The great thing about the internet is that you never need to reinvent the wheel. If you want an opinion about a camera you’re thinking of buying, or need to figure out how to file your digital collection, or wonder what the best sensor cleaning method is, you can be sure you’re not the only one who has needed to know this. The various photo forums are some of the best sources of information for the digital photographer.
The online photography community is a supportive community. People post because they want information, and people reply because they want to be helpful. You almost never see flame posts on these sites.
The format for all these sites is the same. You can peek through postings to your heart’s content, but if you want to post a query, you need to register and pick a login name and a password.
Here is a list of some of my favorite forums. What are yours? Send them and I’ll post them in my blog.
For digital workflow issues, the best forum out there is The DAM Book forum. I’ve been trying to master Iview Media Pro, and the Iview section of this site is the best source of information on the program out there. They also cover Bridge and Camera RAW, digital asset management, and a host of other issues.
The Rob Galbraith forums used to be the premier source for professional issues on equipment, workflow and marketing issues. The forums have been sold and are under a new address, prophotocommunity.com, and they are not taking new posts yet. You can browse though the archives at the new address.
Digital Photography Review has a menu of forums geared mostly to equipment issues. They’re divided up by manufacturer, and they include all of them, not just Nikon or Canon. A good site for information relevant to consumers.
The granddaddy of photography forums is the massive photo.net site. Everything the hobbyist or pro might need to know is somewhere in here, from Alternative Cameras, Film Processing, Classic Cameras (pre-1970), Leicas, Lighting Equipment and Technique, Minox Photography, Nature Photography, Photo Critique, Travel, Underwater, Weddings. It’s enormous.
Photo Camel tries to be a supportive community for photographers, so they have a big selection of image galleries where you can have people say nice things about your work. They’ve also got a host of equipment and process forums.
Photozone has a forum section that is a great source for seriously geeky equipment questions.
Digital Darkroom, as the name suggests, has a lot of talk on technique in addition to the usual camera and software forums. Roam around the site and you’ll pick up some nice Photoshop tutorials. It’s a UK site so, naturally, there’s a special World Cup forum.
Adobe has a vigorous forum section for all of their products. It’s a great place for application problem solving and for picking up workflow solutions.
Lots of smaller software vendors maintain forum too. For example, Picturecode’s Noise Ninja forum (http://www.picturecode.com/forum/) is a great place to learn how to use their product.
The concept extends to manufacturers as well. Did you know that there is a Lensbaby Forum? Everything you could possibly want to know about their deliberately out of focus lenses is here: http://lensbabies.com/phorum/list.php?1
PhotoAssistants.com has a great forum on equipment and technique. It’s geared to the assistant community, but those guys know more than most pro photographers. It’s worth eavesdropping.