On Flickr, you can be a professional or an amateur. If you have great images, you will easily find an audience to share it with. And for that reason only, if you are into photography, it is a great place to be. I mean, people who go on flickr already love photography. But it is also a great place to learn and improve your skills.
So what is it that makes it such a powerful tool?
Well first, it is FREE.
And that, in my book, is an opportunity for anyone with a low budget. It allows you to share your photos with your friends. And it also gives you a chance to see your own evolution in the way you approach photography. You only need a computer and an internet connection.
More importantly, it is a real community.
It is a place where you will always find people interested in the same things and ready to answer what you would think is a stupid question. For that, the group feature is just an endless resource to explore. For example, I am part of a few groups myself, but there are 4 on which I spend most of my time:
- The “Strobist” group. its philosophy: “Less Light – More brain” – It will teach you all you need to know about flashes and lighting techniques. The place to start would be the blog though.
- The “Wedding Photography” group.
- The “Concert Photography” group.
- The “Pro Corner: Semi-Pro and Professional Photography/Photographer” group.
For all of these, I find something unique in them. I learn a lot from other people and from their mistake. And I share as much as I can. I believe strongly in the saying “What goes around comes around”. The more you give, the more it comes back to you. So one piece of advice: Get involved! You will meet interesting people, with the same passion as you, and who are really eager to share knowledge.
An important thing to bear in mind is that all of the groups have a set of rules of their own. Some allow only a certain amount of photo to be added each day by a member. Others ask for the information about the technique to be added to the description. Some ask for photos of cats only! You can find anything and everything. So obey the rules and all will be fine!
It is a place to get feedback.
Leaving a comment on a photo is a nice way to say, in a more personal way, that you appreciate it. But it is also a great way to get people interested in your own stuff. I find that most of the time, the more i comment, the more comments I get. And when I like a photographer a lot, I add him/her as a contact to be sure to not miss any upcoming photo. Most of the time they reciprocate, but it’s not a rule.
You can also, in most groups, ask directly for feedback about a certain picture. And people are usually happy to give you some constructive criticism. But beware! If you’re not someone who can accepts negative comments as well as positive comments, it might not be for you. People tend to be fairly honest in general, and if you ask what could be improved in your shot, people will tell you. I mean, you asked for it, right!
So I hope that all of you out there who haven’t signed up yet will. And Flickrmail me so I can check out your stuff!