I’ve posted about the photography site GuruShots before. Read my post Fun With Photography While Getting Feedback. In a nutshell it’s a free site that hosts international photo challenges. Each challenge has a theme and you pick the challenge(s) that interest you. You submit four of your best photos that represent that theme. Then the voting begins among your peers (fellow photographers). You have to be a member to vote—again it’s free.
All skill levels are represented from the noob to the seasoned professional. Each challenge is ranked from top to bottom: All Star, Elite, Premier, Skilled, Popular or not ranked. All Star is the top rung and not ranked is no rung at all. Tens of thousands of photos are submitted from around the world and the majority end up not being ranked. So even if you’re ranked at the Popular level you’re ahead of the game.
As your photography improves so does your ranking. I’ve only participated on this site for a month or two but I’ve shot for 63-years (so I’ve attained a modicum of skill). I’ve entered a total of sixteen challenges to date with the following results: All Star x 1, Elite x 12 and Premier x 3. My photos consistently do well among my peers and that’s an ego boost for sure. However, the real value comes from voting on the work of other photographers and looking at their photos with a critical eye. Critically analyzing the work of others (focus, exposure, composition and subject matter) allows you to see your own work more objectively.
Click on Images to Enlarge
In the most recent challenge Animal Kingdom (my favorite genre) I ranked 396 (with 2,066 votes) out of 9,165 total international photographers. This put me in the top-tier ranking of All Star for the first time. I had gotten close a few times before but could never quite cross the threshold. The above photos are ranked according to total votes received: Galapagos Sea Lion Pup (604 votes), Giant Galapagos Tortoise (505 votes), Male Cinereous Harrier (489 votes) and Lady Amherst’s Pheasant (468 votes). If you want to see how your photography stacks up against other photographers I might suggest becoming a member of GuruShots: it’s fun, interesting and educational.