The Importance of a Welcoming Photographic Community


A couple of years back, the folks at KelbyOne had this idea to start a private community for KelbyOne members. The Community as it’s called, is available to all Pro level members. I’ve been a community leader since the beginning and along with my dear friend Fernando from Lisbon Portugal am one of the two moderators for the Community.

Now you know where my bias lies. I have looked at lots of different photographic forums. I find that for the most part, the intent is pure, but to a mass extent, they become places where the elites take turns flogging the newbies, wanting to put them in their place by being rude when questions are asked, denigrating skills and otherwise making large numbers of people miserable. That there are trolls on the Internet is no secret. Hiding behind avatars and BS anonymous handles they can hurl crap at people from the secret comfort of their mother’s basement.

This is not adding any value. What adds value is a place where creatives can come and ask questions of others on a variety of subjects. Often these questions can be answered by reading documentation but many folks are impatient, or find manuals poorly written. Sometimes, these folks are looking to try something new and want input from others who have done it before. In lots of places, these techniques are withheld for reasons unknown, but not in the KelbyOne community. I am impressed every day by the contributions of members from around the world just trying to help each other out.

We do have rules, and we enforce them, because it is a private forum. There is no slamming, no trolling, no “you suck” or anything that would intentionally make another member feel unwelcome or incapable. Over the time, we have only had to remove a few people and two of them were the same person using different aliases. It’s testament to the quality of the individuals.

We struggle because some members aren’t aware of the Community, and some that are choose not to come. That’s fair but a shame nonetheless. There are members who only watch, and for reasons of their own, do not engage. We hope that they are getting value out of doing so. This so-called “lurking” is hardly some kind of sin. We do have our regular contributors and Fernando and I both read every topic and the responses to help maintain our friendly and open atmosphere.

I am not a KelbyOne employee. I am not paid by KelbyOne in any way. Yes, I count Scott Kelby as a friend, but a friendship built because of time invested volunteering on the Community. I do believe that the KelbyOne membership is a superb value, and that the company delivers the widest range of excellent learn on demand training in succinct and easy to follow deliverables. There are certainly other online training vehicles and each of us should choose the platform that best suits our own needs. That said, I recommend KelbyOne heartily. Even after well over 40 years as a photographer, I still learn things as a member.

And you get the benefit of the most accessible and friendly place to interact with other creatives.

To learn more about KelbyOne and to join if you’d like, follow this link. No one asked me to write this article, and no compensation was received for doing so.

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I'm Ross Chevalier, thanks for reading, and until next time, peace.