I can slip away into hours of photo editing as long as I have the right music. It will put me in such a trance that time will fly by and my wife will come in and tell me my dinner is getting cold (for the third time).
Here are 11 of my favorite albums to listen to while editing photos. These non-invasive, non-distracting beats will put you in the right mood to get work done. I consider myself to be somewhat of a
music snob audiophile, so I wasn't paid by any of these artists; they were just good enough to make my list. Some of this music I discovered recently, some of it I've been listening to for years. If you like any of it, please consider purchasing the album. This especially helps out indie artists and encourages them to continue producing more amazing music.
Artist: Markus Junnikkala
Markus is the next Hans Zimmer, James Horner, or Ramin Djawadi. His ability to create immersive, cinematic soundscapes will throw you into a new world. I think it's only a matter of time before someone in Hollywood picks him up to compose movie or TV soundtracks. This album, Andromeda, has a dramatic, science-fiction feel to it. It is No. 1 on my list for a good reason: because it is straight fire.
Artist Markus Junnikkala
Album: 1 > 0
Another great album from Markus Junnikkala (I know, it's coming across like he's my friend or something. I don't even know the guy, he's just really good). What I like about this album is another cinematic soundscape takes you into a different world. This one isn't sci-fi based but feels futuristic, almost dystopian.
Artist: Roger Shah
Album: Sunlounger: The Downtempo Edition
Sunlounger is a great album for when you need to just chill out. As you can gather from the album art, it carries a tropical sunset feel.
Artist: Carl Franklin
Album: Music to Code By
This album comes highly recommended by many for background listening. According to Carl Franklin, “This is not an album of music. It is a productivity tool.” It is scientifically designed to put you into your most productive state of mind. You can hear and purchase all the tracks by visiting the website, linked above.
Artist: Above and Beyond present: Ocean Lab
Album: Sirens of the Sea
OceanLab is a project by several members of the trance group Above and Beyond. They first began by remixing some of their original work and it took off from there. OceanLab has beautiful female vocals paired with house/electronic trance.
Tycho is an American chillwave group lead by Scott Hansen. They produce smooth and warm sounds that probably are best heard on LP records.
Artist: The XX
The XX is an English indie band formed in London in 2005. Their music is low tempo indie electronic with warm vocals that soothes the mind as you listen.
Album: Serenity Side A
Koan is a duo that started in the UK but their Facebook page says they are currently in Russia. This album offers calm and peaceful sounds.
Artist: JES (Jes Brieden)
I've been listening to JES for almost 10 years. I first discovered her while scouring the Internet for female vocal trance music to listen to on motorcycle rides through the mountains. Her beautiful voice accompanies her electronica music perfectly.
Artist: Blue Man Group
This album is a throwback to almost 20 years ago. Blue Man Group, known for their creative use of industrial building parts to create music (PVC pipes and such), created such a new and different sound at the turn of the century that their popularity exploded. Their stage production is a must see, if you ever get the chance.
She, started by Lain Trzaska, produces electronica music with the occasional female vocals. 8 and 16 bit video game music and Japanese influences seem to play a heavy role in this album. The crescendo on the first track is incredible.
Along with these great albums, there are several other listening tools I frequently use to help my focus and concentration.
Rainy Mood is a simple idea and a simple website. You just click the big play button and you listen to a high quality loop of a rainstorm. I used to listen to this while studying to help me stay focused. I also put it on a bluetooth speaker for my kids to fall asleep when they are being especially restless.
Ambient Mixer is a great site that has thousands upon thousands of ambient soundscapes. Are you editing a photo of the beach? Why not listen to ocean waves and tropic birds chattering quietly in the background. Are you editing a photo of the American Southwest desert? Why not pull up a soundscape of desert breezes and windchimes.
You can adjust each of the sounds to play to your preference. It has a vast catalog of user-created sound environments.
Much like Ambient Mixer, A Soft Murmur is a more simple interface with few selections. If you just want to make some custom sounds of wind, waves, rain, thunder, and the like, A Soft Murmur is a great way to add a bit more flair to a simple thunderstorm soundscape.
Also, check out YouTube for ambient noise loops. You can listen to the sounds of Hyrule, a tavern in Skyrim, the Gryffindor study room at Hogwarts, or even the USS Enterprise Warp Core.
Do you have a favorite album for photo editing? Tell us in the comments below.