Facebook is a vast ocean of photographic imagery. Can beginning photographers capture something of value from the depths of this huge social media site?
We all have our views on Facebook and how it treats our data and photos. Some say that “people don’t realize that Facebook is a social network, not a diary.” The structure of Facebook, its albums and downsizing of photos, powerfully affects how people see photographs and how we share them. For beginning photographers, Facebook offers many ways to show and improve our photographs, with a few caveats.
While there is no substitute for experience, there are times we must be inside and online. Exploring the social side of Facebook’s photograph groups, it can be motivating and inspiring to get feedback and see good work. Joining a group in a social network allows us to get critiques and suggestions for gear and presentation. Wedding pros, creatives, iPhoneographers, photojournalists, and film photographers are all given equal space in the forums. There is a Facebook group for everyone, but the value depends on the relationships that you create.
Tip for Beginners: When posting a photo to Facebook, I try to remember that we don’t read on Facebook as we read books. Instead, we quickly skim. When we share and engage with a group, our relationships can be shallow or deep, depending on how we tag and put our photos into context. We want to make it easy for viewers to engage with our pictures. For example, since Facebook members like to give their opinions, we can encourage people to respond in ways other than a simple “Like.” For instance, asking for advice, as in “Which is better, B/W or Color” will get more comments. Posts that share photo tips or photography techniques will get a wider response as well.
Read on for seven groups that are helpful to beginning photographers. All these groups are inclusive. Follow the group guidelines. If you choose to join and share your creative images, understand that some groups have admins who want a few questions answered about your interest in the group.
1. For Photo Editors
Facebook has groups for photo editors such as ON1 and Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. The ON1 group has an active community and links to tutorials. The Lightroom group also has tutorial links. But there is eye candy too. For instance, the still photography work of photographer Bo Wen Huang of Taiwan, with stunning images of orange and blue lighting of temples at night.
2. All About Cameras
Nikon, Canon, Sony and Sony Alpha, Leica Camera, Fuji, Ricoh Imaging, Pentax Forums, and many others are on Facebook. Within a specific camera brand, there are dedicated groups. For instance, if you own a Nikon, there is a Nikon Digital Camera Enthusiast Group for posting 3 pictures a day. The group members share their techniques, like multiple exposure of nature subjects.
Fstoppers, a lasting Facebook group, averages 30-40 posts each day. The group is a forum to get feedback. With 25,000 members and a focus on your questions, the critique of your posts, and exchanging ideas, it is the Facebook offshoot of the web site Fstoppers.com. There, you’ll find links to tutorials for photographers such as Ten Secret Photoshop CC Tricks.
4. Apogee Photo Magazine
Check out a variety of articles about travel, gear, and techniques on the Facebook page of the web’s oldest photography magazine. Learn techniques of White Balancing. Explore an in-depth journey of an African glamping photo safari. Find a review of Canon’s PIXMA Pro Printer.
There are many film photography sites on Facebook. I still make photographs with my Nikon, Bronica and Minolta cameras.
Old Film Photos has many videos as well. It is a group for those who love pictures from bygone eras.
6. Beginning Photography
Each week the Beginning Photography group posts a new topic for its photo challenge, from street photography, ultra wide angle, and on to other popular topics like bokeh. Cell phone photos are shared. Members post the camera settings so everyone can learn, and constructive critique is encouraged. Dutch Photographer and sailor Tjerk Heringa is the host and administrator. He lives in South Holland near Amsterdam, and his style for this Facebook group is humorous, open, and welcoming for all beginners to learn skills in photography. There are more advanced tips as well, such as focus stacking.
The North American Nature Photography Association, NANPA, share exquisite work by talented nature photographers. It posts workshops and field trips around the US and Canada. One such trip is Yellowstone in January 2020. Members share interesting facts with their posts, such as bison fur is used by birds for nest building.
Tip: There is an easy way to learn about joining a new Facebook group. At the top right of your Facebook home page, find a small, white, upside-down triangle. Click this triangle. A menu should drop down. Click on New Groups.
To find your groups, go to your Facebook profile. You’ll find the work EXPLORE at the left of the page. At the top left, you’ll see a menu with the word DISCOVER, and GROUPS. Put in a relevant keyword in the search box at the top left of the page. For instance, in the Search box, type “Beginning Photography.” You can then filter the results. Click on the name of the group to learn more. Click Join to become a member of the group. You may be surprised at who you meet in a Facebook group.