One of the photography forums I frequent is Digital Grin (dgrin.com), from the makers of SmugMug. those participating in the forums are at all levels of know-how, but generally speaking they own DSLR cameras, and everyone is trying to be better at their hobby/craft. I fall right in that category, and likely some of you reading do as well.
I highly recommend wading you way through some of the different categories, if nothing else to see some great photos of people looking to get better. There are some real pros there (as in actual professionals as well as people just plain good) and their photos are often a site to behold. Most people have a link in their profile to their online gallery of photos as well, which you can click over too for even more viewing pleasure. If you are looking to become a better photographer, you can often pick up some great tips and ideas from the discussion in each thread.
Some of the regulars and moderators of the forum will compile links to the “best of” threads where people have put together short tutorials on how they have accomplished their photos. Often these are Photoshop how tos, but some times it will be on setting up lighting and other ideas. Here is one such page that SmugMug has hosted of some great info. These techniques are a bit advanced when it comes to using Photoshop, but if you are so inclined, give them a try. I have found that you learn best in the doing, and then you have a new technique available in your “arsenal.”
I happen to know the makers of these sites, and they are “good people.” They live a couple of blocks from my in-laws, so I have had plenty of occasions to visit with them. I have a SmugMug pro account because I like supporting people I know, and those I know to be trying to do good business.
There are lots of photo sharing sites out there, but most have ads, limited features and try hard to sell you back your own photos. SmugMug is designed with the real photographer in mind. You get unlimited storage (that means all the photos you want, even at full size, full control on how your gallery is displayed, password protection and watermark options, and even the ability to set pricing to sell your photos. Quite a set up.
Take a moment to check them out. If you happen to sign up for an account with them, using my coupon code for a discount: MxWSTbxzgrIqg
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