Improve Your Images with the Help of a Global Photography Community

September 21, 2017

Daniel Cheong

Cheong's vertical panorama of the jewels of Kuala Lumpur. Cheong shares his techniques through online classes with the 500px community.

When photographer Daniel Cheong began shooting cityscapes a decade ago, he joined online photography communities to develop his craft, learn from others and share his work. But it was when he joined 500px four years ago that he found a platform truly full of sharp enthusiasts. Through 500px, he’s built a global following of photographers who love his breathtaking HDR panoramas of stunning locales near his home in Dubai.

Cheong’s vertical panorama of Dubai’s Burj Khalifa skyscraper. Photo © Daniel Cheong

United Kingdom-based commercial photographer Duncan Nicholls, who has shot for Nike, Speedo, The North Face and others, joined 500px several years ago to show off his best work on one intuitive platform. It’s the supportive and enthusiastic community, however, that he says has kept him coming back. “I wish I had a platform like 500px when I was a new photographer,” says Nicholls, who added that the community runs the range from professionals who can help other members develop their business to photographers who “just want to improve their photography and be inspired.”

Cheong has long held workshops in the Middle East to share his digital blending techniques with other photographers, but only a few hundred photographers have been able to participate because of the location. 500px is changing that, helping bring Cheong, Nicholls and others to a wider audience through classes and live webinars exclusive to 500px Awesome members, an upgraded membership package. In Cheong’s most recent class, he taught members one of his favorite techniques: the vertical panorama, or “vertorama,” which uses image blending and high-dynamic range photography to create mind-bending images. Cheong says he is excited to bring even more of his visually stunning techniques to this community. “500px is a great way for me to share whatever I am learning,” says Cheong. “I’ve learned from someone else, so I feel its only fair that I share my knowledge with other photographers.”

Images from Nicholl’s New Balance shoot with Heather Watson. Photos © Duncan Nicholls

Nicholls, meanwhile, imparts his deep knowledge of the advertising world to members. In December, Nicholls walked members through one of his most enjoyable shoots yet: a New Balance advertisement featuring British tennis player Heather Watson in Miami. Nicholls detailed everything from pre-production and location scouting to creating a positive, trusting environment with a celebrity subject. Nicholls says that sharing his experience on 500px has given him the opportunity to pass on a lot of the things he’s learned in the last ten years. “I’m at a stage in my career where I want to help young photographers and give back to the community,” he explains. “All this knowledge and support is invaluable when you’re first starting out, and can make a huge difference to your career progress and trajectory.”

In the coming months, Nicholls and Cheong will each host classes to teach photography techniques, tips for pitching clients and marketing your brand. And, with 500px’s new Critiques functionality, they’ll be available to give in-depth analysis, answer questions and share why members’ photos work or don’t. “Photographers rarely get critiques on social media,” says Cheong. “But constructive criticism is what helps you improve.”

Visit 500px.com/classes to join their educational community.