Better Resources for Photographic Inspiration
We are always on an endeavor to make our reader’s lives a little easier. That is why every now and again we trawl through the internet for you to muster up some of the best inspiration resources we can find. Great photography can be as inspiring as any other form of art or design.
But, as is well known, one growing problem with finding inspiration in photography online is the sheer abundance of photos out there. There are so many photo blogs, galleries, directories and groups that knowing where to turn can become overwhelming, not to mention frustrating. Also, quite frankly, there’s a lot of bad photography that is published online. Getting to the best stuff takes a lot of filtering.
This post bundles together some of the better resources for finding inspiring photography online. We’ve arranged them in themes under news in pictures, photoblogs, photographers’ portfolios, a variety of Flickr resources plus a few tidbits more. To help us make this resource even better, feel free to share your own favorite sources for inspiring photography in the comments.
News in Pictures
One thing to remember with photography is that it captures a moment in time. And a good way to ensure that your inspiration is up to date is by checking out some of the bigger news agencies online. They generally have photographers who are working at the cutting edge of information and technology and have their finger on the pulse of what’s new.
Here are just a few online resources from news publications or agencies that compile great galleries and photojournalism.
Has to be one of the all-time classic agencies for beautifully chronicling events in pictures.
The Big Picture
This is the news in pictures from news portal boston.com. It does what it says on the tin pretty well… serves up big beautiful pictures.
BBC News in Pictures
The BBC news photo galleries are chronicled by events, themes and retrospect. Picture Editor Phil Coomes also has a blog about photos in the news. To inspire his audience he runs weekly themes for the public to upload images. For example, recent themes include open spaces and the beach.
The international news agency has up-to-the minute galleries of images categorized by theme and monthly retrospect. It also delivers photo-reportage videos with behind-the-scenes stories from Reuters photographers. Reuters, alongside Associated Press and Agence France Presse, is one of the largest news agencies in the world.
No ‘News in Pictures’ list would be complete without the inclusion of the iconic National Geographic. Big inspirational photography can be found at the online news photography section of the website. There you will find nicely grouped galleries, photo of the day, wallpapers, photo tips and you can also browse by photographer.
There are hundreds of thousands of photoblogs out there. Some update on a daily or weekly basis while others are more sporadic. Some revolve around a theme while others are more free-form. Here are some photoblogs that we thought were worth bookmarking for some occasional inspiration.
This photoblog features mostly photos of New York City, but also sometimes includes photos from elsewhere.
This photoblog showcases the photography of Rion Nakaya. Many of the photos featured are of people and urban landscapes.
Daily Walks – Diane Varner
The images featured here are taken on daily walks and hikes the photographer takes in Northern California.
Dreams of Light
Dreams of Light is the photoblog of Odilia Liuzzi. The photos featured here are varied in composition, style, and content.
The Gathering Shot
The Gathering Shot is the photoblog of Fernando Rodriguez, who tries to photograph things that are unique or different.
Many of the photos included here have extensive post-processing. Some really interesting effects can be found in the archives.
This photoblog showcases the often breath-taking landscape photography of Tristan Campbell.
Image:Me is the photoblog of Thomas Krebs and features photographs of a variety of subjects, from people to animals to landscapes.
Fotograf by Imran
This site showcases the photography of Imran Saleh, a photographer from Singapore.
Intermittences of Life
This photoblog showcases a wide variety of images including portraits, landscapes, and surprising other content types.
Pic of the Week by Andy Nixon
This photoblog not only features great images, but in many cases it offers background information about each photo. There are also occasional text posts.
This photoblog is a bit different from many of the others in this article, with many longer-format posts featuring collections of images. Photos of shops and travel photos are among the most commonly featured.
Ossum! is a South African-based photoblog that features photos with a variety of content, including landscapes, night shots, and even an awesome series covering the demolition of the Athlone cooling towers.
This photoblog mostly includes images taken while the photographer, Yoshinori Fukui, was in the Sahara Desert.
Grant Legassick Photography
Grant Legassick is a photographer living in Cape Town, South Africa. Most of the stunning photos on his blog are of the South African landscape.
Dror Eyal Photography
This wedding photoblog pushes the limits of beautiful wedding photography. The photos included are stunning, and the photographer obviously isn’t afraid to try something different than the traditional posed portraits. There are also occasional posts featuring other types of photography.
The photos featured on this blog include both portraits and landscapes, especially cityscapes. A variety of styles are included.
Often when we think of turning to Flickr for inspiration we think of searching either directly through the millions of photos there, or viewing popular tags. But that is a really hit-or-miss way of finding anything of quality. Another option might be to scan through Flickr groups, but similarly many of these groups have grown so large that you run into the same ‘bottomless’ problems as with searching. But there are more refined options that help you filter through the guff.
Where Flickr Groups often have tens or even hundreds of thousands of photos, Galleries are much more selective. Part reason for this is that Flickr actually limits the number of images you can have in a given gallery. Galleries are curated by Flickr members, often surrounding a theme, and can be created by anyone.
Here are a few favorites:
This Gallery features images of birds including close-ups, photos of flocks and silhouettes in both duotone and color.
American Apocalypse I
This Gallery showcases images of mostly deserted scenes from around the U.S. as well as a couple of portraits that offer a similar impression.
Expired Time Zero
This Gallery includes photos taken with expired Polaroid time zero film. The color and exposure effects are quite striking.
The Clotheslines Gallery showcases just that: beautiful images of clotheslines. The colors and shapes in the images are wonderfully inspiring.
The Future Gallery features futuristic-style photographs – mostly of everyday items and architecture as well as a handful of portraits.
Flickr Last 7 Days Interesting
Flickr’s Explore the Last 7 Days Interesting feature is one of its better services for finding inspiration. As noted above in the News in Pictures section, a photograph is a moment in time, captured. Therefore newer photos often capture some amazingly new inspiration. And best of all, Flickr filters the past 7 days to capture the best of what has been uploaded and presents these randomly so every reload delivers new and fresh inspiration.
Flickr’s Places feature lets you search by geographic area – anywhere in the world. Flickr also includes featured places every day.
Flickr ‘The Commons’
The Commons is a collection of public domain and copyright-free photos from a variety of institutions from around the world, including the Smithsonian, the National Galleries of Scotland, and the Jewish Womens’ Archive. Most of the photos included are of historical significance and can be a great inspirational resource when working on a project with a retro or vintage theme.
Tumblr has some of the most creative blogs out there and photographers’ photoblogs are no exception. Here’s only a handful of the excellence Tumblr has to offer.
This Tumblr blog showcases a variety of images with a focus on still lifes and landscapes.
Polamour is a Tumblr photoblog that posts one Polaroid-style photo every day.
Most of the photos on this Tumblr blog are concert pics but you can discover other kinds of content too.
iPhotogenic takes a slightly different approach to the photoblog posting only photos taken and processed using iPhone apps.
Cela Aussi Passera
A lot of the photos included on this blog have awesome effects including double-exposure and lighting effects.
The Dalai Lomo
The Dalai Lomo features lomo photos using a variety of lomo cameras (and some non-lomos).
While we have listed a few direct blogs and individual resources above, there are also photography portals that act as collectives for many photographers. These sites serve up tons of great photos from a variety of photographers. Here are a few of the ones we have found useful for inspiration.
Flak Photo showcases photography from a variety of international contributors. Flak focuses on the art and culture of photography featuring not only great photographs, but also news of new series work, gallery exhibitions and book projects.
This site features a variety of photographers exhibited at the Jen Bekman gallery in New York City.
DeviantART has a fantastic photography section, browseable by type and content (commercial, horror & macabre, still life, street, conceptual, photojournalism, etc.). It’s a great resource for finding the more artistic photography.
Carbonmade includes a hand-picked ‘examples’ page that showcases some of the best photography portfolios hosted on the site. It can be a great place to find photographers that might not be featured elsewhere.
Behance showcases some fantastic photography, mostly commercial or editorial. Just check out its photography, retouching and photojournalism categories (there are also categories for photo illustration and photo manipulation).
Not to confuse portfolios with blogs, a photographer’s portfolio showcases the best work of a particular artist, often exhibiting some of the best photos to be found anywhere online. Portfolios are as varied as the photographers they represent: some with carefully curated collections of only a couple dozen images, others with hundreds of images to view. Portfolios are designed to sell the work and services of the photographer. Here are a handful of eye-candy resources for you to pore over.
Eric Ryan Anderson
Eric Ryan Anderson categorizes his photos into a number of portfolios including “Texas”, “Music”, “Polaroid”, and “Portrait”.
Erik Almas Photography
Erik Almas has a fantastic portfolio of both commercial and editorial photos including fashion, landscapes, portraits and fine art photos.
Jeremy Cowart Photography
Jeremy Cowart has photographed some of the biggest names in pop culture and has an outstanding portfolio of both editorial and commercial photos.
The portfolio of this Belgian photographer includes a wide variety of work including landscapes, portraits and plenty of photomanipulations.
Dave Hill Photography
The photos included in Dave Hill’s portfolio are varied and include many with a cinematic quality rarely seen in still photography. He has some very famous subjects in many of his photos, too.
Rinze Van Brug Photography
The portfolio of Rinze Van Brug includes fashion, architectural and travel photography in a mostly understated style that includes both duotone and color photos.
The photos featured in this portfolio all have extensive post-processing, mostly to make them look like HDR photos. There’s also commentary for each photo.
Jason Bell’s portfolio includes a wide array of photos including images of celebrities, portraits, landscapes and more. He also has portfolios of commercial photography and images taken for the entertainment and music industries.
There are a wealth of fantastically talented photographers posting their work online. And of course what one finds inspiring, another may find completely mundane. But there are definitely better resources and finding these online is challenging. Hopefully the above links will put you well on your way. If you have additional resources you’d like to share please contribute them in the comments below.
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Alison is a journalist, print + web designer and avid communicator of everything that is science media.