Visions Member’s Survey Dec 2021

Posted January 2022
Annette Murty
I have used italics for my interpretation and comment on the results.


We had 24 responses which is just over half of our membership.  Thank you so much everyone who took the time to do this. In general people are very happy with the club, its activities and how it is run. Helpful suggestions were made

Q:How would you describe your photographic ability?

We are quite an experienced club with most people rating themselves as intermediate or better. There were no absolute beginners who responded. This is almost the same spread as 2018.

Q: What type of photography are you interested in? Please tick all that apply.

Other was listed as Events, Corporate, Travel, Flowers and Other Plants, A bit of everything

Putting in order of interest……

ChoicesTotals (2018)
Landscape19 (22)
Nature16 (19)
Macro15 (16)
Architecture 13 (15)
Animals/birds 13 (15)
Night Lights12 (16)
Street12 (13)
Abstract11 (12)
Sky/Stars6 (13)
Sport4 (7)

This is very similar to 2018 with a few topics changing position a little. Most people chose between 3 and 6 areas of interest but a handful chose 9 or 10.

So it is important the committee plan for this wide variety of interests. New areas to concentrate on could be Macro, Architecture, Animals and Birds, then Street and Night Lights

Q:  Please tick all the activities you enjoy at Visions. Leave blank any you do not enjoy.

There was a good spread of activities that people enjoy with the most popular being talks by experts closely followed by Outings and Friendly Critiques. There was less interest in Holiday Photos by Members and Editing Tutorials although there was still sufficient interest to run these nights occasionally.

Putting choices in order of interest

ChoicesTotals (2018)
Total responses24 (26)
Talks by experts21 (22)
Outings20 (21)
Friendly critiques20 (21)
Talks by members19 (21)
Facebook Top Ten – the best photos on a given theme are chosen from Facebook18 (17)
Practical photo sessions (e.g. macro, food photography, )16 (20)
Competition nights – member’s judging16 (20)
Competition nights – external judge16 (19)
Editing tutorials14(14)
Back to Basics sessions -( e.g. focusing, depth of field, using histograms)14 (14)
Social Evenings at Pub13 (9)
Holiday photos by members12(12)
Studio work11 (16)
Fun nights e.g. treasure hunts10 (7)
Other – please state0 (1)

It is interesting to note that competition nights are enjoyed as much whether judged by an expert or by the members. Studio work is now less popular, but that is understandable as we haven’t been able to do any for a while. Facebook Top Ten has moved up the list and has been very popular, especially during lockdown. There is more interest in taking photos and learning how to improve our photography than in learning how to edit. Social Evenings at the pub has moved up slightly but fun nights in general are still bottom of the list. That said there are still 10 people who enjoy them.

Talks by members are popular but holiday photos by members are less so. As concluded before it is important when members do talks that they try to incorporate helpful photographic information into their talks rather than just showing their holiday snaps.

Weekend meetings

The ideas of weekend meetings met with almost universal support.

Buddy System

There was a good response to this with 9 people wishing to be mentored by someone with more experience and 7 people happy to do the mentoring.

We will attempt to match up these people, possibly at our next outing.

Editing Software

Affinity: 3 from beginner to advanced

Apple Photos: 1 intermediate

Lightroom: 12, mostly beginner and intermediate, 1 advanced

Photoshop 11 mostly beginner and a few intermediate

Dxo and On 1 – 1 each – no level given.

Q: Internal Competitions: If you do not take part or only take part rarely could you please tell us why? Please pick the main reason.

With this survey we attempted to find out why there were so many members that didn’t take part in our internal competitions. However most people who responded do take part at least sometimes. The most consistent reason given by this group was that they didn’t feel good enough or that they felt they had no chance of wining.

  • Not interested in competitions (3)
  • Don’t fee good enough/Don’t feel I have a chance of winning (6)
  • No time to sort my photos (1)
  • Depends whether I have photos for that theme (1)
  • Photos are all edited too much which is not something I am interested in. (1)

Q:Internal Competitions. Do you like the idea of two-level competitions so the less experienced photographers have a chance to compete at their level?

The committee has decided to trial a two tier competition for the next quarterly in March. Depending on how that goes this might be continued for other internal competitions.

Q: What are your views on the External Competitions that the club enters?

There was overwhelming support for the club taking part in these competitions which was very encouraging. Twenty of the answers were strongly in favour of continuing, two didn’t mind and one was against them.

However there were a few negative comments about the competitions we choose to enter

  • They all encourage the same type of photography and it would be good to enter a totally different competition if one could be found.
  • As there are quite a few members who do not feel good enough to take part, we should ensure that the preparations for these competitions do not adversely affect our normal program
  • The photos submitted in these competitions are over edited.

These are the reasons people thought it was a good idea for the club to take part in external competitions:

  • They are fun to do and watch
  • They help you gauge how good you and the club are amongst other photographers
  • They are a challenge for the more able photographers in the group
  • They push members to advance their skills
  • Everyone can improve from looking at the photos and listening to the judging
  • It is good to become part of the photographic community and for our club to become known and respected

Q: Do you think the external competition selection process is fair?

There was an overwhelming majority of people (21) who answered yes to this question. One person suggested having a wildcard entry for some competitions and unfortunately one thought that the selection panel was biased and always chose the same people.

Selection Panel

12 people would like to be involved in the selection panel for external competition with a further 8 maybes.

While it is important that these panels are made up of a majority of experienced photographers it is also important for other members to take part in this process. We normally include any committee members who want to take part, invite some experienced club photographers and invite some less experienced members too. While the experienced photographers will know better what the judge is looking for technically , everyone has a valid opinion on the more subjective aspects of the photo.

Q: Are there any other activities or talks you would like to see on the programme?

There were lots of very helpful suggestions given for this question.

Competitions and Challenges

  • I don’t recall seeing a competition be that monthly or quarterly on architecture. It would be something different for us to take photographs on.
  • 52 week or 12 month challenge – this would produce a greater variety in portfolios and also wider variety for Grampian eye etc
  • A monthly / quarterly theme to encourage members to take fresh photos rather than just submit stuff from their archives.


  • Photographic city trip (Edinburgh, Glasgow etc)
  • Would be nice to hire a pro for some location based photography and for him/her to review the results
  • More outings with follow up of the photos, editing and discussions the next week to see what could have been done better
  • Outings to places such as Huntly Falconry Centre, Trouphead, Bullers of Buchan and also to various gardens, 

Club nights

  • Portraiture and Lighting ( 3 comments on this)
  • Possibly more talks on street, architecture
  • Photographing glass or with mirrors,
  • Straight off camera V edited image with tutorials on the edits (2 comments)
  • Time limited/treasure hunt
  • Astro landscape – talk followed by club shoot at night.

Facebook and The Website

The main use for both was to check the programme.

Only 12 people looked at at the website regularly, mostly to check events and competitions.

More people use Facebook to check the events and to look at photos and interesting links.

A limited number of members interact with Facebook, uploading photos and commenting or liking those of others.

Although things have improve a bit recently it is still rare to get a really good discussion going about the photos posted or other photographic issues.

I think this sums up our use of Facebook…..

“… for a photography club there is little discussion on the Facebook page about the merits or otherwise of photographs posted. It could be used as a tool to improve photographic skills but isn’t really used that way. I generally get far more comments from non-photographer friends than from club members!”

People also said it is difficult to find things so maybe we need a session with a few tips such as Saving posts and searching the group. Someone also suggested a WhatsApp group for passing on information.

Q: Do you have any other comments about the club and how it is run?

The comments were very positive and encouraging. The club was seen as friendly and relaxed with a great group of members.

The Way Forward

Continue to have a wide spread of activities so there is something for everyone

Areas to include in programme

  • Architecture competition
  • Talks on Macro, architecture, animals and birds, street and night lights
  • Portrait talk/practicals
  • More outings, including some local as car sharing still an issue.
  • Glass/mirror practical
  • Basic editing of member’s photos to improve the Straight Out of Camera image
  • Photoshop/Lightroom tutorials/ workshops for a limited number of people
  • Find out the interest in Astro photography

Other suggestions requiring action

  • Include interested members on selection panels ensuring we still have a majority of experienced photographers – this will give transparency and also give those people experience.
  • Set up a buddy system for those interested
  • Be careful of too much technical speak without explaining the terms used.
  • Update the website more regularly (time is the main issue here)
  • Consider a WhatsApp group for information – could this be incorporated in the WhatsApp meetings group?
  • Continue to encourage people to interact more with Facebook

Thanks so much to everyone for taking the time to complete this survey which will go a long way to improving our programme of events.

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