AYWMC FB Group posting guidelines
Each time AYWMC starts, a new private Facebook group is opened so that people taking part at the same time can meet each other. It is a supportive and encouraging place for beginner photographers to post their homework, ask photography-related questions and learn alongside like-minded people.
Since it started in 2015, A Year With My Camera has become very popular. Emma and the admin team are working hard to balance the ethos of the course (fun and free) with the inevitable larger Facebook group sizes. Recent groups have suffered a little from some members not reading the posting guidelines, so we have changed things so that everyone needs to read the guidelines before they join.
Whether you are new to the course or taking it for a second time, please read this page carefully. Once you’ve read it, if you don’t like the sound of the Facebook group, then you are under no obligation to join. If English is not your first language, feel free to put the page through Google translate and then use either the English phrase or in your own language.
The joining phrase for the FB group
When you request to join the Facebook group you will be asked for a 4 word joining phrase. The phrase is listed below in 2 parts, and you’ll need to read the whole page to find it. If that sounds like too much effort then this is not the course for you.
How the Facebook group works
The primary purpose of the Facebook group is for you to share your homework project photos.
Every week a new homework thread will be posted in the group with a copy of that week’s lesson. Post your homework photos as separate comments in that thread.
What can you post in the group?
1. You can post homework photos in the homework threads.
2. You can post general photography questions as separate posts.
3. Nothing else. No links, no photos from your weekend, no requests for charity donations, no requests for votes in photo competitions, no handy cheat sheets, no requests for critique. If you don’t like this restriction, please don’t join the Facebook group. If you will enjoy a group focussed on learning and making progress then please come on in. The first part of the information you need to join the group is: “Beginners are”.
Anything posted outside the posting guidelines will be deleted.
Please don’t use albums. We have tried them in the past but they fill the feed up too much for bigger groups like ours.
If you are repeating the course, please note: there are no #1Day12Pics in the group, and no “I’m proud of” posts. We will be inviting members to share a photo they are proud of that they’ve taken during the course only in the catch-up weeks when there is no official homework.
Don’t post photos that would make anyone uncomfortable if viewed on a public computer at work. No adult content and no naked people (and that includes babies and children).
If you are a professional photographer please don’t post your paid shots in the group. This is a course for complete beginners.
Don’t post images that are taken illegally, condone dangerous behaviour, or show wildlife in distress. For example, posts that are taken from train tracks will be deleted: they may not be illegal in your country, but they give the impression to other people that it’s a good place to get a cool shot. People die on train tracks, don’t shoot there.
Hilary Dickson and Judith White are the day-to-day admins for the group. They will be active daily in the group for the first 6 weeks of the course (the most intensive, and the most technically challenging). After that they will stay active but not daily.
What to do first when you join the FB Group
Announcements, Units and the main feed
There are three areas of the group to pay attention to — the first thing you should do is find all three.
1. The main feed: this is where all the posts are made. If you scroll for long enough you’ll find everything ever posted in the group.
2. Announcements: at the top of the feed is the Announcements section. All homework threads are saved to the Announcements section for a few weeks so everyone can easily find them. Any other news or updates will be saved here as well.
3. Units: there is a section headed “Units” (on some devices Facebook calls this section “Learning”). In it you will find links to all the homework threads and all the email lessons. Importantly, there will be an “FAQ” section which has answers to all the commonly asked questions including what to do if your email doesn’t arrive.
If you can’t immediately find either Announcements or Units, please use Google to find out how to access them on the particular device or browser that you are using. It’s also worth updating your Facebook app and your mobile device’s operating system, as they only show on the latest versions.
The second thing to do is find the “introduce yourself” thread in the Announcements. Please leave a comment and say hi. Tell us where in the world you are. Share a photo if you want to (optional), and anything else you want to say.
Make 30 Photos
If you join the group before the official start date, please spend the time while you are waiting to work through the Make 30 Photos prompts. Please mention in your comment which prompts you were working on. You can use your phone camera for the project, or shoot on auto, or whatever you are most comfortable with. The aim of the prompts is to help you start looking for photographs wherever you find yourself, not to dive right in with settings and technical stuff.
Please post in groups of at least 5 images (to save filling up the feed).
Once the course starts (i.e. once you get the first lesson which is about exposure and the 18% grey issue), no more Make 30 Photos may be posted in the Facebook group. You can still share them on Instagram with the #Make30Photos hashtag, and on the AYWMC app if you have it.
Once the course starts, you just need to find the most recent homework thread and post your shots there. If you use the Units section you will be able to find older homework threads if you fall behind.
Comparing yourself to others
The AYWMC group is not like other photography groups on Facebook. We are neither aggressive nor competitive. We don’t talk about gear much. The admins make it priority to make the group a safe place for beginners to share their photos and grow in confidence.
You aren’t going to be taking amazing shots in the first week or month. You might find your images get worse in your eyes before they get better. But that’s to be expected. You will be doing new and very technical things with your camera, and you have to go through the learning stage before you can get to the proficient stage.
The unofficial motto of AYWMC is this:
“The only photographer I will compare myself to is the one I used to be.”
Please embrace this with all your heart, and pick up your camera with optimism and a sense of humour. The course is fun. Lifelong friends will be made. Eyes will be opened and creativity exploded. But a degree of community spirit is needed from everyone.
Contacting the admins
Unless you are friends outside AYWMC, please don’t private or direct message any of the admins: they won’t reply. If you have a question about photography or the course, check the FAQs (in the Units section) and if it’s not covered there, ask it in the group as a new comment. If you have a complaint, email email@example.com. If you want to know why your email hasn’t arrived, read the FAQs.
If you are a complete beginner
You are in the right place, this course was written for you. If you can barely switch your camera on, you are amongst friends. The second piece of information you need to join the group is: '“very welcome”. Do the homework each week and you will only be complete beginner for about 12 days. But please be generous in spirit to people who post in the group who might seem like they are not complete beginners. Everyone is on their own journey. You might think an image looks professional, but the person might have taken it with their phone and they don’t know how to replicate it with their camera. Or they might be good at composition but don’t know about shooting off auto.
If you are not a complete beginner
Please think twice about posting incredibly technically difficult shots in the group, especially in the first 4 months. Once everyone has settled down and got over their nerves, the group does grow into a more intermediate level community. If you already shoot confidently on Manual mode, this isn’t the course for you. Don’t share settings until after Module 1, and don’t chat about topics that are ahead of the course.
Local groups and kit support groups
There are local meetup groups and kit (gear) support groups run by volunteers. To avoid them becoming full of people who join enthusiastically but drop out after a couple of weeks, they only open to new members after the 4th week. If you are repeating the course, please don’t publicise the groups until Emma indicates they are open to new members.
This is not a group for critique. Please don’t give advice for improvement on someone else’s photo unless they have specifically requested it. For some people simply posting their first image in the group is a huge step, and everyone should be reassured that no one is going to give any negative comments at all.
Terms of posting
AYWMC will never republish any photograph you post in the Facebook group outside the group (on the blog or on the AYWMC public Facebook page) without asking you first.
You may not share anyone else's images or posts, or copy them outside the group.
Did you press the shutter for the image you want to post in the group? If not, don’t post it.
(You’ll need a four-word phrase to join the group. It’s included in the guidelines above, in two parts.)
How AYWMC works
A quick reminder: the course is free by email. You’ll get one email every Thursday for a year. You don’t have to join the Facebook group, but it is there if you enjoy learning alongside a community of other photographers.
The course will get you off auto in the first 6 weeks, and then you will explore another 8 different areas of photography including light, composition and basic editing.
Emma has published two workbooks and a planner to go alongside the course. They are optional. The free emails have all the information you need, but many people enjoy working from a printed book, and these workbooks are for those people. Book 1 covers the first four modules, Book 2 covers the last five and has a bonus Travel Photography module. At the end of most modules in the books there are additional projects to try that aren’t included in the emails. You can buy the workbooks and planner on Amazon: search for “A Year With My Camera”. Click here to download a free chapter.
There is an AYWMC app. It is completely separate to the Facebook group — it’s a bit like a private Instagram. The Facebook group is just for people starting the course at the same time as you. The app is for anyone doing AYWMC, including those who have finished. If you don’t enjoy Facebook but still want to meet people, you might enjoy it. Many people join both the FB group and use the app. The app is paid (£4.99 for a year). In addition to the community you also get access to the lessons from the app and extra app-only photography challenges. Search on Apple or Android for “A Year With My Camera” or click the image for details: