Franklin photographers and Garden Club members alike enjoyed professional photographer Janet Young's presentation on "learning to see, photographically speaking" at the Simpson County Literacy Center last Monday night as part of the Franklin Garden Club's evening presentation series.

Young finds much of her information in nature, and uses her photographic skills for a variety of personal and professional endeavors. Her presentation showcased not only her photography, but her suggestions for how to get the most out of whatever camera one has. For those who might worry about having the "right" camera to take stunning pictures, she advises "what matters the most is not the equipment you have, but how you use it." While she does have and use professional equipment, she frequently prefers to shoot with her iPhone, and the results speak for themselves. The trick, she explains, is "learning to see" and to expand your awareness using what is available to you to take stunning photos.

The first job of a photographer, she explains, starts with prompting yourself to be thoughtful as you approach a scene or a subject by asking yourself questions such as, "What inspires me about this?" "What message or emotion do I want to convey in this scene?" Sometimes, you may want to simply document what you see without asking those questions, but by asking, a photographer's answers can increase the odds that he or she will capture something meaningful. Ms. Young's passions include photographing landscapes, life cycles of flora and water features in nature. During her wide-ranging travels, she showcases her unique vision for her subjects by photographing texture, emergence of new growth and beautiful moments in decay, movement of water in fast-moving streams, and, in one of her many specialties that distinguish her work, meditative scenes of still, stacked rocks and pebbles surrounded by fast moving water.

Ms. Young's plentiful advice for amateur photographers include these tips:

Simplify your subject by how you compose: you don't want the viewer's eyes to "bounce" across your photo, unaware of your intended subject.

Shoot the same subject from different perspectives, e.g., extremely close, medium close, and from farther away. Similarly, visit the same location during different seasons to document the changes and to increase awareness of how nature displays itself.

Be aware of unwanted objects in the background before clicking the shutter.

When photographing anything with eyes such as people, insects or statues, place them within the frame of your viewfinder so that they have something to look at across the frame. Look up and turn around, she advised frequently; by doing so, you often see something delightful that you might have missed otherwise.

Water drops add character to leaves and flowers. Carry a small spray bottle with you when you're in the garden or on a hike shooting photos.

When shooting water at places such as the beach or at a lake, check to make sure the water line is level before you press the shutter.

In addition, Ms. Young pointed out that because we read from left to right in our culture, a good rule of thumb is to use an imaginary bell-shaped curve on top of the subject before you press the shutter to see if you can direct the viewer's eyes to move across the framed subject from left to right. She finished up her talk by explaining how to get the most out of an iPhone's camera features so that attendees could try out some of the same techniques she uses to make her stunning photos.

Janet Young's motto is "Live Your Journey", and the members and guests who attended Monday night left with many ideas for taking their photography to new levels.

Ms. Young is a member of the Sunny16 Camera Club in Bowling Green, and invites all interested shutterbugs to visit the Club. Sunny 16 meets on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays, and the 3rd Saturdays of each month for social time, shooting outings and technical advice. All levels of photographers are welcome. For more information, contact Janet Young at For information on the Sunny 16 club visit their website at or search for Sunny 16 Camera Club on Facebook.

To learn more about upcoming events for the Franklin Garden Club's day and evening series, visit the Club's Facebook page at

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