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07-03-2011, 10:41 PM   #1
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Photography Clubs/Societies ? Worth it ? Or is there something better than Flickr?

I'm a complete babe in the woods really when it comes to photography... But I'm slowly starting to see improvements from my self-taught efforts.

However - one area I know I suck at - is composition. Now I've gotten some great feedback here on the forum in the Critique section - but I also don't want to bore/flood the forum either ( sometimes feedback can also be rather hit and miss around here - i guess based on where your post ends up in Active Topics...) . I do however.. need help. Probably a fair bit. my photography could also do with improvement

So what are peoples impressions of joining clubs/socities ? I appreciate it has lots to do with *which* association/club and where.. but by the same token, I read so many people stating they really didn't end up getting anywhere near what they thought they would out of it... Do I perhaps have the wrong assumption about them or would they be an ideal outlet?

What I'm after is some sort of forum (physical or virtual) where I can look to expand my abilities and interact a little more on the technical side of it... Flickr is great for inspiration, but I find it lacks entirely in the form of genuine feedback/critique...

Anyway - Look forward to some feedback, comments etc. And whilst I wont hold out, there is a few locals around, so if anyone knows of something club/group wise nearby that would be cool also ..

Thanks all!

07-03-2011, 11:07 PM   #2
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Thos website is excellent, try the challenges and game sections, some of the projects and challenges allow you to work on composition. You won't always get feedback, but if you honestly want feedback, accept it when you get it.
07-04-2011, 12:20 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by adr1an Quote
I'm a complete babe in the woods really when it comes to photography... But I'm slowly starting to see improvements from my self-taught efforts.

However - one area I know I suck at - is composition.

So what are peoples impressions of joining clubs/socities ?

Anyway - Look forward to some feedback, comments etc. And whilst I wont hold out, there is a few locals around, so if anyone knows of something club/group wise nearby that would be cool also ..

Thanks all!
I think photo clubs are great if you can find one in your area. I joined one that was 48 miles away, but i have a place to stay there, so it works out. You'll get tons of inspiration and tips from a good photo club.

For composition learning, i think everyone should buy and read at least one good book solely on composition (not on operating the camera - thats not the same thing at all). The book i chose was:
The photographer's eye:Composition and Design for better digital photos" by Michael Freeman
Amazon.com: michael freeman photography books: Books

best wishes,
07-04-2011, 12:36 AM   #4
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Thanks ramseybuckeye; I'll have a hunt through them and see what I could at least have a reasonable go at !

Cheers for the suggestion Phil.. I see they offer a Kindle version at a reasonable price (and attractive delivery time )...

Would I miss much having the eBook version ? or is it something better viewed in physical form ?

07-04-2011, 12:44 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by adr1an Quote
Thanks ramseybuckeye; I'll have a hunt through them and see what I could at least have a reasonable go at !

Cheers for the suggestion Phil.. I see they offer a Kindle version at a reasonable price (and attractive delivery time )...

Would I miss much having the eBook version ? or is it something better viewed in physical form ?
I would recommend the paperbook, only because they have many excellent photos in the book that may not look as well as in the ebook, but then i don't have an ebook, YMMV.
07-04-2011, 04:14 AM   #6
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I think camera clubs are definitely worth checking out. You'll find a lot of folks who love talking about photography and can usually pick up a ton of helpful pointers. However, most of them aren't really set up for the type of education that you're wanting on composition. My suggestion would be that you do "all of the above". Read a good book on composition, as Phil suggested, and see if it helps your pics. If you're still having problems, that's when a camera club might be able to help. Most have some sort of monthly competition and, if they're like ours, also provide a critique with discussion of what did or didn't work in the various entries.
07-04-2011, 06:01 AM   #7
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Camera clubs are not only a way of improving your photography, they are also a way of meeting like-minded people. Dunno about Oz, but here in the UK they are all a bit different and some people need to go to one or two to see which one is right for them.

There is also a very good photo critique group at Flickr:
Flickr: Photography Critique
07-04-2011, 06:14 AM   #8
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I don't join clubs so I can't advise there. Ah, but composition... photographic composition is just a subset. Study art. Read about drawing, painting, architecture, typography, graphics in general. It's no coincidence that many of history's leading photographers had fine-arts backgrounds. THe problems of visual display have been worked on for some centuries, y'know.

And there's a simple tool you can use for photographic composition: your hands, with thumbs and forefingers placed to make a rectangle. If that's too simple, use a couple of L-brackets. Now you have a variable-aspect frame. Look at the world through it. Try aspects like 1:1, 5:4, 4:3, 3:2, 2:1, etc. See how placing stuff variously within the frame changes meaning, impact, balance. That's a pretty cheap and easy method of eye-training.

07-04-2011, 01:42 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
... photographic composition is just a subset. Study art. Read about drawing, painting, architecture, typography, graphics in general. It's no coincidence that many of history's leading photographers had fine-arts backgrounds. THe problems of visual display have been worked on for some centuries, y'know.
+1 Photographic composition is no different than composition in any other visual art. It's all just a means to guide the eye of the viewer.
07-04-2011, 03:38 PM   #10
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Thanks for the suggestions all. I should have prefaced this with saying I am a child of Logic, not of the Arts.... lol... Simply colouring inside the lines was a big thing for me ! I know this is why my composition is lacking a lot of the time because I've just never, I guess, visualised *any* of it before in a *deliberate* manner...

I'm definitely going to pickup the hardcopy of that book Phil suggested - I've had a look at the preview and it certainly seems entirely devoted to my weakest subject matter !

I wish I had of actually paid attention back in the late '80s in Art Class... and did Technical Drawing instead of Computers (One comes naturally, the other hurts... lol )
07-04-2011, 05:53 PM   #11
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Another easy way to learn composition: cheat. Or maybe it's reverse-engineering. Anyway, look at collections of classic images. Upside-down, even. Don't just ogle the subjects -- look closely, consciously, at how they are visually constructed, at where the light goes, at placements and angles and shadows and rhythms, that kind of stuff. Look for WHY these are classic images. Then use an image frame like a mentioned above, to try to build the same sort of structure into what you see around you. It's cheap and easy, no work at all, just looking and seeing.
07-06-2011, 11:27 AM   #12
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To learn composition take every book you have upon photography down to the local charity shop and see if they will do you a deal on books about art. Painters have spent many thousands of years building up the required knowledge and experience to create pictures that look right and it is in their efforts and musings that you will find the answers you seek rather than yet another 'how to' book on digital photography. Results won't come over night but by studying how paintings are arranged and colours used you will begin to gain an insight to the creation of images that people find attractive rather than just 'good' because of the camera's technical abilities or the subject interest.
07-06-2011, 04:27 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by justinr Quote
To learn composition take every book you have upon photography down to the local charity shop and see if they will do you a deal on books about art. Painters have spent many thousands of years building up the required knowledge and experience to create pictures that look right and it is in their efforts and musings that you will find the answers you seek rather than yet another 'how to' book on digital photography. Results won't come over night but by studying how paintings are arranged and colours used you will begin to gain an insight to the creation of images that people find attractive rather than just 'good' because of the camera's technical abilities or the subject interest.
Cheers for the suggestions - But just FYI, Wasn't looking for another 'how-to' and the book Phil recommended has nothing to do with digital cameras - it instead is entirely about composition from the artistic perspective...

Thanks for the ideas though - and this is why I thought a local group/club would be a good starting point potentially for someone with next to zero artistic ability (I can identify primary colours :P )
07-06-2011, 10:56 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by adr1an Quote
Cheers for the suggestions - But just FYI, Wasn't looking for another 'how-to' and the book Phil recommended has nothing to do with digital cameras - it instead is entirely about composition from the artistic perspective...

Thanks for the ideas though - and this is why I thought a local group/club would be a good starting point potentially for someone with next to zero artistic ability (I can identify primary colours :P )
I was being more general than specific in my answer so I wasn't intending that you take it too literally.

Anyway, anything is better than Flickr and a good club will bring you on by leaps and bounds, I learnt a hell of a lot from the one I rolled up at with a few snaps and my trusty Zenit (a camera I loved and was foolish enough to later lend to a 'friend' I never saw it again), I was lucky in that a couple of very good and knowledgeable photographers took me under their wing more in pity than anything else. But that was a few years ago during the last days of film's dominance and I can remember as we all all sat round admiring a camera a guest speaker had brought along, it was a Canon with a whole 3 million pixels!! But I digress.

Hopefully what you will get at a club is a strong but fair critique of your work. People are far too nice on the web, there is so much that I see here and in other places that would be laughed (politely) off court in my camera club days. Technical know how and showing off a cameras abilities seems to trump artistic intent 90% of the time whereas in the days of film the actual camera used was pretty much immaterial to the final result, certainly at club level anyway. Many a time I came home swearing quietly at my peers but by feck I learnt a thing or two and agonising over a single negative under the enlarger over several evenings was not time wasted.
07-07-2011, 12:28 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by justinr Quote
...
Anyway, anything is better than Flickr
...
I agree that most of Flickr is a waste of time for serious critique, but as mentioned above there is at least one group where you have a good chance of getting some, and also of giving some - that is another powerful learning tool partly because it's much easier to see flaws in someone else's work than in your own.

Flickr: Photography Critique
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