One of the best decisions that I have made "photography wise" was to join my local photography club. For years I have been into photography but trying to talk it to any of my family or friends I always got that glazed eye over look because they didn't know what in the world I was talking about or were not interested at all. To me photography is at the very core of what or who I am. Almost everything we see in this multi media world we live in is driven by "image" Images are made by photographers be it Video or still photographs in a news print or on the web. Photographers are apart of everything we see in the media. Okay let me get off of my "Soap Box."
One day I was looking up friends from the past on Facebook and found one of my former Air Force friends and found that he lived in my town and by stalking his profile I found that he was one of the officers of a local photography club. Before that time I had not even thought of a photography club. I immediately contacted him to find out when the next meeting was. When I got to the meeting and started listening to the members talk and interact I was in heaven. These people are talking my talk , they were enthusiastic like I am. I was so pumped up after that first meeting that I'm writing about it now 3 years later.
Photography Clubs/Organizations give you a place where you can learn and grow. Before I joined my club most of my growing in photography came from books or the web and trying to copy some technique or image that someone else had done. Most of my photographs were taken at or around my house but after joining I started venturing out more. My club has monthly workshops where we learn a new technique or go to a place to explore and photograph. We learn different types of photography from Portraits, Macro, Wildlife, Landscape. We learn about post processing and HDR (High Dynamic Range). So in short you can expand your photography horizons just by being an active member.
The people you meet in a club are from all walks of life and different photographic levels of experience and you can learn something from all of them no matter if they are a beginner or a professional photographer. The photography club gets you out of your comfort zone "photography wise" and puts you into a uncomfortable place where you can grow. My first year in the club during a "Help Portrait" event they let me shoot portraits with studio lights. I was very nervous and had not shot many portraits especially with lights. I really didn't know what I was doing but I kind of faked it and found that I really liked doing portraits and since then I have done everything from family portraits to head shots to a bridal shoot. Everyone in the club is very helpful and is more than willing to show you how or explain something to you. Most of the time they can't wait to tell you how they got the shot or the story behind the shot.
And then there is the people you meet! Its great to go shooting with like minded people from all walks of life and the friendships that you make can make are priceless. As a "photography nut" equipment is another part of the process that can be confusing. Like most photographers i have GAS! No not that kind! GAS is (Gear Acquisition Syndrome). The act of trying to have the next best and greatest thing hoping it will give you that great award winning shot. In a club you can try out new lenses or flashes without having to buy them to find out later that you don't like and your stuck with something that you didn't want. So its a great place to learn about new and different equipment. Products like books, prints, Frames are another plus. You learn where the deals are and maybe see things that you haven't even thought of like canvas or metal prints. You may be able to get discounts by being a member of the club at local camera shop.
So go out and join your local Photography or Camera Club and expand your Photography horizons! These are examples of the different kinds of photo's that I've taken in or because of workshops that my photography club held.
Keep Shooting !