F.A.Q’s

Monarch Of The Valleys By Anne Phillips

We hope you will find these FAQ’s helpful.

Q1
Do I have to pay my membership fee all at once. 

Answer:
We ask members to pay their membership fee all at once as we need a certain amount of capital to run the club. If however this presents difficulties please speak to the Treasurer or the Club Secretary and they will do their best to assist.  If you join mid term your fee is reduced on a pro rata scale. 

It is important to remember that if you are not a paid up member you may not be covered by the club’s insurance scheme.


Q2
I have only just started taking photographs. Do you welcome beginners ?

Answer:
We welcome everyone to the club regardless of their ability or experience. Many of our members regard themselves as beginners in the sense that they are either very new to photography or have returned to photography after a gap of some years, and are unfamiliar with new technologies. 

A common thread that runs throughout the club is that members want to help each other improve their photographic techniques, and their appreciation of photography an art. 


Q3
Do I have to bring a camera to club nights ?

Answer:
No. It’s not usually necessary to bring a camera. Indeed some of members do not even have one and prefer to belong to the club just to enjoy the social life and visual experience of looking at other peoples photographs.

 When we have a practical evening, where a camera is needed, the events page will let you know.


Q4
Looking at your website I am a little bit intimidated by the standard of photography, and what do all those letters mean ?

Answer:
Yes but you have to remember that those who seem to have mastered the art of photography were beginners once. Those that are more proficient would probably tell you that their photography rapidly improved because they joined a camera club,  entered competitions and took on board advice given.  

The letters after peoples names can be confusing. Members can find out more information about them here 


Q5
How many club members are women ?

Answer:
In common with a lot of camera club the majority of members are males. We are are however very keen to increase the number of female members joining the club and have some very able and enthusiastic women photographers  who would be pleased to welcome you and share their knowledge, skills and experience. 


Q6
Can I come along for a few meetings before I make my decision to join the club ?

Answer:
Yes you can. Your first three visits are without charge, apart from refreshments. After your 3rd visit we invite you to make up your mind whether to take out membership or not. Incidentally unlike most clubs we do not have a nightly admission or room hire charge.


Q7
Does the club cater for people who prefer to take videos rather than still images ?

Answer:
We do very occasionally include  audio-visual presentations but we are primarily a club for those interested in still photography. We would however particularly welcome new members whose interest is creating audio visual films from still images.


Q8
Will I have to enter competitions if I become a member ?

Answer:
No you do not have to enter any competition indeed new members often wait a while before doing so. Whilst competitions are an excellent way to get independent feed back on your images we have several members who come along to club nights just to enjoy themselves and appreciate other peoples’ photography.


Q9
Where do you go to take photographs ?

Answer:

Kettles Boiling By Stephen Wilcocks

From time to time the club arranges field trips to photo something of particular interest.  This could be a particular event, a special landscape or wildlife opportunity, or some street photography. 


Q10
I am interested in learning about enhancing my images using computer software. Do you cater for this?

Answer:
Yes, many of our members are comfortable using computer software (Macs and Windows) and are willing to share their knowledge and skills. We also have a section on the members only area of the website dealing specifically with software issues

We have other members who prefer not to use computer software at all.

During the season we try to ensure that the needs of members who are interested in Lightroom, Elements, Photoshop and/or similar programmes are met. These days there are several low cost alternatives to the above which many of our members use and can give you advice about.

From time to time we invite specialised speakers, arrange in-house talks or give practical workshop demonstrations on computer programmes that are of interest to our members.


Q11
If you enter a competition do you have to produce a print of the image entered, or does it have to be in digital format ? 

Answer:
Generally we cater for both. We mostly hold digital competitions when the image is projected on a large screen as part of the judging process but do on occasions have print only competitions.


Q12
What is the best way to improve my photography ?

Answer:
For those new to photography, or returning to it after some time, there are four main things that will help.

  1. Make sure you know your camera ‘inside out’. Practice taking shots in different modes and different settings when ever you can and notice the effect it has. Try not to rely on your camera ‘auto settings’ too much.
  2. Study other peoples’ pictures to see what works best compositionally.
  3. Let others critique your images. You will finds them helpful and will be pleasantly surprised by their positive comments.
  4. Camera clubs are excellent places to obtain constructive feedback either from judges or fellow club members on what works best in an image but also on what, perhaps, might improve it. 

Q13
Do you have competitions just for beginners ?

Answer:
Firstly let me say we think of beginners either as being completely new to photography and have not previously had a camera, or secondly as people who may have had a camera in the past but are completely new to current camera technology.

The club has 2 competition levels i.e. Gold and Silver.  At the present time members choose which competition level they will enter. Once they have done so they are not permitted to change categories. 

  • The Silver category is generally for beginners and newcomers to the club and/or to photography.
  • The Gold category is generally for the more experienced photographers and is mandatory for any member who has gained a distinction

 On competition nights everyone competes against other entries in their category. Points are awarded for each image with 20 being the maximum score. Sometimes a judges may determine a first, second and third place, and any highly commended image.


Q14
How does a member progress from being a beginner to the next level ?

Answer:
At the present time there is no  formal system of promotion as we feel members are best able to determine which level is appropriate for them. 


Q15
Is it important what type of camera I use ?

Answer:
No. We have members who don’t have, or no longer use, a camera; members who have compact ‘point and shoot’ cameras and several who prefer the camera on their smart-phone or tablet. Others may have a bridge camera or a  DSLR (digital single lens reflex) camera.  

If you want advice about which type of camera best suits your needs you are bound to find someone at the club that can provide this. 


Q16
Where can I find out more about the club ?

Answer:
You can find out more by attending a club night, by looking further on this website, or by asking any club member who will be pleased to help you. Also why not take a look at what we have on offer on the ‘members only area’ of the website.  Here you will find list an array of information available to club members.


August 2107