Today I am very excited to announce a project that I have been working on for the past few weeks, which will be one of the new pillars of Photography Life. Welcome to our brand-new forum! Yes, the timing of this announcement is not a coincidence – I know that many other forums have been popping up lately in response to DPReview’s sudden closure. But this is also an idea I have been planning for years – a better, faster, more positive, and more sustainable forum for photographers of all levels.
You can check it out and sign up by clicking on the above image, or through the following link:
Our forum is not meant to replace the DPReview forum, but rather to be built around the positive and knowledgeable photographers who read Photography Life. Many of the existing DPR forum members have already scattered to various sites ranging from Facebook groups to Reddit, new forums like DPRevived and DPRForum, to existing forums like BCG, Photo.net, UglyHedgehog and FredMiranda, and that is not likely going to change.
Why am I linking to those forums if we are launching a forum of our own? Simply put, I consider them not to be competitors, but other members of the photography community. It has always been my philosophy that the online photography world is big enough for people to share, not to compete over a small slice of the pie – I felt this way about DPReview, and I feel the same about these photography forums and other photography websites. We will be linking to these other forums many times in the future and collaborating with them whenever possible.
With that said, here is why I believe in the Photography Life Forum so strongly:
- I will never sell Photography Life, and this is my promise to this community. Spencer and I solely own Photography Life, and we are committed to not only keep it running, but to always keep it free and away from outside commercial hands. That has been the model of the site since 2007 when I wrote my first blog post, and I promise to keep it this way. Other forums could get abandoned and destroyed like in the case of DPR if the head company goes under, while this one will not.
- Compared to almost all other photography websites, we have low operating costs and run everything ourselves. It is not a problem maintaining the Photography Life Forum (and Photography Life in general) even during the tough economic times that we are facing today and may face in the future.
- Spencer and I are photographers first and foremost. We have already made all of our commercial videos free to the community, and we will always give back to other photographers. If I ever cannot retain this forum for any reason, I promise to work with other community members to fully migrate and transition the forum, so that a DPR-like situation does not happen again. Any personal information would obviously be scraped before any transition, as we take your personal data very seriously.
- Since I have previously run a massive forum with hundreds of thousands of posts and millions of views, I know what it takes on the admin, business, and maintenance sides to run a large forum. Photography Life itself reaches over 2 million hits a month, roughly 30 million total requests monthly, so we have the architecture and the skillset to scale a busy forum.
- Finally, I think the only sustainable model of running a niche forum is through an existing website that is already busy and profitable. That’s how DPR had it for decades, and it’s the only way to do it. Once tens of thousands of people start posting lots of photos and increasing the website’s hosting costs, the only choice is to make people pay a subscription price (and kill the forum in the process) or have it tied to an already successful business.
Advertising is currently turned off on the Photography Life Forum, but if things start getting out of hand, I can add advertising as needed to immediately cover admin and hosting costs. If the forum pays for itself and potentially a moderator or two in the future, that would be a good outcome.
Because Spencer and I are always reachable, we are very responsive to requests for new features and forum improvements. In the early days, you may notice some bugs or things we should do differently, so please let us know in the Site Feedback & Help section. You can also ask me in the comments section below if you have any questions about things like web hosting, caching, anti-spam policies, etc., as I don’t want to clutter this announcement with technical details.
Thank you to our loyal Photography Life readers, and welcome to the Photography Life Forum.
P.S. Please don’t forget to read our Forum Community Guidelines!
Please note that our older forum which used to reside at forum.photographylife.com is no longer operational. Because of the major differences in features and functionality, and because there were too many spam accounts, I did not migrate any of the users or posts from that forum to our newly launched forum linked above.
This means you will need to re-sign up for an account on our new forum. I apologize for the inconvenience, but I decided to start from a clean slate with brand-new sections and an easier and more organized navigation system. Please give it a test and let us know what you think!
We have rolled out many features, including private messaging, the ability to insert images and image galleries to posts, and much more! Please note that you will need to set up 2FA (2-factor authentication) when you create your account. I know it is another step in the way, but given how important online security is today, it is certainly something we want to have from the get-go. In addition, it is yet another layer of security that will help us battle spammers and fake accounts.
Once again, welcome! We are looking forward to seeing you in our forums.
Great news! Many of us who followed PL for many years are happy you are taking this step. Good luck Nasim.
Glad to hear about the new PL forum Nasim. Longtime follower here since “The Mansurov’s” website. Knowing your work and dedication to photography, I am sure this will be a wonderful endeavor.
Thank you Vinnie, we appreciate your support!
Nasim or Spencer, since I am registered to make comments, do I still need to register for the new forum?
Vinnie, yes, you will need to register for the forum separately.
Tried to register. Keep getting “Something went wrong”
Jim, can you try again please? We had an issue earlier today, which has been addressed.
So so glad to hear these plans. I’m in!!!!
I get “blocked page” when i try to register.
Jim, are you behind a VPN connection?
No. I just tried again and get “blocked page”.
So I switched from FF to Chrome and was able to log in. I tried leaving this message from FF but got a pop up saying “Nonce is Invalid”. Have no idea what that means.
I registered 3 days ago. This morning, I posted on on one of the forums, it has been 8 hours awaiting moderation. I hope this is not going to be the case for every post.
GeeKay, my apologies – been busy all day and didn’t have a chance to clear out the moderation queue. Please note that this anti-spam measure is only for the first post on the forum. Now that your post is approved, it should never go into moderation queue again.
This way, we are able to stop every bad bot/spammer.
Thanks for this Nasim! Look forward to some great posts and sharing of information on the forum. I’m optimistic it should turn out to be an excellent add-on to the awesome information you guys already have here on the website :)
Unable to register. Photographylife.com is blocked.
I’m trying to join but it never sends a code to my email address.
Timely is the right term for the arrival of this New Venture for a forum.
I reviewed your offer on DPReview and was of the view, it was something worthwhile working with.
I don’t expand my involvement too far across Photography on the Web, I am at present limited to visits to PL, Natural Art, DPR’ and was not looking to affiliate with another forum with immediacy as a result of losing DPR’, mainly as I am a infrequent poster on a forum, as I am on this Site as well.
Your new arrangement has plenty of appeal for myself, as it will be used as a forum in conjunction with this site, consider me a Supporter and a New Member to be.
Congratulations to you both on launching this, and the ongoing integrity of your content I continue to really enjoy, not to mention your incredible responsiveness to comments etc.
Might I request [in case not already planned] to ‘wishlist’ features if possible, which manifest [to me at least, as Marketing tech career person, and one-time SQL coder ] as parametric search/tag/match features , [perhaps not too dissimilar to craigslist etc.]
1) In the interests of shared learning for all, enforce EXIF data [no obfuscation allowed] for all gallery postings, and then make a parametric search EXIF-searchable ‘on the fly’ gallery – ie [excuse tautology] make it easy for me to eg find ‘all Z9 images shot with 24-120 @ 70mm f 5.6 etc’ .
Perhaps such tagging could also enabled in all posts – I won’t pretend to understand server-side resource requirements, additional costs [?] but I defer to ‘Wish List’ not ‘demand list’ ;)
2) in the For Sale area, again to enable a much better search and match experience enforce a lookup/matching table.
ie your For Sale gear must be an exact match against a known/SKU unique product code database.
OK, for that request I anticipate a lot of folk complaining they ‘can’t list because it doesn’t currently exist’ , but perhaps some of us could volunteer to pre-populate certain mfr databases or something similar to enable that? I won’t pretend to fully understand how difficult that might be, and perhaps could be ad-hoc [approval/add] for the first of each item listed so it happens organically with a one-time delay per SKU to database-match..
And then even maybe enable some kind of alerts? I enjoy FredMiranda and I’m a paid FS lister, but there’s zero matching, so the title syntax etc is a labrynth for both buying and selling.
Many thanks and congratulations again
James, that’s some great feedback, I really appreciate it!
While the first request is not impossible, it would take a considerable amount of time to write all the code, change the criteria for image uploads, then make all the fields searchable. We will definitely keep it in mind for future needs, hopefully as the forum and the site expands.
For the second suggestion, we only have a single board right now that covers everything. If we see that there is great interest in buying and selling gear, then it would make sense to break it up and think of ways of proper organization, along with some rules that would have to be enforced. Doing it through SKUs would be quite painful though, since you would first need to obtain a database of SKUs from somewhere, then load it in, then cross-match different products. It is a pretty complex task.
If we have good traction on forum with many members and lively discussions, I am certainly open to adding more features to it. Just need to see which ones are practical and doable without overcomplicating things…
Hope this makes sense, and once again, thank you for taking the time to write these ideas!
Yesterday everything was fine. Today the “something wrong with your data” message appears every time I login.
Egbert, can you please try again? We had an issue earlier with the site, which has been addressed.
Great news Nasim and Spencer. Good luck and keep up the good work.
Best wishes, David.
Thank you David!
Nasim, so pleased to see the massive response to the news of opening up the forums. To me this is the new and improved central website for all photographers, free from shilling reviews, over-moderation of forums, and a more pleasant place to discuss everything photographic. AWESOME news!
Thank you, and welcome to the team!
Hi Nasim, I’m getting the ‘something wrong with your data’ message like some others.
Betty, looks like we had a caching problem this morning, which I just fixed. Please try again and let me know how it goes. Thanks!
Nasim, I reported a caching problem at PL to Spencer back on January 20th. It has been a mild annoyance all this time. I’m glad to see that whatever you’ve done now has resolved it!
Nasim, I don’t know how you, Spencer and your other contributors do it, but Photography Life stood out above all other photography sites because you guys actually read the readers’ comments and responded whenever a valid issue was raised. This is amazing. I hope you can maintain such a wonderful quality as your new forum grows.
Thank you SSM, we always appreciate the feedback from our readers, who we value greatly. And welcome to our new forum!