As a photographer it can be hard to find people close to you with whom you can have immediate access to and learn from. Yes, there are great photographers everywhere but it is challenging to get to know them and get access to their work whenever you feel like it.
I started getting into photography around 2006. I didn’t personally know a single photographer at that time. That’s when I discovered social media, primarily Flickr.com in 2007. After I made my photos, I eagerly uploaded them to Flickr to share them with other photographers. I joined groups, engaged with people, left comments, emailed and did all of the fun things Flickr had to offer for aspiring and professional photographers. It was in that community where I first learned a lot about photography and how I could improve my images. Several of the people I interacted with on Flickr are now friends on Twitter and Facebook as well.
The Power of Online Photography Communities
A part of the power that Flickr plays in the lives of photographers is that it gives every person an opportunity to “go “public” with their image. That helps validate their work and shape each person’s visual identity online. The fact that people know others will see their work, gives it more emotional power, making the experience of photography more real (Suler, 2008).
Flickr is no longer the most popular image sharing community, though it has had a profound impact on the social media world. Nowadays there are other popular photo sharing communities like Facebook, Instagram, Imgur, DeviantArt, and many others. All of these sites provide people great opportunities to connect with photographers that can inspire and encourage them.
You don’t have to be a photographer to join an online community. There are online communities for all types of hobbies and interests. Being a part of these communities will have a huge impact on how much you learn about and grow with your hobby or craft.
Suler, J. (2008). Image, action, word: Interpersonal dynamics in a photo-sharing community. CyberPsychology and Behavior, 11, 555-560.