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Wasted talent


This topic is locked.

Reason : a good time to lock and collate what we have

JackAllTog Plus
9 5.0k 58 United Kingdom
20 Dec 2010 2:50PM
My two penny worth,

Iím assuming you have been able to survey some of the leavers and get them to tell you 1st hand their Whyís for leaving as they are best placed for explaining why they now feel their talent/time is wasted in ePz.

A similar scenario for me is that Iíve pretty much stopped buying printed mags as there is so little content thatís worth seeing/reading apart from the ďamazing imagesĒ which are just enjoyable to see. For the equivalent ďamazing imagesĒ on ePhotozine Iíd go to the editors choice gallery - but I donít often.
There are Pro photo mags that succeed and they spend time explaining a lot more of the technical detail Ė do our experts go there - or should epZ?

To get a smaller audience of a higher quality you need a barrier to entry Ė cost, time, approved membership etc.
One way may be League Tables in genres, perhaps we could see say a landscape genre with say 3 levels with each level allowed to select the best 1 every month from the level below. As a keen genre member when uploading your image you could ask for it to be considered in a specific genre, but only by your current levelís peers. If you did not vote once a month in your group youíd lose status.

Some other ideas:
One good thing coming is Rich Tags in the next release that will allow me to upload a quirky object and compare what otherís were able to do with it. Some subjects just donít make great photos Ė but still need trying with. Perhaps these tags could help product photographers and illustrators improve their offerings.
I often wonder why Group photo uploads donít also go in the gallery, some of the best work is never seen as you have to dig too deep to find it. Pop it in the main gallery (& profile too) and Iíll go oh gosh thatís nice and its in the ďwhateverĒ group maybe I need to see if this is for me and get group involved. The gallery quality content will improve too.

Free membership for gold contributors Ė those that bother to find the time to run groups etc need a time or advertising reward. Maybe they get a sales section that people can order prints from. You would have to be invited to these levels by otherís as is done by Getty images Ė itís a real privilege to be in this group.
In a similar vein Mark as constructive comments donít always get used well Ė you can put effort in to constructive critique but some donít then get marked as constructive despite being clearly constructive leaving a why bother feeling.

Thatís my guesses, the experts leaving really have the answer, I just hope they have the time to share why or suggest what they need to continue to inspire us.

Join ePHOTOzine for free and remove these adverts.

Pete Plus
17 18.8k 97 England
20 Dec 2010 2:54PM

Quote: not that I can inspire anyone .

I think you'd be surprised Cole

Quote:So - Pete - what type of site do you want - and at what price do you want it?

A commercial success is now important as that pays the staff wages and other bills associated with running a site as large as ours and allows for the plans of continual growth of features/services.
My ambition has always been to provide the best resource for photographers, and the reason for posts like this is because I don't always feel we're reaching that objective with 100% success.
Ian-Munro 10 200 15 Wales
20 Dec 2010 2:58PM
I still think that incentives for members to become "pro" members sounds pretty cool because I have had lots of help off screen from members that I respect. If there was a way to reward this through a nomination scheme that wood be pretty cool.

What about a "like" or "dislike" button that you click and therefore get an overall percentage for an image. Then if you get 74% for example then happy days, and on the other hand if you get 28% you can maybe put it forward to the relevant "pro photographer" for suggestion on improvement. When I say "pro photographer" I mean one of the "gold" member togs that was mentioned earlier.

Again just throwing some random stuff about.................some of the sh*t I'm slinging bound to stick TongueWink
Pete Plus
17 18.8k 97 England
20 Dec 2010 3:02PM

Quote:Again just throwing some random stuff about.................some of the sh*t I'm slinging bound to stick

Yes good keep it coming.
We do have an idea for a points system which is still a long way off development as there are still many questions, but if we get it right it would recognise site loyalty/activity and reward such members. We introduced a beta of this in 2008 on addyourface as a test bed and we've got the process right we just need to make sure the loopholes are fixed. And it cannot be introduced until the V5 upgrade is finished.
John_Frid 12 514 57 United Kingdom
20 Dec 2010 3:45PM

Quote:My ambition has always been to provide the best resource for photographers, and the reason for posts like this is because I don't always feel we're reaching that objective with 100% success.

Pete, you set yourself lofty goals, and I wonder whether they are actually realistic. In reality photographers are a pretty diverse bunch with an equally diverse range of requirements - some of which are likely to be incompatable with each other. Laudible as it is to want to be all things to all people, this inevitably becomes impossible and you can end up providing something that isn't really what anyone wants.

The site has grown because you have constantly sought to offer more and more. As you offer more and more so you need more staff to service the growing membership. More staff means you need more income so you have to seek more advertising (which distresses some members considerably), and becuase you need to make more from advertising so you need more members to drive up the price you charge for the advertising space, which in turn.....etc, etc. The site becomes driven by the need to grow members and offer more and more services, and this in turn undermines the feeling of community because it just gets too large.

My personal preference is fewer offerings and a smaller more discerning membership - and I'd be happy to pay more for that. I pay over £80 per year for my real life camera club (once refrehments and raffle tickets are considered) which I only attend once a week. I pay another £80 for my Photium Web site. Perhaps the extra you need is to concentrate on those services serious photographers would pay for. Perhaps a good web hosting package, what about at good quality printing service, how about a stock image service, ..there must be lots of things serious (but not necessarily professional) photographers would rather have than simply more galleries, voting options and awards.

Personally I think you are trying to achieve something that just isn't possible - by all means continue trying and I hope you prove me wrong - but I hope you don't end up creating another flckr (or whatever it is called) as I joined EPz because it wasn't like that.
Geraint 11 715 34 Wales
20 Dec 2010 3:47PM
This is the first time I've logged into EPZ for a long time. What I'm going to say is going to sound elitist (my views have been called this before on here). I'm one of the people who has learned so much from EPZ, and who has turned semi-pro. I was active on EPZ when I felt that I was learning from it. Sadly - for me - the quality of uploads and contributing has deteriorated. I don't feel that much on EPZ stretches or pushes me anymore. I honestly think there needs to be a 'pro' or 'elite' gallery, in order for people who want to learn further, and go past the plateau they've reached on EPZ, to have fulfilment. To be honest, I don't want my work to sit alongside a poorly-composed, blurred snapshot that has 100 votes in the gallery. What's the point of that? No one benefits from it. An elite gallery with honest critique would be inspirational and would demand the highest quality (in terms of photos and comments). Itís been said many times now, but EPZ cannot be everything to everyone. As it stands it seems to fulfil the needs of the social keen amateur very well, but it is lacking in anything beyond this.

I know all this sounds terribly negative, and I had thought of leaving EPZ before, but the advent of the groups kept me here. I tried to get involved in them, but didnít find the contributions in line with the purpose of the said groups. (I wonít go further into it than that.)

In order for EPZ to cater for the pro, or photographer who wants to be pushed beyond the current learning stages of EPZ, a new gallery has to be created, where standards are kept high and quality of contributions is kept to a premium. Members would need to be screened. This is bound to create a lot of negativity and bad feeling, but once that all settles down I think EPZ can be inspirational to many more photographers than it currently serves. The previous comments about potential new members being put off by the quality of the RC gallery are worrying, but not surprising. An elite gallery would solve this problem.
NEWMANP 10 1.6k 574 United Kingdom
20 Dec 2010 3:48PM
Same comments come to me Pete time and time again,

too many awards given to similar images.

too many people are ignored in the forum with many members bypassing previous comments and talking more or less to their friends.

good critiques ignored. (the team could help out there)

too many people under pressure now at work and unable to have the same freedom on internet

too many superb pictures go pretty much unnoticed

too many images hitting the gallery that are not serious attempts at photography (self portraits on phones etc)

too many images same as -same as-same as

all these have been heard before i know but they are the things that upset people the most. nearly everyone i meet in the field comes out with these like its a written script

Pete Plus
17 18.8k 97 England
20 Dec 2010 3:56PM
Thanks for everyone's comments. One thing I'd like to pick up on.

Quote:In order for EPZ to cater for the pro, or photographer who wants to be pushed beyond the current learning stages of EPZ, a new gallery has to be created, where standards are kept high and quality of contributions is kept to a premium. Members would need to be screened.

In much the way 1x works? Doesn't that then just create a different level of cliquishness? Don't you have to be in with a style to get accepted?

If not - how do you see the screening process working? And how would we ensure it has no bias, and no one feels it's biased. I can quite easily screen pics as I still look through everything. We would just need a tolerance level which would be different to the current EC / HC process, but what would happen when your pic got in side that area? And how would it differ from the current screening done by user awards/guest editors and my choice which if combined in a gallery as suggested by Koen a few months ago?
Tonyd3 Plus
13 1.1k 18 United Kingdom
20 Dec 2010 3:56PM
Well i have had almost 30 years growing as a photographer, I still think of myself as a beginner because im still learning everyday about something in photography.
I have been lucky enough to have won 10 cameras in magazines, in those days i really wanted to find out if i could produce work that would be inserted in the mags, win competitions in them and also at club level.

I remember i always wanted to be the best in our club but that lay with a guy called David Tann Alwood, some may remember him. To me he was a great and innovative photographer and changed his style many times, for me he was something to aim at, in the club comps he would enter every other year, so i did the same. yes i hit the jackpot over a period of a couple of years beating him several times not just the merits but on the year too, but what now, i did what i set out to do, what do i do now, in my mind i beat the best , i had no one else to go up against, that is how i felt.

I gave up photography after that for 1 or 2 years as i felt i could do no better. how wrong i was looking back on the images i used to do.
Basically it became my mind set that i had to change and do something else in photography so i set a challenge for myself to only do Landscapes, with no idea where to go or how to do it, i had a go. I took a landscape which i called Limestone Landscape taken in Malham in 1995, it became my most sucessful image at the time, it won me cameras, money, a holiday and was used by a well known outdoor clothing company for years etc etc. Im still the same now i have to keep on changing what i do otherwise i can not grow.(and i get bored with what im doing if i do it to long).

Im going though the same thing at present and looking for something new to inspire me, so i keep looking at the gallery on a daily basis to have a go at some thing new.
I used to find a new lens would inspire me or camera body, i have recently built a new PC and spent a fortune on it. But i have not really taken any pictures since my holiday in October.
I guess what im really saying is, i still seek the thrill of photography, but i feel im loosing my way again at the moment, may be that is why some of the great photographers on here are no longer here.

May be Pete you may have to go down the magazine route and add some competitions to be won with something like a camera or major prize to attract some of those great photographers back.
Why because we all need something to motivate us, something to aspire to, a target to reach, remember the thirl of the chase, so do i and i think may be that is what we all need.
Pete Plus
17 18.8k 97 England
20 Dec 2010 4:01PM

Quote:May be Pete you may have to go down the magazine route and add some competitions to be won with something like a camera or major prize to attract some of those great photographers back.

An ePHOTOzine Photographer of the Year has been discussed. I'm currently wondering if we can tie that in with the Photo Month aspect so you do assignments from those and the more you do successfully the more chance you have of winning - would that sort of thing sound like a plan?
20 Dec 2010 4:06PM

Quote:so it went down a "what's wrong with ePHOTOzine" track rather than a "how we can improve the options for the future".

Well that is part of the picture, if there are some things wrong with the site then those issues need to be addressed as well, it is easier for people to tell you what is wrong in their opinion than it is for them to necessarily offer any solutions. The what is wrong feedback is valuable if used properly.

Quote:They have no desire to hang around and encourage others, but need a place to hang out and get the same sort of enjoyment they had in their developing years.

User moderation or reputation points in the forum would be a good start, many forums allow users to vote on helpful posts therefore adding points to that persons profile. It adds incentive if people are recognised for being helpful, for some the recognition is more important to them than getting any financial incentive, but awarding them EPZ2 might be a good thing.

Quote:I don't see why ePHOTOzine cannot provide what is required, but as I never tire of posting/or providing help I don't understand the needs of those leaving or becoming dissatisfied fully. All I see is portfolios clearing from respected photographers and it's usually over some site or member issue that could probably be resolved if positive thinking and new paths were applied.

You are experiencing the classic cycle of a community group.

1. Initial enthusiasm (people introduce themselves, and gush a lot about how wonderful it is to find kindred souls).

2. Evangelism (people moan about how few folks are posting to the list, and brainstorm recruitment strategies).

3. Growth (more and more people join, more and more lengthy threads develop, occasional off-topic threads pop up)

4. Community (lots of threads, some more relevant than others; lots of information and advice is exchanged; experts help other
experts as well as less experienced colleagues; friendships develop; people tease each other; newcomers are welcomed with
generosity and patience; everyone---newbie and expert alike---feels comfortable asking questions, suggesting answers, and
sharing opinions)

5. Discomfort with diversity (the number of posts increases dramatically; not every thread is fascinating to every reader; people start complaining about the signal-to-noise ratio; person 1 threatens to quit if *other* people don't limit discussion to person 1's pet topic; person 2 agrees with person 1; person 3 tells 1 & 2 to lighten up; more bandwidth is wasted complaining than is used for the threads themselves; everyone gets annoyed)

6. Smug complacency and stagnation (the purists flame everyone who asks an 'old' question or responds with humour to a serious post; newbies are rebuffed; traffic drops to a doze-producing level of a few minor issues. OR Maturity (a few people quit in a huff; the rest of the participants stay near stage 4, with stage 5 popping up briefly every few weeks, but the site lives contentedly ever after)

Quote:I genuinely thought groups could do that, but only a few have embraced the options.

I'm afraid this is an example of feedback not being listened to, so many people told you that they either didn't understand the group thing or were not interested in it, some even complaining that it added more unnecessary complexity to an already fairly complicated site.

Quote:So for those who are hanging on in there, those who watch from a distance these days and those who have overcome their issues and found a solution. I'd like your views. What can we do?

It is not just sites like this the same applies to print magazines as well, I have subscribed to many magazines for a while until I found that there was very little to be gained from them as I already knew most of what was being covered, it wasn't that the magazine had got worse it was simply my level of experience in the subject was so much higher and the magazines were still catering for the less experienced reader that I once was and so valued the information for. Currently I subscribe to a photography magazine as I am a relative novice in the subject and the magazine has things in that are helpful. I am sure however that if I continue to peruse the subject after a couple of years I'll stop having the magazine as I will have spent an inordinate amount of time learning that the magazines will be of no use any more.

One big problem you will have is when someone switches from amateur to pro their attitude probably changes a bit, firstly they are doing photography all day every day and their enthusiasm to talk about it probably wanes as it is their job. For example I'm an IT pro and while I enjoy my job I don't like to get involved with IT groups or discussions as I have other interests outside of work such as classic cars and photography that I'd rather spend my spare time on. Especially when it comes to novice IT people as they always ask the same questions and it becomes tiresome, especially if they ignore your advice and go and take the advice of an untrained member of staff at PC World instead. Also a pro has spent an inordinate amount of time learning their skill, they may have learnt it free from others on sites like this but now they are trying to earn a living from their expertise, although it might seem ungrateful they may take the attitude that they are not willing to spend valuable time helping others as they now get paid for this work.
Tonyd3 Plus
13 1.1k 18 United Kingdom
20 Dec 2010 4:06PM
Well i sure it would motivate me Pete, at the moment i have no forward focus on photgraphy, i m stuck in finding something i want to do so may be that is the challenge that i personally do need.
Im sure it will motivate others to, i still love this place you know......
Geraint 11 715 34 Wales
20 Dec 2010 4:08PM
Pete, I don't know how it would work to be honest. I just think that EPZ needs a higher tier. I really don't think it should be as strict as 1x! 1x takes elitism to an extreme! I think membership should be screened in the sense that if a photographer has a strong, consistent portfolio (in any style - this new gallery should not be limited by photographic genre) they should be considered for membership. I didn't see Koen's suggestion, but I'd imagine the best person to do the screening would be you. As I said, there would be plenty of claims of bias, favouritism, elitism etc, but I gather you get these already with your choice of HC, ECs etc. I don't think membership should be reserved for people who have x number of awards, but photographers who show a good level of technical and/or artistic flair, ie not with portfolios consisting of poor snapshots.
Geraint 11 715 34 Wales
20 Dec 2010 4:12PM

An ePHOTOzine Photographer of the Year has been discussed. I'm currently wondering if we can tie that in with the Photo Month aspect so you do assignments from those and the more you do successfully the more chance you have of winning - would that sort of thing sound like a plan?

To me this just sounds like another stop-gap, much like the groups. I think EPZ needs something more radical to have any large effect.
NEWMANP 10 1.6k 574 United Kingdom
20 Dec 2010 4:14PM
what about election to a higher league gallery by application and assessment of a panel of work in the same way the RPS would use. the selection could be selected from members balloted and elected by the membership.

the same criteria as either the RPS or PAGB could be adopted. you could choose your specialist subject in which to apply your aplication.

this one new gallery section would answer most peoples demands and would be more democratic