This annual celebration of the best of the best of our Fan Photos of the Day is one of my favorite professional moments. I’m well aware of the power of a pat on the back and I’ve come to realize that I love giving them almost as much as I love getting them—not quite but almost— so this annual compilation is a way to give deserving photographers deserving public recognition.

For those of you that don’t know, it works like this: Six days a week / 52 weeks a year I post what I call a Fan Photo of the Day.  I grab a picture from the fan postings on our Facebook page and write a few words about why that particular picture struck my fancy. (Well, it’s almost 6 times 52 times a year. I miss a few days here and there.) If you want to put yourself in the running for 2019 join our wonderful community on our How to Photograph Your Life Facebook Page. You just go there, post a picture and I’ll see it. That’s is. If it grabs me, boom, you’re a star.

Then at the end of each year, I gather all of the FPOTD and with the help of my sons, my wife, my mother-in-law, various aunts and uncles and siblings I chose and put into order the “Top Fifty.” This is not easy and I’m often treated as the least respected opinion in the room but we plow ahead anyway.

Seriously, the gathering of these judges pretty much puts a spotlight on just how silly this whole process is. People’s opinions are all over the shop. Yours would be, for example. I mean really, what’s better, a girl with a salamander on her nose or a woman saying goodbye to her dog? Our judges committee last year on that day decided it was the salamander. Go figure. Like I said, it makes no sense, but it’s all it good fun. On another day the same judges looking at the same set of photographs just might have gone with the emotional farewell…or the dog fantasizing about an unattainable fire hydrant. Or none of them. Judges are like that.

Here are some more notes from backstage. We’ve been wrestling with the software that will best present these photographs. We want people to get a good look at the photos (that is, be able to zoom in for a good look), read my original thoughts on the photo, leave comments for the photographers that start conversations, and share and post the photographs on other social media platforms. You would certainly think that there would be one perfect piece of software out there that would do all of this and if it’s out there and you know about it please let us know!

But it the meantime, we’ve built these page by page and have been upgrading our website to optimize the experience. Hence the later than normal publication date of this gallery. For that we apologize.

Earlier I mentioned the power of giving a compliment. I know that many of you will likely be disappointed when you see that your most deserving photograph didn’t make the cut. I’ve been skunked on more occasions that I care to remember or share. It’s not a great feeling, I know. But I promise you this. Engaging with and complimenting the 50 only slightly happier photographers will take you out of this minor emotional slump quicker than anything I know. (Going out and shooting a great picture and posting it on www.facebook.com/HowToPhotographYourLife for 2019 consideration helps, too. Shooting a great photograph is a cure all for lots of things.

My whole point is this. Please take advantage of the comments area under each the photographs. If the photographs are the heart of this project, than the comments may just be the soul.

And finally, we’ve attached various social media share buttons on the photographs that will allow you to share your photo recognition with your friends and family and/or just tell the world that we exist. The more people that know about us, the better the photographs. The better the photographs on our site, the better photographer you become and that’s what it’s all about.

Finally, last night I took one more pass through the pictures all by myself alone in my office. The result was a good cry. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a big, soppy, wet, messy cry. It was a sublime lump in the throat tears getting ready to drop cry. Believe me, at that moment I knew once again why I do this every year. 

Congratulations to the “winners” but congratulations to the “losers” too. You’ve made the world a more beautiful place with your camera. Thank you for that. 

Now, without further adieu, it’s time to view the photos.  So click now to see our Top 50 Fan Photos of 2018.

Enjoy, and Happy New Year! I’ll look forward to seeing your 2019 photos on our Facebook page!

Stay in focus.

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