Although those with a tendency to become addicted to social media should steer clear of them, forums give you a great opportunity to ask questions, research problems, and exchange with other photographers.

In most corners of life, small is beautiful, but when it comes to discussion groups, size has its advantages. As an Olympus shooter, I appreciate the cozy groups where I can find what I need without having to ignore Canikon-only products and solutions, but when it comes to general photographic advice, I head to the large sites. Some evolved from gear review websites, such as Steve’s Digicam Reviews or DP Review, some from an individual’s personal interests, such as Fred Miranda or Luminous Landscape, and still others were purpose-built as general forums, like Photo.net, Photo Camel and the Photography Forum.

Every venue has its strengths and weaknesses, and I use them all, but Photo.net has the best “signal to noise” ratio of all of them IMHO. A nominal membership fee (amply covered by freebies and discounts) keeps “trolls” at bay and the discourse on topic. The membership is large and distinguished – the level of images shown is the best I’ve seen, comparable to the best sharing sites, like 500px.

I asked for tips this weekend about going to Yellowstone in October, and within hours I had several excellent replies, offering experience, advice, and links to helpful resources, such as wyofoto.com and Bearman‘s, from a host of photographers, who also knew to show me their portfolios. Here’s a peek at Christopher Sperry’s work:

Lower Yellowstone Falls

And David Henderson’s:

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