Remember how great Flickr was at its peak? It was an active photography community to share and discuss images with other photographers all over the world. While the site still functions, it's nowhere near as popular and active as it once was, and it hasn't had a decent refresh in years. Oh, how the mighty fall. Where else can we share images with other photographers?
Who else remembers posting photo sets to Flickr, joining groups, entering weekly image challenges? It was great for me at the time to have a direct line of contact with other photographers. I enjoyed a particular weekly challenge that involved submitting one image of a specific subject each week, as this forced me to go out and be creative with a subject that I might not have chosen myself. Then, there was the enjoyment looking at other submissions from all over the world and their interpretations, giving and receiving constructive feedback on the images before the next subject was announced and we did it all over again. Sadly, Flickr hasn't been getting the attention it needed to stay popular, daily users are down, and the community just isn't as active as it once was.
This video from Micael Widell discusses a few major photography community sites and how they just aren't effective as a photography community in the way that many photographers would like.
Instagram was built on the sharing of images, nothing else. Instagram also introduced the masses to photo filters; these filters just served the purpose of making up for the low quality of cellphone cameras back then. Instagram has changed focus since it started. Now, you certainly don't need to take beautiful or highly technical images to be popular on Instagram. The Facebook-owned Instagram figured out much more effective algorithmic ways to keep users engaged than simply sharing beautiful images. We've witnessed the rise of the Instagram influencer, monetization, and much more powerful image filters as cellphone cameras and processing power have improved year on year. I wouldn't say that Instagram isn't a still very popular network in 2022; it just isn't the photography-focused image-sharing service it once was.
An obvious option would be Facebook groups for photography, but my experience with those has often revealed several trolls that can dishearten newbie photographers; perhaps, this is more a reflection of the online community, as the same can be found on most social platforms. Facebook also isn't exclusively about image sharing, and their community standards can be restrictive for some types of photography.
Many creatives have been turning to Patreon or other premium subscription services for image sharing and community development. Many premium subscriptions include access to a Discord server or other online community features. The cost of entry may put some people off in 2022, as we've all become too used to getting these types of services for free, despite Flickr having a premium tier of membership in its heyday. I like the Fstoppers community features and regularly have some great interactions with other photographers on this site.
Now, in 2022, where can photographers share images with like-minded people? Where can we learn from others, help others, and see great images? Maybe the best places for this type of community are real-life camera clubs and local photography communities?
What do you think about online photography communities? Do you have any recommendations? Any to avoid? Let me know in the comments.