refusecheese.jpgDid you know that you are a brilliant photographer? Yeah you, the mom on the other side of my screen blinking confusedly at me. So your pictures are all out of focus lately, and you can’t figure out why the faces looks so washed out. So you’ve never ventured off the “auto” setting on your digital SLR. So what? It’s not your fault. You just haven’t had the chance to reach your potential. Because you’ve never met Me Ra Koh.
Me Ra Koh is a brilliant photographer, an inspiring speaker, and a wanna-be-photographer-mom’s very best friend. She’s nothing at all like the scary photography instructors you may have run across in past attempts to learn how to use a camera. She won’t make you memorize the manual or do calculus. But in just a few short moments, she will have you using your camera, and seeing the world in an entirely new way. Like the artist she knows you are.
Continue reading for the secret to taking great pictures and Me Ra Koh’s top ten tricks for mom photographers…

I had the great fortune of meeting Me Ra at a one day workshop in La Jolla several months ago. Her in person workshops are often booked out months in advance, and I can see why. She makes it all so simple, and encourages everyone to learn by experimenting. Pick up a camera and start using it. Learn one setting at a time. Simple! There is no definite right or wrong with her approach (although taking the lens cap off is somewhat essential!). Spend a few moments with her and terms like aperature, ISO, F-stop and shutter speed, which may have seemed daunting in the past, suddenly make perfect sense. She has a way of simplifying and explaining all your camera settings in a way that just works. Case in point is her description of white balance. She compares it to applying make-up indoors, when you know you are going to be seen outside. Something most women understand all too well – you have to adjust for the light. Who knew using my camera was as simple as applying my foundation?
After meeting with Me Ra Koh I brought home her videos, “Refuse to Say Cheese” and “Beyond the Green Box” and watched them with my husband. He’s a scientific type and had struggled through photography classes in high school and college, grasping some of the mechanics, but perhaps less of the gestalt of photography. After watching her videos he understood that he was coming at it from the wrong angle. Instead of assessing the scene and the lighting and choosing the “best” general settings for the camera (which is what the auto feature essentially does), he was inspired to make the camera do his bidding instead. Making the camera see the scene the way he saw it.
Both of us were excited to head out and try out the techniques discussed on the two videos. The videos make it easy for you to build your skills at home. Each section contains a photography exercise that targets a specific skill set. As you complete each task, you add to your bag of tricks. Want to blur a background? No problem. Capture solar flare? You can do it.
I cannot recommend these videos enough to my fellow moms. We, more than almost any other group of people, have the ability, the responsibility, to make a huge impact with our cameras. We have the ability to document our kids lives. And with Me Ra Koh’s advice, it really is not such a stretch for us to do this with style. So order the Refuse to Say Cheese and Beyond the Green Box videos and get ready to impress your friends and family with your brilliance!
Can’t wait for the videos to arrive and looking for a little inspiration? Check out Me Ra’s Top Ten tips for Mom Photographers from BlogHer ’08.

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