I don’t understand some camera clubs

Posted: January 4, 2017 in Uncategorized
My understanding of a camera club is that all it’s members come together, meet, and share information that helps each photographer grow to be better photographers. The members do this by passing on their knowledge to the lesser experienced photographers, through speakers that come in for meetings and present on what they know, and through competitions and critiques that also help photographers to grow.
When I set up a workshop in different parts of the country, typically major cities with large populations, I will contact the local area camera clubs letting them know to let their members know that a multi day course about macro photography will be in their area, and that it would benefit their members and help them become better at macro photography.
Most clubs are very happy to see my workshops being offered in their area, and they do contact their members to let them know, as that is what a camera club should be about, helping their members grow as photographers. Why would you not want to offer this information.
It amazes me on how many clubs refuse to let their members know about this opportunity. The club president will say, well if you are not a member of our club, or haven’t presented at one of our club meetings, then we will not promote your workshop.
I don’t understand the reasoning that they would withhold this information from their members, which would be a benefit to their members, and could help them grow as photographers. This is what a camera club is about, helping photographers grow, and not about withholding information that may help them.
Now I can understand that they wouldn’t promote workshop leaders workshops that are in other states, but mine are right in their backyard, close for the members to attend without any cost for travel.
I think all clubs should have a page on their websites for workshop leaders to post their workshops for the members to be able to find workshops all over the country that they may be interested in attending.
Club presidents have said that they can’t promote a workshop without knowing anything about the workshop.  Why not pass on the info, and then say the club is not endorsing the workshop, and that it is up to the members to do their own research about the workshop before they sign up.  That way the club is not responsible if someone attends a workshop that they promoted, and was not happy.
Some will say, well Mike you are a business and making money, so maybe that’s why they don’t want to promote your workshops in their area. Well of course workshops are making money, that’s how they exist, but the fact remains that the people attending are all benefiting from an experienced photographer, and money is what allows a workshop leader to come into the area and teach the workshop. Without the money there is no workshop, and the photographer loses the benefit of an experienced teacher.
On the money making side, camera clubs members talk about their latest camera they have bought, and how great it’s working for them.  Last time I checked camera companies are making money, so maybe the club shouldn’t talk about their equipment because those manufacturer are making money.  So the excuse that they can’t promote a workshop leader’s workshops because they are making money is crap.
If I was a member of a club and interested in macro photography and found out that a pro was in town teaching on this subject, and the club refused to let that info be known, when they knew about it, I would be a little upset.
Maybe I’m missing something with these clubs that refuse to let members know about these opportunities for their members to learn and become better photographers, or maybe they are trying to keep all the learning within the club, like some kind of secret society.


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  1. jmlecocq says:


    The problem with these clubs is that they are populated by humans, often those whose egos are so pitiful that they try to pump themselves up by being controlling rather than generous. I wouldn’t belong to a club like that.

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. Roxana Whitt says:

    This is why I don’t belong to any clubs. I’m currently invited to join one and I am hesitant. People. Egos. Baggage. My attitude is I want all the information about opportunities out there, the good, the bad and the ugly. I can sort out who’s who and what’s what. I find anything else just silly and pretentious.

  3. Some people – in whatever field – are just power mad. In any club, it seems there’s always one person who wants to rule the roost. Unfortunately the others let them!

  4. Kam jackson says:

    Have you read some of the comments in photog groups in Facebook? These people are mean. They talk down to people who aren’t as knowledgeable as they are. They basically twll you to put down your camera if you can’t use it. They’re very ego driven and arrogant. I used to follow several groups but have deleted most all from my list.

    • Mike Moats says:

      Kam, that is a problem on some sites, and I have seen it myself. Egos.

      • Kam Jackson says:

        Mike I have followed you for a few short years. I love your work and hope to attend a workshop in the near future. I have never ever seen a negative comment from you towards any photographer with less knowledge than you. You treat us all with respect regardless of our level. Thank you for that. I live in Richmond Ky hope to see you!

      • Mike Moats says:

        Thank you Kam, I do try and respect all photographers no matter what level as I was a new photographer at one time, and appreciated the more experienced photographers that took the time to help me out.

  5. Darleen Stry says:

    Perhaps you could try the angle that you are coming into town and would like to offer the members of this club an exclusive deal to get a discount at this workshop if they sign up through their club. We have had the same problem here in Buffalo with the Can-Am Photo convention. I have repeatedly sent the information to local schools and since it’s not endorsed by the college they don’t pass on or even acknowledge thanks for the information. so we stick to FB and local camera shops.

  6. There are always bad apples. I belong to the Motor City Camera Club and I would hope that wouldn’t happen with our group. Our president usually tells us about all the different opportunities available that she knows of in the area. She’ll even give us info on events not in the area. Not all clubs are bad. I did visit one club in my area that was awfully uninviting and I suppose it wouldn’t surprise me to know that that club would hold back information.

    • Mike Moats says:

      Sue, you have a good club, and I believe I have presented for it in the past. Good to hear they are passing on info for your members to learn.

  7. Stu Davis says:

    Mike, if they live in South East Michigan send the to our club at Seven Ponds in Dryden, MI. We are a mentoring club and growing. We have some great Pro’s and point and shoot camera people (one point and shoot sold some for a book) you can’t tell the at the meetings as we all want to improve.

  8. Abby Krim says:

    Mike, as a former club president, I think what you are missing is how many of these notices we get every day. It’s free and everyone e uses it. There is no certification or credential that distinguishes professional photographers, and honestly, I’ve seen some club level presenters who speak better than the ‘pros’. If you and/or the quality of your workshops are unknown to the recipient, any email will probably just go in the round file.

    Two suggestions – mine your data and improve your data. Push notifications to former attendees that you will be back in the area, and emphasize your new/updated program. Do something as silly as a referral contest — $x off if you bring a friend, $xx off if can book me second gig while I’m in town (ie, a paid club presentation), etc.

    At your workshops and gatherings like the NECCC conference, bring sign up cards for your mailing list and add a check box if the person is also the contact for a potentially interested group (add that option on your online signup as well). Make sure you’re capturing group’s city and state info. Random group contacts may not know you but anyone who has seen your presentation will and would be more likely to help you along.

    • Mike Moats says:

      Abby, most clubs are more then happy to promote one of my workshops when I’m in their area, but there are a few that will not. As I mentioned that the club just needs to point out that they are not endorsing a workshop just passing on the info, and that each person should do their own homework about the workshop offered. If a photographers blames the club for a bad experience, then shame on them for not doing the proper research about the workshop. I do all the advice you have given already and those do work to help fill workshops.

  9. Alex McClure says:

    Your always welcome in Phoenix area!
    AZ Photo Guild

  10. Jim Beardsley says:

    Mike, I do not belong to any camera clubs, but I have led numerous other clubs and quit publicizing such requests based on experience. The reason, I publicized such a request and several members attended only to be upset with the experience; poor quality speaker, more pushing product or service than the advertised knowledge. The result, they complained to me rather than those responsible for the seminar/workshop. I have no problem recommending your workshops privately.

    Here’s a suggestion. Contact the newsletter editor, if the club has one, and submit an article or two before requesting they publicize your workshop.

    • Mike Moats says:

      Hey Jim, As I mentioned, the club just needs to point out that they are not endorsing a workshop, just passing on the info, and that each person should do their own homework about the workshop offered. If a photographers blames the club for a bad experience, then shame on them for not doing the proper research about the workshop after it is pointed out to them that the club doesn’t endorse the workshop, and that everyone should research before signing up.

  11. npshields@aol.com says:

    Mike, I surely wish that you would do a workshop in Roswell, GA. So often people do workshops in downtown Atlanta versus the northern suburbs, which are heavily saturated with camera clubs. The Roswell Photo Society and the GNPA (Georgia Nature Photographers Association” have very active memberships. Last night the RPS had a huge crowd due to the quality of speaker, Parish Kohanim. It would be wonderful using these clubs to promote a workshop so please keep it in mind for the future!

    • Mike Moats says:

      npshields, I was just in the Atlanta area this fall, over in the Marietta area, and did sell it out. I will be coming to Atlanta in March 20,21, but on the south end this time, Peachtree City.

  12. Aren’t people silly!!!!

  13. tonysweet600 says:

    I’ve encountered this with our Seminars. One club president (read control freak or cult leader) got so angry, bordering on pathological, when I pressed him as to why, that I was threatened and I hired a private security guard to sit outside of our room.

  14. jdroach99 says:

    I agree with you comments, Mike with just one caveat. I find that many of us who are “Semi-pros” or have a “Lot of experience, knowledge and skill for the joy of it” have just as much to offer as the “Pros”, and there is a decided advantage to avoid the cost of the inviting “Pros” to to club programs. I think it works best when the programs are sponsored by regional groups that comprise many member clubs because the resources for paying a “Pro” can be better managed and facilitated by an expanded number of folks who will be interested in such programs through such sponsoring groups.

    • Mike Moats says:

      Yes jd, it is expensive to hire a pro to come in to teach at the club, but in my case I’m set up in a local hotel conference room and ask the clubs to offer the info about the workshop to their members, so doesn’t cost the club any work setting it up or cost out of pocket.

      • jdroach99 says:

        Mike, glad you clarified. I probably should have been clearer. The point I was making was that individual clubs can’t afford it, but an umbrella organization like we have here in Wisconsin can better organize and make the program available to members at no cost to the club or group, but rather at a reasonable individual participant price. I have found in my experience here both in Wisconsin and Chicago areas that “very” few clubs won’t let folks know that there are programs available and that many have links to websites that provide such opportunities. But, I am sure there are others that flounders on that subject as you suggest.

  15. Steve Port says:

    The role of camera clubs is changing and some are concerned about their very survival. Between gifted traveling presenters and an internet bursting with information, clubs are struggling to find a sustainable niche meeting the needs of local photographers. It is not too hard to imagine why some clubs circle their wagons in order to jealously hold onto members that now have nearly infinite outside options. Do not be concerned. Your reputation precedes you while their world shrinks.

    • Mike Moats says:

      Thanks Steve, I will agree that clubs and even photo conference I attend are losing attendances. Yes the internet offers tons of learning experiences that you can learn from right in your living room. I do have many people tell me it still doesn’t replace the in person hands on experience of a workshop.

    • That is a very good explanation for the struggles of clubs.

  16. Stacy says:

    You apparently have encountered some small minded people with self esteem issues. They feel threatened for some reason. Maybe because they are small minded

  17. Dave Brooks says:

    Hi Mike,

    I just wanted to chime in to tell everyone that Mike has given two free presentations at our camera club, one within the last year, and both were standing room only events with well over 100 people attending each one. Both were excellent presentations with many of our members walking away very happy and hoping he comes back again soon.
    I can also tell you that I know several members including my wife that have attended his workshops and have come away from Mike’s workshops very happy that they attended the workshop.
    Our members at all skill levels have told us in a recent club survey that they love the presentations we have like Mike’s because they are always striving to learn more about a photography subject.
    Why wouldn’t a photographer want to learn more and become better at their craft even if you walk away with one or two things that you didn’t know previously to the presentation or workshop? I don”t care at what level you are in photography, there is ALWAYS. something to learn, especially with all the new technology coming out it seems every day.
    Our club has committed to a full blown Photographers Presentation Series because of the success of our previous presenters including bringing in some Canon Explorer of Light Presenters. It’s my duty as our club President to keep our members engaged and wanting to learn whatever they want and need to learn about photography because they simply love to take photographs. To me, to do anything less is a travesty!

    Dave Brooks
    Cleveland Photographic Society 

    • Mike Moats says:

      Thank you David, your club has been one of my best supporters which helps keep me out there earning a living, and being able to educate photographers to be the best they can at macro photography. Always a pleasure speaking at your fine club.

  18. There is a million workshops out there so I think it is a matter of where do you draw the line? Now it becomes a full-time volunteer job for someone to post all the opportunities members can find out about on there own. If you get free advertising now Tom, Dick and Harry wants it too.

    • Mike Moats says:

      Denise, of course a club can’t post every workshop that’s out there and as you point out very time consuming. I don’t ask a club in Michigan to promote my workshop in Florida, that would be crazy. When I’m in a city, I ask the local clubs near where the workshop is being held so it is right in their area, and easy to get too. How many pros come to your areas teaching a workshop, I would expect very few, so it’s not a big project for someone in the club to promote local workshops to the members. As far as giving free advertising, clubs do it all the time. They give free advertising for Adobe when they talk about the latest photoshop program, or free advertising by talking about Nikon or Canon’s new camera or lense, or a new tripod that is out. If a new book on photography comes out, someone passes that info on to the members, that’s all free advertising for those companies, what do you have against giving away free information about workshops, you help everyone else that is making money, doesn’t seem fair.

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