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Published on March 30th, 2018 | by Gorjus Greg


I’m No Photographer, I Just Take Photos. (A Close Look at GuruShots).

  On my press pass, it states that I’m a “Photojournalist”, thus implying that I’m some dude that takes photos and does a bit of scribbling into a notebook in hope that it may eventually evolve into something of interest to someone else. In truth, my knowledge of photography skills could be written down on a sheet of toilet paper in really big letters.  Having said that, I have been keen on photography all of my life.  My first love (camera) was an Olympus OM10 that I owned back in the early 90’s, it was eagerly accompanied by the wonderful Canon AE1.

I only learned the word Bokeh a few years back.  It is an effect that I have achieved and used throughout my picture taking years.  As for the Rule of Thirds? It came naturally to me from day one but did I know it had a name?

For me, my cameras were tools that I used to capture information, a story.  A picture paints a thousand words and all that.  I was never one to be creative through the lens. Until now.

I don’t know if it was an ad on Facebook or surf and stumble that led me to GuruShots but ultimately I came across this wonderful new “to me” obsession.  I’m hooked!  Admittedly, when I first tried to explore the what is of it all, I was as confused as a dog with 9 bones.  The learning curve as to how to use the site is steep as there is not a lot of simple explanations available.   Yes, there are FAQ’s but there isn’t any real explanation as to how to use the site.  So, let’s see if I can change that somehow.

What is GuruShots?

Good question, I’m so glad you asked.  Founded by Gilon Miller and launched on August 1st 2014, GuruShots is a space on the internet that is accessible via a laptop, desktop or smart device.  Its target audience is anyone with an interest in photography, be that through the use of any technology that is capable of capturing a photograph still image.

What’s in it for Me?

Another good question, God you’re on a roll. Well, where do I start?  Let me answer that by telling you what I get out of it.  First of all, it challenges me.  The first couple of photos I uploaded were less than mediocre at best, actually, the few that followed weren’t much better.  But here’s the thing, they’re getting better, they are becoming more creative, I’m becoming more creative.

GuruShots is a catalyst for the creative mind where photography is concerned.  It enthuses, it provokes inspiration, but most of all it educates through doing.  Perhaps that’s why there isn’t a user manual per se.  You need to explore it, to know it, and as you start to understand, you find yourself growing within a new knowledge of an old friend. that’s certainly my case.  I’m enjoying my cameras now as much as I did when I hung around with my OM10 and AE1 back in the day.  My job is slowly returning to hobby status.

So, How Does It Work?

Start by clicking this link.  I get brownie points if you do.  When you sign up first, you are assigned the status of NEWBIE.  This is where understanding what to do next is imperative.  This is where I got lost at first and ended up packing it in. perhaps that’s just me, I’m extremely impatient.  But if you are like me, you don’t need to be as impatient, as I am going to posit a suggestion.

Using a laptop or desktop, look for open challenges “OPEN”.   I’m sure it will be similar on either of the smart device apps.  Pick a challenge.  Challenges are the core of GuruShots. They come in 2 types, as far as I know.  The first and most common are the regular challenges.  These ask you to submit up to 4 photographs that comply with each challenge theme, for example…… Animals, or lens flare effects, or headshots, you get the idea, right?

 Click on the challenge that you want to take part in, read the rules and simply upload up the 4 images that you own.  That’s important, if you go and google some images and upload them they will be flagged and removed.

Once you have uploaded your photos click on the vote link and go vote for other entries. The more you vote, the more your photos get noticed and in turn receive votes.  The more votes you get, the higher your status becomes within that challenge.    Starting with “Not Ranked” you move to “Popular”, usually at 50 votes.  From “Popular” you move to “Skilled” at around 250 votes, depends on the individual chalenge creator.  Thus you move on to Premier – 450 votes or so – Elite – 900 votes or so – All Star – 1600 votes or so.  Here is where it gets a bit hairy to explain, but I’ll do my best.  When a challenge finishes, could be after 9 days, 18 days, X amount of days, it depends on the challenge, when a challenge finishes, whatever level you  achieve at its end is then added to your points (votes I think) and used to help you up the ladder from “Newbie” to “Guru” See pic below.

Okay, so you thought that was hairy?! Hold on to your britches!

The above pic shows you that I have reached the “ADVANCED” level.  Here is what I needed to get this far. (see pic on the right).  The points, I suspect are associated to the overall amount of all time votes on any photo, every photo.  Premier, we encountered above briefly as a level achieved at the completion of a challenge. Now! LOL 5 Successful swaps? What’s going on Greg?

So you have uploaded up to 4 images.  Tickityboooooooooo!!! No, this is where the fun starts.  I warned you. HAIRY!!!!

5000 points, 10 Premier completions (now if you complete a challenge above Premier, you’re still good.  In fact, you’re doing great! ‘cos you’re gonna need the higher completions to continue up the ladder)  If you finish on “ALL STAR” every level is accredited to you, from popular all the way to all-star.  I hope that makes sense?

Successful Swaps? So, you have a photo that’s not got many votes, and you need another 56 (let’s say) votes to progress from Premier to Elite.  You can Swap a photo for a new photo.  This can be any photo from your archive within GuruShots or another upload.  If it achieves more votes that the photo that you swapped out? You have a successful swap!

Okay, I’m tired now.  I’m going for a lie-down.

We still haven’t arrived at the hairy part yet.

For me to achieve the Vetern level I need 9000 points, 15 Elite completions and a completion to rank within the top 30%.

Okay! my brain is melted, that’s enough! but I believe that this is enough to get you started. After this, everything else becomes pretty much self-explanatory.

I mentioned that challenges come in 2 types.  The second type abides by most of the same rules as the first. The Speed Challenge.  The differences are as follows. Instead of 4 photos, you choose only one, but you have three swap potentials. However, when you swap, you go back to not ranked on that challenge. If you are at Elite level and are thinking a new photo may bump you up? Stop thinking, it wont, you’ll be starting from fresh.

The objective from here on in is to have fun.  Follow other committed contributors, and ultimately, learn from the whole experience.  I have.  And I have had so much fun along the way so far, and I’m looking forward to getting to Guru Status.  Why? Because at the end of it all, I will be a better, more creative photographer.  Perhaps even a better, more creative individual.

I hope this article helps….



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About the Author

Gregory Donaghy: Homeless, unemployable, misanthropic alien life form with a penchant for stating the obvious.

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