Most photographers start businesses because they are turning a craft they love, into a money making venture. Quickly they realize that this business is just that. A business. Ensuring that you have a photographer creative network built around you will help protect you from burnout.
What is a photographer creative network?
Creative networks inspire and teach you to make yourself better. Creative networks are more centered toward helping you hone the CRAFT of photography than the business. There are plenty of places that you can learn to run a successful business. Business principles are not unique to photography, but the skills of lighting, posing, exposure, and editing are things that only photographers know. Building a creative network around yourself reduces burn out and keeps you inspired.
Why do you need a photographer creative network?
The craft of photography is constantly evolving and changing. Photographers who do not evolve and change with the industry and with the wants of their clients, will quickly find their businesses failing. Stagnant photographers run slowly failing businesses. Be a good business person and a great photographer and you have a 99% chance of success.
How to find a photographer creative network.
- Link yourself into a network of people who can help inspire you. – Find a Facebook group or website like Fearless Photographers (link) where you will be able to see other people’s work.
- Participate in image competition to help hone and refine your skills.
- Check out image competition at conventions and state teaching circuits. Even if you do not enter, this will add to your ability to “see” in a different manner.
- Join groups that are specifically for users of software or gear brands. In these type groups you will find like-minded people (read: photographers)
- Join an online forum for photography. These forums offer a plethora of ideas and a wealth of influencers who give out advice at will!
- Shoot for “fun” outside of shooting for pay. – Not ALL of your photography skills should be used for “work” or you will quickly find yourself hating the industry.
- Find ways to use your skills to donate your time to charities. – This will give you benefits emotionally as well as financially. Most organizations will give you write offs for any products you donate. When you attend charity events there may be more than one photographer in attendance but it is a neutral ground as you are generally donating your services so there is no income to be lost.
- Diversify your photography business. – Even if you have a strong niche in weddings, babies, boudoir etc., allow yourself to shoot outside your niche. If you have a wedding couple who just had a baby… say yes! You already have a relationship with the family, allow that to propel you. Ask another photographer in this niche to mentor you.
- Ask around. It seems so simple but simply asking around to other photographers can open doors and help you find a great place to “hang out” as a photographer.
- Find other photographers who are in the same phase of business as you. The challenges of a veteran photographer with an established clientele are NOT the same as a first year business owner. You will need the support of other people who are in the same “station” of business as you to help you through.
When building your photographer creative network, diversify.
Don’t be closed minded. Just because a photographer is NOT a wedding photographer does not mean they can’t teach you anything. You can learn the basics of lighting, posing, editing and more from almost an experienced photographer. Diversify your friend circle and allow people from difference genres to enhance your view of photography.
Additionally, while you will want to have photographer friends who are in the same phase of business as you, you will NEED people who have already been there. Make sure that your network includes as many veteran photographers as you can find and LISTEN. Listen to these people when they tell you “that is not a good idea”. Generally, they learned this stuff, the hard way. They are not usually trying to be un-agreeable, they are just trying to save you from the same pain that they went through.
Having a social network of photographers will enhance your life as well as your business. Take time to socialize outside of pure business talk and allow this new network of people to enhance your life and expand your mind. Photographers come from all walks of life and are a very diverse group. They will help you grow more than you have ever imagined, if you will allow them!
Be sure to join us next week as we discuss building a