When keen amateur photographer Jenny Dingwall from Burntisland decided to set up an online group to offer advice to people like herself, little did she realise how popular it would become.
For, three years on, Fife Photographers now has five different online groups, offering advice and help on many different aspects of photography including a Buddy Group and a Meet Up Group bring people of all different ages and abilities together.
And it has also just opened its first group exhibition at the Glenrothes Heritage Centre where 27 local photographers are showcasing their work to the public until April 2.
And Jenny (46) says she couldn’t have imagined that Fife Photographers would be so successful, with over 1500 members in the main group, 100 of whom regularly check in and showcase their photographs, and others dipping in when they need some help or advice on a particular aspect.
“I was very keen on photography and wanting to move forward from just taking snaps on my camera to doing something a bit more serious, but I was having difficulty in getting the help I needed to do so,” she explained.
“That’s when I thought it would be good to set up some sort of group via Facebook where people like myself who were keen to develop their photography skills, but didn’t have a lot of money to go on courses or suchlike could go to for some help.
“I wanted to create a forum where anyone at any level of expertise could come to have their queries answered, and that’s how Fife Photographers started.”
The main site allows people to show their photographs and get advice and feedback from others on how they could be improved, or other ideas in a safe and nurturing environment.
There is a tech page where questions on technical aspects of photography can be posed; flowers page specifically for photos of plants and flora; the meet up group where members get together to take photographs of a particular subject – Clydesdale horses, classic cars and brides being among them; a buddy group where inexperienced photographers including those just starting out can get together with more skilled members to get sound advice and the exhibition group which was set up to organise the Heritage Centre event.
“It has just grown and grown and more and more people are joining daily because it offers something to suit all needs,” explained Jenny.
“It has grown so much that we have had to limit people to posting two pictures a day on the page, otherwise it couldn’t cope with the volume of traffic.
“We have members ranging from people who take photographs for a living to people just wanting to take decent pictures on their mobile phones. We don’t discriminate.”