Using the Map Module in Lightroom

Map Camera Lens!

As a landscape and travel photographer, it is important to be able to track where you have traveled and exactly where a specific picture was taken. Sound complicated? Well, not really if you have a smartphone and a digital SLR.

We recently returned from giving a photographic workshop in Iceland and while we are pretty familiar with the geography of the country, it’s another thing altogether to remember the complicated names of the Icelandic language. That’s where Lightroom’s mapping program comes in.

Capturing GPS Coordinates

If you have a digital SLR that already has a built-in GPS unit, you’re one step ahead of the game. It will automatically recognize the location where you took your pictures. Once you have imported your images into Lightroom, all you need to do is open up the map module and all of your pictures with their locations will be there for you as shown below.

Iceland GPS

There are a few other ways to collect GPS information from a camera if you don’t have the built-in option. There are GPS accessories that plug into the hot shoe of your camera which will automatically add EXIF data to your photo files. This data usually consists of the file name, folder location, city, GPS coordinates, date and time captured. You can also capture this information automatically with your smartphone.

If you take a picture with your smartphone and a picture with your digital SLR at the same time, you can use the smartphone picture as your base for your GPS coordinates. Once you have made note of the location the smartphone picture was taken in the map module, you can drag and drop your images taken with your SLR to the same location on the map, and the GPS coordinates will automatically be updated.

Here’s the process: Import your smartphone picture to Lightroom and then open up the map module. You should see your smartphone picture on the map at the precise location you took it. Now, go back to your collection of digital SLR images from the same location. Highlight the ones you would like to tag with the same GPS information that is located in your smartphone picture. Navigate to the map module, and drag that selection of images over to the exact location the smartphone picture was taken. Like magic, the digital SLR images will now have the same EXIF information as the smartphone picture.

In Conclusion

What a great tool for the landscape and travel photographer! As GPS gets more and more advanced, it will be included in more and more cameras and make this process little easier. But for now, using your smartphone to document your location like this is fun and easy to use and adds another handy element to your photo toolbox.

Give it a try on your next trip!

If you would like to learn more about Lightroom and it’s great features for photo editing and organization, take my next Lightroom Quick Start course with BPSOP

BPSOP Instructor – Holly Higbee-Jansen

HollyHolly Higbee-Jansen is photographer, trainer, blogger, and workshop leader who enjoys teaching and the creative process. Her passions include teaching photography workshops in beautiful locations in California, Iceland, Costa Rica and the American West with her husband Mark. Holly also teaches online classes on Lightroom, Photoshop and photographic technique. Get Holly’s Free E-Book on “Landscape Photography and the Light and find out about her newest workshops at Jansen Photo

Reach Holly by email at and read her blog at

Holly Teaches:

iPhone Photography
In this class, we will introduce you to the magic of iPhone photography using several shooting and editing apps that will give you the ability to make your pictures sing in a fun and easy way.You will learn how to crop, change saturation, brightness and affect the overall look of your pictures with HDR, drama and grunge filters and other techniques. You will be amazed at the simple and effective methods.


Lightroom Quickstart


Do you want to learn to create images that show the beauty of the scene you saw when you took the photograph? Do you want to learn the other essential side of digital photography, photo editing and get up to speed quickly?

This course is designed to get you up and running FAST in this incredibly powerful program. In this two week information packed class, you will learn how to import, organize and perform simple and effective editing processes that will let you produce beautiful adjustments to your pictures.


For a complete list of Holly’s current workshops go to:

Jansen Photo Expeditions –

Holly’s Blog:

Facebook –

Instagram –

YouTube –

500px –

Quick Photo Tip: Stop, Look & Listen

hand-with-sunglasses-1-333x500I’m guessing that most of you have heard this saying, but how many know its origin? There have been films with this title, numerous songs sung by an assortment of people, and even a game show, but it was originally a slogan made up for a pedestrian safety campaign in the UK.

I recently saw it written somewhere and immediately though of a photo I took at a flea market in Paris a million years ago with my fellow photographers that were taking my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet. To this day I still think about it when I go out street shooting or mention it to the students that take my BPSOP online classes; unfortunately my pet dinosaur didn’t survive the asteroid like I did.

I digress!

Ok, let’s talk about each word and how in the hell it could possibly relate to the art of “making” interesting pictures. To make it easier to explain my thought process, let’s use these words as they narrate the photo above.

STOP: While walking around looking for interesting subject matter and how said subjects interacted with the light (light is everything), I immediately stopped when I saw these sunglasses and the way the light was dancing on them. They seemed to be sparkling, and as I slightly moved from left to right different parts of the sunglasses were in what is known as “The Law of the Light”, and would glow.

I knew that I had one piece of the puzzle and needed a couple more pieces to make a visually interesting photo…one that would also tell a story; I decided it was worth hanging around.

LOOK: As I was standing there I observed several people walking by giving an occasional glance to the sunglasses but weren’t interested enough to stop. I thought that if I would just be patient and wait long enough I might just get lucky and add another piece to the puzzle; and perhaps complete the work of art I was beginning to form in my mind. I was looking for just the right person.

LISTEN: My patience was rewarded as a couple of women stopped and began studying the rows of sunglasses. I non-nonchalantly moved closer to put myself in a position to capture whatever might happen next, while listening to their conversation. They were asking each other which pair they liked and one of them (the one not in the photo) pointed to a single pair.

At that moment I brought my little Lumix DMC-LX5 up to my chest ( in crowded places my small Lumix is more discreet) so it would be closer to my eye just in case I got lucky, and when you get lucky be ready. The other woman reached out her hand and pointed to the pair she liked, and when she did I grabbed the shot. I was ready for it!!!

-BPSOP Instructor: Joe Baraban

Joe Teaches:

Stretching Your Frame of Mind I 

Stretching Your Frame of Mind II

Creating a sense of place: Case Study #3

This post is one in a series on how to create a sense of place.



Next time you’re taking photos on holiday or during a celebration, include detail shots to flesh out your story. Details shots, when added together with photos of people, help show the mood of your scene.

Have a look at the images in this case study:

  • interior of a wine bar(n)
  • looking up at a chandelier and thatched roof
  • sunshine shining on wine bottles
  • food


Do you see how each image tells part of the story? This is what you’re looking to do with your detail shots.

Each image is a single idea, and a story is created by showing several together.


  1. Vary the camera angle in each shot. Shoot up, down, out, across, or through a subject.
  2. Frame your subject tightly to omit clutter. Reveal part of the subject.



Amazing Travel Photos Made Easy

Celebrate Your Life in Beautiful Images Part 1

Celebrate Your Life in Beautiful Images Part 2


No post processing skills necessary for any of Brit’s courses. You may even use your phone!


Amazing Travel Photos Made EasyAmazing Travel Photos Made Easy teaches you how to create a collection of images that not only documents your holiday but that conveys how it felt to be there.

This course focuses on the creative side of photography and emphasizes getting all your shots in-camera.

You’ll learn how to get amazing travel photos using any kind of camera!

Learn how to capture these experiences:

  • landscapes
  • seascapes
  • cities & architecture
  • wine & dining experiences
  • nature
  • wildlife


Celebrate Your Life in Beautiful Images Part 1Celebrate Your Life in Beautiful Images Part 1 gets you started photographing how you want your life to look and what you want more of in your life.

Ever wonder if the craziness of your life is, indeed, worth celebrating? The answer is a resounding YES!

Start taking images that that look like they came out of a glossy magazine.

This course focuses on the creative side of photography. You’ll learn how to capture images of your everyday life in a fresh and exciting way.

Celebrate Your Life in Beautiful Images Part 2Celebrate Your Life in Beautiful Images Part 2 takes you further by focusing on capturing the essence of your loved ones — think about the little things that you’ll always remember, such as how they hold their favorite coffee mug in their hands!

Do you wish you had images of your loved ones that capture who they are as a person? What about a series of images that portray your life as nicely as a wedding photographer portrays a wedding?

Get ready to have fun creating lifestyle photos that you can’t wait to share with your friends and family.

This course delves into creative ways to capture even mundane moments and beautifully photograph even camera-shy loved ones. They’ll finally stop saying they don’t like seeing themselves in photos!

Get a taste of how Brit will work with you.

You can also work with Brit privately

Mentoring: Schedule a live session with Brit via Skype

Get a private image video review: Private Video Image Reviews

Find out about all of Brit’s courses, including Photographing Fine Art & Craft

Food for Digital Thought: Make Hay While the Sun Doesn’t Shine

womaninyellowslicker-1-768x1158Yes you’re reading that right..while the sun doesn’t shine not while the sun does shine. The original expression is an idiom that’s been around for a long time. Basically, it means to grab an opportunity when the time and conditions are perfect.

In my online classes with the BPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct I often hear from my fellow photographers that since it was a overcast day, or even raining, there wasn’t any reason to go out…that’s just an excuse to watch TV because that’s just not true!!!

Btw, throughout my career, I’ve gone out countless times when it was gray, or even raining only to get lucky and have the sky open up; perhaps for only a minute or two…and that’s all you need to get that one shot off that winds up being one for the wall.

If it’s overcast then don’t show the sky or very little of it. A gray day will produce either a white or light gray sky; if it’s raining take an umbrella. If you have a camera similar to the one I use in these situation (a Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7) you can easily walk around with the umbrella in one hand while holding your camera in the other. Give it a try sometime, you’ll thank me down the road.

If you were familiar with my workshop and class overview, you would know that I teach people how to incorporate the basic elements of visual design into their imagery. When it all said and done, these elements and other compositional tools are firmly planted on what I call my Artist Palette.

What’s good about these elements and various tools: Line, Pattern, Texture, Shapes, Balance, Negative Space, Vanishing Points, Silhouettes, Shadows, and Color, is that they can help you out on overcast crummy gray days not just sunny good days; shadows being the possible exception!!

Getting back to my personal workshops, we will often spend time walking the streets of some village, town, or big city. Street shooting is one genre that doesn’t necessarily require good light; it’s more about capturing a moment in time. In fact, shooting in the streets at night can reward the photographer with some real keepers; especially after it rains and those wonderful reflections from wet streets are fun to find.

I’ve always found that using a long lens and a very shallow DOF (Figure-Ground) on a gray day can result in good photos, especially if you combine color with it.

Overcast light can be extremely beneficial when you are required to shoot in the middle of the day; weddings for one example. For the most part midday sun can be a real problem shooting portraits because the contrast between the shadows and the highlights can be too extreme. Looking for natural shade in this harsh light is important. A gray day can save you from dealing  with this type of light by the fact that the contrast has been negated.

Don’t fight it, go with the flow. Take advantage of the overcast conditions to create a unique photo that reflects the gloomy weather. For example, shooting a sad photo is a great use of overcast weather conditions.

There is one other way to create memorable photos on dreadful days is the use of humor. As far as I know, it’s one of the best ways to overcome these kinds of days.

-BPSOP Instructor: Joe Baraban

Joe Teaches:

Stretching Your Frame of Mind I 

Stretching Your Frame of Mind II


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  • "I enjoyed Athena's 4-week online course very much. I watched the video critiques she did for each and every student - what a wonderful resource and learning tool! Athena's teaching style is gentle yet thorough, very inspiring, and I was motivated to keep pushing myself to do better. Thanks so much, Athena!"
    Linda Shorey Black & White Fine Art Photography
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