Adorama Launches PhotoZap, a New Microsite where Photo Experts Praise and Pan Reader-submitted Photographs

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Top photo retailer invites customers to become better photographers and join the conversation by offering constructive, pull-no-punches critiques of reader-submitted photographs. Readers are invited to submit pictures, and comment on other images.

I can take a few below the belt as long as it will help improve my skills

The Adorama Learning Center today launched PhotoZAP, a new microsite devoted to tough critiques of reader-submitted photographs. Adorama customers were invited in a September mailing to send in their digital "almost masterpieces" to be praised and panned by a panel of photography experts. The goal is to help photographers improve the quality of the images they shoot with their film or digital cameras.

PhotoZAP will offer lively, pull-no-punches critiques from a tough panel of experts. Readers like this hard-edged approach. "I can take a few below the belt as long as it will help improve my skills," notes one reader. Another says, "I'm tired of sugar-and-spice critiques. That doesn't help me. I want someone to tell me like it is. This is exciting!"

In response to the initial mailing, over 400 photos were submitted. A handful was selected and will be posted, along with critiques, in the coming days and weeks. But it doesn't end there. Readers are invited to leave their own critiques and/or praise, and can even criticize the "official critics." The conversation will continue on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, where new ZAPs will be announced and discussed.

PhotoZAP will be an ongoing feature, and photographers from all over the world are invited to submit images for the possibility of being critiqued. Photographers whose images are selected will receive a $25 gift certificate that can be used to buy merchandise at Adorama.com.

"I'm thrilled to have the opportunity for a two-way conversation about photography with our readers," says Learning Center editor Mason Resnick. "Our panel of experts is also looking forward to this opportunity to help people become better photographers, and when it comes down to it, with all of the gear we sell, it's all about the pictures."

New images and critiques will be posted on PhotoZAP several times a week. Visitors are encouraged to bookmark the PhotoZAP homepage and subscribe to the PhotoZAP RSS feed so they can keep up with the latest Zaps. New PhotoZAPs will also be announced on Adorama's Facebook fan page and via the Learning Center's Twitter account, @adoramalearn.

Meet the PhotoZAP critics!

Monica Cipnic: Monica is the Program Director for Workshops@Adorama, one of the most critically acclaimed and popular photography workshops in New York. She has been involved in many aspects of the photographic world over the past three decades, as the former photo editor for Popular Photography, Camera Arts and Photography Annual magazines, and has written for numerous photographic publications, including American Photo (web and print). Monica has lectured extensively on photography, and reviewed portfolios at workshops, universities, and competitions throughout the United States and around the world.

Jack Howard: Director of New and Social Media for Adorama, and is the proprietor of our TechToch blog and host of its Podcasts. Jack is the author of Practical HDRI, High Dynamic Range Imaging for Photographers. Previously, Jack was the Editor of PopPhoto.com, the online photo portal for Popular Photography and American Photo Magazines. Jack is also an established photojournalist and former staff shooter for the Asbury Park Press. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Star-Ledger, The Asbury Park Press, Ithaca Journal, LI Newsday and many other papers and publications.

Mason Resnick: Before becoming the editor of the Adorama Learning Center, Mason spent stints as the managing editor of Popular Photography, the webmaster for Photo District News, and the associate editor for Modern Photography (where he served on photo critic panels for the popular "Hard Knocks" feature). He has been doing street photography since 1978.

An online photo magazine at a retail web site?

The Adorama Learning Center (http://www.adorama.com/alc) is the choice destination for photographers at all levels of experience who want to improve their picture-taking and image-editing skills. The Learning Center has posted hundreds of how-to photography articles, buying guides and picture-selling advice, as well as daily breaking news about the photography industry, written by a team of top photography experts.

Why would Adorama, a well-respected New York-based camera retailer, publish what is essentially an online photo magazine? For the same reason it has also partnered with the Perfect Picture School of Photography (http://www.ppsop.net) to offer online photography courses, and why it offers dozens of live workshops for photographers on location in its store in New York's Photo District that have been attended by hundreds of enthusiastic students: "We believe the more information and knowledge we can provide, the more people will trust Adorama both as a reliable and trusted information source and as a place where they can feel comfortable buying their photographic gear," says Resnick.

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MASON RESNICK
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