I'm looking for a site (not photo.net) where I can get feedback on becoming a better photographer.
December 17, 2003 11:09 AM   Subscribe

I like the idea behind photo.net (post photos, then get feedback, votes, etc.), but their interface is so goofy that I can't get into it. Specifically, I'm looking for a place where I can get feedback on becoming a better photographer, not just a pat on the back. What are the best photo.net alternatives?
posted by oissubke to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I really like dpchallenge. There are a lot of talented people that can offer feedback on submissions. I've found that if you post your photo to the forums and ask specifically for feedback you will get more comments than if you just enter a photo in a challenge.
posted by kelrae3 at 11:25 AM on December 17, 2003

I've used Photo.net for feedback for quite some time. I agree that getting pics submitted can just confusing. But it does work. And for my money it's by far the best place to do so.

PhotoSIG is much easier to get into, and the feedback comes hard and fast. But the quality of the feedback isn't near as good. Also the quality of the photos tends to be much lower.
posted by y6y6y6 at 11:31 AM on December 17, 2003

I'll put in another vote for PhotoSIG as an alternative to photo.net.
posted by rhapsodie at 12:01 PM on December 17, 2003

A friend showed me photosig a couple weeks ago and I was very impressed. They have all sorts of rating/karma stuff and the comments I saw on my friend's work were spot on and helped him quickly improve his skills.
posted by mathowie at 12:26 PM on December 17, 2003

Take a class. The interface can't be beat. Unless your teacher sucks and your classmates are total goofs.

I was a teaching assistant for a photo class for architects in grad school (my qualification was that I knew how to run a photo lab). I'm only an adequate photographer yet a better critic. There is not substitute for the real time clarity that comes with a group of people looking at a body of work.
posted by Dick Paris at 12:42 PM on December 17, 2003

photosig is great, but like most online communities, there can be some pretty shitty attitudes there. There seems to be a heavy slant towards "commercial asthetics" and regular snapshots can get berated easily. Kind of turned me off from the place.
posted by Hackworth at 4:18 PM on December 17, 2003

Definitely agree with taking a class. The web is too passive and anonymous for useful criticism. In the online photo criticism forums in general you're lucky if you get much commentary beyond "That's great!" or "This sucks!" - neither of which tell you anything useful in the context of whatever it is you want your pictures to achieve. The best you can hope for is a vague ego boost if your stuff is well received by the forum. If you try to ask more specific questions about the approach, style or genre you're pursuing, you'll probably be met with silence or ignorance.

I have a love-hate relationship with photo.net. I think it's by far the best forum on the web if you need expert advice from a bunch of very knowledgeable folks about a technical issue related to photography. Their archive is a goldmine.

As a forum for learning about the creative, imaginative or critical aspects of photography, however, it's worthless, frankly - they all are. The chances of someone making a truly constructive comments about your pictures are miniscule and the ridiculously vague and meaningless ratings system is useless and does more harm than good, in my opinion. I'd say the same about such systems on any of the online photo fora.

The problem is that any criticism (or useless rating) you get online is completely non-contextual and from a source you generally have no way to assess or qualify and that has no knowledge of what you're trying to do. Another problem is that photographers are often not the best people to criticize other photographers...

Having said all that, if you're interested in showing your stuff to a wider audience and maybe making a little money from it, sites like photo.net and photosig might have some value in gauging popular appeal, in an inconclusive and vague way.

For what it's worth, if you want to improve your photographs, there's a few things I would suggest:
- Take more photographs. Much more: practice, practice, practice.
- Give yourself goals: Have photographic projects, rather than wandering from subject to subject or theme to theme.
- Edit ruthlessly. Be a brutal critic of yourself. Only ever keep what you're most proud of and would be happy to get a big print of, for example, if you're so inclined. Return to your pictures after a few months and edit again. What you thought was good a year ago can (should?) seem trite or boring a year later.
- Go to the library and devour all the photography books you can find, but concentrate on the books about photographers and photographs, rather than the "How to.." type of books (which are often full of really derivative and unexciting photographs, unfortunately). Identify some photographers who's pictures you really like and try to determine why. See if you can emulate (not copy) their approach in your own efforts.
- Do what pleases you. Don't photograph with an audience in mind unless you're interested in trying to make a living at it.
- Take a class with an instructor who you respect or admire.
- Other than on strictly technical issues, be very wary of the advice of other photographers... like this.
posted by normy at 4:59 PM on December 17, 2003

I really like the idea behind TrekEarth (a global photo community), but you'll need to check it out to see if the sort of critiques offered are what you are looking for.
posted by taz at 11:49 PM on December 17, 2003

I really like FredMiranda.com. The focus is on Canon and Nikon, usually at the prosumer level or up. On the otherhand, it's well organized (weekly and montly challenges), lots of talented folks in the community, and generally a good attitude pervades the site.
posted by daver at 11:36 AM on December 18, 2003

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