Photography has long been a hobby and a passion for many people. Ever since the first consumer-grade cameras came out, millions of people the world over have embraced photography, capturing images that have both historical value and sentimental value. The twentieth century was the first full century of photography and saw great advances in the field. However, it has only been in recent years that photographers and camera manufacturers have been able to network and share their photos, techniques, and ideas over the Internet. And, there are three places, by and large, where you can be certain to run across photographers online.
Facebook is probably the most popular gathering place for photographers. It’s a solid platform, most people who are on the Internet have Facebook accounts. It’s fairly easy to use, has a large audience, and has built-in sharing tools so that photos can be posted to other people’s walls. The commenting system is robust and, since Facebook is the largest community on the Internet, chances are that you’ll make some very good connections there, personally and professionally, as a photographer.
However, Facebook isn’t a photographer’s preferred place to hang out when he’s online. By and large, the G+ community and Flickr are the two most highly-preferred places for photographers to talk amongst themselves and show off their work. Flickr is a dedicated photography community. Currently owned by Yahoo, it’s been around for a few years. Photographers can control viewers’ abilities to download their images and can embed copyright and watermarks into their photos to ensure that their images can’t be stolen and used without their consent — something that happens all too often over the Internet. G+ is preferred by photographers over Facebook strictly because G+ caters to a more technically savvy audience. Facebook has a high population of younger people and an greater population of the less technically inclined. That can make it harder for photographers to find assistance in developing apps for their smart cameras and other mobile devices. It also tends to lead towards photographs being shared and spread around without proper attribution. So, photographers generally stay with G+ where they are more likely to find the kind of people they’re looking for.
There are other photography communities and websites out there. Instagram is one of the most well-known but caters largely to mobile photographers and doesn’t afford much chance for professional DSLR users to join in. Picasa is another site that has a lot in common with Flickr but never managed to reach the kind of audience Flickr has. What are some sites you find useful to visit when you’re looking for a photographer or for advice on your own photography? Let us know in the comments below!
— da Bird