As I have quite a bit of gear (studio flash) and over the years people have said that they've always wanted to try this form of photography but it's too costly or takes up to much space, I decided in early March to open a Meetup Group called "Plymouth Studio Photography Club101 Meetup". If you don't know about the Meetup site, basically it's a worldwide meeting site, where you can set-up a group which is hosted on their site (at a cost) to attract hobbyist or professionals with an interest in certain topics ("Beer & Banter" seems very popular). Anyway within a few weeks I had a membership of 20 people who joined, so decided to put on a tutorial session in the local church hall to cover basic portraiture. This would cover some basic technical aspects; Studio flash controls and how to used them, light metering, camera settings, the inverse square law and so on. Then go on to look at one basic lighting set-up, 'Rembrandt' with single light, then adding a reflector. Booked the hall for the day, wrote a hand-out for the session covering the above topics, posted the date for the session well in advance and basically got no interest whatsoever. Still the hall was booked so let everyone know it was still going ahead (no refund on the hall booking) and they could just drop in and use the kit. I set-up three work areas, I did have one person who was interested in taking pictures of their baby, so set-up one of the work areas to accommodate this.
Anyway the lady turned up and took picture of her baby but that was it.
I then announce another session with a date for a months time, by now the group had over 30 members but still I generated absolutely no interest. Perhaps I was charging too much at £10 for a whole day! But the aim was to recover the cost of the hall, plus tea, coffee & fruit juices were made available. So after a 3 weeks of no interest I cancelled the session (at least this time I hadn't booked the hall). Then in a last ditch attempt garner some interest I announce four further session; Capturing smoke trail, Capturing water trails, Freezing water splashes and a Still life/Product shoot, these would all be taking place at my own home for convenience. Here at least hope the diversity of topics might be of interest, but had absolutely no interest at all, so I'm now wondering why on earth these people even joined the group in the first place? The first of the 'newer' session is due to take place next weekend, so just to ensure everything would go smoothly I did a trial one evening - rather pleased with the results, so posted a few result on the meetup site for this session
Still absolutely no interest, so I sent out a group wide email saying the group would be closing down when the next subscription payment was due in September because of the lack of interest. While all this was going on I will also say that I sent a personal greetings message to everyone who joined the groups, set-up polls so they could let me know what they would like to be provided, sent out individual messages to each member, letting them know that the group would be closing if there wasn't a better level of interaction. Overall I've had little or no response from the membership, I'd estimate 10% have opened any sort of dialogue. So I'm still wondering why these people joined, perhaps there are "serial non-participating club joiners" you can see what other groups they have joined and one person was a member of over 30! So I guess SN-PCJ's could be a thing after all! :-)
Born in 1956 (so getting on a bit now) I'm married and have two wonderful children we all live in Devon in the South West of England - on the Cornish border.