Regardless of your experience and level as a photographer, there is room for growth and learning new things to help your photography. Showcasing your work on social media is one step for showing your work and engaging with others. But it doesn’t stop there, joining a photography community is a fantastic option for meeting other photographers, gaining feedback on your images and exposing your work as well as gaining inspiration. We show you how you can get involved…
Welcome to the AP Improve Your Photography Series – in partnership with MPB – This series is designed to take you from the beginnings of photography, introduce different shooting skills and styles, and teach you how to grow as a photographer, so you can enjoy producing amazing photography (and video), to take you to the next level, whether that’s making money or simply mastering your art form.
Each week you’ll find a new article so make sure to come back to continue your journey, and have fun along the way, creating great images. If you’ve found these articles helpful, don’t forget to share them with people you know who may be interested in learning new photography skills. You’ll find a whole range of further articles in this series.
Different types of photography community
There are a number of different types of photography communities to get involved with. These can be online, in-person or a combination of the two.
Community groups such as UK Shooters, UKBFTOG, SheClicks, Grain Gurls, Urban Photographers Club and charity Disabled Photographers Society, have been set up by individuals and small teams of people with the intention to bring photographers together in a safe, encouraging space. Facilitating opportunities to meet and engage with other photographers, development and education in photography as well as providing exposure through publishing work by the community.
There are multiple ways you can be involved and stay up to date with these particular groups – this includes signing up to newsletters, joining their Facebook groups, following on Instagram and tagging photos using their hashtags.
Social media and Facebook groups
Social media itself is a pool of different communities, including the groups mentioned above. Share your work on your own social media, and begin your own conversations with others.
Facebook offers a Group feature, where communities of similar interests can come together and communicate with each other. UKBFTOG, SheClicks and Urban Photographers Club for example have this as is a place for members to share their work, ask questions, stay up to date with events, competitions, news, updates and get help and advice. Other groups also include Socially Engaged Photography Network, and Alternative Photographic Processes – a group for photographers using alternative processes. Camera Clubs often also use Facebook groups as their main social media platform for communication with members.
Camera brand specific groups are great if you want to ask a question about your camera, or get help using the camera. For example, there’s Olympus Owners and similarly Fujifilm ones like Fuji X Photography simply search for your camera brand on the site.
There are many groups out there, some that are run by businesses and groups, but also others that are developed by individuals covering general areas, such as ‘London artists’ etc.
Camera Clubs and Photographic Societies
There are over 500 camera clubs and photographic societies around the UK. Joining your local camera club is a great way of meeting and being social with other photographers, as well as sharing your work, getting feedback and having the opportunity to show your work to a larger audience. Each club also host their own meetings, events, exhibitions and talks.
The Photographic Alliance of Great Britain (PAGB) is a membership organisation that co-ordinates, activities for photographic clubs in England, Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland (including the Channel Islands and Isle of Man). Find your nearest club or society here.
Already a member of a camera club? Did you know you can gain points for your club in our Amateur Photographer of the Year competition? Prizes for you and your club are up for grabs.
An online forum is a space where people can hold discussions, typically focused on particular subjects. They are usually organised by different categories with questions and discussions posted by the forum members. They form their own community of loyal people who regularly participate in discussion with opportunities for learning and asking your own questions.
Photo sharing platforms
Flickr is a image hosting site that allows us to curate an online portfolio and share with others. Photo sharing platforms like Flickr, GuruShots, 500px, Behance and Fotocommunity are a fantastic source of community and inspiration. One of the major strengths of these platforms is the use of support-group feel of photography forums and gallery-style layout that let the images take centre stage.
Within Flickr for example, features include photo pools such as the Amateur Photographer Group Pool, groups, forum style chats, and individual groups to share and see other images (at high resolution!).
Benefits of joining a photography community
Meet like-minded people
By engaging with a photography community you are opening yourself up to meeting other like-minded people of different ages and backgrounds. More often than not community groups host their own events including meet-ups, photo walks and exhibitions you can participate in and meet these people face to face on a regular basis.
Joining a photographic community is a great way to share your work with others and find opportunities for exposure. Whether it’s an opportunity hosted by the community itself, a magazine feature, open calls to photography competitions and exhibitions or finding new potential clients for your business.
Get advice and critique
Make use of communication opportunities to get advice and critique from others. Sharing your photos and encouraging comments from other users is a great way of receiving constructive criticism and advice, comments of encouragement and boosting your confidence.
You can also ask for advice and troubleshooting tips, whether that be kit or business related, or simply whether people prefer a colour or black and white version of your photo.
Build knowledge and gain inspiration – and share yours!
Use the community to stay up to date with what’s going on in the photography world now, plus get tips and inspiration. With other people also sharing their work a community group will be become a rewarding source of inspiration and you could even learn new techniques. By sharing your work and engaging with other users, you too could be providing some much needed inspiration for others.
Many groups like SheClicks, host their own webinars with guest speakers – who are regularly other photographers speaking about their work or techniques. As well as workshops for you to join and practically get involved with building your skillset. UKFTOG recently went along to Notting Hill Carnival to document the event on a photowalk.
Featured image: vgajic/Getty Images
Tune in next week, for the next article in the series of the AP Improve Your Photography Series – in partnership with MPB.
- Part 1: Beginners guide to different camera types.
- Part 2: Beginners guide to different lens types.
- Part 3: Beginners guide to using a camera taking photos.
- Part 4: Beginners guide to Exposure, aperture, shutter, ISO, and metering.
- Part 5: Understanding white balance settings and colour
- Part 6: 10 essential cameras accessories for beginners
- Part 7: Beginners guide to the Art of photography and composition
- Part 8: Beginners guide to Photoshop Elements and editing photos
- Part 9: Beginners guide to Portrait Photography
- Part 10: Beginners guide to Macro Photography
- Part 11: Beginners guide to Street Photography
- Part 12: Beginners guide to Landscape Photography
- Part 13: How to shoot Action and Sports Photography
- Part 14: How to shoot wildlife photography
- Part 15: Raw vs JPEG – Pros and cons
- Part 16: How to create stunning black and white images
- Part 17: How to photograph events and music
- Part 18: Pet photography – how to photograph pets
- Part 19: The ultimate guide to flash photography
- Part 20: The ultimate guide to tripods
- Part 21: Create awesome photos with light painting
- Part 22: Beginners guide to file and photo management
- Part 23: How to shoot food photography
- Part 24: Complete guide to outdoor light
- Part 25: Top tips for stunning car photography
- Part 26: How to master waterfall photography
- Part 27: How to use social media as a photographer
- Part 28: How to get started in film photography
- Part 29: How to connect your camera to your phone
- Part 30: How to make a great video recording with your camera
Find the latest Improve Your Photography articles here.