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[Today's guide comes from rad photographer and Photojojo buddy, Helena Price!]
If you’re a photographer or aspiring photographer-to-be, building community with other photogs is an essential part of getting your work noticed and building your name in the photo world.
Before being a full-time freelance photographer, I built communities for companies and products for a living, and I’ve been an active part of communities ranging from tech to food to photography.
I’ve distilled down everything I’ve learned over the years into the five fundamental ways to start building and connecting with a photo community.
What is the “photo community,” you ask? It’s however you define it. It’s a big social web of photographers, both online and offline, who know each other, inspire each other, and help each other make the best work they possibly can.
You should most definitely be a part of it, and here’s how.
p.s. Wanna boost your creativity? Our pals at Maine Media are offering some way cool photography and filmmaking workshops designed for just that.
1) Do some research.
There are many kinds of photo communities out there, big and small. It’s up to you to decide what part of the photo community you’d like to surround yourself with and why. Is it pro photogs with big fancy cameras? Is it Instagrammers? Is it people in your own town? People who love photographing food, or skateboarding, or music? Go after whatever interests you the most, and see where it takes you.
2) Find your inspiration.
The easiest way to do this is on the interwebs. Follow folks who create work that inspires you. How to find them, you ask? There are many ways, ranging from googling “awesome food photographers,” to browsing Tumblr’s photographer spotlight or Instagram’s suggested user list. Subscribe to their feeds, watch the way they create and post their work, and take good notes.
3) Go make some stuff.
For every moment you spend networking, you need to spend double the moments making things. Your photo inspirations are who they are because of the work they’ve created, so go take that inspiration and make some work of your own. By constantly improving and sharing your craft, you’re constantly increasing the likelihood that other people will find and like your work too.
4) Support others.
Photo karma is real. In all communities, what you put in will often dictate what you receive down the line. Go like people’s work. Leave genuine, attentive, supportive comments. Don’t post asking for likes or follows, because that’s not what this is all about (and if you haven’t realized by now, people really hate that). Help people spread the word about their projects and exhibitions. If you’re a supportive member of the community and making great work of your own, people will notice you and you’ll soon find support coming back your way.
5) Reach out and say hi.
The easiest way to connect with people in the photo community is to simply send them a note. Find three (or more!) people whose work you love, send them an email/message/comment, and tell them you dig their work. But not in a “I love you FOLLOW ME CHECK OUT MY GALLERY” kind of way. In a genuine, I’m-not-asking-anything-in-return kind of way. You will not only make the recipient’s day, but that person will likely remember your name for a long time to come.
Have any other tips to add? Tweet them at us at @photojojo!
Helena Price is a photographer based in San Francisco, California. Before making the jump into freelance photography, she ran communications teams for a handful of tech companies in SF and NY, and is constantly finding ways to bring her biz knowledge into the world of photography.
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Published on June 20, 2013 — See more Guides
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