Copyright Scott Bourne 2003 - All Rights Reserved

Copyright Scott Bourne 2003 - All Rights Reserved


We hear the word community thrown around a great deal. Online community is a hot topic. What I’d like to write about is REAL community. People actually going somewhere and meeting face-to-face. People speaking WITH each other in the same room at the same time, rather than texting or emailing or Twittering to each other.

In photographic circles, we used to call this a camera club. Now, it’s called a meetup or a Tweetup or a —- Well you get the idea.

Real communities can improve your photography in ways that might surprise you.

Last year, I had the opportunity to meet up with some photographers in Salt Lake CIty on my way to lead the Aperture Nature Photography Workshop near Teton National Park. They were from Photowalking Utah. We just met at a local restaurant and talked. But it was fun and interesting and good to just hang out with some fellow photographers.

Since meeting these folks (and forgive me since I am old and meet many people so I will forget a few names) I have followed several of them on Twitter. Rich Legg (@leggnet), Ann Torrence (@anntorrence) and Scott Jarvie (@jarvie) are just a few of the members of this group.

They’re all smart people and good photographers. They happen to be good people too.

Our own Nicole Young (@nicolesy) has recently relocated to the Salt Lake City area and I noticed she immediately fell in with this group and had an instant community of like-minded friends.

Nicole’s move to Salt Lake could have put her at a disadvantage photographically. After all, she might not know where all the great places are, what the local laws and customs are, which models to work with, where to get gear, etc. Both by following their group on Twitter and talking to Nicole on the phone I came to realize they’re a very active group, shooting with each other, helping each other, etc.

There’s no doubt this will improve the group’s collective and individual photographic skill and opportunity. It’s impressive and inspiring to me and sometimes makes me wish I lived there :)

But guess what – no matter where you live YOU can be the catalyst for just such a community. Get something going. Start a meetup group. Join a local photo walk. Suggest a weekly shoot-up. Don’t be shy. This stuff matters and can really help you grow as a photographer.

Apologies to the Salt Lake Photowalkers. I didn’t mean to intrude on your group here, but it was the best example I’ve seen of a real photographic community. I hope it inspires everyone as much as it has me. Oh yeah – thanks for taking care of Niki too.

This post sponsored by the Digital SLR Store