Submitting Your Photos to Online Forums

Submitting Your Photos to Online Forums

Every day photographers use Facebook and other photo sharing websites, such as Instagram, for sharing images with their clients and potential customers. This ability to share has made it much easier to get instant feedback from the images that are posted and for photographers to see what their client base is actually looking for.

Facebook has overwhelmingly provided photographers with a unique way of interacting with other photographers. Online photography forums and groups are plenty in the World Wide Web. Photographers can submit images to have them critiqued, they can have them considered for publications, and they can even win awards for their online submissions.

Submitting online forums

While some photographers may think that these forums and groups are a waste of time, there are others who will tell you that you are missing out on a lot of opportunities by not participating. The internet is always opening up new possibilities for people, especially in the world of photography.

Photographers and artists will typically create a Curriculum Vitae instead of a traditional resume. A Curriculum Vitae is basically a summary of your qualifications and will include any exhibits and publications that have showcased your work. There are many juried art and photography forums online. Winning awards can be the jump-start on your Curriculum Vitae for helping you to obtain grants, get into art exhibits, and get your work published. It will also give insights to any exhibit curator as to your creative process and what your specific vision for your art is.

Submitting online forums 2

There are many forums online you can submit to, such as Just Color & Art (JCA), Lemonade and Lenses, Cameraraw, View Bug, or Pixoto.

Once you submit to any of these forums, photographers of all other skill levels will see your work. When you post in the online forums you have to be prepared for the critiques (yes, even the dreaded unsolicited ones!). Those critiques (both asked for and those not asked for) give you a rare opportunity to get insights from other photographers, other eyes, and other artists. Don’t take any negative critiques personally. Remember, art is very subjective. But do read the comments and consider where they are coming from. Could you have increased your shutter speed? Would a higher or lower ISO made for a better shot? Obviously, you can’t go back and change those things, but they are food for thought for future images.

Some businesses have taken to Facebook and it’s availability of online forums to look for photographers who are local to them for product photography, real estate photography, and even headshots for their company. Keeping your work current and out there for people to see can lead you to new ways to make money as a photographer.

Online forums can also spark photographer friendships. Having a photographer friend who is not your local competition can be a wonderful asset. Photographers are generally willing to listen and help out when they can. Friendships between photographers can be helpful when you are learning something new, trying out new ideas, or even when you are feeling overwhelmed or frustrated. Having a like-minded person listen to you and bounce ideas around can really help you to re-focus your time, energy, and mind where it needs to be.

Another boost to submitting to online forums? Increased SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for your photography website or blog. When you post from your photography page you are creating a cross-link between the forum and your page. Using specific keywords and updating your blog posts and website with any awards, recognitions, or honors from online forums can also help increase your SEO. 

There are many benefits to utilizing online photography forums and you will have to decide whether or not it is right for your specific business model. They are a very unique way for photographers to interact and learn from one another. They provide an opportunity for learning, friendships, and in some cases, they can lead to employment opportunities. Utilizing online forums can also help you to get your work seen by potential publishers and grant committees.

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Lori Peterson is an award winning photographer based out of the St. Louis Metro Area. Her dynamic work ranges from creative portraits to very unique fine art photography. Lori's work can be seen at and also on her blog. You can follow her on Facebook.

Some Older Comments

  • Beatkat July 14, 2013 11:52 pm

    Great article, and I agree with posting on facebook, they retain all rights to photos posted, so think carefully about what you post, post only low res images, and watermark them....a simple watermark can be done with a free program like faststone (a great program that can manipulate .NEF (raw) images as well....)

  • Vicki July 10, 2013 03:01 pm

    Great article Lori! I know sites like these have helped me grow in my photography. It can be scary but knowing you are always trying to improve and grow is priceless. Thank you

  • shirish mulmuley July 6, 2013 07:58 pm

    which are the good forum exclusively for photo critique, where expert give their opinion and help to improve?

  • rd July 6, 2013 06:02 am

    Now - if I just had a facebook account.

  • Jeffrey A. Ray July 5, 2013 08:46 am

    I have just started with DPS. Already I am learning and utilizing the input. I am looking forward to submit photos for critique. I just have to figure out how and where. Any advice is appreciated! JEFF

  • Jeffrey A. Ray July 5, 2013 08:33 am

    This article and others I have received from DPS. I am learning how to create good digital photos. Thanks

  • James Martinson July 5, 2013 07:39 am

    You must remember that any of your photography that you upload to Facebook can be used by Facebook by re-publishing or selling. You will still have a copyright but you give Facebook these rights under the TOS (terms of service). Facebook will have these rights to your photos for eternity. They retain these rights even if you quit Facebook. I, personally never put my best photos on Facebook.

  • David Mounsey July 5, 2013 03:14 am

    I am surprised that you did not cover the issue of images stolen from these sites by individuals and businesses alike.

  • Candice Smith July 2, 2013 11:35 pm

    Wonderful information and insight, Lori. Thank you so much for taking the time out to let us know about this, often unheard of, approach to getting oneself out there. I've heard of several of the forums/sites you mentioned but others I wasn't familiar with. I might be checking them all out later in the week!

  • Dayanandasagar.C.R July 2, 2013 04:23 am

    I want job in photograhy , 6 year experience in this field,

  • Laura D.E. July 2, 2013 03:41 am

    Thank you Lori for writing this informative article.
    Submitting works to online photography groups, has been nothing but a positive experience for me.
    It's a good way, to have your work critiqued and see what type of audience your style appeals to.
    I have also received great opportunities, by doing so.

    Thanks again Lori and DPS!

  • Jade July 2, 2013 01:57 am

    Lori thank you so much for this!!! So helpful.

  • Jen July 2, 2013 01:51 am

    Wonderful article Lori! I struggle with SEO myself, and this made me think of other ways to get myself out there! I also love that you shared so many resources that benefit new & established photographers. I have learned so much from forums!

  • Stephanie Kay July 2, 2013 01:11 am

    Great insight! I think we are fortunate that social networking and the internet lend themselves so well to our industry. Sites like you mention above are so inspiring and have really pushed me to improve my work!

  • Dawna Branson July 2, 2013 12:07 am

    I love all your work. Thank you for the insight into forum's. I am still growing, one day I will post to them.

  • Amanda Jordan July 2, 2013 12:05 am

    Thank you Lori for sharing your amazing knowledge. I wasn't aware of this "Another boost to submitting to online forums? Increased SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for your photography website or blog." Very good to know...

  • Jammie July 1, 2013 11:59 pm

    Great post! Well written and informational. Online forums are a great way to learn and better yourself as an artist for sure. Thank you for this!

  • Crystal Harrison July 1, 2013 11:55 pm

    What a wonderfully written article! I've been featured in some of the groups you've mentioned, and it has helped me grow as an artist and photographer tremendously! While I have to agree with Cramer that yes, you do receive unsolicited feedback at times, that shouldn't keep others from posting their own work. It can be a huge learning tool, and if you put your work out for others to see, be prepared to receive both good and bad feedback. Not everyone will enjoy your work, as every artist is different. Ignore the spiteful comments. Great great read Lori, thank you for sharing!

  • Cramer Imaging June 30, 2013 09:42 am

    I must add that if you do decide to get a bit spiteful back, then please do so tastefully. Also, please use some legitimate critique rather than making something up just to sting back.

  • Cramer Imaging June 30, 2013 09:39 am

    Thanks Lori. You have given me something to think about. I'm currently working on the SEO myself for my business. I will start looking into some of the webpages you have listed. One of the benefits of the online forums is that if you do get unsolicited negative feedback, or downright trolls, you can also leave feedback on their pictures too. If the poster has images that suck, you can tell him/her that their pictures suck too.

  • John Davenport June 30, 2013 02:48 am

    Photography forums are a huge benefit to every photographer professional or not. Pros can provide knowledge to those who are just starting out and those just starting out can actually help the professionals remember some of the basics they might take for granted.

    Everyone can learn from one another and these forums and thus they are great resources for everyone to contribute to - but of course contribution is key and it has to be constructive. I've seen so many critique forums where people get out of hand with name calling or bashing for the sake to bring a photographer down - this is not the right way to learn - but the anonymity of the internet does leave itself open for this kind of thing.

    I'm somewhat surprised to not see the DPS forums listed here as they are huge and very active with people willing to share their advice, but as a side note I do want to mention that for those that like smaller communities I've recently even started my own (very small forum) which allows for much of what you've talked about, but at the current level it's so small that people really get to know one another which is kind of nice.