Human beings are a social lot. We love to share our thoughts and experiences with the people we love, and often even people we do not know. We tend to form groups, associations and communities to interact, communicate, discuss and essentially think out loud. And the immensely profound impact that social networks can have on our lives in this respect, is worth noting. Similar is the case with an online photography community.
What a Photo Community Can do For You?
- Cohesiveness: They allow members to build a cohesive group.
- Flexible: They allow members to find their own connections and build networks pertaining to them.
- Response: One never knows how your photographs or skills or thoughts on a topic will be judged.
- Contribution: Communities allow more inputs and discussions among members.
- Space: A community can spill onto a physical space, thereby providing a meeting ground for photographers. While the roots of the community may be online, a space can also be included as a community. In this article, however, we’re limiting the discussion to online photo communities.
It is also imperative to understand that a ‘community’ may be categorized into two: those part of social media, and those independent. For example, facebook has a number of groups on photography that qualify as communities. Here, it is essential to know that ‘groups’ can also qualify as communities. And then there are sites dedicated to building a robust, active community that’s only purpose is to serve as a platform for photographers such as photo.net
The Need to Seek Response
As photographers, the need to seek out socially is perhaps even more. It maybe surprising that while the right-brain creed seeks solitude for their work, they also actively participate on platforms that feed them – intellectually – and helps them develop into better photographers. Photographers thrive on feedback, criticism and brainstorming.
But there is a substantial time invested in such activities. And anything that takes your time – the one thing you’re running out of – ought to be taken seriously. We help you identify and access some top communities you can be a fruitful and productive part of:
For Photo Sharing and Saving
- Instagram: Instagram as a whole might not fit the bill for qualifying as a community per se, but it sure is a humble dwelling of many successful photographers. It’s helping photographers earn , as well as connecting them offline. Amongst the mélange of communities on Instagram, Bkstreetart is a favourite haunt of street photographers. With 65,083 followers, it’s been highly successful in stirring up conversations on street art. Another, @bns_sky or Best Nature Shot allows feature, follow and tag options for uploaders.
- Flickr: The big kahuna of photo-sharing, Flickr offers extensive option for viewing, tagging and commenting on best photographs across the world. The Street Photography Now Community (SPNC) allows picture to be added by invitation-only. Into it’s fourth year, the groups works in very off-beat way! They also have an informational newsletter to which you can subscribe. The invitation-only model ensures the community does not stray into unknown territory and knows who it’ adding as a member.
- 500px: 500pixels is another community extremely popular for photo sharing. Photographers all across the globe are keeping a track of the ‘pulse’ of each others photographs. If you’re seeking to build great global exposure, this is the site to be. It also offers effortless built-in e-commerce for your photographs.
- Canon Irista: Canon recently launched a cloud hosting storage solution named Irista. Since the community is built “by photographers” and “for photographers”, it has many photo-specific options which serves as its niche. As an online photo storage options, from the masters of cameras, it fast-gaining popularity. However, it’s cons include the fact that it’s slightly overpriced!
For Photography Tutorials
- DIYPhotography: They provide a catalogue of contemporary and modish ideas relating to photography. Sign-up for their newsletter for some quick do-it-yourself tips and tricks.
- Phototuts+: Tuts+ provide valuable tutorials and courses for various niche areas – photography and videography being one of them. Other than their well fabricated blog, the keynotes of the site are e-books and jobs section.
- Digital Photography School: They aim to provide a “learning environment” for the new age digital photography. Expect a lot of ‘how to’ tutorials on camera gear usage and photo editing.Their Forum provides an active interface for photographers to interact and share photograph and information.
- Fstoppers: This community provides the “top resources for photography lighting, gear reviews, business tips, behind the scenes, and industry news”. The community features a ‘picture of the day’ of its clients and enables fellow paparazzos to actively comment and give feedback. If you thrive on a stimulating discussion about the latest camera equipment, this is the place to catch all the latest buzz!
For Photography News
- This week in photo: As the name suggests, This week in Photo stocks up on the latest disclosures relating to the photography events, cameras, gears, etc.
- PopPhoto: Other than news on contests, workshops, lighting, camera, etc., Pop Photo provides a special section called the buying guide for photographers to buy suggested camera and lenses. The forum run by the community is also abuzz with photographers!
- Photo contest insider: If you’re struggling to keep yourself updated with the latest contests in competitions, then fret not. Photo contest insider does the leg work and gives you a comprehensive lists of all the competitions you could possibly win.
For Business of Photography
- Photo attorney: While running a photography business, the redundant legalities that come with it can be daunting. All the worries akin to copyrighting photographs can be put to sleep because of cogent solutions provided by Photo Attorney.
- Photocreative365: They provide easily comprehensible techniques and approach to organise and grow your photography business. If you’re someone who’s only just taking the baby steps to setting up your photo-business, this site is sure to help you figure out the basics.
How to Work Once Part of a Community: A Photographer’s Point of View
Once you’re a part of any of these, you should know how to work your way up to becoming a valuable member. Below is an interesting insight on how to act:
“But I really should start offering suggestions on how someone could improve their photo. Maybe we should all vow to comment constructively on a photo we happen upon each day. It doesn’t have to be pointing out flaws or suggestions on how they could be improved. Supposing you see an interesting work from someone that leads down a different stylistic path than what you would have expected. Mention that you like the new direction, and explain exactly why. Any comment that can help that photographer move forward in their art will be appreciated.” -d.travis north, Photographer
Coming together online as photographers can be exhilarating an experience. It can be an expressive online space, a place you draw inspiration from and perhaps even strength when the profession’s various aspects take a toll on you. Be a part of one that makes your journey as a professional photographer ever more beautiful.