Maybe you have put a new camera on your Christmas list. Maybe you have one sitting in a cupboard, but you default to your phone to take pictures because it is easier to understand.

Aperture, F stop, shutter speed, ISO… It can all be a bit overwhelming. You could do a course to get to grips with it all (I did the very good adult education class at Sunbury), or you can be brave and jump into the deep end and join a club. Or is it really that deep?

Having played around with my camera for a while now, enjoying the odd trip to Bushy Park, I decided I needed a bit of encouragement. Taking my camera out on walks kept me within my comfort zone and I needed something to challenge myself. I had toyed with joining a club, but as I am only human, I felt that my photographic efforts were not good enough to be parts of a club.

But recently I took the leap. I joined Laleham Camera Club and I have never looked back. We meet on Tuesday evenings, in the late summer and winter months in Laleham village Hall, where there is plenty of parking.

They have a varied programme which includes model shoots, product shoots, competitions, slide shows, critique evenings and even software demos. During the summer they meet at various local attractions in Surrey depending on the weather to photograph rivers, waterfalls, landscapes and wildlife.

I would never have had the chance to even try to photograph anything in a studio if I were not parts of a club but the photos here were taken by me and I was rather chuffed with them!

You need to be prepared not to be taken seriously, enjoy a bit of teasing and not to be afraid of showing off your images for a bit of constructive comment. What you will get is the chance to be inspired, learn from others and put yourself out of your comfort zone – sometimes literally!

The club is made up of some very experienced photographers as well as many novices. The more experienced help those of us who find ourselves floundering trying to find the right settings. When it comes to competition nights, we are all encouraged to submit entries and we all select our favourite shots before we hear how they were taken. Anyone can get a placement. Even me! I have been very chuffed with a 3rd and a 4th.

Laleham Camera Club is not an exclusive and elitist club. Everyone is welcome regardless of their skill level or camera. So why not go along to a meeting. Annual membership is only £60. To find our more please give Paul, club chairman a call on 07825 165974.

You can see images from members on the website, as well as find out more about the club online at: