By Becky Wolfe
As an outdoor photographer, I love going for walks and hikes with my camera, or driving a bit to find new locations. And I usually like to hike or discover new places with other people. While it's fun to go along with friends, I find that if I'm out with a fellow photographer it's easier to take time to photograph things in more detail.
Other photographers understand I might want to spend a good ten minutes or more squatting in the dirt, photographing the details of an old stump or a cluster of mushrooms. Chances are they're hunched in their own world of photography, misting a spider web for a glistening shot, or crouching closer to capture that photo of a squirrel.
When you're new to an area, or perhaps new to the passion of photography, joining a photography club is a great way to meet others that share your passion. A photography club is a place to learn new techniques and ideas, as well as share the ideas and skills you have with others.
If there's already a club in your area, you have it easy, just go ahead and join. But if there isn't one, and you want to have a group that shares your passions and skills, you may have to be the one to start it. This may be a simple thing to do, or it may require some work. I started a club in my town and it required a bit of work, but it's been rewarding to have a core group of fellow photographers to spend time with. Here are a few tips for getting a club up and running.
The first step requires a bit of research. Some clubs may not be very good at advertising and welcoming new members, so dig around a bit to see if there's already an existing club. There's no point starting a new one if there's an existing one that just needs a little life brought to it.
If there's a camera shop or photo processing place nearby, that would be the first place I would suggest for you to inquire. Usually the owner or employees are camera enthusiasts themselves, so they may be able to give you some information on whether or not there's a club; and if there isn't, you may have just discovered your first potential members.
The next place to inquire should be the local Arts Council. Photography often falls into the Arts category in towns and cities, so if there's a club, or was one in the past, the Arts Council may know about it. In my case, the Arts Council told me there was a club in town several years ago that dissipated due to a loss in interest and aging membership.
What I gained here was a contact name and number of a former club member. I was able to contact this individual to confirm that yes, there was a club, but no, it no longer existed. I also received a confirmation that he would be interested in joining if a new club was formed.