Photography - how to get more out of it?

Photography has been one of my hobbies for a long time, but I haven’t really done anything with it. Being a loner, mostly what I end up doing is go out and take landscape photos, then share them on facebook.

I think what I need most is a way to share my work with more people and get more feedback. What are some good ways to do that? Are there specific message boards or social media sites suitable for this? Or should I think about trying to sell it, not to make money but to network and get feedback?

500px is one such site (I’m not a member, but I’ve considered joining in the past).

There are places like the forums at Fred Miranda’s site where you can post photos and ask for feedback, as well as discuss gear, locations, and much more.

Have you taken a photography class, or looked into a photography tour or meet-up? Both are great ways to stretch yourself and meet like-minded artists.

Do you ever print out your photos or are they all digital? Do you have a specialty, like a specific type of landscape (i.e. ocean beaches, mountains, or deserts), or do your photos cover a wide variety of landscapes? If you print them out and can get some inexpensive but nice looking frames, or even better make the frames yourself out of distressed wood, you can go to trendy art fairs and see first hand what others think of your work while you network with other photographers who can hopefully give you tips and free advice.

I did photography professionally for 6 years. Any advice you need regarding photography, I can definitely help you. If you get bored with photography, but want to stick with it nonetheless, there are numerous things you can do to make it more interesting:

  1. Change your gear up. If you’ve been using a DSLR, try one of the Fuji or Sony mirrorless cameras, or a digital Leica if you can afford it. You can also give film a try. Film cameras in 35mm or medium/large format (from 6x4.5 up to 6x9) can be bought very inexpensively on eBay or used camera stores, all film speeds up to 800 ISO are still commonly produced in black and white or color, and developing film is NOT hard to do at home. You do not need a darkroom, only a changing bag. Once you have the film, you can scan it with a flatbed Epson scanner. Numerous sites will talk you through the process of developing black and white or color (C-41) film with powdered or liquid chemicals that can be diluted with water. It is a fun way to mix the hobby of chemistry with a visual art.

  2. Try to challenge yourself more. Try to take hand-held pictures at the slowest shutter speeds possible. Try shooting in dim ambient light without flash. Try to capture action shots with some motion blur. Try multiple exposures.

  3. Find a style you like and try to copy it. Start with the great ones: Richard Avedon, Annie Liebovitz, Vivian Meier, Weegee, Cartier Bresson, and all photography from National Geographic from the 1960s through the 1990s. Or niche photographers who are less known. Or cinematographers. Lately I’ve been trying to copy Wes Anderson’s style with my still photography. Another movie with great cinematography is The Godfather. Do a project like trying to copy the dark and moody lighting style of the Godfather. Or whatever movie you like. If you copy a certain style for long enough, eventually you WILL add something of your own to it and wind up developing it into a distinctive style. This works with music, it works with photography, it works with everything. You just have to stick with it.

Thanks for the web site suggestions, I’ll definitely consider those. The contests at the Fred Miranda site looks like a good way to engage too, though the winning entries are intimidatingly good…

I did find a photography meetup in the area, I’ll definitely consider going to those. Thanks for the suggestion.

A tour would be nice but probably too much of a time commitment - my wife has no interest in photography, and I’m not going on solo hobby trips on top of all the solo business trips I already do.

This seems more useful as an eventual goal - right now I don’t have enough of a portfolio to start selling at art fairs.

Making frames is a neat idea. I don’t have enough space to set up a woodworking shop so I’ll have to look into maker spaces and such. (I have access to an Army MWR woodworking shop but they forbid selling stuff made there)

Thank you. I’m not bored when I’m out walking around with my camera. Just last week I spent several hours at White Sands National Monument and enjoyed it immensely. It’s afterwards when I’m going through the photos, after I post them on Facebook that I think “now what?”

I’m an optical equipment nerd more than I’m a photographer (my day job is designing and building astronomical instruments) so I’ve tried many types already. I had an EOS (film) in high school, in college I found I enjoyed manual cameras a lot more (I had a couple of Nikons, my favorite was the FM-2). Tried a Speed Graphic but didn’t have much patience for the logistics involved. Eventually went to DSLR, then a Fuji X100 (great fun), then switched to Olympus mirrorless. I’ve really been enjoying that. I’m interested in low light & starscape photography so I have been considering switching to full-frame mirrorless (maybe A7R III), or possibly getting a really fast prime lens for my current body (12mm F/1.2 perhaps) but I’m not sure if either would be a huge jump for me. Maybe selling my system and buying an A7R III + just one prime would force me to be more creative.

Great suggestions, thank you. Still, I think I want to find people (online or off) where I can show my results, or bounce ideas, etc. But I’ll look into the various suggestions from this thread.

There’s a SDMB Flickr group, but it didn’t ever really take off and hasn’t seen much traffic in a while: https://www.flickr.com/groups/sdmb_meets_flickr/

You could try looking for photography workshops that are also fun for/welcoming to SOs who don’t share interest in the photography part. Like this one - my husband and I may do that one when we get the time. He loves Provence, and there’s plenty for him to do/eat/drink while I am busy with the photographic parts of the trip.

Have you been to thephotoforum.com?

I have spend many hours there and learned a ton. There are forums where you can post your work and request criticism.

I’d recommend hanging around there for a while before posting (just like here).
mmm

Nudes.

If this is a serious answer, I’m curious about your reasoning.

Since iPhoto updated their software and I got a bunch of new cool things to play around with, I’ve been really messing around with my photographs, but I’m afraid to take them to a site full of professionals and have them tell me my pictures are all silly and amateurish. I can’t tell myself if the editing I’m doing on my pictures is cool and interesting, or just weird. :confused:

I was being facetious.

I used to post my work on PBase, why don’t you take a look and see if it interests you.

Cambridge In Color has good info, i.e., equipment reviews, critiques and competitions.

https://www.cambridgeincolour.com/forums/index.php

Thanks for that…I may spend some time there this weekend, and perhaps upload a few things.

Take a class or 3, make one about post processing.

Projects are good, spend a day or a weekend:

Shooting a bouquet of flowers, or even a single one. Supermarket ones are fine.

Shooting a fast lens kept wide open. You can rent one if you don’t want to commit, but there are a couple of good m4/3 options that are pretty cheap.*

Shooting black and white. If you set your camera to B&W, but record in jpeg and raw, you’ll train your eyes while still retaining the color data for later use.

dpreview.com is a pretty good website for discussing photos and gear.

*speaking of m4/3, the oly 9mm body cap lens is pretty awesome. It has its limits, but considering the (lack of) burden to your budget or your bag, it’s a no brainer.

I’ll give a serious answer. Use of flash/lighting, it’s much more macro than landscapes, which is what the OP typically shoots. On the plus side, timing is much easier than going for a sunrise/sunset shot which may not even be there on a given (cloudy) day.