Do you want to be involved in a photo club, but you can’t find one around you? All you have to do is to start your own photo club. All it takes is some organizing skills and a lot of will power. Whether you plan to start a photography club in your school, university or in the city where you live, there is no big difference in the way you should proceed in order to establish such a group of photography lovers.
Why start a photography club?
Before you begin working on establishing the club, you need to answer this question. Being aware of the reasons behind your desire to start a photography club will help you in setting the objectives of the club. So, what do you want and expect from this club? Do you want to provide a place for beginners, to learn and evolve? Or, do you want it to be a gathering of serious photo enthusiasts, with several years of experience behind them. Are you seeking to establish an organization which will foster photography in your area? Or, you just want to be around like minded people?
There are no good and bad reasons. You just need to know them before suggesting such a project to other people. I f you know what you really want, it will be easier to get other people to support you.
Creating an organizing Committee:
While the idea of the creation of a photography club is yours, you won’t be able to operate a club by yourself. This is why you need to get an organizing committee together to discuss issues such as the club’s objectives, location, frequency of meetings, activities, etc. Find some friends and amateur photographers who you think would be interested in the creation of a club. It will be easy to find supporters, if you know how to communicate your ideas. In your organizing committee, the most important posts which need to be assigned first are the president, the vice president and the treasurer. You can create other posts as well, such as someone in charge of new memberships and another one responsible of communication.
Photo by sxc.hu
Laying down some ground rules:
Once your committee is in place, you need to meet a few times to decide on how the club should operate. In these meetings, you will discuss the clubs objectives, location, frequency of meetings and future activities.
When working on formulating your clubs objectives, try to make them clear and concise. That’s how you will be able to achieve them. This is where all the thinking you did for finding out the reason behind wanting to start a photo club, will pay off.
An example of an objectives list could be:
– Offering a space of exchange and interaction between photographers.
– Promoting the appreciation of the art of Photography by the general public.
-Organizing a group exhibit after one year of activities.
Finding a location:
The meeting location shouldn’t be a problem if the club you intend to create is within a school or a university. The administration will usually, provide you with a space within the premises of your school or campus. If the club you are starting isn’t bound to a specific organization, then finding a location will require more effort. First, you need to find out if your country’s legal system requires you to get a permit for the club you intend to create. Ask the local authorities in your area for advice concerning the creation of the club and to make sure everything you are doing is legal. You need to find a location, which can harbor the activities you intend to do and which won’t cost you a lot of money. It’s very likely, that you will be able to get a location for free, if you ask around in places like cultural centers, community centers…
Having found a location, you need to decide on when and how often to meet. This is usually determined by how much time the members can devote and by how much activities are planned.
Activities and Meetings’ planning:
At this stage, the photography club is finally ready to begin its activities and this is where the really hard part begins. You need to keep the club activities and programs interesting in every meeting you hold. There is a great span of activities which you can choose from. You can organize critique sessions during the meetings. You can work on a theme for a determined time and then talk about how every photographer interpreted it. Also, you can invite experienced photographers to share their experience with the members during the meetings. And of course, you can organize photo-walks to different destinations.
Some final thoughts:
-Consider the creation of a website or a blog for the club. It will be a great tool for communicating with the members and with other people.
-Before each meeting, prepare a detailed program where you state what is planned for that session and how long it will last. Of course, you need to send this program to the members via the blog, or website, for instance.
-Use Social networks such as twitter and Facebook to promote your activities and to draw more people to the club.
-Encourage new members to take part in organizing and decision making. Through that, you will help them integrate the group faster, and it is very likely that they will surprise you with new ideas and fresh perspectives.