The fact that you have explored this website and have arrived at the “membership” page indicates that you enjoy taking pictures, that you likely want to improve on your current knowledge and skills and that you are curious about whether a photography club, particularly the Beach Photo Club, will give a boost to your abilities as a photographer.
Our members will give an unequivocal “yes” answer to that question. Here’s why.
Why a Photography Club?
Advancing one’s abilities in any endeavour, including photography, follows a continuous improvement process of motivation-learning-applying-feedback/recognition-motivation-etc.
Done well, it becomes a self reinforcing virtuous circle, leading the “student” to ever greater heights of knowledge, skill and passion for this art-form. “But”, you may say, “I can get everything I need in books and on-line, so what does a photography club add to that?” We think there are at least 3 things that a photography club can offer that you can’t get through other means:
1. Information filters...there is no question that the range and depth of information now available to photographers is greater than ever. And that’s the problem! If you can’t select what’s important, you will have little time left to actually take photos. Club members are continuously scanning available information. They know where to find the right answer to important questions. And they are more than willing to share and evaluate…to help you separate the wheat from the chaff.
2. Feedback & Recognition...an important part of improving one’s abilities is receiving informed feedback and recognition. “How am I doing? How could I make this better? Wow! How did you do that?” Feedback from respected colleagues, peers and experts is a strong tool to ‘raise your game’. But books and on-line resources fail in that regard. Informal sharing of your work with colleagues, seeing how others captured the same subject as you are shooting, having your work evaluated by experts, exhibiting your work to informed audiences…all of these vehicles are essential elements to improving photographic skills. Only a club environment can provide that important feedback/recognition element to your development as a photographer.
3. Motivation...mostly, that comes from within. The fact that you are reading this means that you are already motivated to improve your photography. But sometimes we all need a ‘push’ to do better. And that ‘push’ can come from supportive colleagues, group photographic opportunities, ‘ah ha!’ moments experienced when you get that little tip from a seasoned pro, positive feedback on your progress, and recognition for your great photos. On-way book or on-line learning just doesn’t cut it on this dimension. The collaborative, social environment of a photography club does.
We think you will agree that there is an important place for a photography club in your future. But why us?
Why the Beach Photo Club?
You have choices among Toronto photo clubs… in making that choice, you should consider your accessibility to club activities, the club culture and the content of the club’s programs.
1. Accessibility...our home is Beach United Church, located at Queen Street east and Wineva. Our outreach and community involvement focuses on the Beach Community of Toronto. Members exhibit throughout the City. We are well located by transit, walking or car. We therefore have a broad reach. Current members, while concentrated in the Beach, include individuals who live and work throughout the GTA.
2. Culture...the ‘secret sauce’ in any organization is its culture. Is it competitive or collaborative? Is it communal or elitist (the inner circle)? Is there a high level of membership engagement, or is it just the forum for a select few? On each of these dimensions, we think the Beach Photo Club is distinctive, and distinctively better, than other clubs. We want to stay small (less than 100 members) so we know each other. We have contests, but they are internally managed, with judging being ‘firm, but friendly and constructive’…and if you are familiar with other clubs, you may agree that this is not always the case! We share the workload…clubs don’t run by themselves, so our members pitch in to make things work, and this raises the level of member engagement and creates opportunities for new connections and new friendships. We all have a voice in programs, outings and contest topics. And we all share the opportunity to exhibit our work in our permanent exhibit at the Beach United Church, our seasonal exhibits around Toronto and through our annual calendar.
3. Content...our programs for the season are terrific! Fourteen seasoned pros will present you a mix of ‘here’s my stuff and here’s how I do it’. Our contests usually cover 6 topics plus an open category, and will be in digital, print and monochrome…a great scope to engage your photographic talents. We have on-going and emerging exhibitions where you will be invited to contribute your work. We have launched a monthly ‘photo challenge’ and ‘What is it?’ activity for members to informally show their work in a fun and creative way. And as members, you can post some of your work on this website and on our home page links to Flickr and Facebook.
If, as they say, “content is king”, then our program ranks the Beach Photo Club well against other Toronto clubs….in fact, we think, well ahead!
So if you want to improve as a photographer, join us!
Our season goes from September to June. Single full year fees are $85 and Family are $110. Fees from January to June are $70 and $90, respectively. A drop-in fee for one meeting is $10. One drop-in fee can be applied to membership fees. There are no limits to drop-ins.
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