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Date Range: May 2011
A travel photography resource from
the publisher of PhotoSecrets books
Founded on July 30, 1995
Winner of the 1999 Benjamin Franklin Award
for Best Publisher’s Website
“PhotoSecrets is an invaluable resource for photographers.”
—Nikon School of Photography
“Organizes a lot of useful information
into a form that makes it readily available.”
A “Photographer’s dream.”
—San Jose Mercury News
Recommended by the New York Times Travel section, 6/10/07.
#32 on PhotoCritic’s Top 50 Photo Websites.
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Hi! Thanks for your interest in PhotoSecrets
PhotoSecrets is a website resource for people who enjoy travel photography. The site features photography location guides, photography tips, and photography books, including the PhotoSecrets series of photography travel guides. PhotoSecrets is published by me, Andrew Hudson, through my company Photo Tour Books, Inc., a one-person photography and publishing operation based in San Diego.
PhotoSecrets started on a holiday. In 1994, I took a trip around the world. One place I’d always wanted to visit was the beach used in the 1974 James Bond film The Man With The Golden Gun. The world’s most expensive assassin, Scaramanga (played by Christopher Lee), lives on an island with a limestone tower in the bay. As a boy in England, this seemed to me the epitome of exotic, idyllic, far-away romance. I believed the island was in Thailand but none of the travel books I had showed a picture of it. This seemed odd, since it was the whole point of my trip to Thailand. I thought there ought to be a travel guide that, instead of having text about hotels and using photos as illustrations, had photos of destinations with text to describe them. While sitting in the Indian embassy in Singapore I imagined the book I’d like: PhotoSecrets.
I’d never done any publishing or non-amateur photography before, in fact my background was in electrical and computer engineering. But on April 1, 1996, I quit my sales position with British Telecom and dove into a world I knew nothing about: publishing.
Choosing San Francisco as the first book, I drove around the Bay Area, photographing every classic sight, and sleeping in a tent or the car at night. I bought an Apple Quadra 605, scanned my 35mm Velvia slides in Kodak’s new PhotoCD format, and laid out the book in Quark XPress 3.32. A year later, in April 1997, I printed PhotoSecrets San Francisco and Northern California.
The PhotoSecrets website started on July 30, 1995, as a marketing tool for the book PhotoSecrets San Francisco. Over the years, the site has grown sporadically, with photo tips, links and books in 1997, location guides in 1999, and advertising in 2006.
In 2009, a major overhaul was started which is still in the works (April 2010). If you have any suggestions, please let me know.