by Raven Mathis Published 01/10/2012
We have all heard it before, 'Treat others the way you want to be treated.' For me, this rings true not only in my day-to-day life, but in my career as a professional photographer as well. How do I want other photographers to treat me when I have a question, ask to second shoot, need a second shooter or want to talk shop?
Networking with other photographers is just as much a part of my daily business as my marketing, editing and shooting are. There is a great number of sites online that provide a jumping point for networking with photographers in your area and beyond. In our digital age, online is a great place to start. This avenue has advantages especially if you are not normally outgoing or comfortable with just jumping in and introducing yourself to strangers. I will say, with practice, it gets a LOT easier!
In order to be successful in networking both on and offline it is important to be yourself and portray yourself as you truly are. Everyone started with little knowledge at some point, so it is okay to be that new person who is asking questions. This shows that at least you are willing to learn. That is the first step. Do not be afraid to say if you are new to the business or have yet to learn a specific skill. Even though it is a cliche, there is no stupid question.
On the opposite side, if you have something to contribute it is always encouraged. Mutually beneficial relationships in the industry last longer than those who are there to gain knowledge and give nothing in return.
Offering your experiences, both positive and negative, create a great sounding board and provide the industry with standards of practice that we all have come to know today. The industry is ever changing and it is this exchange of information that allows it to continue to thrive.
Some of my favourite online communities for photographers are my local networks I found by doing a simple internet search and the [B] School. It is this community that is the very heart of why I believe so strongly in creating lasting friendships and building referral networks with photographers all over the world. The [B] School introduced me to the 'photographers helping photographers' mentality and how to be good 'photo friends with benefits.'
So, how do you get yourself out there? Here are some great steps you can use on the forums online or out and about in your community:
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