If you want to be a photographer and you find it difficult to take studio art classes in high school, there are several extracurricular activities that you can explore in order to pursue your passion for photography.
1. Join a photography club (obviously).
Join a photography club, whether it’s in or out of school. Make sure that the club is like a class in which you can learn and master photography techniques, and that it’s also a place where you can surround yourself with like-minded artistic people. Being with other photographers will increase your chances of receiving constructive criticism about your work, and this will only help you become better and expand your style as a photographer.
2. Create an ongoing photography project.
In my sophomore year, I started a photo essay project similar to Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York. I interviewed and took photographs of various people from my school community in order to share their stories and present them in a different light. While you don’t necessarily have to start a “Humans of X” project, it might be a good idea to make a continuous commitment to photograph something that you’re interested in throughout high school. You can create a long-term portrait series of your friends to explore the relationships you build throughout high school, or you can create a street photography project that documents your surroundings, or perhaps the town you grew up in. Creating your own photographic projects will not only help you develop your style, but will also help you later on when you apply to art school and need to curate your own portfolio.
3. Volunteer to take pictures for the school yearbook.
Even if you hate taking pictures of your peers and school events, taking pictures for the school yearbook can help you practice lighting and composition. Aside from its technical aspects, photography is also about “capturing the right moment,” and taking yearbook pictures can help you make quick decisions about the exact moments that you want to share with others. Additionally, being a school photographer can excuse you from (sports) events that you’d rather not join, and it’s ultimately a way for you to use your photographic talents to benefit your school community.
4. Play an active role in your school’s arts publication.
Your appreciation of art tends to manifest in the way you take pictures. Joining your school’s arts publication can help you build a platform on which you can share your photographs. You will also be able to share other people’s work and help emerging artists from your school community gain recognition. Remember that aside from constantly taking photographs, it’s also important to constantly engage with other people’s art so that your own appreciation of art can grow.
If these extracurriculars aren’t available in your school, why not start them? Even in high school, there’s always a way for you to tailor your activities to the goals that you want to fulfill by the end of your four years. If you keep on creating and engaging with art, you’ll certainly be on the way to becoming the best photographer you can be, even at a young age.