If you want to be good at anything you do, you’ll need to know what others are doing. We find ourselves in a great era of easily shared information. When I was learning photography – and it wasn’t that long ago – websites weren’t very extensive or informative. And surely professionals weren’t sharing their wisdom to all who care read their blogs. But we have that now, so there’s no reason you shouldn’t be reading as much as you can about this incredible hobby of ours. Here are a bunch of websites that you should have bookmarked and you should be visiting often. You can also follow their RSS feeds for easy tracking.
Digital Photography Review: Equipment Review – One of the most extensive digital camera review sites available on the web. You will never find reviews as detailed and as unbiased as the ones you find on DPReview. This is the site you’ll want to visit if you’re considering a new camera or camera body. You can view camera features side-by-side or search for products by feature. My only lament is that they don’t do more lens or accessory reviews. As a bonus, DPReview has one of the best glossaries of any photography site I’ve seen.
Digital Photography School: Tips, Articles and Forum / Beginner through Intermediate – The Digital Photography School (or DPS) is an incredible resource, especially for those new to the world of photography. Articles are added every day with topics ranging from the basics of composition to business management tips. Even intermediate will find some interesting reading at least once a week. Additionally, the forums at DPS are incredibly active and always a good place to go for advice about equipment or critiques on your work.
Opacity: Gallery – This is the only gallery site that is listed here today. There is a very specific reason for this. Unlike the galleries exhibited by many photographers, Tom Kirsch’s gallery has a very specific focus: Urban Decay. Mr. Kirsch’s specialty is photographing the ruins and remains of human ingenuity and architecture – from the rotting shell of a prison to a rusted out factory. I frequently visit a number of galleries all over the web, but none have inspired me nearly as much as Mr. Kirsch’s. On his site, you will find incredible lighting, excellent composition and extensive proof that nearly anything can be beautiful.
PhotoZone: Lens Reviews – PhotoZone is primarily a lens review site. They provide extensive reviews, complete with lab test results and sample shots, for most of the lenses available on the market. The site is organized by the manufacturer of your camera body, so you can easily find lenses specific to your setup. As I would always recommend, you don’t necessarily want to take this (or any) single source as grail, but this is one of the better lens review sites I’ve seen.
PopPhoto: Magazine Web Site / Beginner through Advanced – PopPhoto is the web presence for Popular Photography and Imaging Magazine and American Photo Magazine. Much of the content from the magazines ends up on PopPhoto (albeit a bit later than the publications themselves) including product reviews, tips and critiques. They have a fairly extensive buying guide as well. One section that has proven quite useful is their How-To section which contains lots of tutorials for some of the more popular techniques.
Pro Photo Life: Blog and Tips / Beginner through Advanced – Jim Talkington, in my opinion, is one of the unsung heros of the online photography community. While most other bloggers (myself included) limit our articles to short essays about how you should do something, Mr. Talkington gives us streaming videos that show you how it should be done. Additionally, his incredible experiences as a professional photographer is great source of wisdom and experience. You can spend four or five minutes on his site and I gaurantee you’ll learn something. But the best part is that he is a born educator. His writing and presentation style is easy going, easy to understand and helps you to gain confidence. Of all the sites I’ve listed here today, this is the one site you should definitely visit.