Photo lessons

Last night I returned to our local camera club for the first time since returning from Montana. I’d put some images on the club website just to share what I was seeing while at school, and entered one of the contests in late summer just to see if I’d improved in the members’ eyes.  Mostly I wanted them to realize I am still a member and interested in the club’s activities.

Last night was the showing of images and their scores for November.  After a summer of critiques discussing all sorts of technical and creative aspects of our images, it was a sudden shift for me to hear the club members’ comments about various pictures.  Granted, most of the people in this club aren’t professional photographers nor do they aspire to be.   Like all of us, they want to know if people like their pictures or not.  As such, most of the comments were like “nice shot”, “love the color”, and “where did you shoot that?”  Part of it is that people in Nebraska are simply nice to each other and part of it is no one has really taken the time to learn how to critique an image the way we were taught.

I guess I mention this to remind us all that the world continued while we were in school and the people we share pictures with are still the same people they were back in the spring, especially with respect to how they see images.  To me it’s an opportunity to educate others on how to view images differently and hopefully increase their enjoyment of all images they encounter, and maybe help them improve their pictures to increase their satisfaction with them.  After all, many of us went to school motivated by our own dissatisfaction with our pictures.  Wouldn’t it be great if we can take what we’ve learned and help people through their own dissatisfaction.

Where you have a local camera club please get involved.  Explaining or teaching people what you’ve learned is one of the best ways to reinforce it in your mind.  Clubs also give you a base to work from.  Our club is a charter member of PSA and I’ve volunteered to be the liaison with that organization so I can learn more about it and network with other photographers across the country.  If there isn’t a club where you live, think about starting one.  You know there are people with cameras everywhere and it only takes a few enthusiasts to get the energy flowing.

Our club website is   – it’ll give you an idea of how our club is in the community.


5 thoughts on “Photo lessons

  1. good for you mel. i love reading your inspiring thoughts and seeing your commitment. good for you with the give back. we learn so that we can in turn teach and we teach so that we can in turn learn. it’s a wonderful cycle. and i am so proud of you.


  2. hey mel, by the way, i have a wordpress blog too. i am trying to improve the seo of it and trying to get some traffic but it doesn’t seem to work. i am using benevolence theme. i know that this is the more professional blog site, but it’s more tricky than my friendly blogger blog. what do you think.


    • Marcy,
      The guy I rented from this summer, Ross Peterson, does web design and he told me he much prefers WordPress to Blogger. I looked around both and agreed with him. WordPress has more options for site appearance, more tools for tracking and customizing. As I’m just starting out with my site it’s pretty plain compared to others I’ve seen but I’m more interested in content than bells and whistles. Perhaps as I get more comfortable, and knowledgeable, I’ll see how to use it to broaden my web presence.

      Great to hear from you! I miss your energy, comments and ideas. It’s interesting being out of the nest but our group is doing a pretty good job of sticking together via our blog. If you’re interested in seeing what we’re saying, drop James Thompson an email and he’ll get you set up to join us.

      I was in Vegas last week and spent a couple of days with Steve Casey out in the desert. He said Kathy was there the prior week scouting for a potential workshop. All my previous visits to Vegas were business so I’d never gotten out of the city to see the surrounding area. What a diverse and beautiful environment that is, from desert to tall mountains to blue rivers. Lots to see and constantly changing light.


  3. I agree with your assertion that we can help to educate others on critiquing photos. I’m active in my local photography club too. Ours has a couple of ‘professionals’ – folks who shoot a few portraits now and then.

    We went on a ‘photo scavenger hunt’ last Saturday. Looking for visual examples of things like annoying, clean, etc. What I discovered is that a lot of creativity is lacking. Maybe I can help inspire people to look at things a little differently.
    Oh, and we split up into groups of 4, but only 1 person did the shooting…how uninspiring is that??


    • Susan,
      It is an interesting experience compared to what we did this summer. I don’t know how much my club is interested in a more “professional” approach – it’s something I’ll explore in the coming months. I’ve volunteered to be the club rep for a couple of photography groups that do educational and competition programs so I’ll use that to gauge how much people want to stretch themselves. If for nothing else, it gives me a chance to network beyond Omaha.


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