chantal stone photography: the blog

June 29, 2007

Photography Groups, And How Columbus, Ohio Needs A Good One

Filed under: Photography — chantal @ 3:32 pm

Something’s been on my mind lately, and I’ve complained about it through email with other photographers, in chat, even when talking to local photographers here in Columbus, Ohio. It felt like time to take my gripe to the blog…

There is a great photo community here on the internet: for enthusiasts, for professionals, for the casual shooters, for the fine art crowd…you name it, there’s a group, or site, or blog, or whatever for photographers to get together and share ideas, get advice, etc. And from what I’ve seen and heard from other photographers, there seems to be thriving and helpful photo-communities in many cities across the US. But not here in Columbus.

Columbus has a couple of photography clubs—camera clubs, really. Mostly enthusiasts who like to get together, share pictures, talk about gear, etc. I’ve been to their meetings, but it wasn’t for me. There are two big ones here in town and neither really were able to fulfill my needs. Columbus also has a few active Flickr groups with a ton of members. And if you read Craigslist/Columbus, every other ad is by a photographer looking for a gig. There are a lot of great photographers here!

But no community for advanced amateurs, emerging professionals, and pro shooters with years of experience, where we all can learn from and nurture each other. We’re all competing against one another, yes. But I think we would benefit more from helping one another.

Am I the only one who sees this as a problem? I’ve talked to quite a few local wedding photographers who all have noted a significant decline in their number of bookings recently. Wouldn’t you like to know why? Do you really think its all because every other person and their brother now owns a Nikon D40 or a Rebel? Perhaps it’s also because the trends in wedding photography are changing and you haven’t noticed it yet. Wouldn’t you love to be part of a group that analyzes and notes these trends, and shares information that we all could use to remain competitive?

How many new magazines are being launched every year? I know of at least three new ones just this year here in Columbus. Wouldn’t it be awesome to be part of a group that pays attention to things like this, so that we all have a chance to get published locally? And what about these group art shows that are popping up left and right. Do you ever wonder how you could be part of something like that?….or better yet….help organize one yourself!!

If Columbus had an active and generous group of photographers who met semi-regularly, I think it would be nothing but win-win. I, along with a handful of other photo friends, have actually started a small group in the past, but since the group was so small, and everyone’s time limited, it never really took off. But I have a feeling that I’m not the only one here in Central Ohio who sees/feels the need for a photography group that goes beyond just the regular camera club…. a group that sees its members as equals, partners, and friends, that helps its members grow creatively and in business.

If you’ve read this far, and you’re not from Ohio…how do you feel about the photo community in your area? Is there one at all, and if so, do you feel like it meets your needs? What would your ideal group be like?



  1. Great post, Chantal. As a matter of fact, it spawned my post for today about change! ๐Ÿ™‚

    I would have to agree with you that these types of groups either don’t exist, are so hard to find that they seem not to exist, or we just don’t know where to look! ๐Ÿ™‚

    The photo community in Charlotte is much the same. The photo club here does do outings, critiques, and equipment reviews; however, they don’t talk about the business of photography. There’s another group in South Carolina that runs along a similar vain, again, nothing about the business.

    I think that there are a few websites that cover the types of things that you are mentioning, but more on a nationwide level, rather than a local level.

    Perhaps you should start such a group! ๐Ÿ™‚ Yes, it takes time and effort to continue. Perhaps its in the form of private/members only blog where you share ideas about the local photography environment.

    The market is changing and we will have to change with it. We’ll have to carve out other niches in which to operate.

    Speaking of weddings, I certainly would not be surprised to learn that books are down more than 50% from 3 years ago, when digital cameras started hitting the 5 megapixel range.

    Comment by paul — July 2, 2007 @ 5:52 am | Reply

  2. Living in Southern CA, we are fortunate to have a group like you suggest, called the Photo Exchange, which meets once per month. Mostly print discussions, but since most of us are published and exhibiting artists, a lot of talk about pending exhibits and exhibiting opportunities. We do sometimes get into technical discussions, but usually when trying to understand how an image was made or printed.

    I like the “Monday Meetings” that Paul Butzi talks about; keep it to a small group under 10, meet every other Monday on a roatating basis at someone’s home and bring new work (and some goodies to eat!). Once per week; too often, Once per month, too long between meetings. He also mentioned “cherry picking” the begining group members from other photo meetings, looking for those were was struggling to discuss the merits of an image and not the latest equipment.

    Comment by Doug Stockdale — July 2, 2007 @ 6:19 pm | Reply

  3. I am an amateur photographer interested finding a professional niche. I agree with what you posted. For artists interested in developing their own abilities groups like this would be very helpful. I don’t know if you have the time or true interest in developing the idea and helping community artists in this way but I would be interested in helping in any way.

    Comment by Ray Blackerby — November 9, 2007 @ 10:42 am | Reply

  4. Chantal: Good post! I live in Columbus, OH and have been searching for a few years now for a good photog group. I completely agree with your comments. It’s very hard to believe that a city the size of Columbus doesn’t have at least one group dedicated to the business. I consider myself a semi-pro and enjoy a part-time portrait business.

    If you start a group or hear of one, please let me know.

    Comment by Sandy — February 25, 2008 @ 1:20 pm | Reply

  5. Chantal, have you been to a meeting of The Focus Group in Columbus/Upper Arlington?
    If not, our next meeting is on Friday March 14, 2008. See the website for more details.
    We will have a few samples of our work up for show at Ursus Art Space here in Columbus, from March 1 – April 30, 2008.
    Our group is looking for more members!
    Hope to see you at the meeting,


    Comment by Irene Verweij — February 28, 2008 @ 1:22 pm | Reply

  6. I totally feel you on this one. I’m from Columbus, recently transplanted back from school and it feels like there is no club that I can find that is anything like what I experienced back at school. DeviantArt helps me some, but I do totally need some face-to-face interaction with some other photographers in the area. Don’t know exactly how to go about getting that though :-\

    Comment by Lisa — December 10, 2008 @ 11:32 pm | Reply

  7. I would LOVE to be part of a group like the one you describe! Photography has been my main interest for over 20years and just this past year expanded to begin learning studio work. My cousin is retiring from her business and has helped me tremendously!! I agree with your statement about it being a competitive market but also believe in helping one another so all may succeed. I know it has been a while since you posted your blog, so maybe you have started a group already. If so, I would love to participate. Thanks!!

    Comment by Kerri — March 26, 2009 @ 9:15 am | Reply

  8. I have 2 slide projectors, a screen and lots of carousels for FREE if you pick them up. North Columbus. I just went to DVD format.

    Comment by Betty Ann Litvak — July 14, 2010 @ 12:04 pm | Reply

  9. I have 2 slide projectors, a screen and lots of carousels for FREE if you pick them up. Let me know.

    Comment by Betty Ann Litvak — July 14, 2010 @ 12:05 pm | Reply

    • Do you still have the slide projector and stuff?

      Comment by Ellen Fox — October 4, 2010 @ 7:57 pm | Reply

  10. I have 2 slide projectors, a screen and lots of carousels for FREE if you pick them up. Let me know if you are interested.

    Comment by Betty Ann Litvak — July 14, 2010 @ 12:06 pm | Reply

  11. You bring up a really interesting point, chantal. For some time I’ve been doing photog as part of my job and doing my own thing in my free time, participating in online photog groups and at the same time thinking wouldn’t it be great if I were back in college where I knew people who were into photog and we worked together on projects and common goals. It is so easy to get busy and loose touch with that type of situation and not realize it. I’m a graphic designer and photog is not my main thing, but it would be nice to meet people, talk about what others are up to and maybe collaborate on work and projects. It has been 3 years since your post, so maybe a new group has become since then.

    Comment by dblayn — July 28, 2010 @ 3:47 pm | Reply

  12. I agree with you. I am looking for a club in the Columbus area like the one I belonged to in Akron, OH. There were over 30 members and monthly meetings that were well attended. There were speakers and monthly judging og members photos by a professional who would tell us the pros and cons of our photos. At the end of te year we had an award dinner for the top three people ho got the most points from that. We did group shoots also.


    Comment by Dennise — September 20, 2010 @ 8:18 pm | Reply

  13. So are you gonna start the club that you are looking for?

    Comment by Ron J — December 31, 2010 @ 11:36 am | Reply

  14. I do not know if you have found a group or not, but I just went to one yesterday called CAPTURE. Check it out and like it to join! We would love to have you and hope that we can get more people involved.

    Comment by Julie Cain — June 13, 2011 @ 5:08 pm | Reply

  15. Julie, does CAPTURE have a website? I’m in Grove City looking for other photographers to meet.

    Comment by Mike Higgins — June 16, 2011 @ 3:05 pm | Reply

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