When I decided that I wanted to restart my photography hobby, I started to buy kit. I came across my local photography club in a Google search by accident. Looking at their website, I realised that I could just turn up as a guest. I joined a couple of weeks later.
My own experience has been quite short, but already I’ve been on a day trip (night photography), watched judging of a competition, been at a talk about the quality of photographs from mobile phones, a talk by an experienced photographer on his portfolio and attended some sessions on basic photography that the club puts on for new members. So, there’s plenty of opportunity in my own club.
What are the advantages of a photography club?
There are quire a number of advantages in joining a photography club, as you can see above. I would suggest that, in no particular order, the main reasons are:
- A social activity: photography can be a bit of a lone activity and doing it with like minded people makes it into a much more social activity. Who knows, you may even make some new friends.
- Learning: Many photography clubs offer workshops, seminars and speakers. There are also lots of knowledgeable and experienced people who are mainly willing to answer questions. After a while, you may be able to share your expertise.
- Growth: This is similar to learning, but more about encouragement to try things. Members in clubs may even provide some mentoring.
- Inspiration and Exposure: It’s very tempting to keep doing the same thing and sometimes we can’t even imagine what a “new thing” is. A photography club lets you see the subjects of other members’ photographs. Talks, competitions and club activities can expose you to types of photography you have never considered. Club activities can give you the opportunity to try some of them out.
- Trips: Most photography clubs will plan trips. There might occasionally be a safari in Africa. More likely is a weekend in the Dales, an afternoon in a nearby city or an hour in the local park. Because you are around other photographers, you will get tips and tricks, relevant to the current scenario, as you are taking photographs.
- Competitions: You may feel that you never want to exhibit your photographs and having your work constructively critiqued by someone with huge experience is a sobering, but creates lots of opportunities for development.
- Kit. Some clubs sell second hand kit, but all clubs will have talks on all sorts of equipment. So you’ll have a better targeted spend, and will probably buy less tat.
I’ve belonged to a club for just a few weeks and I have gained enormous benefit already. For a relatively moderate cost, I think that they are well worth the investment.