100 STEPS TO IYP: Participating and Socializing

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For the last lesson of the IYP series, I would like to touch upon what has been perhaps the most important resource during my photographic journey – the internet.  Of course most of you understand that thats why you’re reading this.

The internet is the biggest resource in the world without a doubt. You can find information on ANYTHING, not almost anything, but anything at all, provided you know where to look (yes, there is a world beyond Google :D ). And with digital cameras now reaching a price point where everyone has some camera or the other, the photographic community has become HUGE. And of course the internet brings all of us together, giving us a chance to learn and interact with one another. The good thing is, that there are plenty of people making a genuine effort to share their knowledge, and this includes professionals who take out the time to participate in forums and help out beginners and amateurs. I’ve seen many people who’ve entered the professional field with the help of professionals they’d interacted with over the net.

Photo uploading sites like Flickr and Eyefetch have great discussion boards and a healthy and encouraging community. Deviantart is a remarkable remarkable site. The quality of art there is just amazing. Also forums like Photography on The Net (www.photography-on-the.net) are a wonderful place to find and interact with like-minded people, and learn a lot. You’ll find people there who will critique your pictures, give you tips, help you take decisions regarding equipment, and even sell you some! You will also end up making contacts that will help you get to places you would find hard to reach otherwise. Trust me, I’ve experienced it! Another good thing about forums is the fact that if someone is telling you something wrong, there are many people who’ll correct him/her. That can get annoying at times but still :)

Forums and photo sharing sites you should be a part of:
www.photography-on-the.net
www.flickr.com
www.deviantart.com
www.eyefetch.com
www.dpreview.com to name a few..

In one of my earlier posts, I had mentioned the importance of assignments and critique. Like assignments, competitions too provide a great chance to show your potential. And I know, many of you may be thinking that you’re not good enough to participate in a contest. One suggestion – give it your best shot, and leave the rest to the judges. You may be surprised at the way things turn out. And when you see the entries others have submitted, you will ALWAYS learn something new, even if you end up winning the contest. And when I say participate in contests, I don’t mean do it just for the sake of it. If you do it with proper commitment, you will be amazed at what you end up creating. This again I say by personal experience. Of course there is the added bonus of a prize :) There are some great sites out there that hold regular contests, not all with prizes though. One site that you might want to check out is www.DPChallenge.com . We too will be starting an assignments section soon. Digital Photography School has great weekly assignments. And there are plenty of other contests going on all the time. I will try my best to keep you updated.

Here are a few contests running currently that you can check out:

http://www.betterphoto.com/contest.asp

http://www.nationalgeographic.com/energizer/

http://www.asiawithoutborders.com/

http://www.worldphotographyawards.org

And you can use these sites to keep track of photography contests:

http://www.photocompete.com/

http://photocontestinformation.com/

So we end the IYP series with two very important tips – Participate, and participate. If you’re not a part of a forum, join one now and be an active part. And without any expectations, go participate in a contest, and make a genuine effort while doing it. Participation will fuel your growth and keep you going up the learning curve for a long time to come.

And don’t worry. The IYP series ends here, but we’ll still keep bringing you great stuff. Stay tuned!

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