Your experience with photo communities?

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by Poki, Feb 15, 2014.

  1. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    Everyone wants to get as much exposure for his photos as possible. To achieve this, one of the most obvious decision is to put the photo on a community dedicated to photographers. So, I want to hear which experiences you made with these communities. Maybe someone can find a new community through this thread, or we can find each other in the communities (please post links to your profiles if you want - mine are in my signature).

    As I'm just at writing a post anyway, I'll begin:

    I currently use Flickr, 500px and 1x. First and foremost, Flickr, as the worlds largest photo community, is an obvious choice. It serves as free online backup with its 1 TB of free storage and has some amazing photographers. Furthermore, there are some interesting groups with easy to use forums and some nice ideas. The problem? With 1 TB of storage and no limit to upload photos there is obviously a LOT of crap on there. They try to solve this by only showing you photos of your contacts on the start screen, and many groups are curated, but you'll still see more bad or boring photos than on most other platforms of this type.

    500px - the place people run when they don't like Flickr. The quality level is much higher, but there is practically no sense of community there. No way to interact with groups of people, and the blogging features are meaningless as no one will ever look into the blog. I use it mainly for quickly browsing through photos of my favorite photogs.

    1x has the highest quality level. I mean, it's insanely high. I don't have many photos there, but still, not a single one was good enough yet to be published on their front page. The concept of the community curating images is interesting, and the free premium account for top curators is encouraging. The community has extremely high expectations for photos, but they always criticize in a kind and helpful manner. Posting photos to critique or curating is optional btw., so you don't have to receive critique if you don't want to. The groups and forums are only half-baked, unfortunately, with clunky interfaces and no innovative features. 1x is a great place to get fast feedback on how well others like your photo with the curation feature, and a great way to learn on how you can improve with the critique section. The problem is, like I said earlier, the quality level is very high, so beginners won't have any fun there.

    Sites I don't like: deviantart (too many graphic artworks and too few photographs), Photobucket (doesn't seem to do anything right), fotocommunity.de (unfriendly community) and Blipfoto (the interface is too weird and the photo-a-day concept never really was mine).

    Now is your turn - please tell us what you experienced with photo communities!
     
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  2. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur

    Nov 13, 2012
    Netherlands
    Ad Dieleman
    First off, excellent subject for a thread here, thanks.

    I use Smugmug as a convenient and good-enough site to share my pictures online, to my family and friends but also a selection of my best pictures for anyone to see. Pictures shown at this forum or anywhere else are always linked to Smugmug in order to have only one place where I have to upload files to. The Smugmug user interface is so-so, I like Flickr's better. From the moment Flickr enabled publishing full-size pics I'm considering to leave Smugmug but haven't done so yet. Paying $40 a year is giving me more confidence in continuity than using a free site where conditions and options can change anytime.

    I never just look on Flickr, I only come there because I get directed to it by other links, e.g. from here or by a Google search on a specific subject. Equally I never visit sites like 500px, Photobucket etc. directly, it's just picture hosting to me. I just don't want to my waste my energy on wading through loads of crap hoping to see something inspiring.

    This community is the only forum that I actively take part in and it has helped me to improve by getting comments and thank-yous or not on my pictures. I hardly ever ask for critique, I know a picture isn't good enough if no one reacts to it; I must have done something right if I get some written reactions and around 10 thank-yous. Simple but effective.

    Poki, some days ago you mentioned 1x and I visit it almost daily since. Agreed, the level is very, very high and that means that I find a visit always worthwhile although unfailingly humbling. It's also refreshing to have a place where there's no reference to gear at all. I have set a goal to have at least one picture published at 1x's front page, as an incentive to up the level of my work. I have the feeling that I'm on a threshold now: I've mastered the techniques I need for the pictures I want to make, the equipment I have leaves me no excuses and it's up to me to go beyond technique and really start improving my photography. I have stood on that threshold more than once in my photographic life of over 45 years so it's about time I cross it or give up and remain a gearhead making nice pictures every now and then.

    I regularly read THEME and sometimes they point me to interesting work. Being a gearhead, I frequent Sony rumors but I hardly ever participate in comments. Same for dpreview, where it's also downright funny sometimes to read threads where it gets hostile and people go berserque. Not really a community but I find Thom Hogan's Sans Mirror site very informative. The Dutch Sony forum isn't very interesting, I sometimes check on it when there's a Sony related issue like the A7 light leaks of late.
     
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  3. John D.

    John D. TalkEmount Regular

    176
    Oct 7, 2013
    This is a wonderful topic - and my experience on the sites that Poki mentions are - by and larger - very similar. Usually when I join one of the sites, I'll give it a "good kick" and typically "subscribe" as a "Paying Member", to see if the extra benefits are worth it..? So - in order...

    Flickr - I use as my "catch-all" for photos - it's a bit of a hodge-podge, but - I do use it for submitting shots to "Yahoo Weather" (for their Android/IOS apps). I've been really fortunate in having my photos accepted in that "Project Weather Community". I find however, their "groups" typically have only a few really great images for dozens that are posted.? Also, given the sheer size - it's difficult to cultivate any meaningful feedback on my images?

    500px - I'm a premium member there ("Awesome" level - which only means you sent them a pretty big Membership fee ;) ) - and had many images go to "Popular" - and some of the photographers are excellent! As well - I find the way they "take the pulse" of an image pretty fair, and gives me feedback on how well accepted an image might be... It's also an ego boost of sorts that when you post a good image - your iPhone lights up with notices that 30 or fifty folks like your image in the first few minutes of posting it ;)

    1X.com - there, I'm at a "Pro" level and a Level 4 curator. That site, as Poki said - isn't for the feint of heart! I do have one image that is in the final stages of being accepted - but all others are rejected within 24 or 48 hours.. As well - I will say that some of the folks there can be "brutal". Egos at play - BUT - the quality of the photos is exceptional, and if you don't know how to Photoshop your images as an "expert", you'll probably just go to "view" the images from the community rather than participate..

    And a couple of others...

    Focussion.com - a very small critique forum and one I spend a lot of time on. It's a very well organized site, but the activity pops and ebbs for a bit. The owners are now making some fundamental changes in its operation (adding Mods (yes, I'm now one)), changing some features and escalating it's feature set - BUT - it is very different then other sites/communities I've participated within. And the level of photos really invite newcomers to post and for those who are more expert - to share both their knowledge and their images. It's been around for years, and the community continues to transition..

    Viewbug.com On that site, I'm a "Pro" level, and I joined that community strictly to participate in the contests... It's also another site that is great to look at some excellent images - and if you are into wildlife and/or landscape images, competes with the "best of them"...

    Anyway - this is a great topic for discussion - and if I had to rate each one for helping to improve my photography? It would be Focussion... If I want to "compete with the "Big Dawgs" - it would be 1X.com If I want to "feel good" about my images - it would be either 500px.com or Viewbug.com..?

    My Best to all,

    - John
     
  4. davect01

    davect01 Super Moderator

    Aug 20, 2011
    Fountain Hills, AZ
    Dave
    I only post here, on the sister site SeriousCompacts and DPReview.

    None of my work seems up to sharing on actually photo sharing sites.:rolleyes:
     
  5. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    Thanks for your replies! Please share links to your accounts on the sites if you like, I want to stalk you all. ;)

    Just registered at Focussion and Viewbug, seeing if I like it or not.

    As for the "Pulse" on 500px - it seems like a good idea at first, but I dove into how the Pulse gets actually calculated and let me tell you - it's totally not fair. Things like the time of the day you upload a photo have greater impact on the score than how much people actually interact with a photo.

    And Ad, nothing wrong with being a gear head, we all are. As long as we have fun and are able to create what we want to create it's fine.
     
  6. John D.

    John D. TalkEmount Regular

    176
    Oct 7, 2013
    Hi Poki!

    It's funny you say that - as I read that somewhere else, as well - and tried to figure it out..? Anyway - I do notice that in the evenings (US Time) - the site seems to slow - BUT - I don't know how the posts are calculated, so - you may be "right on"..! ;)

    Oh for -my links to my sites? Here you go - and BE GENTLE!!! :D

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/JohnDunkle
    http://1x.com/member/johndunkle
    http://www.viewbug.com/member/John_Dunkle
    http://500px.com/JohnDunkle

    http://focussion.com/ - I'm the guy with the funny "Nikon" viewfinder ;) HA!!!!

    As well - I'd really like to have your links Edit - just noticed them in your SIG, Poki!and the others as well - to return the favor of "stalking".. HA!!

    My Best,

    - John
     
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  7. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur

    Nov 13, 2012
    Netherlands
    Ad Dieleman
    Photoshop is something I use very rarely, in contrast to Lightroom. Do you mean that for an image to be accepted, you really need to do things beyond the global and local adjustments in LR? If so I'd have to give up, I don't have the creative mind that can think of how to alter the photo's content to get to some end result that differs from what I had in mind when taking the picture.
     
  8. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    It shouldn't differ from what you had in mind when shooting, but when you regularly post process images very extensively, you have also in mind what you can do in post when shooting.

    Also, I think John meant Photoshop as an interchangeable term for post processing, and Lightroom is fine for that. Even I don't process much beyond what Aperture has to offer, and an image shouldn't look photoshopped anyway. It's fine if you don't want to process too much, nobody says that's better or worse than doing more in post.

    Oh, and ... never give up, never surrender!
     
  9. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur

    Nov 13, 2012
    Netherlands
    Ad Dieleman
    Decided already, I surely won't give up even before I made a first real attempt. It's just that I see images that go way beyond what I can do and even beyond what I'm able to imagine. I read your post just after looking again through the pictures featured on 1x and that reassured me that one of my future best pictures could have a place there. Besides, getting featured or praised somewhere is not a goal in itself for me, it's a kind of benchmarking to see if I improve my photography. A few weeks ago my daughter (25) told me she liked a particular picture and that's equally important to me.
     
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  10. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    David
    I'm afraid that I only take part in any sort of photo community here, and the only other place I post any photos is on Flickr. Though I do occasionally join in the "discussions" over at DPReview, I almost always regret having done so.

    I've not joined any of the social media sites — in my curmudgeonly, anti-social opinion they only exist as free data mining operations for advertisers. So this place is it, for me.

    Like Ad, the highest praise I can hope for is a positive response from someone I love, but if I can earn a few "Thanks" or even comments here, that can make my day. But I really enjoy all aspects of digital photography, from shooting, to processing, to figuring out new gear. Plus, it gets me out of the house. So the act is reward enough.

    Getting feedback is always a double-edged sword. Because for every time you gain a nugget of wisdom, you absorb a soul-crushing blow upon a bruise that sets you back. I prefer to learn by just observing others' work, and I regularly check in to see what the people I'm following on Flickr are up to. I've checked in on the sites Poki has touted, but frankly, they're in another league, and I don't think I want to work hard enough to achieve that sort of status. There's no better way to ruin a pleasure for me than to convert it into work. :rolleyes:
     
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  11. John D.

    John D. TalkEmount Regular

    176
    Oct 7, 2013
    Hi guys - sorry for the delayed reply - just home from work - and we are having another blizzard..??

    Anyway - Poki is "right on", sorry for the confusion..! As I do limited post-processing compared to many (as you'll see if you visit my galleries), when I look at some of the images on the "advanced" sites & "best" photographers - it put it all into perspective for me. Will I do to my images what some do to theirs? Nope.. I shoot primarily for me on the "creative" side, so - I don't really mind if I don't make the opening page of 1X... If I do - that will be fine as well - but, like Poki - I just won't give up and just persevere..

    Anyway - when I "stop doing it for me first" - I'll probably give it up altogether, so I don't think that will happen...

    My best to you all..!

    John
     
  12. macro

    macro TalkEmount Regular

    152
    Feb 3, 2012
    New Zealand
    Danny Young
    Oh I know that feeling rather well ;)

    Danny.
     
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  13. Fundadores

    Fundadores TalkEmount Regular

    41
    Oct 14, 2013
    I like 500px, thats where I usually post. To me it's a great way to see photos, and that what I' m interested in, plus you get some sort of feedback in the votes and likes. Flickr is good for the discussions, I could almost live without the posting of images there. 1x I have no experience with. I think the images are something that pro-photographers are in to. Very technically advanced with perfect use of the golden ratio, perfect in every sense but to me boring. Great to hear that you can get advanced feed back, but I don't think it would suit me. I come from the design/art world so I probably have another estetic. To quote the famous bonsai master Masahiko Kimura " very few understand the significance of imperfection in art" ;).
     
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  14. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    Every photograph is art, and on 1x, there's certainly enough art. You know, a photo can be both artitic and technically perfect. ;)

    While it is true that you don't stand ground on 1X with technically sub-par images, the community is very open to new ideas. If you can tell a story with a photo no one told before and it's technically good too, you have the best chances to get published on the front page. Also, the images there are NOT perfect in any sense. In fact, I have something to complain about for nearly every image. Those guys are just normal people, not geniuses, after all.

    Also, the curation system with the points and levels is pretty motivating, so you usually end up spending more time looking at others images, which is always a good thing. I always spent at least an hour a day to view images, but with 1x, I curated like 1500 photos just in the past few days, which feels good. Also, you help others with your feedback (either text or by pressing the publish / reject buttons).

    Only problem with that system: Members with paid accounts seem to abuse it by re-uploading rejected photos and sending them in for curation again. I've seen some images three times in there, which I just don't consider fair play. Still, the chances get slimmer as I and probably many other curators click "reject" just because of that.

    As for the feedback: You are right, sometimes it hurts when artistic choices you made consciously are being criticized in detail. Still, without proper critique, it probably takes longer to improve your art, so it may be a good thing in the end.
     
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  15. John D.

    John D. TalkEmount Regular

    176
    Oct 7, 2013
    Well said - and I have the same problem..? I'm a Level 4 curator as are you, and it appears when you get to L4, we have a different level to curate? I'm not sure how that works, but - to your comments - right on...

    As well - I'm about to "re-submit" an image which was rejected in the next few days - but, it takes into account some excellent feedback, so I'm not sure it is the "same image" - but, I'm sure others might think so? But to your point - there are some paid members who will put up the "exact" same image time and time again - and if you go to their profile - all they've done is "rename" the same image..? I don't know...

    As well - I have another "image" which is "stuck" in the curation process..? It's been there for almost two weeks? The other three images I submitted were "Not Published" after a few days? So - I'm trying to figure all out too.?? Maybe the curation process has "levels" before being accepted for the front page - and again - I'm not sure how that works yet?

    Anyway - as always, Poki is "right on" about 1X... As for his comment about being critiqued?

    Yes - in my world - absolutely... I appreciated anyone/everyone who takes the time to tell me "what they see", and often times, those things that they see, I've totally missed...

    Best to you,

    John
     
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  16. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    The higher your curator level, the more your vote weighs in. I think a level four vote counts like four level one votes.

    As for resubmitting - exactly, if you considered the feedback and then resubmit it, I don't have a problem. But abusing "pro"-accounts which let you submit a huge number of images by just submitting the same image again and again is not a nice practice.

    Your image is stuck in the curation process? Strange ... You probably can look at the result by clicking on the image and pressing the "i" button in the bottom right, it shows you a "popularity" percentage (which is the result from the curation process). If it's below 60%, the image has no chance to be published. If it is above that, best ask in the 1x forum what happens now.
     
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  17. John D.

    John D. TalkEmount Regular

    176
    Oct 7, 2013
    Thanks my friend...! Yes, I'v been doing that, and the curation "popularity" is just under 70%, so - I'm not sure? I'll let it go, as somewhere I read it might take a week or two? I'm guessing - maybe - that 1X is having more folks "vote" or something?

    As well - your issue is the same as mine. Even though I'm a "Pro" level and can submit about 10 or 12 images a week (yikes!) - I can only take so much rejection in that same timeframe ;) ..? HA!!

    Anyway - I'll keep you posted on how this all works out..! And if that image makes the "front page" of 1X?? Trust me - I'll let you know!! HAH!!!

    Best to you and my thanks again!

    - John
     
  18. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    Just under 70% means it could be published, but doesn't have to. I don't know how the final process works - collecting more votes or maybe letting the 1x crew decide? Whatever, you'll probably know soon.

    But yeah, let's see how it all goes.
     
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  19. Fundadores

    Fundadores TalkEmount Regular

    41
    Oct 14, 2013
     
  20. Snowy

    Snowy TalkEmount Veteran

    218
    Nov 18, 2013
    Melbourne, Australia
    Barry
    Really good subject Poki.

    Some terrific photos in your Flickr site John. I have just had a quick look now and will go back. Poki, I will have to look harder as I can't find your links. Perhaps it is because I'm using the iPad app. Edit: found it using Safari rather than the app.

    I started on line sharing of my photos via Flickr in January 2006. It has been a good place for me and I enjoy it there. It is a mixed bag but I find plenty of inspiration. I find it better to avoid the 'post one award three' type groups and over time have made some good contacts. Family members who are overseas tell me they like to see my more family orientated shots, which is nice. Having been there this long I would be reluctant to move away. I like the interface and hope they don't mess with it too much more.

    If you are interested here is my link. http://www.flickr.com/photos/barryspics/

    I took a look at 1x when Poki first mentioned it. Very impressive and a bit daunting for me at this stage I think. I go there to admire.

    I read DPReview for general photo gear news and for amusement. The arguments are so stupid sometimes. They make me smile.

    Dabbling a little with Google + at the moment but their approach hasn't quite gelled with me yet. I'm undecided.

    I came here for the Sony camera and legacy lens related discussions mainly but am finding it of wider appeal. It is a nice place. Not so some other forums where Nikon and Canon dSLR users seem very threatened by the very mention of the Sony A7 and A7R. Odd really as a picture doesn't improve or diminish in my mind when I find out what camera or lens was used to take it.
     
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