How do photographers share and get feedback on their work? This weekend I dove in. It breaks down into three main categories:
These are full-blown ecosystems built for sharing images. Flickr once reigned supreme here, but has taken an epic tumble in the last decade. 500px rose up in its vacuum, but has had trouble coping with its own success. Sentiment for 500px generally doesn't seem to be high. Instagram is now the 500-pound-gorilla in the space, but as a generalized product (not specifically for photographers) with mass adoption, its value is primarily its high-volume, low-quality interactions.
These services offer expert opinions on submitted work. They're heavily transactional: a photographer prepares a submission and receives a formal, written review of the work. Some are paid (Lensculture $50), and some are free with the caveat that only select works are chosen for review, usually then posted publicly. These services often act as expert gatekeepers (1x, Lensculture) that promise access to higher realms of exposure in the photographic community.
These are more traditional web communities that are using a generalized community product (web forums, Facebook groups) to share work with one another. Because they are easy and free to create, there are a lot of these. They tend to fragment into more specific sub-cultures (Street Photography Vivian Maier Inspired, I Love Black and White Photography).
The full table I compiled lives here.
So where does something better fit? Some of the vectors I've thought about: fun, useful, price, authenticity, speed of feedback, mobile-friendliness, friendliness, specificity.
The two I keep coming back to though are fun and useful. A quick graph plotting some of the existing players looks like the one below. Not much in that upper right quadrant.
In the language learning space, I've loved Duolingo for a long time. They've nailed that upper right quadrant. Is there room for something in the photography space?