What I’ve Learned From Photography Groups

I’ve been a participant of photography groups since 2013. I’ve joined various photography groups of all different types, such as all-around photography groups and genre-specific groups. I’ve attended group events, ranging from workshops to “shootouts”. I was even a leader of a group. Here is a random list of things I’ve learned from photography groups as either a member/attendee and as a group leader.

  • Leaders have different leadership styles. As a former group leader who planned many events, I was more of an organizer than leader. I was very easy-going with how people wanted to attend my events. I was fine with attendees either following my plan or doing their own thing. However, not all leaders are like that and are the complete opposite of me.
  • Good luck trying to get portfolio-worthy shots as a leader or event host. You will spend more time organizing and dealing with participants than actively shooting.
  • If you have specific goals or want to try something out, it’s better to set up a shoot by yourself or invite one to two people to come with you.
  • As a leader or event host, you can’t make everyone happy. There will be someone who will complain or criticize you, telling you how they would have ran the event. However, if you reply back with “Then why don’t you host an event yourself,” 9 out of 10 times they will refuse to step up and make excuses for themselves.
  • There will always be cliques within a group, especially if a model and photographer has already worked with each other in the past.
  • No matter how many rules you make to ensure that no one gets left out, photographers would still gravitate to the same model/s and models will typically gravitate to the more assertive (less-shy) photographer/s.
  • The term workshops, shootouts, and meetups are used interchangeably, when they should not. In my opinion, here are the differences:
    • A workshop is an event when you’re learning a new skill. Typically the leader will be the one teaching the skill or feature someone who will.
    • A shootout is just a group of photographers taking pictures for their portfolio.
    • A meetup is similar to a shootout, but sometimes people treat it as a networking event or just to hang out with people of similar interests.
  • Organizing a photography event will take plenty of your time, regardless of how organized, formal, or informal you want it to be.