I’d been an avid read of Karen Rusell’s blog, My Life- Just not on the Road I Expected, for quite some time. She is an incredibly talent photographer, a soulful writter, and I adore her entire family- especially her love for her hot husband I appreciate how sharp, crisp, and beautiful her photos are while telling the story of her life- the big moments and all the little details that matter most. She’s been teaching her Snapshots of a Good Life class for several years & it always sells out when registration opens, so I remember setting alarms for myself on vacation in Argentina to make sure I enrolled in the spring session of her 8-week course.
**Just FYI – registration for the next session opens THIS MORNING!**
I will give her A++++++ and then a few more AAA for this course! It was amazing- so much material that it was quite over-whelming. From the very basics & fundamentals of photography, through capturing emotions & telling stories, and even lots of tips & tricks that come from years of taking tens of thousands of photos. Her website and interface were sparkling- easy to use, packed with tons of information, and a great place to get feedback and meet other students. I had a very good grasp of the technical aspects of photography- how shutter speed, aperture, and ISO all work together in the exposure triangle. I know how to control my camera very well in full manual mode & can use most of the modes and functions with ease. For me, I took this course to brush up on my picture taking skills- how to better see photos, understand lighting, techniques for storytelling.
A few weeks before class, I received a beautiful binder where I could keep all the amazing lessons we received each week. I printed out the lessons each week & tried to keep up. Although I knew the basic technicals of photography, it was a good refresher and I explored a few more areas (and took tons of Mia & Zoe photos in May). Just those few weeks paying real attention to the “Big 3″ has improved my pictures remarkably.
I did purchase yet another new lens- a sweet little 35/f1.8 as a good sharp prime lens to add to my collection. My other primes were super long focal length- much better suited for outdoors. I’ve really enjoyed this new lens & I’m spending some quality time really getting to know how to use it & how to re-compose my shots without a zoom.
A few of the lessons that I did pick up were working on moving my focus points around, tips on improving composition, playing around with exposure compensation, being more attentive to the type, direction, and quality of light.
Her class is awesome! The lessons are something that would probably take years to master, so be ready to put in some serious time & effort into absorbing all the material in the class. Her lessons are so beautifully laid out- hundreds of photos illustrating whatever lesson, all featuring her adorable family & the settings used on each photo. Karen was so available in the forums to answer questions, chat about topics and provide any help she could. The workshop was top quality & throughout everything I could see how much blood, sweet, and tears she had poured into making this an in-depth, easy to understand, organized & inspiring course.
I will confess that life got in the way & I didn’t get to submit as many assignments as I’d intended. I did go out with my camera and practice quite a bit, but I got bored of only photographing my dogs! Husband wasn’t a very cooperative model… I wish I’d been more committed to submitting photos, because Karen provides awesome critiques and it’s a very important part of the learning process.
GOOD NEWS OF THE DAY: An incredible weekend filled with so much goodness: cooking meals at home, wine bar with friends, photography meeting for Grow Soul Beautiful, yoga workshop, and father’s day!