The best and fastest way to grow as a photographer is with community. If you’re wondering how you can build strong and genuine relationships with other photographers then I have a few ideas I’d love to share with you. Here are 8 ways to build relationships with other photographers.
1. Cheer them on
Be the person that shows up and is always excited for them. That’s really easy on social media because we all want other people to see what we do. So, if you’re the person that’s writing comments and liking their posts, that’s a really great and meaningful way to be present for them.
2. Offer to second shoot
Share your portfolio with photographers in your area and ask if they are ever looking for second shooters. If you really want the experience and are just starting out offer to work for free to just carry bags and help in any way. If you have more experience ask if they ever need someone to refer for booked dates!
3. Build a network
If you are only interested in shooting for yourself, and not another photographer, offer to be part of their back up network in case of emergencies. This is a rare case that we have these sort of situations in our photography businesses, but they do happen. Its such great insurance to have a network of dependable and trustworthy photographers for such instances. Just let your colleague know that you’d like to help them out.
4. Exchange headshots
We all have gotten invitations to get together for coffee, and thats so much fun, but lets up the level of value in our community with a gesture like exchanging headshots. Everyone loves updated images for their business. As photographers, we are always the ones taking photos, but not often the ones being photographed ourselves.
5. Hire them to take your photos
Nothing says “I value your work” like paying for it. If you need family photos, new portraits, a brand shoot… work with a photographer you admire. Hiring someone to take your picture is such a great way to build a relationship with them. Thats what we do as photographers.
6. Promote their work
When they get featured, re-share or share the featured post. If they are launching something, share with your network. If you don’t know what you can do, just ask! Genuinely offer to support someone.
7. Interview / feature them
Do a mini-feature on your Instagram or interview on your blog to help your audience get to know a photographer you admire. Share what you love about their voice/perspective/imagery or conduct an interview on IG live / phone/email to get their responses
8. Attend their events
Are there monthly meetups? Networking groups? local conferences? Small workshops? Attend an event in person (or even zoom during the age of Covid) to support your peers and build relationships.
I host a workshop yearly in the Adirondacks so that photographers can create elevated content and grow their business. The Adirondack Wedding Workshop is a larger investment because it includes a lot of valuable content and one on one time with a small group of people. A smaller investment typically means a larger group and less personal connection. As a creative small business owner, I find both types of events to be valuable!
There’s no better time than today to start implementing these suggestions. Don’t be afraid to reach out to photographers that you admire. It’s a great feeling to know that your work is appreciated. Trust me, there are other photographers out there that feel just as good about your work as you do about theirs, but you’ll never know until you take the first steps of just saying hello.