

I'm an artist at heart. I love being creative, trying something new, and changing the norm.

What is your favorite lighting?

Natural.

Where is your dream location to shoot?

Europe.

What is one tip that you would like to share?

Don't be afraid to try something new and put yourself out there. Don't be afraid to learn from others.

How important is Photoshop in your final image?

It's as important as a paintbrush is to paint on a canvas. I could throw paint on a canvas and call it good or I could use an additional tool to help refine the vision of the final image I have in mind.

What advice would you give to new photographers?

Always have an open mind and learn from those who have years of experience. Then take what you have learned and apply it to your own approach. Don't copy other photographers' style just to be exactly like them; always seek to find your own style, and nurture and protect it. You never know whom you will be inspiring next.

—Becky