Seven things a Photography Club Can Do for You?
My name is Doug Gabbard and Welcome to Practicing Photography where I try to get better one photograph at a time.
I currently run a photography club, a YouTube Channel, a personal photography website with a blog, and a website and mailing list for my photography club.
If you just got your first digital camera or are just beginning to learn, this video and blog are for you. I am going to tell you seven things a photography club can do for you.
Do You Want to Join a Club? (Yes, you do, that was rhetorical)
Now that you have decided to join a club, you need to ask yourself why you want to join a club. This will help you when you are looking for the right club. Do you want to join to make friends and improve your skills? Or are you the competitive type and want to improve your chances in competitions? Answers to these questions will help you decide if you have found the right club.
I am going to assume you are looking for a non-competitive club and want to meet new people after similar goals of improving your photos and learn how to use your camera better.
In this type of club, you will meet people with similar interests and will likely form some new friendships. This type of club allows you to learn at your own pace and have fun while doing it. These fun clubs are less intimidating and encourage you to ask even the most basic questions.
Fun clubs will also be less costly. My club for instance is a zero-cost club. No joining fees, no membership fees, and no fund-raising events. We have a zero-budget ledger. The only cost in my club will be for a location we visit that has an entry fee and any camera gear you choose to purchase.
Any type of photography club should offer a mix of activities and opportunities for learning. Here are some things to look for that I do in my club.
Probably the most important (besides getting out there and taking pictures), is holding regular meetings. My club meets twice a month. One is for a standard meeting and the other meeting is really a photo trip that I will expand on more in a bit. Our standard meetings are in an open discussion with a screen show of photos from members. This brings us to
We provide instruction and training, regardless of the camera you are using. Bring anything from smartphones to advanced DLSR, and mirrorless cameras. Great photos come from taking “one photo at a time”, not from expensive gear. Here are some sample topics from my club:
If you are in a club, what training topics you have seen? If you are not in a club yet, what training would you like to see? Either way, leave me a comment below.
#3 Photo Trips
We also do photo trips and tours together to learn and socialize. Photo trips range in length from one to several hours or a day trip as we explore various close locations. On these trips, we apply what we have learned and shared in meetings. Photo trips are a way to get us out there and just shoot. Here are some of the cool locations we have already visited:
For those that cannot travel or attend photo trips we have
#4 Sharing and Games
We share our photos on Facebook and during our meetings. On Facebook, we play a game where we post a photo, and the next person posts a photo that includes something from the previous photo. This can go on for as long as you like. If you search my blog posts, I have several different games to try. I will have a link to my blog in the description below.
We do frequent challenges and tasks to complete to get you taking pictures and trying things you may not otherwise. Our favorite so far is something called “List of Seven” where you take a photo a day for seven days. This was created as an easier task than a well-known project 365 or project 52 where it is a photo a day or week. Committing to taking a picture a day for seven days is much easier than these longer projects.
There is a lot more to these games and too long to discuss, but hopefully, you are getting the idea - we have fun.
Do you know of any games for photographers? Leave me a comment below for the games you have played.
By now you are probably feeling confident and ready for
#5 Photo Contests
While we are a fun club, we do encourage members to submit photos to contests. We have a local contest that is much smaller than online contests where there are thousands of entries to get lost in. Small local contests are much easier to get recognition with a smaller entry base. And with the help of the club, we can guide members on what photo to submit and get feedback.
#6 Community Events
We have been known to show up for events to capture some of the happenings around our neighborhood. We have been at Hayrides, Halloween Walks, Polar Bear Dip, Cruise-Ins, Labor Day Bash, and more. These events are good times to practice various skills and there can be challenges with different techniques needed for each event
#7 Publish articles in the community publications.
We have a semi-regular article called “Where in the Town” in our community newspaper that includes an obvious or not so obvious photo of some amenity, structure, feature, work of art, or about anything related to the town to show the residence parts of the town they may not be aware of.
What can a photography club do for you?
I hope you learned the answer to that. I gave seven things a photography club can do to help you improve your photography skills. Are you in a club? If not, why not? If there isn’t one close, do what I did: Start your own club.
Thank you for your time and I will see you again next week.