Monday, September 15, 2014

Thanks for Using ShutterGuides

It's been a fun ride these last few years. We've discovered some great new photography locations, and we hope you have too! But now it's time to say goodbye and wind things down.

We'll be turning off on October 1, so please go and find any guides you want to explore before then. Feel free to print off any guides you're interested in saving, because after we shut down, all content on the site will become unavailable.

Thanks again for using ShutterGuides and joining us in the journey. Keep sharing those great photography spots!

Tim and Wyatt
- Co-founders,

Thursday, June 19, 2014

New Photo Guide Layout

We've recently improved the guide list view layout with larger photos and a layout that makes better use of the screen real estate available at all the different screen sizes we support. And as always, photos remain protected from right-click saving and drag-and-drop copying using industry standard best practices.

New improved list view for my Seattle, Washington photo guide
Another major change we're experimenting with is defaulting guides to this new list view. In thinking about how a photographer might scout for photography locations, we felt that in the early stages of planning a photography trip, a person would be more interested in seeing all the different photo opportunities of a place at a glance. Later, while at that specific location with the guide in hand, the map view comes in handy. Given this scenario, we've decided to display the list view as the default, and of course the map view is still just a click away.

Some of the nice side effects of this change are that the guides display better on smaller mobile screens, your content is more findable on search engines like Google and Bing, and as a whole the guide is more visually appealing. A triple-win, especially if you're selling your photo guides.

As always, we welcome your feedback as we continually improve and test new ideas! And stay tuned for more ahead!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Sell Your Photo Guides on ShutterGuides

I'm very pleased to announce the beta of the ShutterGuides Seller Program. Now anyone who knows their city or a favorite destination can create a map of their favorite photo spots, with tips on when to go, gear to bring, shooting information, etc, and set a price to sell it for a profit.

We've been working hard on this for quite some time, and it brings to fruition a paper napkin idea (so to speak reality the beginnings of ShutterGuides started on a road trip to Yosemite National Park) about the overall vision that we had. In a nutshell, here's how the selling program works:
  1. Create a photo guide.
    Add your favorite spots in your city, country, a national park, or other area you know well. Some cities that are in higher demand currently (and as of now don't have as much content) include London, Chicago, Portland, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles. Of course, anywhere you know well makes for a great photo guide and is not limited to these suggestions.
  2. Set a price.
    Set the selling price of the guide (minimum of $1.99). You'll receive 60% of each sale.
  3. Request your earnings.
    Once your balance has reached at least $25.00 you can request a payout. We will transfer your payout to the bank account you specify.
Piece of cake! To learn more about the program and request beta access, visit our ShutterGuides Selling page. We'll be accepting people in to the beta as we test out the program and get it just right, so please be patient! And as always, we'd love to hear any feedback you have.

Friday, March 7, 2014

The One Holdout

I can't help it. I see a scene now, and my eyes mark a frame around it, imagining it as a photograph. It's part of the plight of the photographer, I suppose. But it's a huge step toward better compositions.

A few weeks back, while cruising around San Francisco with my family and in-laws, I noticed the sky starting to turn all kinds of shades of awesome. I knew what was coming - I'd seen it many times before. Most of the color was in the direction of the Bay Bridge, so I raced that way, looking for a pier along the way to stop at to try to capture the scene. I already had the scene set up in my mind: gorgeous, fluffy, pink and purple clouds, moving quickly to create long swooshes across my long exposure image, with the edge of the pier in the foreground, and the Bay Bridge in the background.

I realized I wasn't going to make it, in fact may have already missed it, so I pulled off at Pier 7 and ran out as fast as I could with my gear (my wife jumped in the driver's seat thankfully so I didn't have to leave the car to get towed from The Embarcadero). It was, as I feared, a bit too late for most of the show in the sky, and so once the color was completely gone, I turned around and started playing with photos of the pier itself.

I had seen photographs of Pier 7 before, but hadn't actually realized which pier it was or where it was located. By a lucky accident, though, there I was, standing on one of the most photogenic piers in San Francisco, with a wonderful backdrop of the Transamerica Building and financial district. I didn't quite catch the scene I had originally imagined, but I found a new one instead.

The One Holdout - Pier 7 in San Francisco
GPS: 37.8000546152, -122.394438386

In my rush, however, I didn't happen to notice the obvious defect in my frame: the first lamp post in a long line of lamp posts leading to the background was burned out. Had I taken about 10 steps forward, I probably could have gotten a much stronger composition, something closer to what I thought I had framed in my mind.

I guess that's how it goes sometimes. The good news, though, is now I know where Pier 7 is, and so next time I'm in San Francisco looking for places to go to take pictures, you know where I'll be standing: 10 steps further up the pier.

Well, that is, unless they change that light bulb.

Take a look at my photo guide with all my favorite San Francisco photo spots, including Pier 7 and many others.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Why do you photog?

This week I read about the story of local photographer Cory Hansen, and the time-lapse video he made in memory of his father. Hansen say he "had a really hard time with it (his father's passing)" and his project has "sparked a fire under me and got [him] up and running again". He finds inspiration in capturing the beauty of places he had enjoyed with his father, and in the solitude of nature.

In Search of Night from Cory Hansen on Vimeo.

After reading the article and watching his beautiful video, I couldn't help but reflect on my own life and how I got into photography. 

My reasons for starting up with photography were two fold: I had recently moved to California and was disconnected (geographically) from my family, and I had made some new friends who enjoyed the hobby. It was part social, and also a way to share my experience and life in this new place with those I loved. 

As a wonderful side effect of meeting great friends and picking up their hobby, I've also gone on lots of trips to some absolutely gorgeous areas. And while I'm certainly not the greatest photographer in the world, I love exploring these areas trying to find the best vantage points to capture their beauty. In fact, it was on one of these such trips that we came up with the idea of building ShutterGuides!

So what about you? What's your inspiration? What made you pick up that camera those first few times and causes you to continually consume inordinate amounts of storage with thousands of photos?

Monday, September 30, 2013

Upload Your Photos Directly to ShutterGuides

I'm proud to announce that, in addition to being able to import photos from Google+ and Flickr for your photo guides, now you can directly upload photos from your computer, phone, or tablet! This is a quick, easy option for adding photos to your guides, especially if you don't share all your photos on Google+ or Flickr.

Haven't created a guide before? It's quick and easy! Let's say you are a San Francisco based photographer and know several great spots in and around the city. Here are the steps:

1. Add Photos

First, you'll add photos to the guide that spotlight your favorite spots around the city, perhaps starting with some great spots on Treaure Island: the old pier, and both the eastern and western span of the Bay Bridge.

2. Guide Map

Next, you'll add all the photos from step 1 onto the map. If any of your photos were geotagged, we'll take care of the mapping for you.

3. Spot Details

Then you can (optionally) add tips for each spot, a little nugget of wisdom for another photographer who might visit that spot for the first time. You can also offer recommendations on gear and best time of day to visit. For example, you might suggest heading to Treasure Island at sunset with a wide angle lens and tripod, and to remember layers of clothing as the weather changes very quickly there.

4. Guide Details

Last, provide a name for the guide, something like "San Francisco Photo Spots". You can optionally add some tags and a description to entice people to your guide.

That's it! Your guide is done and at the ready to help other photographers find great photo spots in San Francisco. (And by the way, if you really are looking for photo spots in San Francisco, there are a handful of great guides!)

This feature is in beta, so go ahead and upload photos to your guides, and as always, we'd love your feedback! And if you know spots in beautiful cities like New York, London, San Diego, Los Angeles, Sydney, Chicago, and many more, we'd love to talk to you!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

S-Curve and History

Last weekend the highway authorities moved traffic over to the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge, which is the half that crosses from Yerba Buena Island (halfway out in the bay from San Francisco) to Oakland, California. I knew I wanted to try to capture the existing span, which was damaged in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, before it got taken out of commission.

One photographer who was up there was quite sentimental about the whole thing: "It's like historical and stuff," he said to me. I almost wondered if he was going to need a shoulder to cry on. I have to agree, though, the scene I saw then doesn't exactly exist now, and though it was my first time up there, I was glad I made it to see it. Rumor has it, though, that the photo spot is still quite worthwhile to check out.

It is, like, historical.

East Spans of the Bay Bridge
Photo of traffic moving over the original east span of the Bay Bridge, from Yerba Buena Island. This spot can be found in my Left My Heart in San Francisco photo guide.