As a photographer, you’ll never stop learning. However, finding new places or people to learn from is sometimes challenging. That is doubly true if you're unsure where to find quality photographs. The Internet is filled with websites and galleries open to everyone – Flickr.com is one example. Because anyone can post images, you'll soon find it difficult to sift the snapshots and amateur images from the works of art. So, where do you turn to advance your knowledge of fine art photography? I'll show you a few of my favorite places!
Workshops are the best places to learn more about the art of photography. For starters, you're going to the workshop to learn more about a new trick or technique. However, workshops offer more than just an educational opportunity. Normally, the professionals that are hosting the workshop will have a collection of their own images on display, and many of the workshop’s attendees will bring along their portfolios in hopes of sharing and receiving constructive criticism.
Check Out Museums in Your Area
You don't necessarily have to visit the Museum of Modern Art or other famous museums, but you should check out whatever museums are available in your area. Larger facilities will sometimes have collections by famous photographers and they may even host exhibitions of famous work throughout the year. Smaller museums usually display nice collections by local artists.
Tour Art Galleries
Galleries are a little tricky because not all are created equally. Some “galleries” are actually consignment shops where anyone can display anything as long as they're willing to rent space from the shop’s owner. This means that, while many consignment shops have nice images for you to peruse, others may display more amateurish work. Look for galleries that exclusively represent certain artists and actively market their collection to fine art aficionados. In general, the more exclusive the gallery, the more likely it is that you will find something truly exceptional.
Develop a Long Reading List
If there aren't many galleries, museums or workshops in your area (or you'd like even more exposure to fine art photography), there is a wealth of published material awaiting you. Start with books of images by famous photographers. Check out well-known photography magazines and websites. Before too long, you'll have plenty of learning materials to browse.
Go Directly to the Source
If you've tried everything that I listed above, you'll start to build a list of photographers that you admire. You can use that information to browse your favorite artists’ websites. Follow their work, and you'll soon learn what differentiates an average photograph from a work of art.
As you spend more time browsing fine art photography, you'll develop a deeper understanding of current trends and the subtle nuances that turn average images into amazing ones. With that knowledge, you'll be able to propel your own art to greater heights.