Tweetography: how (and why) to improve your photography skills via Twitter.

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Twitter seems to be taking over the world (and by “seems to be,” I’m sure I mean, “totally already has”) and the realm of photography is no exception. My husband calls twitter “the stupid that stuck,” and I’m utterly amazed that something so remarkably stupid could be so perfectly AMAZING on every count.  I wish every day that I invented it. Unfortunately, I’m too smart to come up with something so stupid (read: awesome beyond all reason).

Here are 5 reasons/ways to jump on the stupid wagon (of all awesomeness) and use twitter to increase your photography knowledge:

1. Twitter: the mirco-forum

Interesting twitter discussions can be reminiscent of a casual (and perhaps more easily accessible) online forum. Create a twitter buzz in your online photography forums of choice by dropping your twitter name in forum discussions (don’t be obnoxious) and by inviting others to do the same.  Cross follow, and then you can take the formality of a forum (or flickr) over to the self appointed micro forum that is twitter!

You’ll quickly find yourself led to other budding tweetographers and you’ll soon find yourself learning and SHARING information like it’s going out of style!  Give, give, give. Share, share, share and you’ll find that others will quickly join in kind.

It’s easy to get people to join in, or expand the breadth of, discussions via twitter (and a side benefit of this is the extra followers you’ll gain through all the @replies!).

2. Twitter: the microjournal

Twitter is also a wonderful way to track your progress.

Tweet pictures and ask your followers for constructive critiques on them. 

Also, link to articles you’re reading (or better yet, have written).

Use a service like backupmytweets.com to protect your tweets and then refer back to them to see how far you’ve come!

3. The Tweetup

Network with other local photographers.  Find one online, and you’ll soon be led to more.

Organize tweetups where you and other local tweetographers can organize shoots or simply go out for drinks together and talk shop.

Side note: Local twitter friends are worth their weight in gold.  Aside from becoming dear, dear friends, mine have more than once bailed me out of a gear related bind, or provided last minute assistance on a complicated shoot.

4. Twitter: the professional network

Follow professional tweetographers (again, find one and you’ll quickly be led to more).

The professional realm is in large part a tight knit community, and many photographers share tips and tricks (their own and eachother’s) via twitter.  Even more link to interesting industry articles, giveaways, how to’s and etc. There is an abundant wealth of knowledge for the novice or budding pro.  It’s also a great way (probably THE BEST resource of all) to learn about upcoming photography workshops in your area.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions about your craft using @ replies.  You won’t always get a response, but often times you will!

5. Live and die by the retweet

Though this post is not a discussion on the art of drumming up followers on twitter, I will say this:

Retweet pertinent information and tweet information that is retweetable.  Become best friends with tinyurl.com and share useful information. Because it makes you cool.  And because it drums up your following (read: educational network).

For more information on increasing your twitter following, there are excellent articles on the web including this one by Kevin Rose for Tech Smart.

If you found this article useful, you can follow me on twitter at twitter.com/natalienorton and of course Digital Photography School at twitter.com/digitalps.

Happy Tweeting!

Read more from our Tips & Tutorials category

Natalie Norton

is a writer and a lifestyle wedding and portrait photographer who shoots across the globe. She is based off of the North Shore of Oahu and out of Gilbert, Arizona. Enjoy more of her photography and writing at www.natalienortonblog.com. You can also connect with Natalie via Twitter or on Facebook.

  • I share the same thoughts and personally use twitter for “talking” about photography almost daily.
    You can find me @kirpi if you like!
    🙂

  • Is this a way of pimping out twitter accounts? I’m sure you wouldn’t like @davehodg because I wibble about all kinds of other things… 😉

  • I’m not constantly on twitter, but I am constantly amazed by it. I tweet sometimes, usually photog related stuff.

    You can find me @suprspi if you like!

  • RJMang

    You ARE joking, right? Instead of frittering away precious time tweeting, how about this: go out and take some pictures!

  • I much prefer LJ and FB – where you can actually have a conversation rather than drive by snippets. I absolutely *loathe* getting only side of a conversation and that completely without context.

    Flickr is actually where I’m learning the most by participating in the critique groups, both having my own critiqued and participating in the critiquing of others.

  • I was hesitant to jump on the bandwagon, but am REALLY glad I did. Ive learnt so much from other photographers I cant even begin to explain. The sharing between photogs is awesome and its a tight knit community that is intent on helping each other. Put aside your biases (if you have one) against Twitter and use it in a way that works for YOU. Getting involved with great photographers across the globe has helped me grow immensely.

    – @dude_withcamera

  • dok

    thank god i’m not a professional photographer, I don’t have to use these stuffs like facebook and, worse, twitter.

  • Shelly

    Once again, a great and timely article from Natalie Norton. Thanks, Natalie!

  • Annie

    It’s good to see you back here on DPS, Natalie. We’ve missed you! I always look forward to reading your articles–and once again, you’re full of great tips. Thanks– and Welcome back!

  • Thank you for the article, Natalie. I’m just getting into twitter and still don’t understand well how it all works. This is definitely a good starting point. You can see my efforts @darianovaphoto

  • I use Twitter to advertise my photo journal. I also use it to share topics of interest to me and retweet topics that I find interesting. @cwbates

  • Twitter is my favorite way to get lots very current info, photography and lots of other things.
    http://www.twitter.com/thewaythingsr

  • Great article! Thanks Natalie. I’m just getting into twitter, so this is a great starting point for me. Anyone interested can follow my efforts @darianovaphoto

  • Hannah

    rjmang- so true. the ultimate time waster. blog, facebook, myspace and twitter all together we are falling further into a fake, constructed, commercialized internet world. don’t get sucked in!

  • Michelle

    FYI — those in opposition to twitter…you can disagree with using it without being rude and nasty. Where do people come from. Common courtesy goes a long way.

  • JohnP

    A agree with some comments, tweeting should be left to the birds. Seriously though, it probably is essential nowadays if you want to connect, I’m just happy to be unconnected.

  • Deejay

    I didn’t understand half of this article! What language is it in?

  • I am a big fan of Twitter for connecting with others in whatever field. I find this has now replaced most of my online forum and news site usage and is much, much more real-time.

    Still only a very amateur photographer but just adding the names in this list is a great start to getting more information. 🙂

    @jordanwindebank

  • Dave R

    Awesomely sad in the extreme. Get out if you can and take photos (even if you can’t get out), and enjoy life a little.

  • I’m using Twitter, but didn’t see the great learning potential that you blogged about. Thanks for sharing

  • Feels like rjmang and derekl said what needed to be said.

    I don’t see the point of twitter. Especially when there’s other, better, social networks.
    Twitter is like FB for grandpa, who only uses it because his company forces him.

    Don’t worry about the stupid bandwagon, just keep taking photographs.
    Besides, you can be plenty social on Flickr already.

  • Red

    I have to disagree, especially with the use of Facebook for inspiration and learning. This social networking (or stalking) is only useful for keeping in contact with people who don’t really use email that much, but mainly for gossip and lame games. Uploaded photos by users are usually poor at best, and that’s if they are in the correct orientation (pictures uploaded sideways, not sure if this is user error or poor usability on Facebook’s part).

    I have found far more interesting articles/links/photography/tutorials/freebies etc using Twitter/RSS/Image Spark/Stumble. FB is a poorly executed, ugly interface that has more bugs than Microsoft, and I for one will look forward to it’s demise! Although it will be replaced by another program that is pretty similar, but will hopefully be far more dynamic.

    @RedBastad

  • Red

    Oh I forgot to mention Flickr, I have been a member on this site for the longest. It’s great for showcasing your photos and getting feedback by joining groups and following other photographers work.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/elbeardo/

  • LOVE that there is a real discussion going on in here. Keep the differing opinions a’comin!!! We love your 2 cents! (be respectful and) keep the discussion alive!

  • Trina

    Twitter is a great learning tool. I use Facebook but most people on my Facebook talk about day to day inconveniences and mundane activities. I follow a lot of great photographers from around the world on twitter who are usually tweeting about information that is useful or interesting to me. Its nice to know that other photographers who you look up to also get bogged down with edits or a hectic photography schedule too because they tweet about it. Whenever I am overly excited about photography or if I need to vent I use Twitter instead of my Facebook friends who usually can’t relate to all things photography. You can find me @studioedgephoto

  • The only reason I’m on Twitter is to tweet the Daily Shoot. I truly don’t know why I’m on FaceBook. It seemed everybody was doing it and I accepted every friendship request from every person in every area of the art field and now, I’ve had to block most of them from my newsfeed because all they do is spam me to buy something they photographed, painted or sculpted.

    So I’ve weeded it down to friends, sites like this and other places that offer information with a few incredible artists/photographers who at least are worth looking at.

    This is the way I see it. If I have only 15 followers on Twitter and they tweet 5 tweets a day then that is 75 tweets I have to read. Add to that, most of them post bitlyurls or tinyurls or minisculeurls or whatever and now I have to click through to, let’s say, 50 pages.

    Well, now I’ve spent an hour and a half on Twitter and I still have Facebook.

    Okay, even though, I’ve weeded it down, I still have 50 posts to go through. Some of these have links too. Some I want to respond to. So that’s another hour.

    Like it was pointed out by many people above, just get out with your camera when the weather’s nice. It’s fall here in the northern hemisphere and a beautiful time of year. Or spend your day sitting in front of a computer developing carpal tunnel syndrome and ruining your eyesight so you can look at what other people shoot, listen to what they tell you to do even when it’s dead wrong, spam people, wade through spam from other people, etc, etc.

    It would be a lot more fun and time effective to join a camera club or take a college course on photography. AND you get to network with people who live where you live which is where you’re actually going to sell your photography.

    Gotta go. Forgot to check Facebook this morning. Ed might have shot a varmit in Frontierville. Wouldn’t want to miss that.

  • I use my twitter, http://twitter.com/Darder, for a range of interests but I do tweet whenever I update my photograph blog.

    Add me @Darder

  • Alex

    John Mayer says it well,

    “It occurred to me that since the invocation of Twitter, nobody who has participated in it has created any lasting art. And yes! Yours truly is included in that roundup as well,” Mayer explained in a blog entry Monday. “No artwork created by someone with a healthy grasp of social media thus far has proven to be anything other than disposable.”

    “I’m not knocking Twitter for those who are trying to make a name for themselves. Some people need all the RTs they can get today, But for those who have already established themselves it’s a slow erosion of the artistic notion.”

    Mayer’s biggest gripe with the social networking site?

    How celebrities have used Twitter as a marketing tool in their careers.

    “When you convert your art into the art of real-time brand management, I suddenly have no more interest in it…I’m not a brand, and I don’t refer to myself in the third person.”

  • so true, twitter is very useful to listen and learn…

    am @monish_m – http://twitter.com/monish_m

  • so true, twitter is very useful to listen and learn…

    on twitter @monish_m

  • I like Twitter because, for one, I can browse a lot of interesting news easily. My photography account follows lots of photographers and so I’m always assured of finding something interesting! I really enjoy it and it does drive traffic to my website and blog!

    @NikkiMoorePhoto

  • RJMang

    Oh PLEASE… Photography is about actually taking pictures, not “tweeting” about taking pictures. If anyone is relying on twitter to make them a better photographer, I think you are looking in the wrong place to find knowledge and inspiration.

  • Oh PLEASE… Photography is about actually taking pictures, not “browsing” the internet about taking pictures. If anyone is relying on the internet to make them a better photographer, I think you are looking in the wrong place to find knowledge and inspiration.
    😉
    […well, about the same sentence could be used for books, magazines, whatever sort of communication you may think… Yet I’m not sure it is a right approach: doing something is usually *not* only “doing” that very thing. Instead, it often involves a lot of other activities, among which…(write here)]

  • Alanna St. Laurent

    It hurt my head to read this. I tried several times to get into Twitter but to be honest I already feel overwhelmed with information why do I want to inundate myself with even more?? I hope they come up with something better than Twitter someday.

  • Sometimes these are really hard to get but I will manage it somehow

  • Jess A.

    so true, twitter is very useful to listen and learn…

    a

Some Older Comments

  • Jess A. September 27, 2011 08:55 am

    so true, twitter is very useful to listen and learn…

    a

  • Taneka Troxler December 8, 2010 05:44 pm

    Sometimes these are really hard to get but I will manage it somehow

  • Alanna St. Laurent October 14, 2010 12:45 pm

    It hurt my head to read this. I tried several times to get into Twitter but to be honest I already feel overwhelmed with information why do I want to inundate myself with even more?? I hope they come up with something better than Twitter someday.

  • kirpi October 11, 2010 03:23 pm

    Oh PLEASE... Photography is about actually taking pictures, not "browsing" the internet about taking pictures. If anyone is relying on the internet to make them a better photographer, I think you are looking in the wrong place to find knowledge and inspiration.
    ;-)
    [...well, about the same sentence could be used for books, magazines, whatever sort of communication you may think... Yet I'm not sure it is a right approach: doing something is usually *not* only "doing" that very thing. Instead, it often involves a lot of other activities, among which...(write here)]

  • RJMang October 11, 2010 12:26 pm

    Oh PLEASE... Photography is about actually taking pictures, not "tweeting" about taking pictures. If anyone is relying on twitter to make them a better photographer, I think you are looking in the wrong place to find knowledge and inspiration.

  • Nikki Moore October 9, 2010 01:06 am

    I like Twitter because, for one, I can browse a lot of interesting news easily. My photography account follows lots of photographers and so I'm always assured of finding something interesting! I really enjoy it and it does drive traffic to my website and blog!

    @NikkiMoorePhoto

  • Monish October 8, 2010 05:33 pm

    so true, twitter is very useful to listen and learn...

    on twitter @monish_m

  • Monish October 8, 2010 05:32 pm

    so true, twitter is very useful to listen and learn...

    am @monish_m - http://twitter.com/monish_m

  • Alex October 5, 2010 04:21 pm

    John Mayer says it well,

    "It occurred to me that since the invocation of Twitter, nobody who has participated in it has created any lasting art. And yes! Yours truly is included in that roundup as well," Mayer explained in a blog entry Monday. "No artwork created by someone with a healthy grasp of social media thus far has proven to be anything other than disposable."

    "I'm not knocking Twitter for those who are trying to make a name for themselves. Some people need all the RTs they can get today, But for those who have already established themselves it's a slow erosion of the artistic notion."

    Mayer's biggest gripe with the social networking site?

    How celebrities have used Twitter as a marketing tool in their careers.

    "When you convert your art into the art of real-time brand management, I suddenly have no more interest in it...I'm not a brand, and I don't refer to myself in the third person."

  • Darder October 5, 2010 05:14 am

    I use my twitter, http://twitter.com/Darder, for a range of interests but I do tweet whenever I update my photograph blog.

    Add me @Darder

  • Karen Stuebing October 3, 2010 03:39 am

    The only reason I'm on Twitter is to tweet the Daily Shoot. I truly don't know why I'm on FaceBook. It seemed everybody was doing it and I accepted every friendship request from every person in every area of the art field and now, I've had to block most of them from my newsfeed because all they do is spam me to buy something they photographed, painted or sculpted.

    So I've weeded it down to friends, sites like this and other places that offer information with a few incredible artists/photographers who at least are worth looking at.

    This is the way I see it. If I have only 15 followers on Twitter and they tweet 5 tweets a day then that is 75 tweets I have to read. Add to that, most of them post bitlyurls or tinyurls or minisculeurls or whatever and now I have to click through to, let's say, 50 pages.

    Well, now I've spent an hour and a half on Twitter and I still have Facebook.

    Okay, even though, I've weeded it down, I still have 50 posts to go through. Some of these have links too. Some I want to respond to. So that's another hour.

    Like it was pointed out by many people above, just get out with your camera when the weather's nice. It's fall here in the northern hemisphere and a beautiful time of year. Or spend your day sitting in front of a computer developing carpal tunnel syndrome and ruining your eyesight so you can look at what other people shoot, listen to what they tell you to do even when it's dead wrong, spam people, wade through spam from other people, etc, etc.

    It would be a lot more fun and time effective to join a camera club or take a college course on photography. AND you get to network with people who live where you live which is where you're actually going to sell your photography.

    Gotta go. Forgot to check Facebook this morning. Ed might have shot a varmit in Frontierville. Wouldn't want to miss that.

  • Trina October 2, 2010 08:34 pm

    Twitter is a great learning tool. I use Facebook but most people on my Facebook talk about day to day inconveniences and mundane activities. I follow a lot of great photographers from around the world on twitter who are usually tweeting about information that is useful or interesting to me. Its nice to know that other photographers who you look up to also get bogged down with edits or a hectic photography schedule too because they tweet about it. Whenever I am overly excited about photography or if I need to vent I use Twitter instead of my Facebook friends who usually can't relate to all things photography. You can find me @studioedgephoto

  • author: natalie norton October 2, 2010 09:37 am

    LOVE that there is a real discussion going on in here. Keep the differing opinions a'comin!!! We love your 2 cents! (be respectful and) keep the discussion alive!

  • Red October 2, 2010 09:28 am

    Oh I forgot to mention Flickr, I have been a member on this site for the longest. It's great for showcasing your photos and getting feedback by joining groups and following other photographers work.

    www.flickr.com/photos/elbeardo/

  • Red October 2, 2010 09:25 am

    I have to disagree, especially with the use of Facebook for inspiration and learning. This social networking (or stalking) is only useful for keeping in contact with people who don't really use email that much, but mainly for gossip and lame games. Uploaded photos by users are usually poor at best, and that's if they are in the correct orientation (pictures uploaded sideways, not sure if this is user error or poor usability on Facebook's part).

    I have found far more interesting articles/links/photography/tutorials/freebies etc using Twitter/RSS/Image Spark/Stumble. FB is a poorly executed, ugly interface that has more bugs than Microsoft, and I for one will look forward to it's demise! Although it will be replaced by another program that is pretty similar, but will hopefully be far more dynamic.

    @RedBastad

  • Robin Oberg October 1, 2010 10:51 pm

    Feels like rjmang and derekl said what needed to be said.

    I don't see the point of twitter. Especially when there's other, better, social networks.
    Twitter is like FB for grandpa, who only uses it because his company forces him.

    Don't worry about the stupid bandwagon, just keep taking photographs.
    Besides, you can be plenty social on Flickr already.

  • Anna Patrick October 1, 2010 09:27 pm

    I'm using Twitter, but didn't see the great learning potential that you blogged about. Thanks for sharing

  • Dave R October 1, 2010 07:33 pm

    Awesomely sad in the extreme. Get out if you can and take photos (even if you can’t get out), and enjoy life a little.

  • Jordan Windebank October 1, 2010 06:50 pm

    I am a big fan of Twitter for connecting with others in whatever field. I find this has now replaced most of my online forum and news site usage and is much, much more real-time.

    Still only a very amateur photographer but just adding the names in this list is a great start to getting more information. :)

    @jordanwindebank

  • Deejay October 1, 2010 05:26 pm

    I didn't understand half of this article! What language is it in?

  • JohnP October 1, 2010 03:53 pm

    A agree with some comments, tweeting should be left to the birds. Seriously though, it probably is essential nowadays if you want to connect, I'm just happy to be unconnected.

  • Michelle October 1, 2010 01:40 pm

    FYI -- those in opposition to twitter...you can disagree with using it without being rude and nasty. Where do people come from. Common courtesy goes a long way.

  • Hannah October 1, 2010 11:33 am

    rjmang- so true. the ultimate time waster. blog, facebook, myspace and twitter all together we are falling further into a fake, constructed, commercialized internet world. don't get sucked in!

  • Daria Nova October 1, 2010 09:48 am

    Great article! Thanks Natalie. I'm just getting into twitter, so this is a great starting point for me. Anyone interested can follow my efforts @darianovaphoto

  • s.m. bush October 1, 2010 08:42 am

    Twitter is my favorite way to get lots very current info, photography and lots of other things.
    http://www.twitter.com/thewaythingsr

  • Chris October 1, 2010 08:21 am

    I use Twitter to advertise my photo journal. I also use it to share topics of interest to me and retweet topics that I find interesting. @cwbates

  • Daria Nova October 1, 2010 06:49 am

    Thank you for the article, Natalie. I'm just getting into twitter and still don't understand well how it all works. This is definitely a good starting point. You can see my efforts @darianovaphoto

  • Annie October 1, 2010 06:43 am

    It's good to see you back here on DPS, Natalie. We've missed you! I always look forward to reading your articles--and once again, you're full of great tips. Thanks-- and Welcome back!

  • AUDIOMIND October 1, 2010 05:04 am

    http://www.twitter.com/audiomind

  • Shelly October 1, 2010 04:39 am

    Once again, a great and timely article from Natalie Norton. Thanks, Natalie!

  • dok October 1, 2010 04:14 am

    thank god i'm not a professional photographer, I don't have to use these stuffs like facebook and, worse, twitter.

  • Jesse October 1, 2010 03:04 am

    I was hesitant to jump on the bandwagon, but am REALLY glad I did. Ive learnt so much from other photographers I cant even begin to explain. The sharing between photogs is awesome and its a tight knit community that is intent on helping each other. Put aside your biases (if you have one) against Twitter and use it in a way that works for YOU. Getting involved with great photographers across the globe has helped me grow immensely.

    - @dude_withcamera

  • DerekL October 1, 2010 02:41 am

    I much prefer LJ and FB - where you can actually have a conversation rather than drive by snippets. I absolutely *loathe* getting only side of a conversation and that completely without context.

    Flickr is actually where I'm learning the most by participating in the critique groups, both having my own critiqued and participating in the critiquing of others.

  • RJMang October 1, 2010 02:35 am

    You ARE joking, right? Instead of frittering away precious time tweeting, how about this: go out and take some pictures!

  • Jeff October 1, 2010 02:14 am

    I'm not constantly on twitter, but I am constantly amazed by it. I tweet sometimes, usually photog related stuff.

    You can find me @suprspi if you like!

  • Dave Hodgkinson October 1, 2010 02:09 am

    Is this a way of pimping out twitter accounts? I'm sure you wouldn't like @davehodg because I wibble about all kinds of other things... ;)

  • kirpi October 1, 2010 02:01 am

    I share the same thoughts and personally use twitter for "talking" about photography almost daily.
    You can find me @kirpi if you like!
    :-)

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