Getting Started on Ausphotography AP

Site Matters and General Articles Index Next: AusPhotography Library
This page is a chapter in the book Site Matters and General Articles Index.

Getting Started on Australian Photography

This page is available as a downloadable PDF: Click HERE


First of all welcome to Australian Photography! Great to have you here, looking forward to seeing some of your pictures, hearing about your experiences,
helping you to get started along the road to fabulous photos, .... whatever your situation, you’ve come to the right place. The members have a broad range
of skills and experience and are only too happy to help out those with less experience, or learn from those with more experience.

Before we get started, you might have noticed once you joined up and before you make your first post that there are quite a few forums you can't visit,
and you're probably wondering why. Well, firstly, we want to encourage you to become an active member - and when you do, you'll find the rest of the
site becomes available to you (more on this a bit later). The other reason, well, sadly, there are some dishonourable people out there, and they'll take any
chance they get to pinch photos that aren't rightfully theirs. So, we put this restriction in place to protect the copyright of our members' photos from
people who want to just look and "borrow". We don't let just anyone in you know!

We have a basic site map available to help you understand the menu system and where to find things. It is not a comprehensive map, more just an overview
as the site is constantly evolving due to the nature of forums. However the site map can give you a bit of a heads-up, on the main menu and what is under
each menu heading.

Okay, to business – there are a fair few rules in place, which are there to make AusPhotography safe and fun. The rules encourage or discourage specific
behaviours, and this can make it all a little bit daunting for the new member. To help you through the early days and get you started posting as quickly as
possible, we’ve created this cheat sheet that condenses a lot of the information you really need. It doesn’t replace the important stuff – we’ve included
links to the full documents (these are the bits of text in green), and it would be really good if you could visit all the links at least once this side of Christmas,
but if you at least go by this cheat sheet, we know you’re heading in the right direction!

The Everything you need to know about Ausphotography page is an important starting place.
Please take some time to read the various items.

[top]Your first day – Welcome to the zoo!

Here are a few things that will help you settle in, kick-back and get comfortable here at AP!
  • Patience Grasshopper! It takes up to an hour from your very first post for some of the forum to open up to you. Use this time wisely and you
    too can become a zen master!
  • DO – post an introduction to yourself!
    Say hi – who you are, where you’re from, what areas of photography you are interested in, what camera gear you have, and what your skill level is.
    Members who join and do not become active will have access to the sections of the site restricted after 30 days. Ausphotography is a forum, and
    as such is set-up for participation. Participation on the site is rewarded with full access to all the site has to offer.
  • DO – set up your details in your profile. You’ll find all the things you can change under the Settings option at the top right of the
    forum. You might have said where you’re from in your intro, but in case some members missed it, we like having it displayed in all your posts also
    so it gives some context to where you are from – especially when you’re talking about local events for example.
    ~ If you are in Australia, include your State as well as a more general area within the State (eg. City or Town).
    ~ If you are not in Australia, include your Country and then a more general area in that Country.
    ~ Please DO NOT put your home address or phone number in – we don’t want to invade anyone’s privacy.
  • DO – check out the FAQs! There’s a fair bit of basic stuff there about navigating the site, more information on your profile options, and getting started
    in posting to threads. A little bit of time spent reading through the FAQs will save a lot of time later!
  • DO – check out the New to Photography book (NTP) if you are just starting out or about to buy a camera.
    It contains a wealth of information and a self-paced learning plan. Even expert photographers refer to this from time to time.
  • DO - check out the site advertisers and sponsors. We don't charge for membership on AusPhotography but we do need money to keep the site
    running and that's where our advertisers and sponsors come in. We have some fantastic companies providing advertising and sponsorship and when
    you click on the banner ads in the forum, the site gets commission from the transaction. So, whether you're looking for a new camera, a new lens, a
    new printer or even just some photographic paper for printing, check out the banners or the Sponsors link at the top of the page, and help contribute
    to the upkeep of the site. If you joined AusPhotography to promote your website, products or services, then you need to contact the site administrator
    about setting up an advertising contract. Without one, commercial promotion is not allowed. Contact the administrator using the "contact us' link at the
    bottom right of the site pages.
  • Classifieds -We have a classifieds forum, however this has separate rules for each classifieds category, that you must abide by. Some classifieds forums
    are not available till you reach 30 days membership and 50 posts. We have a gear trading forum, a cameramarket forum and an photographic employment forum.
    We encourage you to join in photographically before considering using the site to post advertisements. Our classifieds forums are not to be used to post commercial
    advertisements, unless you are an Ausphotography site advertiser. Adverting is prohibited anywhere else on the site (including via the personal message system).
    We recommend for trading of gear.

[top]The 30/50 rule – ah, the old 30/50 rule!

This rule causes quite a few problems for the moderators (oh, and by the way, check out your friendly bunch of mods – we don’t bite, honest!).
In simple terms, there are a few things you are not allowed to do until you have reached 30 days membership AND 50 posts. It’s no good rushing
to get your first 50 posts – you still have to wait 30 days as well – so you may as well spread it out and learn a little along the way.
Until you have reached 30 days and 50 posts, you can’t:
  • Post to the Members’ Gallery – not to be confused with Member Photography Forums, the Gallery is where members showcase their work – and no
    critique is allowed.
  • Complain! Seriously, our members don’t want to get a bad first impression of you if all you want to do is have a whinge about someone or
    something. So, be positive! Save your complainin' for someone who can do something about it!
  • Post links to commercial websites, either to promote/complain or simply discuss them. Unfortunately spammers are everywhere on the internet
    and we don't know who is and who isn't a spammer. So join in, show us some photos, but please don't start linking to commercial sites.
  • Refer to the site rules (in particular rules 3-7) in relation to exactly what you cannot do until you reach the 30/50.

[top]Oh WOW! Look at those photos!!!!

Right – take a deep breath, and wade right on in. Take your time to have a good look around – not just at all the information to get you up to speed on using
the forum, but have a look at the photos and threads in the Members' Photo Forums (Macro, Nature, People and so on).

If you are really new to photography, you’re probably feeling a bit awed right about now! Trust us, most of us were when we first arrived! There is some
outstanding photography on this site – and we’re not just saying that – there really is some outstanding photography on this site!

Are you a Beginner? Just starting out with photography. We have a Constructive Critique forum, just for you. Our NEW TO PHOTOGRAPHY Constructive Critique Forum
is for those who selected "Beginner" as their experience level, when they joined the site, and is only active for you, for 90 days from the day you joined up. So if the
quality of photography on the site seem overwhelming, the NTP Constructive Critique Forum is the place for you to start out. This forum will become available to you,
within 60 minutes of you posting your introduction.

You’re not thinking of leaving already? We hope not! We’d love for you to stay, but just in case you’re wondering if you’ve stumbled onto a professional
photography site by mistake, we’d like to assure you that most of the members aren’t professional – most do photography as a hobby because they love it,
and some do paid photography to earn a little extra pocket money (and because they love it).

You see, the thing is, we all started somewhere – and for most of us, that somewhere wasn’t very good! We came to a place like this, learned a thing or three,
and continued to develop our skills. And we’re still learning. Yes, that’s right – still learning! Every member is still learning something about photography, so
don’t be put off by what seems to be an unachievable level – a little bit of patience, taking in the advice from people who’ve travelled down that same road as
you, and practice, practice, practice – and before too long, you’ll be helping the rest of us encourage the latest newcomers to the site. You’ll see!

[top]Posting Photos

You’ll be wanting to do this, right? Of course you will! It’s the best way to learn! Our very friendly members will give you tips on how you can improve,
and things to watch out for. Don’t take anything personally – it’s called constructive critique (or CC for short), and it’s there to help you improve your
photography. Even the best photographer in their chosen field might be a complete disaster in another genre – there are always things to learn,
and if you take it in the manner it’s intended, you can only benefit.

When you do get to post a photo, we do prefer it if you can link to it from a photo hosting site.
There’s a whole heap of them out there and you’ll find the more common ones listed in the How Do I pages
and that includes information on how to link them into a thread here at AusPhotography.
  • All images on AP are displayed at a maximum size of 1024 pixels on the longest side. If you link to images that are larger, they’ll be resized and a message bar
    at the top of the image tells you that, and that you can click on it to see a larger version.
  • However, please try to keep your images at a maximum size of 1024 pixels on the longest side (or 1200 in the panorama forum) as we do have a few members
    with lower download speeds and limits. Check out Resizing photos for the net for info on resizing your pictures for the web.

If you really have problems with hosting sites, you can attach your photos directly in AusPhotography, but if you do that, there’s an additional limit on the
size of the picture:
  • If you attach an image (rather than link to another site) the maximum file size allowed is 250KB.

You did take the picture yourself, right? Just checking! 'Cause if you didn’t that would be a breach of copyright ©, and we take copyright VERY seriously on
AusPhotography. (Just as you don’t want others stealing your images!)


When you start getting some feedback on your photos, don't take anything personally - it's called constructive critique or criticism (or CC for short), and it's
there to help you improve your photography. Even the best photographers in their chosen field might be a complete disaster in another genre - there are always
things to learn, and if you take it in the manner it's intended, you can only benefit. Think about what others have said, and then when you get a chance, try to
include what they are saying in your next photos. You'll find your photography improving the more you try out the suggestions from other members.

Constructive critique isn't that hard and you're probably thinking that there's no way you'd be able to critique some of the members' photos? Well, you can!
And you can jump in and do it now - you don't have to wait! Because all it's really about is saying what you like in a photo and maybe what you don't like so much.
As you get better at taking photos, you'll also get better at giving constructive critique. They tend to go hand-in-hand.

One more thing about this critiquing business. Don't worry about getting ridiculed or put down - it ain't gonna happen! This is one of the great things about
AusPhotography. It's a very well-moderated site, and we don't like people getting too personal. Everyone gives their critique about a photo in a constructive
way (that's why it's called constructive critique), and the members here are really good at encouraging the newbies, so don't be scared - it's safe; jump on in.

[top]Past the Basics

Okay, so you got this far – wasn’t too bad was it? No bruises, no life-threatening diseases? (We’ve all had our check-ups and passed!) So, what’s next?

Maybe you’ve made a post or two – even started your own thread? If you haven’t already, maybe it’s time to check out the gory rules! Yes, they’re
not exactly “light” reading, but, there’s a few things we have to do if we’re all going to play nicely with each other. Strange as it might seem,
there are a few people around who don’t know the things they are supposed to do – we know you’re not one of them, but you know how it is – you
have to pitch at the lowest common denominator! So of course, you know all this and you do the right thing .... but we were just checking, okay?


So, think you can pit yourself against the best AusPhotography has to offer? Well, you gotta be in it to win it as the saying goes! Try your luck, you just never
know! We have had some brand new members come in and enter their first competition, and take the prize! About an hour after your first post (in one of
the post-counting forums – explained a bit later on) the system will let you enter Competitions.

Most of the competitions on AusPhotography are anonymous, and that means you don’t know who entered which picture (until it’s all over and everything
is revealed). This means no watermarks on the photo when you enter it – because watermarks usually identify the person who took it! Don’t forget, and
then you won’t have the Queen of Disqualifications sending you a message! It’s also a good idea to check out the competition rules because there’s a few other
things our resident princess Queen is always on the lookout for, and it’s best not to fuel her enthusiasm too much! Each type of competition has its
own rules, and they’re mostly the same, so here’s one set to get you started.

All entries to competitions are entered via the AusPhotography competition management tool (click the competitions menu item on the menu across the
top of the site) – which is basically uploading them directly, rather than linking to them which you normally do in the general forums. There is an
absolute size limit of 250KB for all competition entries, and they must be stripped of (identifying) EXIF data. If you’re not sure how to do that, check
out the Resizing photos for the net page again – the section on “save for web”. But do not get to concerned cause we check entries and remove the
EXIF if you have forgotten.

Our competition system allows us to have separate competition levels – beginner, intermediate and advanced. All this means
is that we group people together based on the skill level they’ve shown on site or in their competition entries. When we have competitions using these
levels, you’ll be competing with people at a similar skill level, and that will give you a more level playing field.

There are a few different competitions on AusPhotography. First up, we have a weekly competition – otherwise known as Photo of the Week (POTW).
We don’t usually have prizes for POTW, but again, occasionally we do, and we will let you know if that is going to happen. The normal prize for winning a POTW
is a nice bit of green real estate in your signature.

Then we have Photo of the Month (POTM).
These are themed competitions which means you have to enter a photo that fits the theme of the month. For example, a recent theme was “Weather”.
So, we had storms, we had rain, we had shine, we had lightning, we had clouds ... all the things that mean “weather” to somebody. We’re usually pretty
flexible with the way members interpret the theme, but occasionally, we might ask someone to explain how their photo fits into the theme (if it’s particularly
obscure!). POTM comes with a prize of a $60 voucher towards your own hosting site with one of our site sponsors, HostGeek webhosting, as well as
a nice bit of blue real estate in your signature.

All these competitions are 'anonymous' so do not go posting your entry onto the forums as well as putting it in a competition. Don't stick your watermark on
your entries. Really anything you do that could identify your competition entry as yours, we frown upon and it usually means your entry will be disqualified.
Check the rules of each competition before entering, just so that you know where you stand.

Finally, there is also the Photo of the Year competition (POTY). The only thing is, with this comp, you need to have won one of the other competitions
during the year to be eligible. You can’t enter this competition directly. Our members vote for their favourite from all the photos that have won any of
the competitions during the year. Nice bit of dark green real estate for first, second and third place-getters on this one.

Voting on our competitions is restricted in your first ten days of being on Ausphotography. Once you are an active posting member and you have been
a member for more than 10 days, you will be able to vote for your fellow members in all of our competitions. You can start entering our competitions
soon after you become an active posting member on the forums.

[top]Post Count

As you interact (post) on AusPhotography your post count goes up. Some forums (Out of Focus, The Test Zone, CameraMarket Classifieds and Site Matters) don’t count
towards your posting total as they’re not really related to photography.

So, why does your post count matter? Some site features open up as your post count increases. The system controls this access automatically within
an hour of your post count reaching each new level. Specifically:
  • 1 Post – you can enter (but not vote) on competitions, and see the members photos forums.
  • 1 Post - and 10 days membership limit before you can vote on any of our competitions.
  • 5 Posts – you can Private Message (PM) other members. This is in place as an anti-spammer measure (we hate spammers on AP!).
    Note: You can send a PM to any one of the mods at any time.
  • 50 Posts and 30 days membership – you have gallery access, increased PM quota, and you can change your user title.
  • We require regular active participation (posting) on the forums to retain site access. Anyone who stops being an active site member
    will become 'inactive' and access to a great deal of the site will be removed. If this happens to you, we send you an email when you go
    inactive, encouraging you back to the site, and advising you how to re-activate your account. All we ask is that to gain the benefits of
    what the site offers and provides, for free, that you have to be a regular, active participant.

[top]Classifieds : Buying / Selling / Trading / Borrowing

We allow classifieds on Ausphotography. All classified advertising must be done in the Classifieds forums. Seeking to advertise or trade gear anywhere else
(including via the personal message system) is prohibited.

Ausphotography Classifieds. Access to this forum is restricted to active site members with over 30 days membership and 50 posts. Once you have reached those
requirements the forum will be available to you. Please read the rules at the top of the Ausphotography Classifieds forum before posting to that forum

We also have an Photographic Employment Opportunities forum. Again this is only available to members with over 30 days membership and 50 posts. Please
read the rules in that forum before posting to that forum.

Any classifieds that do not meet the rules will be removed.

[top]What else?

If you have any questions or there is something you're not sure about, ask the team. Our usernames appear in Blue in the "online users" list
on the site homepage (underneath the competition winning photos), and also in threads. Just click on one of the blue names in a thread and from the
pop-up menu that appears select "send a private message to ...".

Well, there’s so much more we could carry on about, but you’ve probably had just about enough already! There’s lots of stuff in each forum – check
the stickies at the top of each forum page. Keep up to date with Site Matters – 'cause it matters! The Getting the most from Australian Photography
article is also very handy.

Most of all – participate, share and have fun!

[top]Some of the handy Links:

This page is available as a downloadable PDF: Click HERE

Site Matters and General Articles Index Next: AusPhotography Library

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