Every day, we receive messages telling us how to operate our businesses and develop our photography skills. On the subject of growing as a photographer, there is a ton of excellent advice available online.
But I would say that the single best advice I can give to any photographer today comes down to a single word.
Taking time to network with other photographers has been the piece of advise that has helped me the most in my professional career as a photographer. I'm not referring to simply following photographers, leaving a comment, or exchanging email addresses. The best advise I could give any photographer at any stage of their career would be to meet other photographers IN-PERSON.
You'll open up a whole new world of possibilities for yourself if you put community ahead of competition. Not only should you create relationships with other photographers, but you should also see if you can help the other photographers in your area first before focusing on your own needs.I have been shooting for over 15 years now and some of the biggest opportunities in life have come from connections I have made with other photographers. Here are 4 wonderful memories that I have made simply from networking with other photographers.
Number 5: Photographing a private concert with Jennifer Hudson
This was simply one of the biggest surprises I had in my photography career, I got this opportunity by shooting as a third photographer for another photographer friend. This was a birthday party with a special performance by a surprise musical guest. What a delight it was to find out I would be photographing Jennifer Hudson!
Number 4: Photographing Golf legend Jack Nicholas
This was a recent experience for me getting to photograph one of the greatest golfers in history, Jack Nicklaus. This opportunity happened by working as a contractor for a friend's photography business. This was a big deal for me not because I am a huge golfing fan, but this was for my dad. He passed away due to Covid but LOVED golf and he would have been my assistant on this day if he was still here with us.
Number 3: Speaking on Creative Live and various Workshops/Conferences
So many opportunities to speak at events have stemmed from the relationships I have built with photographers over the years. I never sought these opportunities out but here I am speaking on Creative Live, at WPPI, and most recently at the Reset Conference. A special shoutout needs to go out to my dear friend Leslie Kerrigan from Seniorologie. She has been a huge supporter of my photography career and of fotostrap. If you are a high school senior photographer I highly encourage you follow her accounts for tips and education on high school seniors.
Number 2: Photographing Gabby Douglas
I got this opportunity in the most random and round about way possible. This is also a perfect example of not seeking something out and it just falling in my lap if you can believe it or not. This came about from a videographer who found me online and wanted to work together on a commercial for Smoothie King. The videographer didn't even get hired for the project but Smoothie King loved my work and wanted to keep me on-board!
Number 1: Owning fotostrap
This has got to be one of my most mind-blowing opportunities that I just could not pass up. My dear friend Katie Norris wanted me to take over this precious company. This amazing women knows so many amazing photographers and for some crazy reason she thought of me for taking it over. It is completely humbling and something I will never forget. I've loved this company and Fotolanthropy so much over the years and have served any way I could throughout the years and never needed anything back in return. So many years later here I am the owner of foto...wow.
I hope this blog article served as a bit of encouragement and inspiration for my fellow photographers. Take every chance you get to network and build true friendships with our community. It will be time well spent and could lead to some life-changing events!