Always Write Interview/Guest Post Series #6
#Bloggers Hosting Writing and Photo Challenges
Today’s guest post takes in a different perspective than all of our former interviews and guest posts in this series. Welcome to one of my new California blogging friends, Susan Gutterman on her blog, Musin’ with Susan. She’s a former talented photo challenge host turned participant and has the enthusiasm and boundless energy to go with her skills. See what she’s doing since she gave up her challenge.
Presenting Photo Challenge Opportunities to my Camera Club
by Susan Gutterman
I was very honored when Marsha asked me to write a guest post about my experience of doing a presentation about Photo Challenges online for my Camera club, the Friday Foto Fanatics, or FFF.
At our monthly meetings, and online, I often talk to others about the numerous challenges that I participate in and back in April my friend, Pam, approached me with the suggestion of delivering a presentation to the group, via Zoom, as we were already locked down. She thought that most of our members might not be aware of all of the photo challenges in the blogosphere and on social media and might be interested.
My Photographic Background
I was introduced to blogging in 2013, at about the same time as I began to get serious about photography. I started to read about photo challenges which sounded like a good way to improve my photography skills and keep myself motivated.
I had developed a love for macro photography and could not find a macro challenge on WordPress, so, in 2016, decided to start my own. I called it Macro Moments and the weekly challenge developed a small, but loyal following. I loved running this challenge and learned so much, but a year later decided that it was time to move on and spend more time participating in challenges moderated by someone else.
Criteria for Joining a Photo Challenge
My criteria for joining a challenge is that participants are serious and that it will encourage me to learn and grow. I look for challenges with technical themes, for example; macro, high key, bokeh, long exposure, and the like, as well as those that are just fun. I often try a new skill which fits with a theme. I have worked with water splashing, smoke, painting with light and tiny railroad figures, to name a few.
I wanted the club members to learn about online challenges and get them excited about joining in some themselves. I started with this slide and briefly discussed each point–
I then described a number of the challenges that I participate in regularly and shared a photo or two that I had submitted to that challenge along the way, as seen in the slides below.
- Each week has a theme. The purpose of 52 Frames is to turn YOU into a truly awesome photographer.
- When you join the group, you get your own page on the site.
- The Photo must be taken the week of the challenge and is due by Sunday at 12:00 am Eastern time.
- They have over 2,000 submissions per week.
- The pictures are published in an album each Tuesday.
- A select small album called “52 Picks” is published each Thursday.
- There are small groups of 10-12 that offer each other constructive criticism within the larger group.
- The website hosts local photo walks through their partners.
- This challenge is in a public Facebook Group.
- Submissions are posted on the Facebook page or on Flicker
- The photo must be taken the week of the challenge.
- The themes are often technical.
- This daily challenge is in a private Facebook group.
- Photos may be new or from archives.
- Submissions are posted on the Facebook page.
- Administrators choose one photo a day to be used for the banner in the next day’s announcement.
- The banner winner chooses the theme for the next day.
- This weekly challenge is on Terry Webster Schrandt’s WordPress blog, Second Wind Leisure Perspectives.
- To join, create your own blogpost and link back to Terri’s post.
- Photos may be new or from archives.
- This weekly challenge is in a Flickr group.
- Each entry must be a macro (defined as no larger than three inches.)
- A photo must be taken during the prior week and posted on Monday.
- Submissions are posted to the album on the group page.
- This weekly challenge is a local group Facebook group out of Berkeley.
- It is for women only.
- The photo must be taken each week.
- It is added to a weekly album.
- They take local field trips.
- This weekly challenge is hosted on WordPress blogs by four rotating hosts.
- To enter you create your own blog post and add a link to the original challenge.
- Photos can be recent or from archives.
The final slide in the presentation was also my handout, emailed to the members. It is a list of the challenges that I regularly participate in, with links to the sites.
Exploring Online Photo Challenges
- 52 Frames: https://52frames.com/
- A Photo A Week Challenge:
- Self-Taught Photographers:
- The Trevor Carpenter Photo Challenge: https://photochallenge.tempusaura.com/
- Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: https://lagottocattleya.wordpress.com/2020/03/14/lens-artistsphoto-challenge-88-chaos/
- Macro Mondays on Flickr:
- Terri’s Sunday Stills: https://secondwindleisure.com/
- Franks Tuesday Photo Challenge: https://dutchgoesthephoto.net/tag/fpj-photo-challenge/
- PhotograpHER (women photographers only):
Conclusion and Responses
After my presentation, several people contacted me to tell me that they had enjoyed the presentation and that they were going to look into the challenges. I don’t think anyone was already participating.
I sent an email to the group yesterday asking them to let me know if they had joined any challenges and what their experience had been. One member responded that he joined 52 Frames right after my talk and he has been submitting every week.
He commented, “It’s a great group”!
This made me very happy and I immediately looked him up in the group.
Susan Gutterman was a diabetes educator before she retired. She counseled people with diabetes and worked for LifeScan, a Johnson and Johnson company which manufactures blood testing products. During her last years with the company she traveled for them to Europe and Asia and her love of traveling took off from there.”
Susan is married and she has two children and four grandchildren. In addition to her photos and travelogues, you can expect to occasionally hear about her life with Gabby, her yellow Lab, her family and friends, and her home and garden.
She hosted a weekly photo challenge called “Macro Moments” for a year and now regularly submit photos to various challenges on WordPress and other social media sites.
She loves “meeting” her fellow bloggers and photographers, and connecting with family and friends in this space. She meet Pat, from Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss, live and in person in Basel, Switzerland and Nicole, from Nicole Pottier Une photo, un poem from Normandy on recent trips. Lunches together were highlights of those trips! She can’t wait to read your comments and learn from each other.
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