With her tripod and camera in tow, Bethany Morrison of Palatine trekked to Cantigny Park in Wheaton on Thursday looking for some inspiration.
A photo hobbyist who loves snapping pictures both on vacation and at home, Morrison said she needed expert advice.
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"I often end up focusing on an object, trying different settings, and shooting the same picture over and over," Morrison said. "What I need to do is try different perspectives."
So Morrison joined nearly 100 other photographers who spent Thursday improving their technique with a team of Daily Herald pros, and soaking up tips during presentations from photo veterans Bob Chwedyk and George LeClaire.
The workshop was one of a host of events targeted to the Daily Herald's Subscriber Total Access members, which aim to build a deeper relationship between the paper and the suburban community.
"We connect with the community everyday in the paper and online, and this is our chance to do it in person," Eileen Brown, Daily Herald Director of Innovation and Audience Development, said. "People feel like they know our writers and photographers because they see their work every day, they want to hear their stories and it's valuable for us to have real time with people."
Chwedyk, who has photographed a half dozen U.S. Presidents, many celebrities and sports stars, and teaches classes at local colleges, shared advice on photographing people and capturing moments that disappear in the blink of an eye. He also advised that people can even enhance a sweeping landscape shot by creating a point of interest.
George LeClaire, a Daily Herald photographer since 1995 who also teaches throughout the suburbs, revealed tricks for taking photographs of the environment. While answering technical questions, he also encouraged participants to try shooting from unusual angles.
"If you do this there's a chance that the photos will look interesting and unique, and people will then consider them better," LeClaire said.
With the gardens of Cantigny around them, hobbyist photographers set out to try their new techniques throughout the sunny grounds. Schaumburg resident John Gilles and his wife explored Cantigny trying to incorporate both men's lessons into their work. Daily Herald photographers Jeff Knox, Patrick Kunzer, Mark Black and Bev Horne also worked one-on-one with others.
"When I'm on vacation taking photos of a beautiful scene, I normally wait until people are gone," Gilles said. "I like the idea of using them to create interest."
Because of the strong turnout, Brown said future photography workshops could be in store for Subscriber Total Access members. She also encouraged readers to use their new skills for the Daily Herald's Photo of the Week Contest and Cantigny's annual contest, "Cantigny in Focus."
Previous and ongoing events like this workshop include the Cook of the Week Challenge, Fittest Loser, Backyard Makeover Contest and Suburban Chicago's Got Talent. Next month's event will be at a Schaumburg Boomers Game on July 25.
"We want to connect with our readers throughout the Daily Herald footprint," Brown said.