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It’s probably not unusual for a novice photographer to be hesitant about joining a photography club. After all, no one wants to feel intimidated or out of place either because of equipment or inexperience. And, if by chance, you happen to come as a guest to a meeting that involves critiquing images, the comments may seem just a tad harsh to the uninitiated. You also might notice that because of the meeting agenda, there isn’t enough time to ask all the questions you have. And you may even doubt if you’re qualified to join because every image suggests that the photographers appear to be at a level of expertise far beyond yours.
These feelings are understandable, they’re just not valid. Consider this, to what extent would your expertise progress if, in the club you joined, everyone knew less than you. And your point and shoot camera, well, it would be considered to be the best camera in the club. Oh, and every meeting would be a question and answer session; heaven forbid that anyone show an image that might be critiqued. Doesn’t exactly sound like an environment that would inspire and challenge one to grow in skill, does it?
We’re sure you’re aware of examples in life where, in order to improve a skill, it’s necessary to be enlightened through the expertise and experience of those willing to help you. In our club, we care far more about you, than your camera and your images. So, if you submit images for critique, let your eagerness for improvement overpower your pride and allow opinions to give you an opportunity to improve your technique…because they will. As for your questions, the short ones can often be answered during coffee breaks and the longer ones can be answered when you’re out enjoying yourself on a photo walk with newly made friends.
So you see, the perceived negatives aren’t really negative at all…and as for the positive aspects of joining a photography club…there’s many:
o You can share your passion for photography with like-minded people.
o Members become teachers, mentors and supporters as you progress on your artistic journey.
o Every month, chances are you will want to try something new after listening to a talented guest speaker who incites you to challenge your skills or try a novel approach to photography.
o You’ll meet really nice people…potential friends; after all, even your best friend was at one time a stranger.
o During critiques, constructive suggestions, often diverse in nature, emerge from the discerning judgment of members espousing various points of view. Thankfully, these opinions add layers of richness to the art of image study, especially when the members have completed The Canadian Association For Photographic Art (CAPA) judging course.
o The time will come when you will want to include your images in a club exhibit or competition and you’ll find these to be exciting and rewarding experiences.
o You’ll soon find that photography is far more fun than you ever imagined, especially when you begin to explore and enjoy different types of photographic and editing techniques.
o Members are very approachable, and it’s easy to ask questions of an advanced photographer who will be more than willing to share with you the little tricks they’ve learned over the years. Talent and diversity in our club are readily accessible resources that take on a special fullness when they’re shared.
o You’ll appreciate photo walks/fieldtrips as excellent opportunities to provide hands-on learning and they can often take you to places you never would have gone to by yourself.
o Your horizon will broaden through an increase in exposure to the different forms of photographic expression that members have to offer, and you’ll find yourself starting to explore avenues that are more artistic/technical than what you resigned yourself to as a beginner.
o Before you know it, your desire to create great images will make you an accomplished photographer.