In March 2008 when about 100 members of a "mommy board" discovered that they and other like-minded photographers wanted to discuss photography but no photography websites were devoted exclusively to women, they decided to change that. The website ClickinMoms.com was born. Flash forward to 2014, and the group has 16,000 members who bounce ideas around and get feedback on their photos on the site, according to Sarah Wilkerson, CEO of ClickinMoms.
Wilkerson says ClickinMoms (CM) focuses on building a sense of community for its members.
"Photography can be a pretty solitary activity, but it's the kind of hobby that can take over your life, your mind," Wilkerson says. "You're on your own, you and your camera. ClickinMoms is a place to teach each other."
She says photography enriches women's lives and they generally take photos:
- as a financial avenue
- to creatively express themselves
- to document their children's lives
- to use the camera therapeutically to deal with loss or change in life
Wilkerson says CM has witnessed a shift from traditional photography to the more emotional, lifestyle photography, which women photographers are especially good at conveying. The shift has been documented in CM's forum, which is the heart of the community, according to Wilkerson.
The forum, home to 4 million posts, is "a place for everything from questions to discussions to pertinent issues in the industry to critiques on their photography and imagery," Wilkerson says.
ClickinMom's CMUniversity offers workshops for all levels of photographers. The workshops, ranging from Shooting 101: First Steps with a DSLR to Shooting 304: The Art of Observation, are flexible, allowing photographers to complete lessons on their own time.
"Many moms don't have time to get a degree in photography. The workshops focus on one element of photography letting women choose what they need to take their photography skills to the next level," Wilkerson says. "It empowers people to do something with this powerful tool."
CM offers a series of CMPro Breakout sessions, which are a blend of workshops and webinars. Students can download instruction materials like videos and PDFs.
CM will host a photography conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, Sept. 11-14, 2014. Wilkerson says the conference is a place where members of CM can come together to expand virtual friendships in person.
Wilkerson encourages other women photographers to sign up for a free trial membership at ClickinMoms.com using code PAR2014.
"In an ideal world, everyone would own a camera and would belong to ClickinMoms," Wilkerson says.