Aren't all your pictures much the same? Is there room for a different style of photography?

If you look at the images in our Gallery, then you'll see that there's a wide range of styles and approaches taken to the images we produce.

We do have some members who enjoy particular branches of photography, eg nature / macro, but there is no 'standard' style for a good club image.  In any case, we want to see different styles and interpretations, that's what makes photography interesting!

Can anyone join, regardless of age?

Yes, absolutely!  Nowadays, photography is more popular than ever, and we would welcome anyone who enjoys an interest in photography regardless of their age.

We do have a club rule that under 18s must be accompanied by an adult, but this is not intended to deter anyone from joining.

Don't I need an expensive camera?

No, and these days more than ever it's possible to take good quality photographs with a point-and-shoot camera, and even a mobile phone.  Some of our best recent images have been taken this way.  However, digital single-lens relex (DSLR) cameras, like most of our members use, do allow more creative control, for example blurring the background to make the subject stand out.

If you're bewildered by the choice and variety of cameras and lenses on the market, then our members will be able to give you some guidance and advice.

Do you teach photography or image editing in software?

No, we aren't teachers and if it's teaching you're looking for then our local colleges do several courses that might suitable.  But we'd still be happy for you to join us too!

Although we can't provide tuition, we do believe that if you come along to our meetings regularly and get to know us then you will pick up lots of tips and inspiration that will improve your photography.

We also run several evenings each year where we demonstrate image editing on the big screen, and in the summer our evenings out are a good opportunity to learn too.

I'm a beginner - what if my images aren't good enough?

If you really feel your photos are 'not good enough' for club photography, but you want to improve, then we want you to join!  You'll receive plenty of encouragement and advice from our more experienced members, and if you're prepared to take on board some suggestions and maybe a little well-intentioned constructive feedback then we are confident your photography will improve through being a club member.

Some of your images look quite different from a normal photograph - do you use a computer to enhance them? Does this mean I need expensive software too?

Some photographers, including some of our members, feel strongly that the final image should reflect what was seen through the viewfinder and shouldn't be manipulated digitally.  Most though are happy to edit and enhance their images on the computer, replicating traditional darkroom skills that have always been part of film photography.  Some photographers take computer editing further, sometimes using multiple images and digital effects to produce work far removed from what was originally captured.

Many software packages exist to give you creative control over your pictures, and simple edits such as cropping, shadow and highlight changes, colouring effects etc can usually be done by the free software that comes with your camera.

If you want to do more complicated adjustments, such as cloning, masking etc, then you will need to consider buying software designed for this.  Most of our members use Photoshop Elements, which if you shop around can be bought for about £50.

In our club programme we run several evenings a year where members will demonstrate digital editing techniques they have used in their own images, and from these you will quickly pick up skills that will make a big difference to how your photographs look.

What are the costs involved in membership?

Indvidual membership normally costs £40 per year, and joint membership costs £70 for two people.  Membership fees are reviewed in January at the club's AGM.  We do try to keep rates as low as we can, and our fees compare favourably with other clubs in the area.

In January 2020, during the coronavirus pandemic, we decided to suspend our membership fees until further notice.  This decision will be reviewed again at the AGM in January 2022.  Note that this doesn't prevent new members joining in the meantime.

On most club nights members are encouraged, but not obliged, to buy a raffle ticket for £1, with £5 going to the winner.  Over the year this adds a useful additional amount of revenue for the club and helps us keep our membership fees low.

There's no charge involved to enter any of our internal competitions.  If you enter prints, then as these need to be mounted on card, you will inevitably spend a little on printing and preparing your images.  There's no requirement to enter prints though, you can enter your images digitally.

Regional competitions are also free to enter for club members as we are affiliated as a club.  The club pays an annual fee for this.

Other competitions do generally have an entry fee, though it's up to you if you want to enter.  You will also have to pay a fee if you wish to pursue a formal accreditation, however again this is down to you if you want to do this.

What's the benefits of joining the club?

Here are some of the benefits of joining the club:

  • You will learn plenty of in-camera and image editing tips and tricks from the various activities we have in our programme, or from other members, that will improve your photography
  • Club members can enter internal club competitions and receive constructive feedback on their images
  • Members can also enter regional and national competitions, and work towards externally recognised awards from the PAGB
  • We regularly host interesting and informative talks from experienced and even professional photographers, both from within the club and from elsewhere
  • We regularly get to see some of the finest images from amateur photographers, across our region and beyond, which inspire our own work.
  • We regularly demonstrate image editing techniques in our 'how to' evenings
  • You can join in our Annual Exhibition and see your best images exhibited in the library each summer.
  • You will be able to enter your images into inter-club competitions.  Unlike most other clubs we prefer to choose from as many different members' work as possible for the inter-club competitions that we enter.
  • We don't have prizes or awards for the 'best' in the club - the emphasis is on friendly competition and collective improvement
  • After each meeting there's time for an informal chat with a free cup of tea and a biscuit.  The club where we meet have a fully stocked bar, where you can purchase alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks and snacks.
  • In summer, and occasionally at other times of the year too, we arrange club trips out, sometimes these are pre-organised to specific venues or organisations the general public would not normally get to see.