On-line classes which I’ve taken, enjoyed, and found useful:
I took the full-participation version of the Going Manual course, and not only learned a huge amount, but also made some good friends.
I’ve also taken the Photo Editing course, which is self-study and mainly concentrates on Adobe Lightroom.
If you’re interested in Nick’s courses but worried about the cost, it’s well worth signing up to his Facebook page, where he regularly announces free one-off workshops; by taking one of these you can see if his teaching style works for you, and you will also receive a discount code on a full course.
This is an inspiring course, taught by one of the best-known flower photographers in the world; it covers equipment and the technicalities of capturing good flower photos, as well as creative and artistic aspects.
This is a Creative Live course, and it’s well worth browsing through their other offerings, which include a wide range (some of them free) on photography and photo editing.
Emma Davies is primarily a garden photographer, but she also runs a through-the-year workshop, providing weekly tuition and inspiration on both the technical and the creative aspects of photography. There is a large and active Facebook group, in which photographers of all levels of expertise and experience share their work, and the more skilled help and advise those who are newer to photography. There is also an Instagram group.
Daily photo projects
This Scottish site was set up over a decade ago, with the idea of allowing people to document their lives through a single daily photo. It’s regarded by the British Library as being of socio-historical importance, and is archived by them. It has had significant troubles since late 2014, but in early 2016 it was bought out by its passionate community of users, called blippers. There are regular photo challenges on the site, which can be useful on days of low creativity; and other community activities such as local blipmeets are organised by members.
This is another friendly site, though the focus is more on photography than words, so it feels less like reading other people’s journals than Blipfoto. There are regular challenges and competitions.
Local photography groups
After years of running scared from camera clubs because of their reputation for destroying the beginner, I now belong to two local groups – both of which are extremely friendly and positive, with a strong emphasis on the fact that this should, at the end of the day, be fun:
Stratford Clicks – although this is run on line via Facebook, there are pretty regular meet-ups and exhibitions.
Stratford Photo Group – a much more traditional, Big Girls’ and Boys’ Camera Club, with weekly meetings and workshops, competitions and speakers. I’ve met some very nice people here, and received some very good advice – and I wish I’d joined years ago.
Despite the infamous way in which Facebook mangles photos, it remains a good way of getting your work seen, and there are many photography groups on the site. Some are friendlier than others, but all have their own rules, and it’s worth reading those before posting or commenting, so as not to fall foul of the admins. These are some of the best groups I currently belong to.
British Landscape Photography – does what it says on the tin.
Improve Your Landscape Photography – a safe environment for posting landscape shots, but not very active.
Macro & Wildlife & Experimental Photography – quite a small group, which I think could do with sharpening its focus (no pun intended).
The British Wildlife Photography Group – used by a number of professional and many very skilled amateur wildlife photographers. I’ve received some good and friendly advice on lenses from members of this group – but I’ve also seen some unedifying spats.
UK Birdlife Group – a small group, purely for photos of British bird species.
The Expendables Photography Group – some inspiring work appears here, but it can be a bit blokey and competitive.
Digital SLR Photography Magazine CC group – if you want constructive criticism.
Fotozone – a small, closed photography group, with monthly challenges, tips and tutorials. It’s run out of the USA, but I’ve been made very welcome.
These have more of a focus on editing:
Photo Mastery with Steve Arnold – described by Steve (the Post-Processing Mastery guru) as “an interactive group where I’ll be here with you daily, providing resources, tips & advice to help you improve your photography.”
These are not necessarily strictly photography groups, but if you’re interested in bugs they are great places to see some good images, and hone your identification skills:
UK Hoverflies – this group operates as part of the UK Hoverfly Recording Scheme, so if posting you’ll need to include date information and a grid reference.
BC West Midlands butterflies and moths – the local Butterfly Conservation group covering my own patch.
Useful Non-Photography Sites
The Photographer’s Ephemeris – brilliant for telling you the times of sun and moon rise and set wherever you happen to be.
Grid Reference Finder – for the occasions when you’re posting to a group such as UK Hoverflies and need a location reference.
iRecord – for logging wildlife sightings; it’s not necessary to include a photo with your sightings, but they’re more likely to be accepted by the verifiers of the various National Recording Schemes if you do.
These have nothing to do with photography, and everything to do with bragging about my children:
Lauren Orme films – my daughter is a multi-award-winning animator.