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Regardless of your profession, it is critical that you communicate with other people. Job descriptions almost always include “strong communication skills,” and it is what people are looking for when they hire. Professional photography is no different, especially if you are running your own business. Your clients will expect you to speak clearly and effectively. As a new photographer, you may want to expand your horizons and practice your communication skills with other professionals in your industry.
Networking typically involves meeting with other professionals at a specific event and learning about what they do. In this case, you want to focus on meeting other professional photographers to discuss topics relevant to your industry. You could discuss techniques and experiments within your industry and create mutually-beneficial relationships. No, it is not always the most exciting part of the job, but it can be incredibly useful if you do it with the intentions to learn and improve yourself.
Why networking with other photographers should be important to you:
- You can learn something
- They can refer you
Yes, the photography industry is competitive, but that does not mean that everyone involved is. Not every photographer is going to feel the need to network, but it really does promote some valuable communication. And it allows you to get your name out there in your local community of photographers. When a fellow Senior portrait photographer is unable to meet a client at their desired shoot time, or they just have too much work at that point, they can pass it off to you if they have developed a relationship with you and trust your work.
1. You can always learn something new from other, more experienced photographers.
As a professional photographer, you can have a lot of stress on your plate at one time, and maybe not everyone will understand that. Wouldn’t it be nice if someone did though?
Who better to talk to than other photographers for those types of conversations?
Networking allows you to build friendships and relationships with people in your own industry that do the same type of work that you do every single day. Not only do these similarities give you easy topics to discuss, they also give you a chance to gather some tips from your fellow colleagues. You could learn the pros and cons of a new piece of equipment, or receive some helpful advice on elements with which you are struggling.
Although there are some photographers out there who determine that they don’t need to network, many photographers appreciate the connections they make. And they also understand they can always learn from other photographers, especially those who have more experience or a different perspective.
2. Another important aspect of networking is potential referrals.
If you build a relationship with a local photographer, there is the possibility you could refer clients to one another. This does not mean that you turn away valuable clients, or those you just don’t want to work with. For example, pretend you’re a Newborn Photographer and one of your previous clients suggested you to one of her friends to photograph their wedding. You have had experience with wedding photography in the past, but it is not your bread and butter. Not to mention, you really don’t feel that the job works for you.
Instead of entirely turning the job away, you remember a wedding photographer you met at a recent networking event, loved her work, and knew she would be a perfect candidate for the job. You can then refer this potential client to her instead, preventing you from disappointing a prospective future client and pleasing the current client by having a professional suggestion as opposed to just turning down the job.
Hopefully you have built a relationship with your fellow photographer that they will do the same for you. In this way, you are both benefiting and are able to continue to hone your newborn photography because you are not having to please such a general clientele.
Benefits of Networking with Photographers
In the long run, networking with other professional photographers helps build your business by expanding your knowledge and your clientele. Use social media as a starting point for networking with your fellow photographers, but also try to plan coffee meetings or attend professional networking events. You can even attend conferences and seminars. Many times, at these inspiring conventions, you can continue to meet photographers from all around the United States or the world. Always approach other photographers with a genuine attitude, you will receive the friendliest results.
Remember, it does not benefit you in this profession to isolate yourself. Go out and meet some people, it will be worth the effort! And it will also increase your local photography presence in the community.