The world is full of photographers: a middle school student snaps cell phone pictures; a promoter poses a band against a grafittied backdrop; a hiker stands on a remote precipice and clicks the shutter. With so many people taking so many different kinds of photos, it's no wonder photography clubs are a popular way to learn more about the craft.
People start photography clubs for all kinds of reasons. Some artists enjoy sharing their skills with newcomers. Devoted shutterbugs are eager to share their work with an interested community. Still others look forward to planning photography adventures or discussing the art form with like-minded friends.
When considering starting your own photography club, here are some things to think about:
- Who is your target audience? Some clubs have a very defined target audience, such as nature photography, high school students or women-only. Others allow their groups to evolve based on who shows up to the first meetings.
- What's the purpose of your club? Do you want to offer instruction, have artist talks, go on photography outings, discuss works of photography, or all of the above?
- How will you organize your club? Will you be a loosely organized group of enthusiasts who meet whenever the whim strikes, or would you rather form a tightly knit group with elected officers and a regular schedule of meetings?
After you've made some initial decisions about what kind of club you'd like to start, your next step will be to recruit members. Start with your local camera shop; it can connect you with existing clubs in your area, and the location can also be a great resource for speakers and workshop leaders. Next, use online tools like social media and let like-minded groups know about your club. In addition to Facebook, Twitter and other outlets, there are also online communities such as Flickr and Photo.net devoted exclusively to photography. Finally, post information about your club at local schools, libraries, churches and meeting halls; word of mouth is still one of the best ways to inform a community about new club opportunities.
Once you've structured your club and made contact with potential members, the fun really starts. In the next section, we'll share some activity ideas guaranteed to get your new photography club off to a great start.