Building Community And Your Photography Support System

Building Community And Your Photography Support System

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Photography Business Institute
Photography Business Institute

Anyone working as a portrait photographer knows that the job can sometimes be a lonely one. When not working with clients, many photographers work solo and often out of their own homes. You spend many hours alone at the computer, editing images, answering client inquiries, and marketing your photography business.

While your family and friends may support the decision to start your own photography business, at times, as DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince would say, they “just don’t understand.” These moments are when having a community of photographer friends and colleagues comes in handy.

Portrait photographers need the support of others to thrive. Having a creative community to turn to will provide guidance, encouragement, understanding, and even friends to geek out with about new gear, amazing sessions and perfect lighting conditions.

Why A Photographer Community Is Important

Encouragement

Running a business can be challenging whether you’re just getting started or are a seasoned professional photographer. Having a community of like-minded photographers to turn to can help you celebrate all of the wins and pick you back up when things don’t go perfectly.

Guidance

No matter where you are on your photography career path, there is always something more to learn. Having a solid portrait photographer community is like having a wealth of knowledge to draw from. Likewise, the ability to give back and provide insight to those just starting out can be equally rewarding.

Understanding

When building a photography business, you will face some very specific challenges. No one understands these challenges better than another portrait photographer, especially if they are following your same business model.

Having support in the industry is so beneficial no matter what stage you are at with your business. As a bonus, your photographer friends’ eyes won’t glaze over when you go into detail on choosing the perfect session location, getting that new lens, or how much your profits have increased this month.

Friendship

The day-to-day work of a photographer can be isolating when you don’t have anyone who understands the career. Having friends to share images with, talk about what you’ve learned in a course, or chat about the job’s ups and downs can build a sense of solidarity and support. Everyone at every stage in the photography business needs good friends to turn to.

Collaboration

Being able to network with photographers and meet new creative colleagues is excellent for project collaboration. Collaborating with like-minded people on both personal and professional projects can be incredibly helpful for your artistic and business growth. There is no better way to find creative inspiration than in community collaboration.

Missing that sense of belonging and support? Here are three tips for finding your community:

1. Workshops, Courses, and Continuing Education

One of the best ways to meet other portrait photographers is to sign up for workshops, courses, or other continuing education programs. Whether you’re a beginner or far along in your career, there is always something to learn or improve upon.

Attending a lighting workshop or photography business course will not only help you to learn new skills and grow your business but is also a great way to socialize and build community. The relationships and connections made through education can be some of the strongest and most supportive you’ll find in your photography career.

2. Remote Collaboration and Online Forums

The boom of online communication allows the opportunity for photographers all over the world to connect and collaborate. Many schools and workshops will have their own online forums or platforms to facilitate remote collaboration, allowing you to keep up with other students and build community.

There are many other online communities available for portrait photographers and creatives. Look into social media groups and online photography organizations. Having photographer friends, even if you only have an online friendship, can be incredibly helpful for sharing images and ideas and finding creative inspiration.

3. Get IRL Facetime with Photographers

While online photographer friends are lovely, sometimes we just need that face-to-face interaction. Be on the lookout for local networking opportunities. Visit art galleries, museums, and other creative spaces to open up conversations with other artists. You can even reach out to photographers in your area to set up coffee dates, informal workshops, or group meet and greets.

Developing relationships with other local portrait photographers can not only combat isolation and loneliness, but having good connections with reliable photographers in your area allows you to refer out clients when there’s a scheduling or budget conflict. This association can also build your professional credibility.

Finding your photography community will expose you to new creative ideas, encourage both professional and artistic growth, and provide help and understanding when you need it most. As small business owners, the solitary hours we put in can affect our well-being. Whether online or in person, it is essential that we, as photographers, reach out and support one another.

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