Being part of a photography club is a great way to help you learn. Socializing with people who like photography is great, especially if you are a beginner photographer.
If you can find a local camera club this will certainly be easier than starting one yourself. There may not be any in your area, or you may want to start a club at school.
If there are no active photography groups in your area, consider starting your own. In this article, I will give you some ideas and tips on how to start a photography club.
Getting Started With Your Photography Club Ideas
Starting photography clubs on your own can be challenging and time-consuming. Find a few other people to help and getting started will be much easier.
Talk with people you know who are keen photographers or get online and find some in your area. Bounce around your ideas and find some like-minded people. It’ll be no good teaming up with people who have very different ideas for what they want the photography club to be like.
Once you have found two or three others, get together and plan how to start your photography club. It’s more effective to do this with a smaller group than with a lot of people or on your own.
Make some key decisions about the style of group you want. What will you name your group? Who do you want to attract to your group?
If you are in a highly populated area there may be a lot of keen photographers around. You’ll need to niche down and make some decisions about how big you want the club to be.
What demographic will you want to attract? Do you want a group with people who are most interested in talking about upgrading gear? Or who are interested in doing photography related activities?
Making some choices as to the style of your group at the start will help avoid problems in the future.
If you are in a less populated area you will want to keep your ideas for the style of group open. You may not be able to attract sufficient numbers to your photography group if you narrow it down too much.
Where? When? And How Often?
You may need to remain flexible on the answers to these questions until you start to build your photography group.
Choosing a location to meet may depend somewhat on the demographic you want. It may be purely a matter of what’s available and affordable. Many communities will have rooms which are publically available or at low cost.
If you’re starting a photography club at school a suitable location should be easy enough to find. You just need to make sure students can find it and know when your meetings are.
How often you will meet depends on how much people want to commit. Remain open to changing this. You might start out meeting every two weeks and find that’s too much for most people. Once a month may be better.
Picking a time and day can also be difficult. You will never be able to choose a time and day that’s perfect for everyone. Make sure you pick one that’s good for your key members and go from there.
What Will Be the Focus of Your Photography Club?
Some photography clubs meet and talk. And talk and talk and talk. Usually with the same few people doing most of the talking.
Other photography groups are more about getting out and taking part in photography activities.
Decide what type of things you want to engage in as a camera club. You can:
- Have photography group discussions,
- Invite guest speakers,
- Run tutorials and workshops,
- Have more experienced members offer critiques,
- Run photo competitions,
- Run a website and social media together.
If you come up with a basic plan of what you’d like the club meetings to be like, promoting your photography club will be more effective. If you’re vague about the club you’ll not attract many people.
Promote Your New Photography Club
Once your core group has worked through how you want the club to be, it’s time to start promoting it.
Social media makes this very easy. There may be current online groups already which are location specific to your area. Get involved with these groups. Make yourself known in the group and reach out to the admins.
Communicate with them about your new photography club ideas and ask if they will help you get the word out. Most likely they will.
Don’t SPAM in these online groups or push your ideas about the photography club too hard or too often. This will not go down well and may get you banned from the group.
Promote your photography club on your own social media accounts. Ask your friends and followers to share about it on their social accounts.
If you have a budget, consider doing some targeted advertising. Online advertisements can be directed at people interested in photography who live in a specific area. This can be an effective way of reaching more people.
Talk to the owners or managers of local camera stores. They may allow you to place a notice somewhere in the shop and be willing to talk to their customers about your photography club.
If you start a photography club at school, ask if you can have it promoted in the newsletter and at assembly times. If you have a school radio, website, social media, all of these will be great places to promote your new photography club.
Stay in touch with people who respond to your promotions. Collect their email addresses or other convenient contacts.
Even if your club is not yet up and running be prepared to communicate and stay in touch with everyone who shows an interest.
Have Your First Meeting
Starting well will have an influence on how your photography club will continue.
Plan your meeting carefully. Make sure to have a good presentation of what you and your core group have discussed for the photography club. Be open to discussion and encourage it from those who come along.
You need to find out what people are interested in and why they want to be part of a photo club. Be prepared to have your ideas challenged and change them if you need to.
You might find there are one or two very vocal people who want to push their ideas. If they are in line with what your group wants to do, that’s great. You can roll with it.
If there are ideas expressed that are at odds with your plans, you’ll need to listen and make choices about whether or not you want to accept them.
This is another reason it’s good to have a small group of founders. You can talk these things through separately.
Don’t aim to run your photography club on your own. Photography groups where one person dominates and runs the show are very boring.
Starting a photography club at school or in your local community is not so difficult. Get together with a few others to start with and grow from there.
You can open up all manner of opportunities for photography lovers in your area. You can also build some lasting friendships with other local creatives.
For more great tips, why not check out our posts on shooting fine art wedding photography or our advice on photo etiquette while visiting Japan!