In the Herald - Why joining a club gave me the focus I needed

Date Published 
Sun 9 Aug 2020

I became a member of Irvine Camera Club (under its previous name of Townend Camera Club) 10 years ago. I wasn’t looking to join a club at the time but at a chance meeting with Alan Kempster, the club secretary, I was convinced to sign up and give it a go. I had been a keen amateur photographer most of my life but I was getting a little jaded. Through a combination of thought-provoking talks and lectures, together with friendly competition, the club gave my hobby the focus it needed.

I soon ended up on the club committee and, not long after that, I was encouraged by the then club President, Ian Davidson, to become a judge for the Scottish Photographic Federation. Ever since then I have found myself visiting camera clubs across the west of Scotland and beyond, not only to judge competitions for them but also to give talks and lectures on all things photographic.

Just last year I decided to join the Royal Photographic Society and to begin to push my photography even further, starting by attempting to earn their entry level distinction, Licentiate of the RPS.

To be awarded the LRPS I needed to show variety in approach and photographic technique. I also needed show some evidence of creative ability and demonstrate a high technical standard. I had to submit a panel of 10 photographs that would be judged by the distinction committee on 5 criteria:





Fortunately, I had already amassed a reasonable selection of photos that had done well in club competitions, and occasionally were also received well in regional and national inter-club events. Narrowing down to a final selection of 10 was tricky and I needed the help of a the RPS distinctions panel to really understand what they were looking for and how best to represent my work. After several weeks of fine tuning I arrived at a set that I considered would most likely get me the award and I sent them in to be assessed. After a nerve-wracking couple of weeks, I finally got the email confirming the award of my LRPS.

I can now begin to work towards the next level of distinction, the ARPS (Associate of the Royal Photographic Society). I think that’s going to be whole different ball game, but again will hopefully help to improve my skills and hone my creative eye.

If you enjoy photography or would like to give it a go I can whole heartedly recommend joining a local camera club. If you live in Ayrshire you are really spoilt for choice but I would suggest you contact Irvine Camera Club. You’ll be made very welcome! Our new season starts in September, for the all the details please see our website, or find us on social media.


Well done Clive. We are lucky to have you do judging for spot things that can make an improvement to an image. Keep up the good work I have learned a lot from you over the last three seasons.and want to learn more.well done again.

Fantastic article Clive ,and you are the reason my Photography as grown and improved over the last 3 years working to your standard of photographic knowledge. facts, information, and skills acquired through experience  and understanding of a photographic  subject. And great judging tips, but most of all a worthy president for Irvine cc . As Ian said we all want to learn more from each other and yourself. well done on your LRPS. keep up the good work.