How to Start Your Own Photography GroupDecember 11, 2016
One of the most important things you can do as a photographer is to surround yourself with talented, inspirational, and like-minded individuals also in your field. The best and most fun way to do this is through becoming part of a photography group, but what do you do if there are none in your local area that are of interest to you?
You start your own photography group, of course! It might sound daunting or like a lot of hard work, but this article is about to prove otherwise. We’ll discuss the step-by-step approach to beginning your own photo club, as well as the immense benefits in doing so. Let’s get started!
Why you should start your own photography group
If joining an existing photography group simply isn’t an option to you (perhaps there are none for your particular niche in your local area?), then starting your own really is the next best option.
A photography group gives you access to other like-minded photographers with similar goals and allows you to share your work with them, ask questions, receive feedback, and open yourself up to new tips and tricks that you might not have previously had the chance to learn. Regular meetings will give you another incentive to focus on your photography, while fun events such as photo walks, workshops, and group photo shoots will further enhance your learning.
Determining a focus for your photography group
While it might seem tempting at first to open your photography group up to anyone and everyone, it’s important to provide a particular focus for your group in order to attract the right members. For example, would you like your group to concentrate only on fashion photography, or is landscape and nature photography more your thing? If you don’t feel the need to hone-in on a particular subject (maybe you cover a variety of genres with your work?) then basing your photography group on a specific location is a good idea. After all, you’ll want to meet in-person with your fellow members on a regular basis.
Creating an online presence for your photography group
Next, you’ll want to create a space online that members can access, chat amongst one another, and view upcoming events etc. One of the most popular platforms for community groups is Meetup.com where you can create a group page and either choose to make it public or private. For example, do you want people to join your photography group via invite-only, or is anyone welcome to apply? Another fantastic platform to organize your group through is Facebook, as it’s incredibly simple to create your group, give it a name, and then add or accept members. Having a group page is one of the most basic requirements for any community group, but if you wish to increase your group’s web presence, you can also create a blog, website, or other social media platforms (such as an Instagram account) for members to access.
This is the fun part and where all of your effort so far will begin to pay off! Firstly, you’ll want to think of photographers who you already know whom you’d love to be a part of your photography group. Get in touch with them and share the invite – don’t forget to share the link with them as to where and how they can join! To gain other members who you may not be familiar with, you can post about your photography group on your local community’s boards, include a shout-out on your social media, or even print and drop some promotional pamphlets into people’s letter boxes. The options are endless here, so get creative! Word-of-mouth is a great method too.
Plan a meeting time and location
Where and when will your group be able to meet-up? Discuss various locations and times with your members to see what works best for the majority of people, as you’ll want as many people available to come to your meetups. Perhaps you can host it at your house, a local park (weather permitting), or even at your local library (just be sure to gain permission first). Another great idea is to host regular meetings on a weekly, fortnightly, or monthly basis. Make it the same day and time to ensure your group members remember to attend!
What topics do you want your group to discuss? Can you plan any fun and educational activities such as events or workshops? The sky is the limit with this one (and it largely depends on what your group has chosen to focus on), but here are some popular activity choices:
- A photo walk.
- A group photography session, where a location or subject has been planned beforehand and you all photograph it together.
- A model workshop where a model (or multiple models) pose and everyone captures different angles, shots etc.
- ‘How to’ lessons, where each member will share their knowledge and expertise about a certain topic.
- Portfolio reviews, where each member showcases and discusses their portfolio, gaining feedback from other members.
There you have it! Starting your own photography group can be a simple, fun, and rewarding experience. Not only do you get to surround yourself with other talented and like-minded photographers, but you could even form some amazing friendships too.