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.
Photography Club Ideas
Here are a few ideas for making your new club a fun, inspiring place to learn and practice the art of photography.
Get Clicking. Creative outings are a really fun way to learn about the art and craft of photography. Not only will you get plenty of hands-on practice using the different settings on your camera, but you'll also be able to compare and contrast your results with other photographers who've shot similar scenery. Here are a few unique ways to get clicking:
- Paparazzi 101. Photography in public spaces is generally permitted, so descend on a public space and start snapping.
- Explore Your City. Find hidden niches in your town. Neglected structures, public cemeteries and historic buildings provide rich sources of color, texture and context.
- After Dark. Low light conditions can be difficult even for advanced photographers. Venture out after dark to tackle a classic photography challenge.
Wonderful Workshops. Local camera stores can provide a wealth of expertise on all things photographic, and they're usually eager to share knowledge -- especially if it will make you more likely to patronize the shop, of course. Workshop topics that might interest photography club members include how to gallery wrap a photograph that's been printed on canvas, how to set up basic lighting, and how to use Adobe Photoshop to edit and enhance your photography.
Meet and Greet. People love meeting their heroes. Even artists who've enjoyed a small amount of success, such as having their work featured on a local band's album cover, can seem like heroes to those aspiring to similar goals. Visit local galleries and seek out contact information for artists whose work you admire. Then, invite them to speak to your group. You'll be surprised how many artists will be excited to share their experiences with your new club.
Let the Internet inspire your new photography club. From ways to hack your camera with handmade pinhole lenses to tips on technique, there are endless topics online to debate, discuss, practice and peruse at your meetings.
Find related articles and lots more information on the next page.
- "About Us." Georgia Nature Photographers Association. (Jan. 17, 2011)http://www.gnpa.org/organization
- "About Us." Women In Focus. (Jan. 17, 2011)http://www.womeninfocus.us/aboutus.html
- Friedmann, Eric. "The Law and Photographing People in Public Places." Photo.net. Dec.11, 2001. (Jan. 17, 2011)http://photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=001oT6
- "Photography." National Geographic. (Jan. 17, 2011)http://photography.nationalgeographic.com/photography/
- "Photography Articles." Photography.com. (Jan. 17, 2011)http://www.photography.com/articles/