I am using phpbb. There is no problem with the set up and we have a range of topics / forums. I would say pretty user friendly and acceptable. But it's getting the people along that seems to be the problem.
I don't want to exchange links with photography sites as there is a conflict of interest. Should I try to approach other sites like art / imaging etc. Are reciprocal links the way to go (I have read that it is).
Yes you can't edit after a while. Anyway the way I promote my forum is through adwords. I find it to be the best way since most web users use google and if you advertise for specific keywords you will get targeted traffic to the topic of your forum.
Man you are talking about forum. and you are spending $20/day. $0.05/user to bring to your site. But what is guarante he registers to post and become active member. Because visitors react differently to forum and content websites.