Speaking as an introvert who loves alone time almost as much as chocolate chip cookies, I really enjoy being around others in this field too. Though many of us get along swimmingly as the “lone wolf” type because we know what we want and how to shoot it, sometimes we may wish for comradery. Here are a few benefits I’ve noticed.
You are humbled.
On occasion, we get big heads about our skill level. But there is always someone who is more skilled in your craft, and there always will be. Realizing that you aren’t a master and can continue to learn helps bring that ego back down to manageable proportions.
You learn from others.
As said before, you can learn more. By exposing yourself to other photographers of different backgrounds & styles, you may pick up on a new process or editing technique.
You can be inspired.
If you get the chance to be around a person you admire, you can see their whole shooting process. Depending on the club, you may get to see the brainstorming session and later their editing workflow.
The difference between taking a required class for your program and joining a club of your own volition is that there is more freedom to shoot what you really want. Structure is helpful in the beginning, but once you’ve established your style & niche, you’ll be able to excel even further with less strict parameters.
If you’re looking to be around other photographers not in an academic setting, try looking for local groups or ask around in the art community. I’ve found the meetup app very helpful in finding things as well. Even if you don’t plan to be in the club forever, spending a short amount of time with them will definitely be a great experience.
May the light be with you.