At this point, we should all know that almost all jobs and opportunities to find success in photography are built off networking. Now there are tons of ways to network and the path you pick will depend solely on the niche you associate with. Either way, the main goal is to meet people with the same professional interests as yourself to feed off each other creatively and to broaden your reach in the community. We tend to forget about the community aspect as we get caught up in chasing money or companies but what we sometimes need to go to that next level is support system built off our love for photography.
First things first, the only way to meet people is to reach out. Take the first step, whether you’re an extreme extrovert or an introvert there are people out there who will accept who you are but you must put yourself out there. Now, you can use the various social media outlets available (you have permission to slide into the DMs) or do it the old fashion way and just introduce yourself to anyone who you see out shooting in your local area. Chances are the reception will be positive because we already have a huge shared interest. This step is absolutely crucial because without it you have no foundation of people to surround yourself with.
Now that you know some people in the industry, go out and shoot together! No seriously as easy as it sounds it’s hard to ask strangers to go out to a location or studio because what if it’s awkward or if you have nothing in common. That totally happens but in all honestly, you’re most likely to end up really enjoying the company and have a second set of ideas to go along with the shots you’ve seen in your head. You learn to look at composition from a new standpoint and you get to understand another person’s workflow. Which in turn can show your flaws or efficiencies in your own methods. You learn together and ultimately everyone brings something unique to the table that could teach you something.
Building Your Own Community
You’ve gone out and shot with some new people and hopefully have made some friends along the way. This is good but how do you bring it together to make a true community of creatives? Easy, just play matchmaker. Invite a few of the people you’ve met and had a good connection with to shoot with each other. This is just going to keep snowballing if you keep putting in the effort. They will bring their friends and those friends will bring more friends and before you know it you have a spider web of a community that you’ve helped facilitate. Before you know it you never go out and shoot alone, ideas are being bounced around constantly, and you’ve got new contacts to different people in the industry.
Regardless if you’re a savvy experienced photographer or a novice who just took their first paid shoot having this support system in place will not only make you a better photographer but it will give you a group of people who you can fall back on in your times of need. In the same vein, you can be there for them as well because we all have something to bring to the table.