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Author Topic: What would make a good Tog Site?  (Read 3906 times)

Offline Andrew

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What would make a good Tog Site?
« on: March 01, 2014, 01:59:01 PM »
No shouting from the back please - here is my list of the things that I think a popular site would encompass:
  • Camera Hardware/ Kit
  • Digital Imaging Software
  • Film Photography - it does still happen
  • Lighting Techniques (natural and strobe based)
  • Workflow
  • Techniques - this covers quite a large area as techniques can vary from one piece of kit/ software to another
  • Camera Clubs - a searchable list for youe area - this thne brings the issue of are you country specific or global
  • Forum
  • Support - or would that come within the forum section?
  • Terminology - is that a good one that seems to be missed and whon knows what all this jargon means
  • Gallery/ Portfolio
  • Earning Revenue from Photography
  • Competitions (preferably with prizes)

OK, my head is starting to hurt - and Mrs B has asked me to do some house work, and as I am a modern major general man (guess what I was listening to!) - I will comply  :tup:


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Offline Mick

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Re: What would make a good Tog Site?
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2014, 01:19:44 PM »
Is this some kind of hint Andrew?  :D

You know I just provide the platform, it's up to you guys to make what you need from it, within the software's boundaries and my (lack of) coding skills of course.  ;)
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Offline Andrew

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Re: What would make a good Tog Site?
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2014, 06:43:00 PM »
No Mick, not at all.

I just think that sometimes people don't always appreciate what goes into a forum like this.
To me, web site is just some where from which you get info. A forum is a place of much interaction.

Given I had raised the issue in another thread - I thought 'why not just see what people think is appropriate' for a successful forum.

Apart from the design of the web site and user interaction facilities, you then need people who can gain access to, and review, all the different sorts of hardware and software whilst offering up critical posts etc. Then of course you have the issue of tuition and techniques - look what has gone into posting a single item about the use of a grey card.

That you have achieved as much as you have Mick, to me is astounding - and even more amazing that it evolved from the failure of Future to read the trends etc on not one - but two occasions.
If I knew how to help develop something of this level and even push it to the next level - you can rest assured I would offer all the help I could.

I may be enjoying my job of researching what it's like to be unemployed  :( on behlaf of the government - but the ability to learn and develop anything more than the use of Wordpress is taking all I have.

I do wonder what it would actually take to set up a forum that would be what Future should have been able to achieve if they just listened to people! But until that day arrives, I'm more than happy to come on here and support it in any way I can.
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Offline WillyP

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Re: What would make a good Tog Site?
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2014, 04:22:08 PM »
What you really need is people who have the ability, passion, and inclination to write. It's just not enough to have good togs, to have the kind of site you are talking about. And it takes fresh content, to keep people coming.

So, start writing, Andrew, and I am sure Mick will be glad to host your articles. You've suggested your first article... on being an unemployed tog!
« Last Edit: March 03, 2014, 04:22:37 PM by WillyP »

Offline StephenBatey

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Re: What would make a good Tog Site?
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2014, 10:08:50 PM »
Difficult question, because it's asking what would make a popular site, rather than what I would look for. I don't think that they are the same thing. Of the thirteen points you mentioned, two are of no interest whatsoever to me, and the first has only a passing interest - unless the equipment was stuff I'd be likely to buy; and I seriously doubt reviews of large format cameras would be "popular".

How many of these things would you realistically expect to find on one site? One topic you didn't mention was the sole reason I go to the AP site - news items. What's new on the equipment front, what's new in the exhibitions, what's newsworthy full stop. I don't mind switching to another site for news, as it's not any more effort than switching tabs within a site (although the navigation rules may well change).

It seems unlikely that any small site could ever hope to match the big ones - and realistically magazine sites - in having access to the latest equipment and the testing equipment needed to perform objective tests.

Different sites seem to have different strengths and weaknesses; and some of the strengths can be the other side of a weakness. To provide all that you listed, a site would need a lot of manpower to create the content, and a lot of users to generate the revenue to support it. And that means that you lose any "village" atmosphere, where everyone "knows" everyone else. Of all the forums I've used, my favourite was the long gone Arem forum. It was small - CameraCraniums is medium to large in comparison, with a membership in three figures (or is it four?).

What I'd prefer is a site that is small and friendly, but one where you can ask almost any photographic question and get a reasonable reply or pointer to further information. And to me, a photographic question is far wider than the technical, but covers artistic matters as well. A forum where you can talk about the latest and greatest DSLR (if you really want to) but can also have a meaningful discussion about art.

The ability to display photographs and get good critique figures largely; but by that I mean more than what's wrong technically, and how to fix it in Photoshop, which I don't regard as serious critique at all. As I said at the start, I'm not typical.

Mick - if you want to take a look at my book with a view to seeing if any parts would be suitable for posting here, I can give you a link to download it (it's big though - 400 A4 pages)

Offline Alfonso_Frisk

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Re: What would make a good Tog Site?
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2014, 12:05:19 AM »
What makes a good tog site is discussions like this one.
I do like reading the thoughts and views from experienced photographers like Stephen, and Abers. (and others of course).
At least here it never gets nasty or personal.
I would like to read more threads on film gear and techniques as this genre is new to me.
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Offline ABERS

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Re: What would make a good Tog Site?
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2014, 09:16:19 AM »
The difficulty in producing an 'ideal' photographic site ( I hate the word 'tog') is making it mean all things to all people. Not being computer literate or have any idea how to put a site together, I have little or no idea what is or what is not possible.

The beauty of CC is the ability to pick and choose where and when to become involved if you feel perhaps you have something worthwhile to contribute.

Very few people however seem to want to stretch their photographic horizons and are comfortable and content with the status quo. If that is what satisfies them all well and good, but there is another side to photography that fascinates me.

We never read much about why photographs were taken in the first place, what motivated them to do so. How they perhaps experimented with the image to make it different and include their personality in what we look at.

I'm going to commit heresy now, one thing I would delete is the weekly competition! I know people assert they find it makes them think, working to a brief, but I hold the opinion that it has the opposite effect. If you need to be pointed in a certain direction to go out and take pictures then you need to work on becoming self motivated and self creative (if there is such a word?).

We read that time is precious and it sometimes gets in the way of an entry. If time is a barrier don't you think it would be better spent working on your photography, looking at exhibitions, looking at photography books for example rather than spending it rushing around trying to fulfill some repetitious brief. Very, very rarely do we see a picture taken to fulfill a brief that shows some degree of lateral thinking. One can almost see the images that will be taken once the brief is set.
It also gets incredibly boring keep reading posts urging people to vote. >:(

So CC fits the bill and perhaps gets like a nice old sweater that is comfortable and familiar, but let's try on something new now and again!  :idea:

« Last Edit: March 04, 2014, 09:19:30 AM by ABERS »

Offline Hinfrance

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Re: What would make a good Tog Site?
« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2014, 09:45:31 AM »
We never read much about why photographs were taken in the first place, what motivated them to do so. How they perhaps experimented with the image to make it different and include their personality in what we look at.

Good idea Alan. I'm game for trying to explain the random workings of my 'creative' processes, such as they are.

I like taking the odd snap. And I also like the social interaction of the weekly comp. For me photography remains an enjoyable hobby, where I learn, hopefully, a little more each time I set off with the camera.

It is not, however, my main pastime. That is and probably always will be music - at least until the arthritis stops me playing or my ears pack up. And it is simply a much cheaper hobby. I don't have a single piece of musical equipment that cost more than my K5 body did (luckily I don't play 'real' piano). Mind you, the software is still darned expensive.

But, of course, when it finally stops raining my main hobby will be painting the house, trimming trees, and trying to get rid of some of the moss that has invaded what passes as a lawn at chez H. I'll probably have to wash the cars too.
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Offline Andrew

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Re: What would make a good Tog Site?
« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2014, 04:40:07 PM »
Interesting thread this isn't it?

What started out as a comment on another thread has started to becmome a worthwhile discussion - in my opinion.

For me, the main aspect of this site is the ability to enjoy troll free interaction and not be afraid to ask questions or offer up an opinion even though it may not be the same as every one elses.

The weekly/ monthly and other competitions are a legacy from the old DCM site which this replaced much more successfully than that awful thing Future created. Does it still have avalue?
That's a good question - and I suppose the only way to find out is ask - or maybe suspend the comp for a month to see what happens.

With regards to explaing the thinking behind a shot, I regularly does this with pics i post on 500px and it seems to ring a bell with other pho'tog'raphers on that site. So I'm more than happy to do the same here. I also explain what processing has been undertaken - but as everything is done in Lightroom (except for HDR's which use Photomatix), it's quite easy to explain that part as well. I don't do so in great depth - more a case of which 'sliders' are used.

I agree that a news feature is always useful for generating interest in a forum - but that of course requires access to a lot of rumour sites and company executives. Not sure this site is equipped to run a news section in its current format - but I suspect it is a case of ticking a few boxes, creating a folder and adding a few path details.

It would probably be easier to have a "Rumours" thread pinned to the top where rumours from various sources could be added. After all, why try and re-invent the wheel?

I seem to recall in days gone by (maybe DCM - not 100% sure) - there used to be a detailed look at the work of a particular photographer. I think that was interesting - but I think on DCM it got muddied in the 1 Star debacle when Tim Wallace got selected. Trying to get anything out of him nowadays is like asking David Bailey to pop by and take a few holiday snaps for you. He is an extremely busy guy.

Maybe another angle would be a project review - in which a shoot is chronicled from inception through to presentation. The idea, the items and arrangements needed for a shot - along with the actual shoot, processing and presentation. Some might say it will be the same old thing time in and time out - but from the various group shoots i've been on, it's interesting to see how different people approach a problem using different ideas and yet still come up with the the same idea. Now throw in all the different types of subject matter, high/ low key, DoF etc - the permutations can get quite large.

Blimey - I've rattled on a bit here. Maybe some on is right and i should put my money (or keyboard) where my mouth is - but that only benefits if there is an interest in such an idea.

Thoughts on a virtual postcard please  8)
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Offline donoreo

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Re: What would make a good Tog Site?
« Reply #9 on: March 04, 2014, 06:36:58 PM »
This is a great discussion.  I have not added anything to it, and I am not right now either, but I did want to make that comment to encourage others to keep going.  I will add to this later. 

Offline Hinfrance

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Re: What would make a good Tog Site?
« Reply #10 on: March 04, 2014, 08:05:07 PM »
Some great ideas coming out of your manflu Andrew.

I'll make a start at explaining how I mess up edit the stuff I post on here.
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Offline StephenBatey

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Re: What would make a good Tog Site?
« Reply #11 on: March 04, 2014, 09:01:47 PM »
Well, with one minor exception (as a retired computer programmer I may be slightly computer literate) I can agree completely with Abers post.

The thinking behind a shot could be as simple as what it's for; but I think that people often don't consider the possible interpretations before posting comments. It's possible to take exactly the same image, pick out exactly the same points, and praise or condemn depending solely on your starting point. I've done it on another forum as an example. Possibly an article - or preferably a thread devoted to this, as it would give more viewpoints than an article (Point of view 2? - I've seen the point of View article).

I've been in a gallery selling photographs where two photographers caught my eye. Both produced technically excellent, well composed images. But one did no more than that. I could look at the thatched cottage and think "that's pretty" and know that that was exactly what I would have seen if I'd been standing there. But the bridge in the snow made me feel the cold. And that was the crucial difference between the photographers - one recorded perfectly what was there, the other made you feel that you were there. A feeling, an emotion; not a record. That's a point that I don't think gets enough airing.

So perhaps I can add a point to what would make a good site - a forum that promotes interesting discussions - like this one.

Offline Karen

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Re: What would make a good Tog Site?
« Reply #12 on: March 05, 2014, 09:56:04 AM »
I think that fundamentally CC is a great site, its friendly and believe me Ive been on some that are not. Its testament to Mick that it has kept going when others larger have fallen by the wayside. This friendliness I think is derived from the fact that it is not too large.  I think we perhaps all need to make more effort to comment on peoples photographs. Sometimes they can have 10 plus views and not one comment or get knocked off the front page entirely due to competition entries.
I dont enter the competition primarily because I dont have the time and I agree with Abers that Im not really motivated by themes. I also am put off by the palavour of setting up polls and all the other things winning entails but thats just me
I would like to see more people write reviews of equipment they have as I did with my new camera, it doesnt have to be all technical just your views on it. Its human nature these days as soon as we decide on new equipment to go researching it and to find someone who has knowledge of it is a bonus.
I think with IOTW its good if the person writes a little about why they picked said image and why it appealed to them.
All in all I enjoy the site i just think we need to try to keep up logging in submitting our photos and commenting on others.

Offline Andrew

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Re: What would make a good Tog Site?
« Reply #13 on: March 05, 2014, 12:31:47 PM »
This is certainly turning into an interesting thread.

I think most are happy with its 'homely' or 'friendly' nature - and that is very much down to how Mick set it up and held firm in the early days.

So, I think the simple answer is to work on one change at a time. It seems to me that the one area for change is the commenting on images. But if I remember, this is restricted in size - and comments cannot be too big. I'm sure some one will update me on comment word/ character limit. Another consideration might also be how images are presented - are we really interested in all the technical data in every shot?

Most of us pretty much use the same kit for all of our photos, and that is often, or could be, added to our signatures or in our profile section.
I'm going to show heresy here and include a link to a pic that I commented on :
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=737569152942628&set=a.469653743067505.114124.125556687477214&type=1&theater

Now, this photographers work may not be to every ones taste, and even the picture may not be to every ones taste - but the point is the comment I added - and is similar to a lot of comments I offer up.
I'm really not a 'great shot', 'excellent' sort of commentator. I've never knowingly made a nasty comment - and always pre phrased what could be considered as a negative comment with the following "for me, if i'd taken it, i would have..." I've as yet to have anyone block me, delete the comment etc when using that line.

And maybe that is the crux of the issue, people have become afraid to comment. Or simply unsure how to comment in a neutral way. I think the consensus is that if you don't like the picture, you just don't comment - but if you like the picture and offer constructive comment - then I don't see how this can be an issue. I know at least 3 pro photographers who appreciate my 'honesty' and have taken my comments on board and re-processed the pics accordingly. Believe me, my points were pretty much what most of you would have said. I think they had just had a long day or two and were keen to get something posted and missed the obvious 'distractions'.

Anyway - back to my point.

Commenting on images - could we have some thought on the following amendments to the image profile system:
Remove all the technical fields and let users add their kit in their signature or profile. This would certainly save a fair bit of data space - and data still costs money.
Fields really needed are image title, photographers explanaition of the shot (where any non standard kit could be listed) along with any processing details. Maybe a hook up to a map system like used in 500px and Flickr if that is not too technically difficult.


Next up - a news section, i will go off and check, but i'm sure there is an events & news section listed further down the list of categories. And this brings me to my next point - are all those categories necessary? Needed? Used? If we are only using the same haf a dozen categories - why do we still need 30 or so other catagories? Most of the stff in those categories are fairly old hat now, and the search system on this sute is extremely good - i know because i've used it many a time to find something for which i could only remember a slight bit of the post or comment.

Again, your thoughts on this - because less categories means that the few categories that we do have will be constantly fresh and updated. We can always add categories in at a later date, but i'm sure fewer categories would make the site much easier to administrate.
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Offline donoreo

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Re: What would make a good Tog Site?
« Reply #14 on: March 05, 2014, 02:44:19 PM »
I think many people are afraid to post negative comments.  If there is something technically wrong with a photo, the person should know!  You can be nice about it, negative comments are more accepted when they are not so blunt.  I think it is the fear of offending by saying anything bad that causes many comments to not be posted. 

If all you hear are the good things you will never fix the bad ones.  You need to hear what you did wrong or could have done better

 

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