I have many self-improvement goals, including “learn how to host an excellent dinner party” and “master intermediate plumbing.” I consider myself an advanced beginner, having repaired many running toilets and clogged drains.

Also on my list was the goal to improve my photography skills. But it soared to #1 when I booked a bucket list trip to South Africa. Taking photos with my iPhone and compact camera would be okay, but I want better than okay for this trip. So I went looking for a professional photographer who would be willing to share some tips and techniques.

I didn’t have to hunt too long or too hard. One of my college chums happens to be dating a very talented photographer who was kind enough to agree to mentor me, like Mr. Miyagi in "The Karate Kid." 

Avery Meyers started taking photo lessons in high school; she was initially drawn to the subject because of the teacher (“He was hot!”), but soon realized her lust was really a passion. She studied in a landscape workshop under Ansel Adams and Jerry Uelsmann in Carmel, California, before heading to the Rhode Island School of Design where she received a BFA in photography. Bicoastal by choice, Avery splits her time between Los Angeles and New York, and she is currently working on a black-and-white study of the latter city.