If you are reading this then I have struck a chord with you and you might want to know how to improve your own photography.
I would be lying if I said I believe that anyone can have what it takes to capture great photographs. Some people are just a little more gifted and will grasp the art faster than others. Saying that I do believe anyone can get to a point where they take good photographs. This can be learned.
What helps us improve more quickly is the guidance of others who have gone through the same learning curve. The best places to learn from more experienced photographers is to join a photographic forum. There are thousands worldwide. Some are massive containing millions of members, some are just merely more than a blog consisting of a group of friends.
I have learned much from a number of sites but thought I would list a few with some pros and cons. You can try a few out and see which ones help you the most.
I have been on this site for pretty much the entire span of my career. It relies on a friendly community to help one another. It has only recently added a scoring system and has survived on comment swapping alone up until now. Most sites like these don’t last long as members get bored of repeated comments but outdoorphoto is still going very strong.
The pros are that is a very friendly and very seldom would one find bullying. As it is a South African site often members that live in same area meet up on outings.
The cons are that it can be quite cliquey. It takes a while before one starts receiving useful comments.
All round I believe it to be a good site and one of the best in nature photography around.
One of the biggest on the web. It has over a million members. It is more of a site to showcase your work as you can get a ridiculous amount of views. There is a rating system which keeps members interested and determined to be the best. with a million members the competition is quite high.
The pros are that many people will see your images.
The cons are that comments are generally not very helpful and few and far between if you are just starting out. On;y the good photos really get noticed.
Based on a brittish photographic magazine ephotozine has many members. There is a challenge to be selected as photo of the day which can be a challenge even when producing some amazing work.
Pros. There are many comments posted.
Cons. There is a voting system which is not very fair on newcomers as it is one of the most cliquey sites there is. Rubbish photos from a frequent will get 20 times more votes than a good photo from a newbie. Also, way too much automated HDR images.
This site works on point upload system. The more you comment, the more points you get, the more you can upload. Cleverly the first three comments get three times bonus. This ensures that new photos get comments to. members can also rate your comments so you can’t put down a ‘very well done’ and hope to get points. It has to be a useful comment. there is also a rating system that works quite well. I think it is a very good site to learn but one must keep at it, keep posting and keep commenting.
Pros: you get comments on all almost all your images and comments are good and technical.
Cons: Allot of arguing goes on. As comments are forced to be critical because of the rating/point system they can come off as mean and some members can’t take that.
The biggest problem with these sites are that real pros don’t need validation from them and also don’t have time to spend on them. That means many comments will come from enthusiasts with too much time on their hands. So everything needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. If someone is giving you a hard time, have a look at their gallery and make sure their work has some substance before you get angry with them. If they take great photographs it is probably worth a listen. If they take rubbish ignore them. Don’t get sucked into debates, you will only alienate yourself.