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Best Websites for Serious Photographers

written by: Steve Graham•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 3/5/2010

Here is a list of the best websites for serious amateurs and professional photographers to learn, network, promote their work and avoid legal woes.

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    Here is a list of websites for professional photographers and serious amateurs. There are plenty of other sites, but these are just my favorites and a couple of the best for taking online classes, meeting other photographers and seeing award-winning photos and maybe win some awards. Finally, there are some good sources for legal information pertaining to photography. Here's a summary of where photographers can and can't take photos. The last set of links below pertain to copyright and fair use issues.

    I didn't include information about online photo sharing and photo editing sites because other Bright Hub stories cover these topics well.

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    Tips and lessons

    • The National Press Photographers Association is considered the leading organization for photojournalists, offering training in skills as well as legal rights and other relevant subjects. As the name suggests, much of this content is advanced and pertains mainly to photojournalists, not art photographers or advertising photography (though many of the same principles apply).

    • The Poynter Institute is a leading school for journalists with a vast website full of lessons and news for journalists. Much of the site focuses on print journalism, but this is the visual journalism section, with extensive information about photojournalism.

    Photo Techniques Magazine has a site with beautiful photos and useful tips. Again, this is pretty advanced stuff, but it is more skewed toward art and nature photography rather than photojournalism.

    The Kodak site has a broader range of information. The company obviously wants folks to buy and use its cameras, printers and accessories, so it's going to teach you how to keep improving your photography. It has lots of good information for beginners with basic cameras, but I don't recommend the site for more advanced photographers.

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    Networking has active forums and plenty of opportunities for critiques and publicity of your work, as well as chances for learning and inspiration from other photographers.

    SportsShooter has possibly the most active forums in the photography game. As the name suggests, the site is largely about sports photography, but the forum is a little more broad. The rest of the site is still useful to those who don't shoot sports because sports can be among the most difficult subjects to photograph (just try keeping your camera's eye on a hockey puck).

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    Awards and inspiration

    The International Center of Photography hosts a photography museum and school that focuses on groundbreaking, famous and top-quality photographers. The New York museum and even the online samples should inspire any photographer.

    The Professional Photographers of America have a list of prestigious annual photo contests — both its own competitions and other prominent prizes opportunities.

    Daily Awards is on the other end of the scale, offering a constant stream of peer-selected photo awards in specific categories as well as general daily, weekly and monthly contests. All the winning images are impressive. Absolute beginners may have little chance of winning, but can gather plenty of inspiration.

    Profotos is like a filtered, fancy version of Flickr. Photos are largely posted by amateurs, but judged and displayed for a little promotion and ego boosting.

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    The American Bar Association an almost overwhelming amount of information about protecting your intellectual property as a photographer. The site is thorough if not especially user-friendly (it's run by lawyers. What do you expect?). It also has links to laws in several other countries.

    • Along similar lines, the United States Patent and Trademark Office can help protect your valuable photography.

    The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press offers legal advice and assistance for journalists of all kinds. Just think of yourself as a visual reporter.