For many years there have been clubs for those interested in photography. Camera clubs provided the beginning of organized photography in North America through the Associated Camera Clubs of America (ACCA) which was formed in 1919 and became PSA in 1934. Several countries have a rich history of camera clubs which range from having occasional get-togethers to the more structured groups that we see in the United Kingdom, Belgium, South Africa, Argentina, and Australia.
A camera club today may have three or four members or over a thousand members. A club may engage in a single activity or provide many activities so the membership can selectively participate. It may hold regular meetings, a few social activities or outings, or be “virtual” and meet via the Internet. The club members may live in the immediate area or half way around the world. Some clubs are growing in membership and others are declining, some have strong leadership and others may have lost their leaders over time, and some clubs may have embraced the technology of modern photography while others may not. There are new photography clubs being formed every day and there are vital clubs that have celebrated fifty, sixty, seventy year anniversaries.
Any club can become a member of PSA by paying the membership fee. PSA does not tell a member-club how to be organized, how to run its activities, or what kind of photography the club should embrace. PSA does have many services and activities specifically designed for member clubs and PSA can provide help, support, and guidelines to new clubs and clubs with an extensive history.
There are numerous benefits of PSA club membership that are available to the club as an organization (e.g., entering free PSA Interclub Competitions, club judging service) and some recognition that may be earned by individual club members, whether they belong to PSA or not (e.g., awards from the PSA Interclub Competitions). However, full participation in PSA (including login to My PSA) does not extend to the members of a club, unless they are individual members of PSA.
Each PSA-member club has a PSA Representative (PSA Rep) who is listed as the club contact person in the PSA membership database. The PSA Rep receives the club copy of the monthly PSA Journal; the emailed quarterly PSA club newsletter, The Projector; and PSA membership renewal notices. There is a "job description" or MOM that describes the role of the PSA Representative. Two Club Rep of the Year awards (for a small club and for a large club) are given each year at the PSA Annual Conference to those Club Reps who keep the club involved with PSA activities, present PSA information at each meeting, and refer many individual members to PSA.
PSA has two forums for camera club leaders to share information with each other and help solve club related concerns. The first, Camera Club Sparkle, is a group for the club President, the club PSA Rep, and/or the club Membership Director. The second forum, the PhotoEditors Group, is designed for the club webmaster and/or club newsletter editor.
PSA offers member clubs and councils the opportunity to enter two contests which provide the club or council with valuable input and recommendations to help improve the club web site and/or club newsletter: the Club Web Site Contest and the Club Newsletter Contest. Additionally, these two programs recognize those PSA-member clubs and councils that have accomplished outstanding work communicating with their membership and potential members via their web site and newsletter during that year.
Just as most individuals respond favorably to receiving recognition, photography clubs can be inspired when the club receives recognition for its efforts. With this in mind, PSA has several programs that address the various areas where a PSA-member club may have accomplished outstanding work during a year
All PSA-member Clubs have login access to the PSA Club/Council Services area under My PSA, where Consultants are available to help PSA-member club’s leadership with: Getting Started, PSA Membership, PSA Club Forums, Club Communication, Technical Assistance, PSA Interclub Competitions, PSA Club Contests, Judging Services, Club Programs, Club Community Service, and Club Recognition.