Photo Journaling Can Help you Become a Better Photographer

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Let’s face it, photographers are artists. We love creating works of art in our photography. We love to express ourselves with our camera. We create photographs based on what our mind sees. You can take five different photographers with the same setting or model and get five completely different photographs. We are artists and photograph in our own unique ways. It’s important for us to continue to learn and grown and keeping a journal is an amazing way to do that. Your photo journal will serve two purposes. The first is to document your growth as a photographer. The second is to show where you were mentally when you took your photos. You’ll love being able to reference this information in the future.

Why Journal?

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I learned photography by shooting with a 35 mm Pentax camera I picked up from a pawn shop. I didn’t have the luxury of looking at my screen (or chimping) after each shot. I had to shoot a roll of film, bracket, and then review the contact sheet to see what worked. I did this for months until I was able to predict what my settings needed to be in a variety of situations. I kept a journal of my photos and wrote down the settings that corresponded with each shot. I learned to do this while in art school. Nowadays, you don’t have to do this, but keeping a journal is still an amazing way to see your progress.

How Do You Journal?

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There’s really no right or wrong way to do this, the key is to just do it. Basically, you’ll be writing consistently and adding your photos. When you have an awesome shoot – journal it. When you have a sucky shoot – journal it. Attach your photo and write about your feelings, the settings, the occasion, your equipment, anything new you tried, and anything else you might find relevant. The key is to write about anything that might give insight into how you created that photo. I’ll often add my inspiration sheets to the journal page. It’s just a nice way of referencing where you were pulling your inspiration at that time in your life. I encourage you to date your entries as well.

Just get started and you’ll develop a system that works for you. You can get as creative as you’d like. This is YOUR journal.

Creating Your Journal

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The first thing you want to do when creating your photo journal is to find a book of some sort that you’ll be using. I like big sketch books. These give me plenty of room to attach my photos and to write about them. Next, get to snapping! That’s right. Take photos. Make it a habit to take photos weekly or even daily. You might not use all of these in your journal but you’ll have them to pull from. Take care that you are attaching your photos in a way that they won’t fall out. Double sided tape is excellent. You can even use photo corner adhesive pieces so that you can remove your photos if you ever need to later.

This journal is an expression of yourself, for yourself. You can get creative with it, or keep it simple. This is for your reference only.

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Photo journaling is an excellent way for you to work on your photography and know where you need improvement. It’s a great way to express yourself and keep from being burned out. Photo journaling is a great way to get yourself shooting out of your norm, and even try new things. I encourage you to try this for a while and see how it changes your world. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.

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Monica Day

is a portrait photographer in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She specializes in photographing women and children. Monica aims to help each of her clients feel strong and confident. She also teaches and mentors other photographers. She is the author of The Most Fabulous Boudoir Marathon Guide. You can find Monica on her YouTube page where she provides tutorials and talks about lifestyle. Be sure to check out more of Monica’s work at her website and Instagram.

  • Malik Mahmud

    I agree with your idea. a lots of thanks to share it. http://goo.gl/OGyaEx

  • Tim Lowe

    Excellent article. And I will further suggest that after journaling for a while, try a 365 project and apply the same level of analysis to each shot. It is amazing how much you learn about photography and yourself as a photographer. (Warts and all.)

  • Lissa

    I’m glad I found this article. I started an online photo journal/blog and it’s already helping me produce better pictures!

  • Practice, practice, practice. We have a head full of ideas!!

  • LadyE

    Hey Monica!!! from KODIAK ALASKA!!!! this is AWESOME!!!! go girl!

  • Amy M. Kirk

    This article inspired me to begin a photo journal. I like to write, and I am an aspiring professional photographer. So putting the two together makes sense to me! Some day, perhaps my children or grandchildren will be interested in my work!

  • That’s awesome!! We’re memory makers after all. 😉

  • Terry D.

    SI photographer Walter Iooss had a photo journal titled “Sporting Life: The Journals” which I thought was great. Available on Amazon or just do a image search for the book title for some ideas.

  • aremu olasunkanmi

    i want to know more the Photographer journal.

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