There are a few web sites out there that stand head and shoulders above the rest in terms of the quality and usefulness of the information they share. This is a list of some of those, some that are just plain fun, and a few that are so useful it just doesn't matter how hard they are to read.

Many of these sites are, first and foremost, a labor of love. Some of them have some discrete, and not so discrete, ads to try and make it worth their creators while — or at least to help cover the expenses. Please make a point of following those links, or using them when you decide to order the products offered. It helps keep the resources alive.

David Hobby's blog, Strobist, is an outstanding resource for anybody interested in location lighting. David is a photojournalist at the Baltimore Sun and very generously shares both his lighting techniques in an ongoing series of entries called On Assignment, and the basics of location lighting in the Lighting 101 section.

I can't recommend this site highly enough — it's clearly organized and a pleasure to read. Totally worth your time. The principles you'll learn are applicable to any kind of gear, and to any budget. But, one of the side benefits to reading Strobist is that David knows how to get some great values in gear and he freely shares his secrets. Another benefit is the insight you get into how a working photojournalist thinks. Be sure to read When Are You Gonna Learn it is a very inspiring "rant" on what it takes to be great at photography, or anything. OK, I'll stop now.

Rob Galbraith Digital Photography Insights
Rob's site is an eclectic mix of digital news, well informed product reviews, memory card benchmarks, links to imaging software, and photographer profiles. Rob and Mike Strunk used to run the best online community that I've ever seen. The "Rob Galbraith forums" were a place for lively and informative discussion. The discussion was civil and supportive and there was a tremendous education to be had from some of the very best in the industry. The site was free, and better than anything that money could buy. Eventually the overhead became too much and Rob bit the bullet and sold the forums to Drew and Melissa Strickland. They are now called the Pro Photo Community and it costs $35 (US) per year. It's too early to tell if the forums will return to their former glory, but if they do, at that price it's a bargin.

There's a lesson in this. There was advertising, for some very relevant and useful products, on the forum. Rob says that there was very little "click through," and thus very little apparent value to the advertisers in supporting the forums. In the end we may have lost a great resource.

The DAM Forum
DAM as in "digital asset managment" as in keeping track of your images. This is the forum section of the companion web site to Peter Krogh's The DAM Book. Read the book, it's vital information in an easily digestable form. Then take advantage of the forums to resolve the many questions that will come up. Working through the book and bouncing your ideas and confusions off of the forum members will get you a long way towards having your image library under control. The rest is in developing a workable keywording and captioning strategy, which leads us to . . .
I'm not sure that there is much that can sound drier than the images conjured by the term "controlled vocabulary." On the other hand, there aren't too many things more frustrating than searching for an image that you know you have — if only you could find it. Good metadata, especially captions and keywords are key to finding the images in your library. And finding them is a key to their value, whether you're selling images, or just wanting to send a few to doting grandparents. That's where this site comes in. If you can dodge a few big words and acronyms, there is a wealth of information here on how to get started adding metadata, and value, to your images in a sensible and manageable way.