Let me cut to the chase…the photographer’s best friend is another photographer! What I have in mind is the forming of personal relationships with other photographers that you and I should work at whenever and wherever possible.
“Become a member of and participate in the activities of a camera club” appears frequently in presentations by the pros of things to do that will get you out of a creative block, help you learn to use your gear, or pick up tips on virtually all aspects of the craft we claim to be developing. (It is interesting to me that the images that wow me are so often produced by someone in our group whom I know goes out to shoot with maybe 2 or 3 other members.)
“Collaborate” is a word often used for this. It is never enough to just “join” a camera club; collaboration involves a concerted effort to build relationships. It is these relationships that pay dividends. I don’t believe I have ever come across a photographer unwilling to share information about a camera, or about Photoshop, or about Lightroom, or about any other piece of software. Also, you might be surprised to learn just how open other photographers are when it comes to camera settings, composition and the like. My experience is that photographers enjoy what they do and like sharing with others.
In that same vein, any club worth its salt has a regular schedule of activities that allow (nay, force) you to learn new things and develop and practice your individual skill set. Monthly programs, exhibits, photography outings, to name some. But you must avail yourself of these opportunities by showing up.
At this point, I want to put in a plug for the Outings about which you will be hearing shortly; there is no better example of collaboration than this. A group of about 25 of us met recently in a planning session. We came up with a list of 36 different places to photograph, ranging from Reelfoot Lake to the Country Music Hall of Fame. Stay tuned.