One of the best decisions I made regarding my photography was joining a local Photo Club (two Clubs, actually). A little over two years ago, I saw a small article in the newspaper describing a Photo Club in my town and it grabbed my attention. I am not a person who really joins clubs but I thought I would at least check it out as I was interested in improving my photography and was trying to do so without spending a lot of money. I was immediately greeted by an elderly gentleman as I walked through the door of the meeting hall and the rest is history.
This particular meeting was one of the Club’s Competition nights. It was a great first meeting as I got to see a lot of terrific images that displayed a wide range of subject matter, technique, and skill level. It was valuable to hear how images were scored and why. Participating in Club Competitions has raised the level of my photography so much, and so quickly, that next week’s Blog Post will focus specifically on Competitions.
Photo Clubs offer a lot more than just Competitions, however. The two Clubs I belong to also hold a Program Night once a month. During these Program Nights, guest speakers may come and present on a topic that they specialize in, others are designed as practicums so everyone brings their cameras and practices a certain technique, sometimes if a Club Member has been on a great trip they may hold a slideshow, and so on. Program Nights are just another way to expand your photography knowledge and skill set.
Another great benefit to joining a Photo Club is the opportunity to interact with other like-minded individuals. Of-course, there is the obligatory needling between the Nikon and Canon camps, as well as between the DSLR and Point and Shoot camps, but it is all in good fun. The Club puts you in touch with all sorts of photographers who, for the most part, love to share their knowledge and experience with others. It also makes it easy to find people who may want to go out shooting together, go on field trips together, or who just point out local areas of interest and happenings that you may not have been aware of.
My friend, Don, who greeted me on my first night at the Club also let me know of another Photo Club he belongs to that is held in the next town over. On his advice, I checked it out and that is how I came to join two Clubs. While both Clubs have similarities, they also have some differences in feel and format. Not every Photo Club is the same so if you do check one out and it doesn’t seem to be a good fit for you, look elsewhere. If you don’t know of any Photo Clubs that are out there, do an online search of your area. They are rather prevalent so chances are there is one nearby. I hope that if you are interested in improving your photography, looking for others to go shooting with, or just want an opportunity to see great images, that you will check out your local Photo Club.
Have you had a good experience at a Photo Club? What do you like most about them?