Terms of Service and Rules

Real Photographers Forum is photography forum for people to discuss photography as a hobby or profession with like minded people. We are a community based site where all our members are invited to discuss anything and everything to do with photography in a polite and friendly manner. We believe everyone can learn something from anyone no matter how long they have been a photographer.

We are often asked "What is a Real Photographer?" Find out the thoughts of our membership here

If you have something interesting to share to do with photography then why not join up and help us build a resource that will be useful to everyone... From those just getting into photography as a hobby to the long standing pro!

This forum is a Real Name Forum. Guests are welcome to read and browse throughout the site as they like. If you wish to get involved you must first register using your real name. Membership to this forum is free; the only thing that we ask of you is to be considerate and polite to the other members of our forum and to understand our ethos, motives and rules which can be read below.
Thank You

Hamish Gill

The Real Photographers Forum Ethos

At Real Photographers Forum we want to encourage a community feel. One of the measures we have taken to help encourage this is to enforce the rule that all our members use their real names. Many forums allow users to create a nickname for themselves, we feel this gives users something to hide behind. By using a real name and giving a basic location we feel that users will be more likely to talk to each other like real people - hence "Real Photographers Forum".

The goal of this forum is to create a community of like minded people who share a passion for photography, be that as a beginner, a long standing professional or anywhere between.

We at RPF feel that anyone can learn from anyone - by that we mean that even if you have been taking photos for 50 years there is no reason that you can't or shouldn't be able to learn from someone who has only been doing it for 5 minutes! Obviously the reality of the situation is that someone with 50 years experience is likely to know quite a lot more than that of someone with 5 minutes experience, but we ask all our members to kindly be open minded to the possibility that you can learn from any one.... and indeed teach anyone!

No question is too daft, so don't be afraid to ask it, and on the same note, if you feel you have something to share, however simple it might be, please don't hesitate to share it!

We do have Administrators and moderators, but we don't want there to be any sort of hierarchy, they are only here to make sure that the forum is run properly and to maintain our rules and ethos. we want everyone on this forum to be considered equal ... the admin and mods are just a little bit more equal


How we differ from many other forums - I might get a bit preachy here, so bare with me

At some point in the past it is my belief that the point of the "internet" has been lost, especially when it comes to forums!

The internet is what it is called, an interconnected network of information!

Many websites seem to have lost sight of this, mainly due to the fact that there are a lot of people out there who like to spam!

Spamming is a pain, but to become a member of this site you have to go through a registration process, we check the details of everyone who joins! We delete many more account than we allow... All of the accounts that we delete are spammers, or haven't understood the "Real Name" rules. Because of this the members of this forum are not spammers and as such are allowed to post whatever they like in terms of links to elsewhere!

Many forums and websites don't allow linking to other sites that contain related info, especially when they are links to individuals blogs! This is madness! There are so many people out there with fantastic websites containing fantastic photography related info! We want you to link to these sites, even if they are your own, even if your motives are just to bring some traffic to your site... We don't care, if it is interesting photography related info then fill your boots, link away!

All We ask is that you make the info on this site interesting! Starting a thread called "Check out my blog" and then a link in the post is not good enough... for you or for us! Link to a specific item on your blog, include a little bit about what you are linking to and a picture. This way, people are more likely follow your link and it keeps the info on this site rich. It's also better for google, seo, all that sort of thing ... that helps us and helps you!

All I will say is, don't take this as green to come on here and promote "neopoints" (whatever they are) or "discount ugg boots" ... This is spamming, It will just be deleted even if you do get through the registration process... so just don't bother trying, you are wasting your time!


On Real Photographers Forum we are REALLY not into "trolling"!

If it is your goal if life to pick on people, to tell people they are "wrong" to criticise people for not doing things "right" this is not the forum for you!

We are about maintaining a friendly atmosphere where people get along with each other, a place to chat about our hobby with other people in an enjoyable way! We quite simply wont stand for anything along the lines of "You are an idiot" etc ...

If someone is, in your opinion wrong there are many ways to tell them this without just calling them an idiot! Why not try to explain to them why you believe they are wrong... you never know, you might get into an interesting conversation... it might transpire that it is you that was wrong all along!

This is a very important point so I am going to write this next bit in bold

It is OK to be wrong! You will find that you learn new things a lot quicker and easier if you are open to the idea that what you currently believe might be a load of rubbish. For those of you who understand that concept, and there are many, I'm sorry to sound condescending! For those who don't Kathryn Schulz can save me a lot of typing by you watching this

With this in mind, don't be afraid to let your views change... and please don't pick at people If their opinions change. Find something on this forum from a year ago, something that I said, I might not agree with that comment any more! There is nothing wrong with that, we all grow, and our views change, time changes things, this is ok!

I said I was going to get a bit preachy didn't I ... I will probably look back in six months at this and decide I need to re-write it somehow ... The thing is I could probably write it 100 times and not get across what I want to say properly. I am one person trying to describe how hundreds of other people interact with each other on a forum ... If you want to get a proper feel for this website, click on the "what's new" button and have a look through a couple of threads! If what you find seems like the sort of thing you could take part in then join up and get stuck in!

Ultimately, we are a friendly bunch, if you are a friendly person you will likely fit in just fine!

RPF Rules

At Real Photographers Forum like to promote the idea of self moderation, we do not wish to have to moderate posts or threads but we will if the following rules are not followed:

Rules of Registration:

This forum is a Real Name Forum. Guests are welcome to read and browse throughout the site as they like. If you wish to post you must first register using your Real Name.
e.g. John Smith

if your name is taken you can use a single middle initial followed by a full stop
e.g. John M. Smith

Hyphenated names will also work
e.g John Smith-Jones

As will names with apostrophes
e.g John O'Conner

Users attempting to use a nickname within the specified rules will not be authorised to post.

Only one account is allowed per person.
A valid and active email address must be kept within your user details even after you have joined the forum. (these details are for admin purposes and will be kept confidential)

The providers ("we", "us", "our") of the service provided by this web site ("Service") are not responsible for any user-generated content and accounts ("Content"). Content submitted express the views of their author only.

You agree to not use the Service to submit or link to any Content which is defamatory, abusive, hateful, threatening, spam or spam-like, likely to offend, contains adult or objectionable content, contains personal information of others, risks copyright infringement, encourages unlawful activity, or otherwise violates any laws.

All Content you submit or upload may be reviewed by staff members. All Content you submit or upload may be sent to third-party verification services (including, but not limited to, spam prevention services). Do not submit any Content that you consider to be private or confidential.

We reserve the rights to remove or modify any Content submitted for any reason without explanation. Requests for Content to be removed or modified will be undertaken only at our discretion. We reserve the right to take action against any account with the Service at any time.

You are granting us with a non-exclusive, permanent, irrevocable, unlimited license to use, publish, or re-publish your Content in connection with the Service. You retain copyright over the Content.

These terms may be changed at any time without notice.

If you do not agree with these terms, please do not register or use this Service. If you wish to close your account, please contact us.

Rules of discussion:

This is an Online Forum and we would expect you follow common sense and standard online forum and blog etiquette with regards to your fellow participants.

1. Be nice, this is the golden rule.
2. No swearing or bad language, lets keep the forum friendly and safe for anyone to read at work or at home.
3. Try to stay on topic, nothing worse than when a thread drifts miles off topic.
4. Posting pictures and links to interesting content is encouraged, but no spam please.
5. Please post real opinions based on actual experience, not hearsay or myths from the internet.

Prohibited content:

1. No swearing, bad language or harassment
2. No libellous or slanderous remarks.
3. No challenging the moderators on the forum.
4. No copyright infringement.
5. No promotion of anything illegal or illegal activity.

Sexually Explicit And Potentially Disturbing Imagery

Whilst we expect them to be acknowledged, we also wish you to take the following into account

It is very difficult to create rules regarding the display of sexual or disturbing images. My first instinct has always been to allow members to post images of whatever they wish including overtly sexual or upsetting images. But with the one proviso that as long as the intention remains equal to the that when posting an image of anything else. Until today we have had strict rules relating to posting this sort of image, but today the rules are changing. The rules relating to posting images with illegal content have not changed. What is changing are the rules about everything up until the point an image becomes illegal. We are relaxing these "rules", but in lieu of them we will be having some guidelines that are to be based on a commonly held stance of the owners of this forum.

I am going to talk about this stance across a few areas of photography a little bit to hopefully illustrate what I mean.

When posting a landscape image the intention is often to display the various skills, artistic temperament, understanding of light and composition etc. and probably to demonstrate ones ability. I am sure we all have our own reasons for wishing to share our images on a forum and those reasons, when it comes to landscape photography are very likely to be innocent ones. Because of this there is probably very little chance of upsetting anyone by posting a landscape image... Right??

Documentary photography on the other hand can cover almost any subject matter and is therefore liable to upset some people! To use very famous pictures as an examples, take Diane Arbus' photo of the little lad with the hand grenade or William Klein's Boy with a gun. Both these photos, especially without any prior knowledge of might incite a disquieting feeling in their viewer. But both are a lot more innocent than they appear at first glance!

Robert Capa's famous photo of a Spanish soldier falling dead could also be considered a distressing, and rightfully so, it is real! There are many more photos from times gone by of burning monks, people about to be shot etc that are all very shocking and shocking because they are also real! Yet somehow these photos from a different time seem separate from the reality of today.

Documentary photography of more recent years can feel a lot more real and therefore somehow shock more. Taslima Akhter's 'Final Embrace' is a very hard image to look at because of its depiction of the dead, yet it also depicts the love between two human beings in a quite powerful way. Then beyond that, and without necessarily wanting to even look it up I have seen some combat photography of people with bits missing, dead people, the dying etc. This sort of photography is incredibly hard to look at, for me to the point of repulsion. But that doesn't detract from it and it's validity as a type of photography.

Today, as part of writing this article I'm sure I could have referenced a photo of some hideous atrocity. But I chose not to, I chose not to put myself through the experience of viewing images like that to make a point... The point here is that this was a choice I made. Choice is a very important thing which I will come back to a little later.

Back to the images ... It is arguably important that these aforementioned atrocities are documented and shared around the world. Of course there is a certain distaste in the way these images are presented to us, and indeed a perhaps a distasteful way in which some may view them ... The most innocent of these ways being a little "car crash" like. You know you don't really want to see, but are somehow compelled to look!?

It's also worth thinking about the intention of the photographer here. A modern combat photographer is, I expect, driven hard by the modern media to capture more and more shocking images. I have recently seen an image taken of a bunch of photographers surrounding a dead body all snapping away, some inspecting their work on the back of their cameras. Instinct tells me to be a little repulsed by their actions, like photo-vultures scavenging for their next meal ticket! But is it they who are responsible for taking the photos? Or the media, or therefore by proxy, the general public? It could be said to be western societies bloodthirst for this sort of thing that has driven these photographers to do what they do? They are just trying to earn a living and they could be argued as being brave for putting themselves in harms way to share some of these brutal realities of the world with the world. It is these brutal realities that inspire people to do positive work for charity or the like to try and fix them. Without some of these atrocities being being presented to the outside world in various ways less people would be driven to fight to solve them!

So, should this sort of imagery be censored? No I don't believe it should, but I would suggest adequate warning given to the potential viewer, especially when being displayed openly on the Internet.

I find that sort of thing very easy to take a balanced view of. Sexually graphic images on the other hand are possibly slightly harder to be pragmatic about. From the mildly graphic "page three" style images all the way right up to the line that an image becomes illegal people have differing views! Subjects like "the exploitation of women" tend to be incredibly divisive and whilst I do have a view on subjects like that, not being a woman, I find it hard to even take my own perspectives seriously. But what remains true is that there are a vast array of perspectives on this sort of thing. What to one person might be arousing, to the next might be repugnant, and indeed to the next person might incite little more than a raised eyebrow.

Because of this potential for such differing views, if an image is legal in its content it is very difficult to make a judgement call about its content on behalf of others. To the point in fact that I choose not to make that call! I choose, in the same way I choose not to censor a photo of an atrocity, not to censor an sexually explicit photo.

(The word choose again... I'm getting to that concept soon)

So you may be wondering why I mentioned landscape photography, and indeed how innocent it is? Well perspective is an important factor in all images. Pretend for a moment, hypothetically speaking that I presented the forum with a photo of a tree set to a backdrop of rolling countryside. I've captured the light wonderfully, beautiful colours, the composition is perfect etc. To most of its viewers it's just a pretty photo. Now imagine that tree to have scars upon it's lower branches. To most an anomaly, but let's imagine this tree to be the hanging site of two black men wrongly accused, due to the colour of their skin, of rape. The scars on the tree left by the rope used to hang the men. This is an entirely hypothetical situation you understand, there is no tree that I know of today. But go back 80 odd years and there might have been. To illustrate my point I have chosen a photo from far in the past, but please do look up this image with caution, it doesn't make pleasant viewing: 'Lynching of young blacks' by Lawrence H. Beitler shows two black men hung for the reasons I've mentioned above. Now imagine I had been there and taken that beautiful photo of this tree the following day. This "landscape" photo could, if viewed by certain people be highly representative of a range of things. To the white people who hung the boys it could represent a victory of justice. Even more so to family of the person who was raped! It might represent something very different to the victim themselves, I have no concept of what! Then take the position of the families of the men, they wouldn't see justice, they would see the exact opposite! Yet without these perspectives the context is lost, it is just a simple photo of a tree!

My point being, we all have a differing perspective on the world, some things offend, upset, distress some people, that others might see as nothing more than a photo of a tree! These differing views make us who we are, and from one person to the next even a simple opinion might be offensive to the point of repulsion. But this is the way of the world, we are all different! It is therefore very difficult to make any judgments on behalf of others! Who am I, the owner of this forum to control what should and shouldn't be displayed? By me controlling what is displayed, I am taking away the choice of all of you to view that content! That is not my right, it is yours!

I mentioned choice before, well here we are back at the concept! It is possibly the most important concept in all of this! Because for me, it is one of the most important things we as human beings posses! And I am not going to be taking that choice away from people by imposing limitations on what can be posted on this forum! As long as it is within the law, it can be posted!

What I am going to make is a few guideline suggestions:

Firstly, please consider the other members of the forum! I have today created a set of forum cautionary prefixes which should be used if the nature of the photo fits within them.

If you discover an image that you feel might offend others but doesn't have one of these prefixes please report it using the "report" button at the bottom of the post.

If you are of a sensitive disposition, please take note of the cautionary prefixes and do not open the post!

If you see anything which you believe to be illegal in its nature, please report it using the "report" button as above but also voice your concerns relating to the legality of it. It will then be moved by the moderator who first sees the report to the admin area of the forum. It will remain in the admin area until the legality of the image can be established. If it turns out to be illegal it will be removed! If it can be proven to be legal it shall be returned to the open forum. If the legality of the image remains ambiguous it will remain out of sight until the legality of it can be established.

Lastly, please abide by the laws of your country! If it is illegal to view sexually graphic images if you are under 18. Then please take note of the cautionary prefixes and abide by the relevant laws! The same goes for any other law relating to the viewing or sharing of images.

Links in signatures:

Members are welcome to have links in their forum signatures.
However, don't join here simply to promote your ebay sales etc.
If you have a photography website or flickr page or other photo page then that link is very welcome.
Photographers with a commercial site are welcome to have a link to their own site.
If you are selling items then you should be a trade member, this is free, you just have to ask the Admin.

Trade members:

Trade members are welcome and there is no charge here for trade members.
We aim to help the photographic industry.
An example of a trade member would be a retailer/distributor/manufacturer selling photographic equiptment/software/services,
a company offering photographic training courses/holidays or studio and equiptment hire etc.
There is a trade forum where only trade members can post offers or product details etc.
Trade members are welcome to have a link to their own or employers website in their forum signature.

Rules for Classified Advertisements

Threads pertaining to a sale must have the prefix "F/S" or similar, e.g. "F/S Nikon d300"
Items for sale must be your own.
Items for sale must be legal.
The administration of this forum will not accept liability for the loss of any items incurred by using this forums classified section.

If there is anything you are not happy with please contact a Moderator or Admin, we are here to help.
All rules must be followed, interpretation of the rules is at the discretion of the administration of this forum! Rules maybe added to or modified without notice!