I am proud to present How to Photograph Your Life’s TOP 50 FAN PHOTOS OF 2021.
Each New Year we’re proud to take a good look back at our top Fan Photos of the past year. This annual celebration of the best of the best of our Fan Photos of the Day makes me glow.
Whether on January 1 or—due to extenuating circumstances this year—now in March, any time is a good time to celebrate what we in our community do throughout the year—capture our families, experiences and meaningful moments, in our best photos possible, to love, share and treasure.
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.
Here’s how it usually works:
First, you’re going to want to FOLLOW us on FACEBOOK to view or participate in our FPOD. So if you’re not already a FAN of our How To Photograph Your Life Facebook page click the link below and a window will pop up to let you FOLLOW us right now without even leaving this page:
Every week or two I make a post on our page asking for your photo contributions. I pin that post to the top of the page so if you haven’t seen such a post in your newsfeed but you have a photo to submit you can go directly to our page and find my post pinned to the top. Then post your photo in a comment under that post. I will see them for sure. (We have found this to be the easiest way to post pics for everyone. Facebook keeps reinventing the system and this is a bit of a work around. It’s quite simple, though.) Please say a few words to add anything relevant you’d like us to know along with the photo.
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 I mentioned above and write a few words about why that particular picture struck my fancy. (Well, it’s almost 6 times 52 weeks a year. I miss a few days here and there, as I unfortunately did in the recent weeks.) I also miss very worthy photos here and there, I’m afraid. It’s not an exact science. I just do the best I can to feature a range of photos from a range of photographers which I feel are wonderful examples of what we all do here at How To Photograph Your Life. It does not mean that all the photos that get overlooked.
By the way, if you want to put yourself in the running for a 2022 FPOTD, join our wonderful community by liking and following our How to Photograph Your Life Facebook Page. You just go there, post a picture under one of my posts requesting admissions and I’ll see it. Putting a few words with it doesn’t hurt.
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 choose and rank 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.
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. Your opinions would be too. I mean really, what’s better, a praying mantis covered with dew, a cheerleader flying over a football goal post, or a black and white shot of a small town water tower? Our judges committee went with the homecoming queen. Go figure. I vetoed everyone and put the water tower above the cheerleader and the praying mantis. Don’t scoff until you’ve seen the shot of the water tower.
Like I said, it makes no sense, but it’s all in good fun. On another day the same judges looking at the same set of photographs just might have gone with the lighthouse landscape or the helicopter landing on ice. Or none of them. Judges are like that. In my opinion most judges seem to bring personal vindictiveness and anxiety to the judging process. Lucky for them they have me to right the ship.
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 show appreciation or 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! If you click on the photos they will enlarge in “Lightbox” format so you can enjoy them fullscreen.
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 Top 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 2022 FPOTD consideration helps, too. Shooting a photograph you love is a cure all for lots of things. Great photography as revenge? I like it.
My whole point is this. Please take advantage of the comments area under each of the photographs. If the photographs are the heart of this project, than the comments may just be the soul. I actually had a woman contact me one year to tell me that having a photograph in the Top 50 was just about the biggest thing that ever happened to her. Having a stranger on another continent say something meaningful about your photograph can change your relationship with photography and you might make a new friend! I have seen both happen many times.
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.
Congratulations to the “winners” but congratulations to all of the rest of you who have posted pictures this year too. You’ve made the world a more beautiful place with your camera and I thank you for that. And so, without further wordiness from me, I am proud to present the “Top 50 Fan Photos of 2021.”
Stay warm and stay in focus,