How to Organise a Syllabus

Here are a few guidelines from a Former Syllabus Secretary

1. Sources of Ideas

  • Other camera club websites go to for a list of clubs. You can then visit each club website individually and check syllabus pages for speakers and ideas.
  • Local clubs 
  • PAGB/ SPF handbook – these list lecturers; however tend not to use these that often. Malcolm may have copies.
  • Speak to Queens Park Camera Club, Edinburgh Photographic Society and Dundee Photographic Society as we usually share a couple of speakers between these clubs a season. Contact them via their websites for syllabus secretary details.
  • Ask club member’s for ideas.
  • Google searches for local photographers e.g. Scottish landscape photographers.

2. Syllabus Breakdown of Evenings (Guidelines)

Average Total Evenings per season (End Sept to Start May) – 31 evenings

Required evenings per year:

  • 1x AGM
  • 1x Annual Dinner
  • 1x Trip Out
  •  1 Night SPF
  • 2-3x Twenty Minutes of Fame (member’s mini lectures)
  • 3x Competitions
  • 1x Robert Simpson Competition
  • 1x Annual Competition
  • 1x Digital Images Competition (Robert Simpson Cup)
  • 2x Internal Night – Practical or other
  • 1 Trip Review Night
  • 1 Exhibition Night

Possibly Also to Host on Tuesday Night depending upon the year:

  • 2x Interclub Competitions

3. Photographic Topics

As a guide there should be the following potential mix of topics, although this is just a narrow selection to get you started:

  • Sports
  • Landscape
  • Commercial
  • Journalism
  • Internal Nights
  • Studio
  • Photoshop

4. Expensive Speakers

Expensive speakers (1 or 2 a year) these cost are usually shared speakers between clubs. Shared speakers who are travelling from a distance will usually require a meal and accommodation. To keep costs down, ask if the speakers would be willing to stay with a club member. This depends if someone from the club can put the speaker up.

5. Timelines for Syllabus Preparation

Timeline for Syllabus Preparation (from election at AGM) with example dates.

May 2011
You are elected new Syllabus Secretary at AGM – (were you drugged). The syllabus for the season October 2011 to May 2012 should have been completed by the out-going syllabus secretary. So all you need to do is organise the following season from September 2012 to May 2013 and look after the next season’s speakers.

November 2011
Create skeleton syllabus (as below) as framework for following season.

November 2011 – March 2012
Research and decide on potential speakers, book speakers including those potentially to share between clubs mentioned above. (2 -3 speakers a year).

January 2012
Give provisional dates to competition secretary so they can book judges.

July – Mid-August 2012
Complete syllabus for club website. A copy goes on club website (See example below).
Also complete proof copy for club membership booklet.

End September 2012
New Season starts, make sure speakers can still attend (e-mail/phone them a few weeks before they are due to speak. On the night make sure projector and laptop (if required) set up.

7. Example of Initial E-mail to Speakers

Example of initial e-mail to speakers to invite them to speak at the club.

Invitation to Speak at Milngavie and Bearsden Camera Club (Season 2012 -2013)

I am Syllabus Secretary of the Milngavie & Bearsden Camera Club. We are currently beginning to pull together our syllabus for the 2012/13 season (Oct – April) and I was wondering whether you would be willing to give a lecture at our Club Meeting?

We meet on Tuesday evenings in Milngavie, near Glasgow.

If you are willing to do this we can agree a suitable date later. Some indication of your likely fee / expenses would be useful as well.

Kind Regards

(Milngavie and Bearsden Syllabus Secretary)