My dad takes good pictures - now what?
August 19, 2007 7:49 PM   Subscribe

Help my dad win accolades for his photography.

My dad was a hobby photographer 30+ years ago. I've seen his old work, and a lot of it is really compelling. Lately he's become interested in digital photography and he's been submitting some photos to Better Photo where he's won a couple of their contests and had some photos profiled as 'editors picks'.

So my question is, what else can my dad do to promote his photography? Are there photo contests he should enter? Other websites he should be using? (I know that flickr exists, I use it myself, but I don't really use any of the 'community' aspect of it, so I'm not sure if that's a good place for him to promote himself.) My dad is comfortable using the web and is a good writer who can easily handle cover-letters and such.

I don't think he'd want to pursue photography as a career (he's past retirement age anyway), but I do think he'd enjoy the competition (and prizes!) of the contest scene – if there is one!

Thanks all.
posted by serazin to Media & Arts (8 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
He could join JPG Magazine (originally created by a couple of mefites) and submit his photos to them. Members vote on photos for inclusion in future issues. There's bragging rights and a few bucks for getting published.
posted by iconomy at 8:06 PM on August 19, 2007

Oh, one other thing I just thought of: although my dad is internet savvy, I worry about him getting into a community that is snark-heavy. I hate to think of some asshole flaming him, and although I know that's a part of the whole internet package, I'm most interested in communities where my dad, an older guy originaly from Europe, would feel comfortable.

(this comment wasn't a response to the JPG link, which looks cool)comm
posted by serazin at 8:22 PM on August 19, 2007

Flickr is semi-overrun by people creating awards groups- usually they post a form message saying something like "Your photo has Caught Our Eye! Please add it to the Caught Our Eye pool/group." followed by a little image badge thing. I can't find any examples right now but they're pretty common. It's kind of silly (to me anyway) and I don't even know if your dad would enjoy it, but it's out there on Flickr. People who are popular on Flickr add their photos to *tons* of groups and pools and whatnot and they tag the crap out of each image. But, I guess this is an ok way to get exposure to people who will probably leave nice comments (although some people might be rude, I don't know). I think you have to self-promote a lot to get a following. Might be fun for your dad to get involved in a community though, especially if he has some free time to devote to it.
posted by MadamM at 8:54 PM on August 19, 2007

Here's a picture that has a bunch of the image badge good photo pool things, so you can see if that's the kind of thing your dad would like.
posted by MadamM at 8:56 PM on August 19, 2007

Yeah, there are a lot of tacky "4 ACES GOLD STAR!!1!" groups on Flickr. But if you have good quality photography, you can build up an audience with a slightly higher brow approach.

- Submit to groups that mercilessly reject photos (e.g. Hardcore Street Photography).

- Find photographers that you admire/with whom you have similar sensibilities, then look through their contacts/favorites. Comment frequently on stuff that you truly like.

- Actively delete any "Please submit your picture to my 2 THUMBS UP" comments; unsubscribe from anyone who posts those sort of comments on your pics; refuse to comment/favorite any picture (even if you really like it) if it was submitted to any of these shameless karma-whoring groups.

- Never bother to check whether your photos have made Explore.
posted by alidarbac at 10:53 PM on August 19, 2007

I'd suggest ePhotoZine as being an excellent site to join, either with the free (limited) membership or inexpensive "full" membership if he likes it.

Constructive criticism and acclaim plus competitions. From what you've written I think it'd be perfect.
posted by Lionel d'Lion at 3:42 AM on August 20, 2007

smugmug - has a cost to sign up but the photographs are of a high quality and you can put them up for sale too.
posted by busybee at 8:18 AM on August 20, 2007

Besides the online-only competitions, there's a whole world of shows where one submits work on a CD, and, if chosen, then makes a print, frames it, and exhibits it in a gallery show. The process costs more (entry fee, print, frame, shipping/travel), but there's also the chance to sell the print at the show. Frequently there are real prizes as well -- last year I got a "best in show" that awarded me $750.

These sites (1, 2, 3, 4) are the places that I check regularly for opportunity listings. Additionally, there might be local photography organizations where he is. They can be enjoyable communities to participate in, with regular members' shows, feedback, and the chance to show a whole series of work.
posted by xo at 10:24 AM on August 20, 2007

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