Old Ghost

It doesn't matter if you go out to photograph landscapes or portraits there is always a story to be told. Here is a short story about the "Old Ghost" photograph. Woke up at 2 am feeling tired yet excited. Got my gear and drove to the coast. I didn't have a plan for what to photograph in this particular morning; I just knew that there was a possibility of mist. So, I decided to visit a couple of different places. I got out of my car in Emäsalo. The fog was thick, the air smelled like rust. It was a cold yet beautiful morning.

The shipwreck in the picture was once tilted and almost entirely submerged in water. The wreck was fixed a few years ago, and now you can find it sitting in the middle of a seashore. I walked around the area and saw the wreck from a different perspective than I have used to seeing. One seagull kept circling the shipwreck. I shot a couple of photographs, and once the seagull was in the perfect spot, I took this one.

Exif & Equipment

Nikon D810, Nikkor 24-120 f/4.0 VR
95 mm, ISO 200, 1/125, f/8.0


I used Lightroom basic settings to edit the photograph. The colors I modified by using my Phase Preset Collection – Blue Preset. 

Mikko Lagerstedt – Old Ghost – Emäsalo, Finland – 2018

Mikko Lagerstedt – Old Ghost – Emäsalo, Finland – 2018

Stay Inspired – Create a Catalog of Inspiration

How to feel more inspired? What inspires me? It's good to ask yourself these questions. For me, it's a collection of things. I have always loved to view paintings, drawings, watch movies and listen to music to feel inspired. Of course, there are plenty of ways to stay inspired. Some work for others and some don't.

In this weeks tutorial, we are building a catalog of inspiration which is one of my favorite ways to stay inspired. Even if you are not a photographer, I recommend that you have one of these lists. It is one of the best ways to get fired up.

Surround yourself with inspiring works of art. Even though you might be the same as me and your go-to source of inspiration is nature, I believe it’s essential to have an archive of inspiring works of art in your home, on your computer or online. 

Whenever you lack inspiration, or can’t quite figure out what it is you want to create, I recommend that you flip through your catalog of inspiration and get excited about photography or whatever it is you enjoy making. 

Online or Offline?

You can create these types of catalogs in many ways. My recommendation is to have an Inspiration -folder divided into subfolders on your computer. 


If you wish to build an online list, I highly recommend Pinterest. It doesn’t work great with notes, but other than that it’s a great way to search for inspiration and put anything you like on different boards. 


Pinterest Overview

Pinterest Overview


Divide your catalog into categories or folders. Be intentional when you are creating your lists. Stay off from the place of "this get's more likes than this". It's the wrong way to start producing anything.

1. Notes

The first folder includes your notes from the different photo shoots you have had. Notes come handy when your memory starts to fade, and it has been a long time since you captured the photographs. With notes, you can keep the focus on your inner inspiration, feelings, and vision. I highly recommend you take a few minutes after each photo shoot to put down few words about the work you just captured. There are many ways you can archive your photo notes. 

To keep my notes in one place, I take a photograph of my moleskin page and send it to my Evernote with a tag: notes. As I'm sitting on my computer editing the photos, I can search and flip through my notes quickly.

2. Your best photos

Select photographs YOU are most proud of and put it into a folder. Better yet print them, hang them and be continuously inspired. Be sure that you enjoy the work. Why do you like this and why does it inspire you? Don't be fooled by how other people saw the creation, or how many likes the photographs got in social media be true to yourself. Stop chasing those likes.

3. Movies & Cinema Stills

Create a list of movies that you love and visually stunning movies that you like to watch. Do not care if other people find those movies garbage, stay true to yourself. Include stills from those movies in the folder. This way you can easily see some of the moving scenes without going through the whole film. (Hint Tumblr and Pinterest have a lot of beautiful cinematography you can go through.)

4. Quotes & Books & Poems

Create a folder with your favorite books, quotes, and poems. The fantastic aspect about amazon kindle is that you can share your citations and send them to your email straight from your device. Some people frame their favorite quotes so that they can see them daily. By all means, do it if you find it inspiring. 

5. Paintings, Illustrations &
Graphic Designs

This part can be a great addition to your inspiration catalog. I love to have a folder including paintings, illustrations, drawings and graphic designs. If this is something you find inspiring as well, do it! Again ask yourself why do you like this and why does it inspire you? What is it in this work of art that you enjoy?

6. Music

Make a list of music that inspires you. Do at least a couple of different playlists that you can switch between depending on your mood. I recommend using Spotify because of the massive amount of different kinds of music you can find. You might want to listen to the music while you are driving to a photo shoot or when you are editing the photographs. 

7. Photography

Whenever you see something unique in the photography world, take a screen capture or download the picture and put it into the photography folder. I rarely go through the photographs, because I tend to favor the other mediums for inspiration. Again ask yourself why do you like this and why does it inspire you? What is it in this work of art that you enjoy?

Pinterest Boards Example

Pinterest Boards Example

I hope you enjoyed this article! Have you ever had anything like the inspiration catalog? Has it helped you to feel inspired? 

Would you be interested in a guide to find your unique style in photography? I'm considering to create a free guide for you. Let me know!

If you enjoy my free tutorials and want to support them, or you want to learn how to create unique ideas for your photography and create work you that inspires you? You can learn it all from my video course Day & Night. We are running a Summer sale on it now. Check it out here.

Have a wonderful new week and keep on creating work that excites you. 



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How to find inspiration for your photography?

In this weeks tutorial, I’m going to talk about the forever relevant subject: inspiration. Have you ever been uninspired to take photographs? I sure have been. And as I was talking with my photography friends yesterday, it’s quite common to lose interest and inspiration to take pictures. When you are in that place, you need to decide if it’s time to take a break or push through it. I think that the lack of inspiration comes every now and then, but when it happens, you need to take a step back and examine why is it that you find yourself lacking inspiration? I also wrote about motivation a few weeks ago so check that out as well.

These are the four tools I use to find my inspiration.


If you feel so uninspired that you don't even want to think about photography, it might be time to take a break. I recommend starting with a short break so you won't drift along too long. Schedule a date for examples a week from now and put it into your calendar. When I'm in this situation, I schedule at least two hours and focus on the next following tools to figure out if I can find inspiration.


The second advice I want to give to you is to go back all the way when you first started photography. What was the first inspiration you got before you took photography as a hobby? Write down a couple of sentences and reasons. It will help you to get into a state of inspiration and you might just want to grab your camera and head out! 

For example, my very first inspiration to start photography came to me over ten years ago. I saw a striking autumn landscape view of a sunset. The field was covered with mist. I stopped my car and was thinking to myself that these type of moments in time I want to start to capture.


It is somewhat counter-intuitive, but sometimes you need to photograph only for yourself. If you wish to find your true inspiration, there is no better way than photographing for yourself.

It can be paralyzing when you shoot only to share the photographs. I have found myself in situations that I'm just photographing because I want to share something with my audience. It takes away the whole experience of pressing the shutter and enjoying the moment if you are already thinking about how people will react to your work. Create for the sake of creating! 


If you still don't find the inspiration, go to your catalog of photographs and go through them. See if there are photographs you just love. Write down why you find the images inspiring and if you know how you got encouraged to capture the pictures, write it down as well. Focus on the uplifting moments of your photography journey, and you will inspire yourself to create more of those experiences.


Mikko Lagerstedt – Long Shadows II – Kilpisjärvi, Finland 2018

Mikko Lagerstedt – Long Shadows II – Kilpisjärvi, Finland 2018

I hope you enjoyed this weeks tutorial. Next week I will talk about how I create a catalog of inspiration. I use it now and then when I feel uninspired with my work. Have an inspiring week!

I would love to hear from you. How do you find inspiration? What was the first inspiration you got to start photography?



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Represented by Aspen Gallery, New England

I’m very excited to share that a selection of my work is now available through Aspen Gallery, New England, US. 

Aspen Gallery was founded by Johnny Patience, one of my fellow fine art photographers I have known since the days of Flickr when I first started photography. When Johnny introduced me to the Aspen Gallery, I knew it was something I wanted to take part. 

The gallery also awards an annual $5,000 Artist Fellowship to honor artistic excellence and advance the careers of emerging artists. Fellowships are merit-based awards that are informed by an applicant’s work (details about the grant and how to apply will be announced shortly).

Depths of Earth

I released a new photography series Depths of Earth – Visions from Chile to Finland. You can view the whole project on my Behance page.

The concept behind these images was to show the beauty of the night sky, and with reducing the time between sunset and twilight, you can see a whole new world - a surreal one. Hover over the images to see the descriptions.


Nikon D810, Sigma 20 mm f/1.4 Art, Nikon 14-24 mm f/2.8 & RRS Tripod


This whole set of work was created with techniques from my latest video course which you can see here.