SCOTTVILLE – Todd Reed shared photography tips and stories from 50 years of capturing images from West Michigan on Thursday at the Scottville Area Senior Center, where he and his son Brad were special guests for the Lunch Lecture Series & Learn.
The center’s senior director, Bill Kerans, said the series is generally quite busy and he knows having two of the area’s top photographers will be a draw.
About 20 people visited the center on South Main Street to hear the Reeds speak, ask a few questions and learn about their lives, careers and habits as photographers.
Kerans has taken lessons with the Reeds himself, and he said he has seen his own photography improve as a result. He asked the father-son duo to share tips on how to improve the quality of their photos.
Todd said it was crucial to get as close to the topic as possible.
“Rule # 1 for best photography is to shoot when you think you are close enough. Then get in twice as close and shoot again, ”he said. “Then come in twice as close and start over.” You will start to see your photography improve.
He also stressed the importance of depth.
“Have something in the foreground, even if it’s not your topic,” Todd said. “A fence or part of a tree or branch – something that makes the image a layered cake. Foreground, background, background.
“The most important part about it is that the viewer is there, at the scene, without looking at an image. “
A participant asked how photos of the Reeds are retouched or enhanced.
Todd said he tended to favor a more natural and realistic approach, although he said that didn’t mean there was no room for artistic effects. Todd said Brad in particular is familiar with the use of Photoshop and other editing programs.
Todd said creating an experience for viewers is also essential.
“A good photograph is to feel and to move,” he said. “It’s about making you as a spectator experience what we were going through – not just with our camera, but with ourselves – on that country road or that tunnel of trees or in this storm shooting. this lighthouse. It doesn’t matter what it is. “
The duo were also asked to name the most exciting animal they’ve ever captured on camera.
For Todd, it was an easy answer – a bear the couple found in Canada during a somewhat risky shoot.
“On our hunting property on the Pere Marquette River not far from here, (Todd) photographed a badger,” Brad said. “Just seeing a badger with your eyes is amazing, and he… got a picture. “
Todd said the badger was a bit too far away for the photo to meet its normal quality standards, but it was a great lifetime experience.
He said the experience is really what it is.
Even missed opportunities – those times when you see the perfect shot but don’t have a camera handy – are precious.
“We call them ‘one of a kind’. … You can’t share them with anyone, but they’re alive for you, so it’s kind of a way of dealing with the loss of not having a real picture, ”Todd said.
Brad pointed to the wall of the senior center to show another his favorite photos of wildlife – a buck photographed by Todd at the Legends Ranch on M-37, south of Baldwin.
“It’s a 2,000 acre deer farm, and they raise some of the largest white-tailed deer in the world,” Brad said. “We were sitting in a blind together and a few little ones came out, and then this guy came out.”
He said the male was actually small for Legends, but “the way he stood and the light that day, with the pines behind” is what made this male special.
“I pulled a click, and even though he was 100 yards away he heard it. He started to walk faster and walk away, but I had the moment I dreamed of,” said Todd said.
Attendees also viewed a film produced by LakeFX Media, documenting Todd’s half-century of Michigan image capture: from his time as a photojournalist for the Ludington Daily News and his career with the U.S. Coast Guard at the teaching photography at West Shoe Community College and opening a thriving business, Todd & Brad Reed Photography on Ludington Avenue.
The film features comments from former colleagues, family members, and Todd himself. It was published in conjunction with his recent book, “50 Years of Seeing Michigan Through a Lens,” which came out this year and was included in Reeds’ ArtPrize entry for 2021.
The Seniors Center’s next luncheon will be on February 22, when Bruce Micinski, president of the Lake County Historical Society, talks about the history of Idlewild.