How to Organize Your Photos by Location in Lightroom

You likely know Adobe Lightroom as a powerful piece of photo-editing software. It’s known as the industry standard for photography post-production, especially when paired with Photoshop. You may also know that its photo management features are pretty impressive. If you so choose, you can use this one piece of software to upload, rename, keyword, review, edit, export and organize your photos.

camper van on the grass - How to Organize Your Photos by Location in Lightroom

How you use Lightroom is entirely up to you, and it’s unlikely that two photographers will use it the same. The way you organize your catalog will depend on many factors, including which genre of photography you choose, who you’re shooting for, and how you have your computer hardware arranged. There is no right or wrong way to organize things, and it will likely change over time.

If you’re a portrait or wedding photographer, you might choose to organize your catalog around sessions or dates. As a landscape and travel photographer, it makes sense for me to organize my photos based on locations. Whether a location is a city, country, or even a continent, it helps me to keep things organized so I can always find what I’m looking for without wasting time searching through thousands of photos.

There are a few different ways to find photos based on location in Lightroom, but they only work if you take a few simple steps when you import them.

Import

Whenever you import photos into Lightroom, try to follow the same steps.

It’s a good idea to create some templates for the Develop and Metadata settings. This makes it easy to apply some standard settings and metadata to every one of your photos. You should at least apply your copyright information to your photos with a metadata preset.

metadata organizing lightroom photos by location

Keywords

The single most important thing you can do to simplify the process of finding photos is keywording. You don’t need to add a long list of keywords, just a few relevant ones that will help you later on when you search.

When organizing by location, I always add the name of the country, region, and specific place name. I’ll also add any other relevant keywords that I may want to search for, such as aerial or long-exposure.

When renaming my images during import I always include the location in the name. Something like “noosa-beach-qld-australia” works well. The words in your filenames become searchable keywords themselves (make sure to use a dash between words). I don’t use dates in my file names, but it’s up to you whether you want to or not.

How to Organize Your Photos by Location in Lightroom

Folders

Using a good folder structure will make your life far easier, especially when you have tens of thousands of images.

To organize your folders by location, you can create a new folder for each specific location or one for each city or country. I have one folder for each country I visit and just keep adding to it. Even if I visit that country again years later, I’ll still keep using that same folder. It makes it far simpler and I know where I can find a photo from anywhere on earth.

It also makes it simpler to find image files on my computer as the folder structure I set up is identical both inside and outside Lightroom. Organizing folders by date or some other number-based system would never work for me.

Collections

Collections are another one of Lightroom’s great features that can help you keep everything organized by location. Where Folders contain every photo from a given location, Collections contain only the photos you choose. Again, I’ll create a new Collection for each country, but I only put the keepers in there.

How to Organize Your Photos by Location in Lightroom

In the past, I’ve done this manually, but I now create a Smart Collection for each location. I only need to add two rules to each Smart Collection: Flag and Keyword. Based on these settings, any photo that I flag that has that keyword is automatically added to the collection.

smart collections - How to Organize Your Photos by Location in Lightroom

Map

As a travel photographer, my favorite Lightroom tool for finding photos based on location is the Map module. One of the first things I’ll do after I’ve finished importing new photos into Lightroom is to add GPS coordinates. There are a couple of ways you can do this.

If you know the coordinates you can add them manually in the Metadata panel. The easiest way is to select all your images (Cmd/Ctrl+A) then go into the Map module, search for the location in the search bar above the map, then drag all your photos onto the right location on the map.

Depending on your camera, your photos may already have GPS coordinates embedded in the file. This is often the case with drone photos or any other GPS-connected camera or device. If not, you can record the GPS coordinates by taking a photo with your phone then grabbing them from that photo’s metadata.

map module - How to Organize Your Photos by Location in Lightroom

Searching for Photos

Now that you’ve imported your photos with location-based keywords and filenames, organized them into location-based Folders and Collections, and geotagged them with GPS coordinates, finding them later is simple.

I use a different approach depending on whether I’m looking for a specific image or a group of images from a specific location.

If it’s a specific image you want, and you know you flagged it, select the Collection associated with that location. If you’re not sure if it’s flagged, select the folder. Then search inside the collection or folder using the Library Filter.

Click on Text, select Any Searchable Field in the first drop-down menu, then Contains All in the next menu, then type your keywords in the search field. The more keywords you add, the more specific the search becomes.

library filter - How to Organize Your Photos by Location in Lightroom

If I’m looking for an image or group of images from a specific location, I like to use the Map module. Select All Photographs in the Catalog panel on the left then go to the Map module and type the location name into the search bar. Any geotagged images in that area will show up on the map.

You can zoom in or out on the map to make your search location more or less specific. Images in the specified location will appear along the filmstrip below the map.

Summary

A little forethought and organization when importing your images are worth the effort. It doesn’t take much time to apply these settings but can save you a lot down the road.

If you’re anything like me and have tens of thousands of photos in your catalog, you’ll be doing yourself a favor, and future you will thank you for your efforts.

The post How to Organize Your Photos by Location in Lightroom appeared first on Digital Photography School.

How to Choose Your Next Travel Photography Destination

If you’re anything like me, your love for photography is matched only by your love for travel. Your days consist of dreaming of epic landscapes, amazing cities, and unlimited air miles. Unfortunately, my friend, you have the travel photography bug, and I’m sorry to tell you that it’s incurable.

beach with chairs and umbrella - how to choose your next travel photography destination

It’s easy to get down about your inability to see and photograph everything right now. There just aren’t enough hours in the day, and for most of us, not enough money in the bank. The thing that keeps me from getting down is planning my next trip.

Planning is the easy part, the hard part is choosing where to go. You might get overwhelmed by the options, so here are a few things to consider which may help you choose your next travel photography destination.

Look in Your Own Backyard

First up, your next trip doesn’t need to be an epic destination across oceans to places like Iceland or Patagonia. I’m always trying to find ways to get to big bucket-list locations that I know I would love, but sometimes looking closer to home may be a better option.

Unless you live on an island in the middle of the ocean, there’s likely somewhere nearby that you’ll be able to get to sooner to satisfy your wanderlust.

Is there anywhere within driving distance that you’ve always wanted to visit or a place that people have been saying you should check out? Somewhere in your own backyard that others spend thousands of dollars and countless hours traveling to see? It may be somewhere you’ve been before but could revisit to try to photograph better. The benefits of looking in your own backyard are many.

lake with rocks and mountains - how to choose your next travel photography destination

Make a Bucket List

You likely already have an idea of some of the places that you would like to visit and photograph. If you ask me, I can rattle off a long list of dream destinations. If you haven’t already done so, make a list and write it down. You could even make more than one list – local and international.

My bucket list has nested sub-locations within each item because I keep seeing new locations within a given country that I want to see.

I also encourage you to try and get past the big-name travel destinations. Add them for sure, I certainly have, but there’s more to the world than Iceland, New Zealand, and Yosemite. These places are insanely popular, which makes them expensive to get to and you’ll often be competing with huge crowds.

Instagram is a great place to find inspiration, but again, try to look for more than the uber-popular locations. Also, try asking people who love to travel for their recommendations. I’m always happy to make suggestions if you’re stuck for ideas.

egypt - how to choose your next travel photography destination

Talk to Your Travel Buddy

Who will you be traveling with? Do you have a buddy that you go everywhere with? Share ideas with them and come up with a shared list. Do you usually travel alone? Great, that gives you some freedom to do whatever and go wherever you want. It might be worth considering a travel buddy for a change. There are many benefits to traveling with somebody else or even a group.

If your travels usually come in the form of family vacations, then your plans will need to work for them too. Maybe try asking your kids where they would like to go for your next family trip? They might suggest something you have not considered. Is there somewhere your partner has always wanted to go but never mentioned?

Multi-Task

Is there a way that you can kill two birds with one stone? Sometimes there are ways to justify travel that you may not have considered. Do you have family somewhere that you could visit? Maybe an old friend that you haven’t seen for years?

Not everyone has the ability to travel for work, but if you do – is there a way you could tack on some personal travel to the end of a work trip? If you’re crafty you might be able to get your boss to pay for you to go to a conference somewhere. If you don’t ask the answer is always “No”.

cathedral how to choose your next travel photography destination

It’s worth considering photography workshops also. Although it will still be all about the photography, you’ll be investing in your craft. They can be expensive, but if you find one close to home you can keep the travel costs down. Your photography will benefit from a workshop far more than it would just by taking a trip.

Budget

The biggest barrier for most of us is cost. If money were no object, I’m sure many photographers would spend more time traveling than they do at home. Unfortunately, travel costs a lot so it needs to come into consideration.

Depending on where you live, you can use seasonal fluctuations to help you choose your next destination. Virtually everywhere in the world will have a high and a low season. These seasons affect travel costs significantly, so it’s worth doing some research into where’s the best place to visit at a given time of year. Either side of high season (shoulder season) is often cheaper, while the weather is still okay.

It’s also worth considering exchange rates as they can fluctuate a lot. If your home currency is performing well against another country’s currency, it could be worth considering traveling there while you’re able to get more for your money. I’ve planned travel at short notice a few times due to an unusually good exchange rate, and it’s saved me hundreds of dollars.

Expand Your Portfolio

It’s worth taking a look at your travel photos and asking yourself if there’s a subject or medium that you really want to add. Maybe you have loads of images of beaches and the ocean and could diversify by getting into the mountains?

Do you primarily photograph nature and could stretch yourself by spending a weekend photographing cityscapes? Always wanted to try out some astrophotography? Go spend a few moonless nights as far away from light pollution as possible.

I’ve always wanted to take my camera underwater, so next month I’m spending a few weeks in Queensland, Australia exploring the Great Barrier Reef.

cityscape how to choose your next travel photography destination

As photographers, we naturally seek out subjects that we’re drawn to and are comfortable with, but it’s worth trying something different from time to time. Choosing your next destination based on the subject or medium you want to photograph is a great way to learn something new and maybe go somewhere you wouldn’t usually choose.

Available Time

I’m a big advocate of slow travel. You can see and experience a place in a completely different way when you spend a few months there rather than a couple of days or weeks. That said, not everyone wants to or can quit their job and go live somewhere new for a few months.

It’s worth considering how much time you have available for your next trip. If you only have a weekend, you’re not going to want to spend 20 hours flying in each direction. If you have a month, you probably don’t want to spend the whole time in a small town down the road. Use your time wisely.

spices how to choose your next travel photography destination

There are places that I want to visit that I wouldn’t really enjoy if I rushed it. So I’m leaving them for when I can explore it at my own pace. There are also many places that would happily spend a couple of nights and be satisfied.

Make it a Road Trip

It’s pretty hard to beat a good road trip. You have the freedom to go where you want when you want. You’re not dependent on public transport or an itinerary.

You can even sleep in your vehicle if you like and get to obscure locations away from the crowds. Drive as far as time allows.

mountains how to choose your next travel photography destination

A road trip opens up many possibilities for travel photography destinations. It can turn one location into many. I always wanted to visit Yosemite National Park in California, so I did an epic road trip on the entire west coast of the USA.

Next, I wanted to see the Canadian Rockies, so I drove all the way from Vancouver through British Columbia, into Alberta and the Rockies, then down through northern Washington. I saw so much more on those road trips than I ever would have flying or busing between locations. Maybe a road trip should be next on your list?

Where to Next?

You probably can’t pack your bags and get on the road tomorrow, but choosing and planning your next travel photography destination can give you something to look forward to and prepare for. I hope this has helped you to consider new possibilities and narrow down your options.

If it’s helped your next trip come around sooner, even better. What’s on your travel photography bucket list? I would love to hear what you’re thinking or planning, please share in the comments area below.

The post How to Choose Your Next Travel Photography Destination appeared first on Digital Photography School.

How to Improve Your Landscape Photography By Understanding Portrait Lighting

The further I have gone on my photography journey, the more I have come to learn about the importance of understanding light. I believe light is the single most important element that makes a photograph. Not a great subject. Not great composition. It’s great lighting that will make a photograph amazing.

colorful landscape scene - How to Improve Your Landscape Photography By Understanding Portrait Lighting

So what is great light? There is no one type of light that makes a photograph good or bad. Hardness, brightness, color, direction. All these things and more will dictate how your image looks, and more importantly, how it feels.

One of the ways I’ve learned to see and understand light and how it affects my landscape photography is by learning about and understanding portrait lighting. Portrait photographers know that the way light falls on the human form dramatically affects the photograph.

Although you can’t control the light in landscape photography, learning to apply the principles of portrait lighting will help you create far more dramatic landscapes that make the viewer feel something.

Light and Shadow

At its most basic level, a photograph is made up of light and shadow. We have a tendency to focus a lot on light in photography, but shadows are just as important, if not even more so. Shadows reveal shape, depth, and texture.

aerial photo - How to Improve Your Landscape Photography By Understanding Portrait Lighting

Portrait photographers understand light and shadow better than anyone. They shape a portrait by moving the light source around until the light falls in just the right way so that the shadows reveal the contours of the subject. When shooting with natural light that can’t be controlled, they will move the subject instead.

The transition from light to shadow is often lost in modern landscape photography. Camera sensors with incredible dynamic range, along with the popularity of HDR techniques, have allowed us to bring back a lot of detail in the shadows of our landscapes.

This isn’t a bad thing in itself, because usually, we want some detail in the shadows, but it often goes too far. Just because we can brighten the shadows doesn’t mean we should. Leaving parts of the image in darkness add mood and mystery.

long exposure seascape - How to Improve Your Landscape Photography By Understanding Portrait Lighting

Rembrandt Lighting

I learned about Rembrandt lighting before I had ever heard of the artist it was named after. Rembrandt was a master painter who understood the principles of light and shadow better than anyone. Studying his paintings will teach you a lot about how they can create mood and drama in an image.

Rembrandt self portrait - How to Improve Your Landscape Photography By Understanding Portrait Lighting

Rembrandt self-portrait.

Rembrandt lighting has become known as a classic lighting setup in portrait photography. Using soft side-lighting, this technique creates a beautiful look that you will likely recognize.

When the light source is coming from the side of the subject, it causes the light to reveal and conceal various elements. The parts of the subject that are visible to the light source will be illuminated while the parts which aren’t visible to the light source will be in shadow.

portrait lighting for landscape photography - How to Improve Your Landscape Photography By Understanding Portrait Lighting

Understanding portrait lighting to bring out texture and dimension.

You obviously can’t control the light source when photographing landscapes, but you can still apply the same principles.

Considering how the light will fall on your landscape can guide the way you photograph it. The position you shoot from, your composition, and the time of day will all affect how the lighting affects your landscapes. Even though you can’t control the light, it never stays the same, so waiting for the angle of the sun to change or for a gap in the clouds can make a big difference to that way it illuminates the scene.

Reverse Engineering Photos

A great exercise for learning to understand light is to reverse engineer a photograph. When I was learning portrait photography I would regularly study an image and try to figure out how it had been lit. Is it natural light or flash? How far away from the subject is it? How big is the light source? Is there more than one light source?

How to Improve Your Landscape Photography By Understanding Portrait Lighting - lighthouse on a rocky shoreline

These days as a landscape and travel photographer, I still ask myself those questions when looking at a photograph. Which direction is the light coming from? What time of day was it taken? Was the sky clear or cloudy? Learn to get in the habit of analyzing photos that you admire by asking yourself more specific questions like this rather than what gear or presets the photographer used.

Dodging and Burning

Shaping light and shadow doesn’t stop when you take the photo. Dodging and burning is the process of lightening and darkening areas of a photo in post-production. It doesn’t need to be a complicated process. Often all that is necessary is burning (darkening) areas that could use more shadow or might be distracting.

portrait lighting for landscape photography

One of the best ways to think of dodging and burning is to ask yourself where you want the viewer to look. It may be a specific element of the photo, or you may want to draw the viewer’s eye through the image. You can paint more light and shadow into a photo to guide this process.

Our eyes are naturally drawn to brighter parts of an image. Portrait photographers will often dodge and burn to draw the viewer to the subject’s eyes or another important element of the subject. When editing landscapes, try to paint in light and shadow to control which parts of the image are attracting your attention.

waterfall and mountain and reflection in a pool of water - How to Improve Your Landscape Photography By Understanding Portrait Lighting

Go Practice

The next time you’re photographing a landscape, try taking another look at the light. Ask yourself some of the questions I’ve mentioned. Look for the shadows. Experiment with side-lighting. Wait until the light changes. By understanding portrait lighting you will be better equiped to apply it to your landscape photography.

You’ll find that thinking of the landscape as contours with depth and shape rather than separate elements will help you make more engaging landscapes with mood and drama.

The post How to Improve Your Landscape Photography By Understanding Portrait Lighting appeared first on Digital Photography School.

How to Reduce Digital Noise in Astrophotography Using Exposure Stacking

Astrophotography has become increasingly popular in recent years, with good reason. There’s something about the night sky, stars, and The Milky Way that are fascinating to us. They remind us of how small we are and how huge the universe we live in really is. Photographing them can make for some pretty spectacular images.

How to Reduce Digital Noise in Astrophotography Using Exposure Stacking - night photo with Milky Way visible

Digital Noise in Astrophotography

As camera technology has advanced, photographing the night sky has become possible for photographers of all levels and budgets. Low-light performance continues to improve, allowing us to photograph the stars at higher and higher ISOs. However, digital noise continues to be one of the biggest challenges for astrophotographers.

There are a number of different approaches to dealing with digital noise in your astrophotography, from your camera settings to the way you process them in post-production.

Digital noise is caused by a couple of things. Firstly, the camera sensor heats up as it exposes an image, causing an increase in noise. Secondly, an increase in sensor sensitivity, or ISO, can lead to more digital noise in your images. As both high ISO values and long exposures are going to lead to more digital noise, you’re going to need a strategy to deal with it in your astrophotography.

path to the ocean with Milky Way in the night sky - How to Reduce Digital Noise in Astrophotography Using Exposure Stacking

Exposure Stacking

There is a technique called exposure stacking that is very effective in reducing the digital noise in your photos. You take multiple exposures with the same settings, stack them into layers inside Photoshop, align the stack, then Photoshop will create an image based on the median of all the stacked exposures. The final image will show the parts of your exposures that are consistent through each layer, like the stars. Because digital noise is random, and changes from one exposure to the next, it will not be visible in the final stacked image.

If you’re still following me, great. It sounds complicated, but I’m going to walk you through exposure stacking step-by-step and you’ll see it’s really not that difficult. It can take a little time to get right, but it’s totally worth it when you see the difference it can make in your night sky photos.

Milky Way beach photo - How to Reduce Digital Noise in Astrophotography Using Exposure Stacking

Capturing the Stars In-Camera

There are plenty of other articles that will teach you in detail how to take great astrophotography, so I won’t go into it here. However, there are a few considerations that are required to get the exposures correct in order to be able to use the exposure stacking technique later.

1. You need multiple exposures with the same camera settings. You can take as many shots as you want, but I would suggest using a minimum of 10. Try to capture them as close together as possible to minimize movement of the stars between each exposure. The more time that lapses from the first exposure to the last, the more work will be required to stack them properly.

2. Turn off Long Exposure Noise Reduction. This is probably called something like “Long Exposure NR” in your camera. It will cause each exposure to take twice as long when it’s turned on, meaning there will be twice as much movement of the stars between exposures. It also means you’ll be double-processing your images, causing a reduction in image quality.

3. Make sure the stars in your photos are pinpoint. They need to be sharp and have as little streaking as possible. You can work out the maximum exposure time to create pinpoint stars based on the focal length of your lens using this tool.

Import and Develop in Lightroom

Again, there is a wealth of information about how to process astrophotography in Adobe Lightroom. All I do in Lightroom is check each exposure to eliminate any images that are unusable due to camera movement, do a basic edit, then open my selected images to Photoshop as layers.

How to Reduce Digital Noise in Astrophotography Using Exposure Stacking

Use “Open as Layers in Photoshop” to do exposure stacking. Go to: File > Edit In > Open as Layers in Photoshop.

The main things to remember here are that you make sure to sync your edits with all the exposures that you’ll be using and to avoid over-processing the images in Lightroom. Avoid sharpening and noise reduction at this stage of the process. Also take it easy on contrast, clarity, and dehaze. You can perform more creative edits on the final stacked image.

Aligning and Stacking Exposures in Photoshop

Ensuring your images are all aligned correctly is vital when doing exposure stacking. If they are not, you will end up with blurry stars. There are a couple of ways to align exposures. Try the auto-alignment method first and if it doesn’t do a good job you’ll need to use the manual method.

Auto Alignment

  1. Select all layers.
  2. Select Edit > Auto-Align Layers…
  3. Select Auto. Click OK.

How to Reduce Digital Noise in Astrophotography Using Exposure Stacking - auto-align layers

Manual Alignment

    1. Make only the bottom two layers visible.
    2. Select the second layer and change its blend mode to Difference. You’ll see the image go mostly black with white specks. The white areas represent the parts of the two visible images that are not aligned correctly.

How to Reduce Digital Noise in Astrophotography Using Exposure Stacking

  1. Click Edit > Free Transform.

How to Reduce Digital Noise in Astrophotography Using Exposure Stacking - free transform

  1. Click View and make sure Snap is unchecked.
  2. Zoom in on a corner, hold down command/control and move the corner box around until you see the white parts of the image line up and turn black. It will take some trial and error.

How to Reduce Digital Noise in Astrophotography Using Exposure Stacking

    1. Repeat with each corner of the image. You may need to go back to readjust a corner that you’ve already moved. It won’t be perfect, but try to get it as close as possible.
    2. Press return to exit Free Transform mode, then change the blend mode back to Normal.
    3. Make the layer you’ve just adjusted invisible and the next one up visible.
    4. Repeat with every layer, aligning each one with the base layer until they’re all aligned as well as possible.

Stacking Layers

  1. Make sure all layers are visible and selected.
  2. Right-click on one of the layers and click Convert To Smart Object.

How to Reduce Digital Noise in Astrophotography Using Exposure Stacking

  1. Click Layer > Smart Objects > Stack Mode > Median.

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Finish up

When Photoshop has finished working its magic, you should end up with an image that’s much cleaner with significantly less noise than you started with. Your stars probably won’t look quite as sharp when zoomed into 100%, especially if the alignment wasn’t quite right, but you’ll be the only person who looks that closely. Don’t forget to crop the edges that have moved during the alignment process.

Now you can apply any other creative edits you might like to your image. You can either do this while still in Photoshop or save the image and apply the adjustments back in Lightroom.

This may seem like a complicated process, but once you’ve done it once or twice you’ll get much quicker. If you’re anything like me, you’ll find the effort is worth it for the lovely, clean, noise-free astrophotography images it gives you.

The post How to Reduce Digital Noise in Astrophotography Using Exposure Stacking appeared first on Digital Photography School.

12 Good Reasons Why You Should Start a Photography Blog

Starting a photography blog was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I never would’ve guessed when I pulled the trigger on my first blog post how much good would come from it.

Hiking trails in the hills of Castlepoint

I talked briefly about starting a blog in this article, 10 Photography Lessons I’ve Learned Over 10 Years, and I decided it would be worth going deeper. The benefits of sharing your photos on your own blog are many, and I’m going to talk about 12 of them here.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but hopefully, it will inspire you to start a photography blog of your own.

1. Having a photography blog will help you grow

It’s easy to get stale in your photography sometimes. You tend to shoot the same things the same way and post-process using the same presets.

A blog can help inspire you to get out of that stale rut and grow as a photographer because you will naturally want to share something new and exciting. Knowing that people are viewing your photography blog is a great motivator to post a better photo today than you did last week.

Lighthouse on the California Coast - 12 Good Reasons Why You Should Start a Photography Blog

2. You’ll build your own platform

Your blog is yours to do what you want with, and that means you’re building something that is 100% your own. If you only ever post your photos to social media then you’re dependent on those services, and your photography is not their priority.

Building a photography blog that is all about you and your photos will be there as long as you want it to, and it can become a platform that grows over time.

3. Display your photos your way

All blogging services will come with some form of customization, which means you can show off your photography however you want. You can use anything from simple, free themes that look great right out of the box to paid premium themes that give you more features and options.

If you really want full control over how it looks and feels, get a self-hosted blog on your own domain. They’re cheap and easy to set up, and you will own your blog forever. You can even have it double as your photography portfolio website.

Thunderstorm off the coast of Cuba - 12 Good Reasons Why You Should Start a Photography Blog

4. Share more of your photography

Your photography blog can be a great place to share your images that might not be your best work. There are a number of reasons you might want to do this.

You might want to share a collection of photos of a location or subject. You could share your before-and-after photos to illustrate a new post-processing technique. There are many reasons why you might want to share some photos that aren’t good enough for your main photography portfolio, and a blog is a great place to do that.

5. You’ll become a better storyteller

Learning to tell stories with your photos is one of the best ways to improve your photography. A good storyteller will capture people’s interest and emotions. Blogging will help you to become a better storyteller because the images you share come with a story.

The great part about a photography blog is that you can write as much as you want, and it adds to the story of the photo. The process of telling the story about the photo will develop your creative muscles and you will naturally get better at storytelling with your photography.

Friends riding bikes in Tulum - 12 Good Reasons Why You Should Start a Photography Blog

6. People will get to know you better

I like to think of my own blog as not only somewhere to teach travel photography, but where people can get to know me as a real human. I love to write travel stories on my blog, sharing not just my photos, but the stories and experiences that go along with them.

People who find and read your photography blog will see more of who you are than they will on Instagram or Facebook. It can be a place to let people get to know the person behind the camera.

7. You’ll see your growth over time

There’s nothing quite as confronting as looking back through old photos and reading old posts on your blog. It can make you cringe sometimes, but that’s a good thing.

Your blog can be a place where you document your photography journey. You will be able to see your growth over time, which can be incredibly encouraging, especially on those days when you feel like your photography sucks (we all have those days).

hiking trail in the mountains - 12 Good Reasons Why You Should Start a Photography Blog

8. It helps you critically analyze your photos

As you grow as a photographer you get better at looking at your photos more critically and curating them. A photography blog can help a lot with this as well. The process of writing a post about a photo will help you to analyze it better because you spend more time thinking about the whys, hows, whats, and ifs of the photo.

Why did I take that photo? How could I have improved it? What story does it tell? If I used a different lens, how would it have changed it? You’ll be surprised how many more questions you’ll find yourself asking as you write.

9. It can open up new opportunities

Sharing your photos is really putting yourself out there, which can be scary. One of the advantages of that is that it makes it easier for people to find you. Google loves blogs, so you’re far more likely to show up if somebody searches for something you’ve shared on your blog than if you’d just shared it on social media.

Over time, the more you share on your photography blog, the more likely you are to show up in searches. More visibility means greater potential to be discovered by photo buyers or other sites.

sunset reflection in rock pools - 12 Good Reasons Why You Should Start a Photography Blog

10. Writing exercises your creativity

You may not think of it this way, but writing can be an incredibly creative outlet. Your previous classroom experiences may be contrary to this, but it’s true.

Creative writing exercises similar parts of the brain as photography, so it makes sense that they strengthen each other. You may not think that sitting down and tapping away at a computer can help your photography, but it can. A blog is a great place to exercise your creative muscles regularly.

11. You will inspire others

I’ve lost count of how many emails or comments I’ve had from people who have read my blog and felt encouraged or inspired. This relates to my previous point about people getting to know you better.

When people read your blog and begin to get to know you it shows them that you’re just another human with a camera who’s on a journey too. A photo blog makes you more relatable, and people are more likely to be inspired by you if they feel they can relate to you.

silhouette of a tree and the night sky - 12 Good Reasons Why You Should Start a Photography Blog

12. Blogging itself can become another hobby

If you’re anything like me, you probably don’t need another hobby, but hear me out. Blogging just may not be for you. That’s fine.

On the other hand, you might absolutely love it and it may grow from an outlet for sharing your photography, into something that you do for pleasure. You won’t know unless you try.

What are you waiting for?

These are only 12 of dozens of reasons to start a photography blog. I strongly encourage you to give it a go. If you’re one of the many photographers who has a blog but has let it slip, why don’t you to pick it up again? Maybe you’ve been on the fence about it and this article will give you a push.

There are countless blogging platforms to choose from, but I strongly recommend WordPress. I also recommend the free Start a Blog course over at Problogger (another site by dPS creator Darren Rowse).

Do you have a photography blog already? What benefits have come from it? Still on the fence? I would love to hear your experiences or questions in the comments area below.

The post 12 Good Reasons Why You Should Start a Photography Blog appeared first on Digital Photography School.

Free Versus Paid Photography Portfolio Websites – Which is Best for You?

One of the joys of photography is sharing it with the world. Once upon a time, a photography portfolio was a collection of prints, but digital photography and the internet have changed everything. Photography portfolios these days come in many forms, and they are almost exclusively online.

So, do you need a portfolio, and how do you decide where to proudly display your photos for the world to see?

Long exposure landscape photo of rocks at sunset, Mt Maunganui, New Zealand - photography portfolio

Why You Need a Photography Portfolio

You may be asking why you need a portfolio at all. Maybe you’re happy keeping your photos to yourself and never sharing or printing them for anyone else to see? It’s your photography, and you can do what you like with it. But, there are a few benefits that only come from sharing your work, though.

A photography portfolio allows other people to see and enjoy your creations. I’m betting you love not only the process of creating images but also the final product. So why not let others appreciate your artwork too?

You will be driven to stretch yourself and work on improving your photography if you put it out there for others to see. This is often a quiet voice nudging you to try a new technique or take a workshop or develop your post-production skills. A portfolio opens your photography up to critique, which is a little daunting, but I’ve found it to be positive and helpful most of the time.

noosa heads sunshine coast queensland australia - photography portfolio

A portfolio is also necessary if you ever plan to sell your photography. This isn’t for everyone, and I wouldn’t recommend that this be your primary motivation, but it’s worth considering. You may not think you want to make money with your photography, or not yet at least, but if and when that time comes, you will be better prepared if you already have an online presence and portfolio.

Free Versus Paid Photography Portfolio Websites

The options for displaying your photography portfolio online can be a little overwhelming. A quick google search for “photography portfolio website” returns 48 million results. The first question you need to ask is whether a paid or free service is best for you? There are many options within each category, but they each have their pros and cons.

It’s also worth noting that “photography portfolio” doesn’t necessarily look how you expect. In fact, you may already have a portfolio online, you just aren’t thinking about it in that way yet. Let’s look at a few of the options and you’ll see what I mean.

Free Services

If you’ve ever shared any of your photos online, whether on social media or on a photo-sharing website, then you already have an online portfolio. Although not generally considered portfolio websites, some social networks actually make great free portfolios.

Photo sharing websites are a great place to display your portfolio for free. They’re aimed more towards photographers than most social networks, so often include features that may assist you in using them as your primary portfolio.

Sunrise at Urangan Pier, Hervey Bay, Fraser Coast, Queensland, Australia - photography portfolio

Pros

Other than being free, the biggest advantage of free services is the volume of traffic. The larger websites are among the biggest on the internet, so the potential for people seeing your photos is far greater. With all these visitors and traffic comes community. The ability to engage with other users is a huge advantage in my opinion. They have become the modern camera club. They are places where you can not only find an audience for your work, but other photographers to inspire you and network with.

Free services are constantly pushing forward with new features and technology, so you get to be on the cutting edge. The regular updates can be frustrating at times, but I think the good far outweighs the bad in this regard.

These are also the places that you are likely to be found by buyers. One of my first magazine features was an image that was found on Flickr by a photo editor searching for a specific image to buy. Again, this isn’t for everyone, but something worth considering if you are wanting to sell your photos.

Landscape photo of Two Mile Bay, Lake Taupo, New Zealand - photography portfolio

Cons

There are downsides to using a free service, though. The biggest one for me is that you are depending on someone else’s platform to build your portfolio. Their primary interest is profit, not making you rich or famous. They can and will change things whenever they like and you have no say in the matter. If they close down or are sold to a new owner, that can mean a lot of hard work goes down the drain.

You have little or no ability to customize your profile page, meaning you have no options for how your portfolio looks. This may not be something you’re concerned about, but it’s worth considering. Free services make money by either selling ads (social networks) or offering premium features to users (photo sharing sites). This is fine, as it keeps the service free for those who don’t want to pay, but it means you’ll miss out on some of the best features the service has to offer.

You’re probably already using one or more free portfolio services, or are at least aware of them. Let’s take a look at a few of the biggest ones and see if they’re right for you.

Flickr

The photo-sharing website Flickr has been around forever and was one of the first places I began sharing my photography when I started out. With around 75 million users, it is a giant in the photo-sharing world. Flickr’s biggest strength lies in its communities. I have been involved with many Flickr groups where I have met lots of other photographers and learned a ton.

flickr free vs paid photography portfolio websites

Flickr’s popularity has declined over the last few years as users have moved on to other things, and the Yahoo-owned website (recently acquired by SmugMug) hasn’t done itself any favors by being incredibly slow to innovate and keep up with the competition.That being said, it still has a thriving photography community and is worth considering.

500px

Like many Flickr users, I abandoned ship when I discovered 500px, a newer photo sharing website that offered many of the same features but with a fresh new user experience. 500px also used an algorithm that meant you were far more likely to see amazing photography on its “popular” page. The standard of photography seemed higher, so it naturally attracted a lot of photographers.

500px has never reached the same volume of users as Flickr, with current numbers sitting around 12 million, but the service has added new features like communities and their “Marketplace”, which is essentially a way to license your images to sell as prints or stock.

500px free vs paid photography portfolio websites

500px has made headlines recently in the photography world after it was sold to VCG, the “Getty Images of China”. This has been a hugely controversial issue for 500px users, and there has been a mass exodus of previously loyal users. Don’t let that be the deciding factor for you, as 500px still has a lot to offer as far as free portfolio websites go.

Instagram

You may think of Instagram as just another social network, but you might be surprised how many photographers are now using it as their primary portfolio.

I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that Instagram is currently the world’s number one photography app, and for good reason. People want to go where the masses are. With over 800 million users, there is no question as to whether it’s a place to consider sharing your portfolio.

instagram free vs paid photography portfolio websites

Instagram can be used in many different ways, but if you choose to use it as a portfolio, you must learn to be selective about what you share. Try to resist the temptation to share every photo. Curate your feed well, and you will have a portfolio that will attract people to it. If you must share photos of your cat, try using Instagram’s awesome Stories feature.

Pinterest

Just like Instagram, Pinterest has grown into a social network with a massive number of users, and it has the added advantage of being heavily visual. It’s a great place to be able to share your portfolio with the potential of being seen by a large audience.

Pinterest allows you to create boards and then “pin” your photos to as many boards as you like. You can create a different board for each photography category or location, such as “Weddings” or “Australia”. You can even have a “Portfolio” board where you only pin your best photos.

pinterest free vs paid photography portfolio websites

Pinterest also allows you to pin web pages, so if you have a blog you can pin your posts. The ability for others to re-pin your pins to their own boards means your work can be seen by a lot more people. You can also create inspiration boards for re-pinning other photographers’ pins. With all these features, Pinterest is definitely worth considering as a place to share your photography portfolio for free.

Paid Services

When it comes to paid photography portfolio websites, there aren’t as many options, but the ones that are available give you pretty amazing bang for your buck. Most professional photographers use one of these services these days, but that doesn’t mean you have to be a professional to use one.

They all have a range of options that vary in cost and features, but if you are considering a paid service for your portfolio, I’m sure you can find something that will fit your budget and needs.

Pros and Advantages

As with the free options, these services have their pros and cons. The biggest advantage, in my opinion, is the ability to customize how your portfolio looks and feels. You can change colors, layouts, text, logos, etc., all without needing to know how to code websites.

noosa national park sunshine coast queensland australia - photography portfolio

Most of them include unlimited storage for your photos, meaning you can upload as many high-resolution images as you want. This not only means you never have to delete another photo to make space for new ones, but you also have a copy of your photos backed up in the cloud.

The ability to sell your photos as prints or license them as stock directly from the website is a major attraction for many photographers. Each service’s e-commerce system works differently, but if this is a feature you want, you will find something that works for you. Some paid portfolio websites also allow you to deliver image files directly to clients, which works great if you’re a wedding or portrait photographer, or if you want to deliver files directly to a magazine, etc.

If you have a blog, some of these services will allow you to integrate your domain with your portfolio. For example, you can make your portfolio URL something like “portfolio.yourdomainname.com” rather than “yourname.photoshelter.com”. Visitors to your portfolio won’t even know that they’re on another website.

Driftwood bench seat on sand dunes overlooking Mount Maunganui Beach at sunset. - photography portfolio

Cons or Disadvantages

As you’re paying for premium features, there aren’t as many disadvantages of using a paid service. The main one is that they don’t have the social element that you get with photo-sharing sites or social networks. Getting your portfolio in front of eyeballs is a lot harder without the ability for viewers to engage with your work like they can on social media.

Although you have far more options to customize the way your portfolio appears, you’re still at the whim of the website that it is hosted on, and therefore how it functions. If you don’t like the features a website offers, it’s take-it-or-leave-it.

The following paid photography portfolio websites are by no means an exhaustive list, but these are some of the largest and most popular amongst photographers.

PhotoShelter

This is the first paid portfolio service I used for my own photography. PhotoShelter offers some of the best photography portfolios money can buy. Their websites look and work great, and their e-commerce features are second-to-none.

You can sell and license your photos directly through the website, and they even offer self-fulfilled printing if you want to print and ship images yourself. Although it’s one of the most expensive services, PhotoShelter is a solid option.

photoshelter free vs paid photography portfolio websites

SmugMug

I switched from PhotoShelter to SmugMug a few years ago after running an experiment to see how the two big boys compared in terms of Google search traffic. SmugMug won hands-down, so I moved my portfolio over. The two are very comparable in terms of cost and features.

If you want a beautiful portfolio website that works well and offers unlimited storage, I would definitely consider SmugMug. They also offer a solid e-commerce system, although they let themselves down with their refusal to allow self-fulfilled printing, despite users requesting it for years.

smugmug free vs paid photography portfolio websites

Zenfolio

I haven’t used Zenfolio personally, but from what I’ve seen and heard from other photographers, it’s a service worth considering. Their websites look great, although aren’t as customizable as the competition. Zenfolio is one of the more affordable services available, especially if you aren’t planning to sell your photos. It’s definitely, worth a look.

zenfolio free vs paid photography portfolio websites

Editor’s note: I personally use Zenfolio (screenshot below) and have used their print fulfillment services for clients, as well as for file downloads. It all works seamlessly and you can set your own prices with the Pro or Advanced plans. So, I can add my recommendation for this service. 

Zenfolio photography portfolio of Darlene Hildebrandt, dPS Managing Editor.

Self-Hosted Website and Portfolio

The last option sits somewhere between paid and free, and is yet another option to consider. If you want total freedom to customize and run your portfolio website however you want, you need your own self-hosted website.

The easiest way to do this is with an installation of WordPress on your own domain. It’s cheap and easy to set up with a service like BlueHost. Once it’s up and running, the options for your portfolio are endless. There are many free and paid gallery plugins, and if you want to sell your photos you can do it directly from your own website with a plugin like WooCommerce, all without having to pay anyone else a commission, so you get 100% of the profit.

If you have time (and are technology savvy) and you like to have total control over how things look and work, this is a great option. It does require a lot more user input, though, so be careful about rushing into it. If you prefer something that’s easier to set up and does most of the heavy lifting for you, one of the paid services is probably best.

tea tree bay sunset noosa heads queensland australia - photography portfolio

How do you choose?

With so many options, it’s hard to know which is best for you. The good news is that whatever you choose, nothing is permanent. I have used almost all of the services that I’ve mentioned in this article. They all worked for me at the time that I used them, and then I moved on when they no longer served my needs.

Try one or two of the free ones and see if you like them. If you think one of the paid services might be for you, they all offer free trials, so you don’t need to commit until you’re ready.

Whatever you decide, remember to have fun and don’t take it too seriously. Sharing your photos with the world can be one of the most enjoyable parts of photography. I would love to know about your experiences with portfolio websites. Have you used any of the websites mentioned? Are there any others you would recommend? Questions? Let me know in the comments area below.

The post Free Versus Paid Photography Portfolio Websites – Which is Best for You? appeared first on Digital Photography School.

10 Photography Lessons I’ve Learned Over 10 Years

When learning any new skill, it’s universally agreed that you need to put time into it to grow. There’s a popular theory by Malcolm Gladwell that it takes 10,000 hours to master any skill. That theory is pretty controversial these days, but the number of hours isn’t important. What’s important is that you must put time into learning a skill if you want to become better at it.

Photography is no exception. Ask any of the photographers you admire how long they have been developing their photography skills, they will all tell you that it’s taken them years.

So, how do you speed this learning process up? There are a few ways, but one of them is to learn from other’s mistakes and successes. Every photographer starts out as a beginner, so it would make sense that others have learned a few lessons along the way from which you can benefit.

10 photography lessons 07

I’m no photography master by any stretch, but I’ve learned a few valuable lessons in the 10 years since I picked up a camera. Here are a few of them.

1. Great light beats a great subject every time

If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably had the experience of visiting a gorgeous location with grand visions of the stunning photos you’re going to come home with, only to be bitterly disappointed and wonder what you did wrong. On the flip-side, you’ve likely been pleasantly surprised by the beautiful photos you’ve taken of a very ordinary scene or subject.

So, what is the one thing that makes a great photo above anything else? Great light. This is the reason why I will often return to the same location to photograph the same scene repeatedly. The scene hasn’t changed, but the light will never be the same twice. Learn to predict, look for, and create great light.

10 photography lessons 06

2. Shoot for love, not likes

Social media has changed the world we live in, which is a great thing for photographers. Of course, there are negatives to this as well. The biggest drawback, in my opinion, is the eternal quest for likes. Not a single one of us is immune to it.

It’s flattering and gives a nice ego-boost when someone “likes” your photo on Instagram or Facebook. But it can become a dangerous obsession when you begin to shoot or edit your photos with the motivation of getting more likes.

Sure, we all change and develop our style over time, and this is partly influenced by current trends. Just try to stay focused on shooting what you love, and don’t let the desire for validation on social media make you shoot for likes.

3. Post-processing is part of your artistic expression – learn it well

It’s no secret we live in a digital age. Despite Photoshop having some pretty negative connotations at times, post-processing your photos in the digital darkroom is a necessity, and the sooner you learn it, the sooner your photography will really take off.

10 photography lessons 04

Capturing your photos well in-camera is only half of the process. As a visual artist, what happens to those RAW images is entirely up to you. If you don’t know how to edit them well, then you’re short-changing yourself.

You don’t need to become a professional retoucher, just start with the basics and learn them well. Post-production software is cheap these days, and you can learn how to use it for free. There’s no excuse. Your inner artist will thank you for it.

4. Keep your gear simple

My gear has fluctuated from a single point-and-shoot to a bag heavy enough to crush a camel, and everything in-between. When I switched from a large Nikon full frame kit to Sony mirrorless a couple years ago, I intentionally simplified my gear, and I’ve kept it that way.

There are three reasons for this. Firstly, as a landscape and travel photographer, I don’t want or need large or heavy gear. Secondly, I’m more likely to consider a new purchase more seriously. And thirdly, simplifying your gear (especially lenses) forces you to develop your creativity.

10 photography lessons 03

One of the best exercises you can do for your photography is to go out with your camera and only one prime lens and shoot with just that setup. You don’t need anywhere near as much gear as you think.

5. Make friends with other creatives

For most of us, photography is a solitary pursuit. That’s part of the attraction. Even for an extrovert like me, getting out by myself to explore with my camera is one of my favorite things to do. However, networking with other creative people has a number of benefits that you should try to make the most of as well.

You can do so online, but doing it in person is even better. These creatives could be photographers, but they don’t have to be. They could be filmmakers, painters, illustrators, cake decorators, or musicians. It doesn’t matter what their outlet is or how you spend your time together. Just find other people who will inspire and motivate you, and who you can do the same for. The benefits will surprise you.

6. Hold off trying to make money as long as possible

10 photography lessons 05

Do a quick Google for “how to make money with photography” and you will be drowning in the sea of photo-selling tactics. There’s no question, you can make money selling photography, but that doesn’t mean you should.

I’m not going to go into the pros and cons of trying to turn your photography into a business. I will say, however, that you should try not to rush into monetizing your passion. Turning a hobby into a business (even just a side-hustle) changes things. It can be very satisfying, but mixing art and money isn’t for everyone. Just keep enjoying your hobby as long as you can.

7. Comparison will cripple you and steal your passion

This is in some ways an extension of #2 above. If you spend any time at all on Instagram, you will see there is a massive amount of very talented photographers out there. It’s easy to get discouraged by comparing your photography to that of others.

Again, nobody is immune to this. I often catch myself being overly critical of my own photography because I’m not just viewing the work of others, but comparing mine to it. Nothing good comes from this.

10 photography lessons 02

It’s great to be inspired by the work of others, but if it’s stealing your love for your own photos, it’s turned into something else. Comparison can be a very useful tool, but only if you’re comparing yourself to yesterday.

8. Invest in your craft

Unless your gear was gifted, borrowed, or stolen, then you understand that photography will cost you some of your hard-earned pesos. You can spend a little, or you can spend a LOT.

There are some things that will give you a far better return on your investment than others, though. For example, good lenses are a far better investment than a new camera body. The thing that will give you the best return on investment, in my opinion, is photography education.

There are a lot of great free resources out there, but as the saying goes, you get what you pay for. You can learn a hell of a lot from very affordable ebooks and online courses. And if you really want your photography to flourish, take a workshop with a master. You’ll never wish you hadn’t made the investment.

10 photography lessons 08

9. Start a blog

You might be thinking, “The world doesn’t really need another blog”, and you’d be right. But you’re not doing this for the world are you?

When I started my travel photography blog back in 2010, I never had any visions of millions of readers, I just wanted somewhere I could share photos of my travels and stories of my adventures. I wanted a medium other than Facebook, where I could choose how it looked. It was one of the best things I have ever done.

It’s since grown into somewhere that I now teach travel photography, but it’s still my photo blog, and it’s been a hugely creative outlet for me. I recommend Pro Blogger’s free Start A Blog course (by dPS’s very own Darren Rowse).

10. Your best image is yet to be made

10 photography lessons 01

As I mentioned in #7 above, it’s easy to get discouraged from time-to-time in photography. This happens for a number of reasons, but there’s one thing that I have learned which helps me get back on the horse when I feel like I’m wasting my time. I remember that I still haven’t made my best photo yet.

Of course, there is no such thing as a “best photo”, because photography is an art, not a science. What I’m getting at is that if you keep going, keep learning, keep practicing, you will keep making images that you think might be your best image yet. There will be dry periods, but push through them, try something different, get out of the rut, and you’ll come out the other side and continue to make images that remind you why you do it.

Conclusion

I hope you can take away something to help you in these photography lessons which I’ve picked up over the years. Do you have any pearls of wisdom that you’d like to share with other dPS readers? What have you learned that has made you a better photographer?

The post 10 Photography Lessons I’ve Learned Over 10 Years appeared first on Digital Photography School.

Finding Gold in Your Image Archives

No doubt like many other photographers, so many of my images have never seen the light of day. This is mostly for good reason; they are out of focus, poorly composed, badly timed, they just don’t make the cut. Often these images may be good, just not the BEST. I have learned though, that there can be gold hiding in your archives, just waiting to be rediscovered, taken into the develop module and shared with the world. I have found that spending some time digging through old shoots can yield some very positive results.

Make it part of your workflow to revisit your image archives

Maybe you have found that your photo editing workflow follows a predictable pattern, like mine. After importing, adding metadata, then backing up RAW images from a shoot, I like to take a first-pass look at the images, flagging the few that initially jump out, and rejecting those that are clearly unusable. It is easy to then go through again and pick out images that have potential, before filtering the flagged images and comparing them to find the sharpest or most accurately exposed selects. This gives me a small collection of images to edit.

Then comes the fun part! Using any combination of Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop and Nik Software, I edit my images to see what they can become! After editing the selects, I like to back them up both locally and online to my Photoshelter portfolio, which doubles as my image archive in the cloud. Finally, these images are shared on social network accounts. Done, right? On to the next project, assignment, location…

But maybe not. Of the images imported from CF cards, I might end up with between 1-5 images that I’m happy with. So if I come home from shooting an epic landscape with 50-100 images, what happens to the other 95% of my shots? If you’re anything like me, you probably have gigabytes worth of RAW images taking up space on your hard drive. Have you ever revisited a hard drive to find something you may have missed? I make this a regular part of my workflow and I would argue that doing so is well worth your time.

To give you an example, here is an image I made not long after moving to Mount Maunganui, New Zealand a couple of years ago. This is a shot of Tauranga Bridge Marina:

Tauranga bridge marina 1

Having driven past this location dozens of times, I already had an idea of the shot I wanted before I arrived. It was a cold night, and the sky hadn’t lit up in the way I was hoping, so I stayed past sunset and into twilight, my favourite time to shoot. Still nothing very inspiring, so I went home. I followed my usual workflow and ended up with the image above, which I wasn’t entirely happy with, so I moved on to the next thing.

Fast forward six months and I found myself revisiting that folder in Lightroom. I don’t remember what prompted it, but after finding this image, I edited it very differently and ended up with the image below. It was far better received by fans and clients online and became one of my top selling images last summer. Personally, I like this image a lot more than the first.

Tauranga bridge marina 2

Time is on your side

Of course it’s easy in hindsight to kick myself and wonder how I missed it, but this seems to happen on a regular basis. Something about the passage of time can help you to see images in a fresh light. Maybe it’s feeling differently about the image itself, or that particular place, or simply that my post processing workflow has evolved and I can see new potential in images. Whatever the reason, I rarely feel the same about an image a month, six months, or a year later.

Here’s another example from Castlepoint, in New Zealand’s lower North Island:

Castlepoint lighthouse 1

And here’s the image I found and edited more than two years later:

Castlepoint lighthouse 2

Make it a project

It’s natural for any artist or creative to be looking forward to the next project. I think it’s healthy for any artist or creative. It’s a necessary part of growing and developing your craft. I also think, however, that it’s healthy to reflect on previous work and see how far you have come. Searching image archives is a great way of doing this. Despite not having shot film since I was a child, I liken this process to rummaging through boxes of exposed negatives and taking them into the darkroom to find the gold that has never been printed.

I challenge you, if you don’t already, to spend some time rummaging through your archives. Go way back! To some of your earliest photographs! Or even something you shot last year; it doesn’t matter how old they are, just that you are looking at it with a fresh perspective. Make it your next project. You might be surprised what you come up with!

Have you found any hidden gems in your archives? Share with us in the comments below.

The post Finding Gold in Your Image Archives by Rowan Sims appeared first on Digital Photography School.