by Sean Setters
One great thing about the digital revolution is that it made high quality photography accessible to a large number of people. A bad thing about the digital revolution is... well, the same.
With so many people pursing photography as a career or a side job, it can be extremely difficult to get a foot-hold even in your own local market. It's certainly understandable why other local photographers could be perceived simply as competition, and therefore, interactions with those photographers avoided.
However, the photographers living around you can be great assets. Let me explain.
A couple of years ago I moved from middle Tennessee to Savannah, Georgia. I lost all of the regular clients that I had built up over a lifetime of living in a relatively small town. Not long after moving here, however, I met a local Savannah photographer who invited me to join a closed Facebook group comprised of photographers in the area.
At first, I didn't really see much of a point in joining, but I soon did. I eventually learned of multiple local Facebook groups devoted to photography, each organized for slightly different goals (I'm now a member of 3 of them). Benefits of joining the local photographers' Facebook groups included:
- Photographers frequently have "destashes," selling off props from their studios. Want inexpensive newborn outfits for photo shoots? Done.
- Photographers oftentimes share suggestions on places to shoot and may even offer to lend equipment if you're in a pinch.
- Photographers will regularly advertise second shooting or filmmaking opportunities for weddings they've agreed to cover.
- And last but not least, photographers will routinely refer clients to other photographers in the area when they can't service an interested client's needs.
I've personally gotten a couple of jobs from referrals generated by one of the local photographers' Facebook group (one with a well-known broadcasting company, no less). If you find photographers referring clients regularly in your area's photographers' Facebook group, you may want to set your Notifications to "All" so you can be the first to respond to availability inquiries.
Those living in moderately populated areas are more likely to have already-established photography groups on social media, although, like Savannah's, they may be closed. Therefore, you may need to attend popular events in your area to find other photographers who are already a member of such groups (it's pretty easy to strike up a conversation about photography). And if you find that there isn't a Facebook group for photographers in your area, start one. It may take time for your community to grow, but the benefits will most likely be worth the effort.
Of course, Facebook isn't the only way to socialize with other photographers. Even many small towns have photography clubs that meet on a monthly basis, and joining a photography club can have many of the same benefits of Facebook groups (though with less immediate, widespread communication). Regardless of you method of touching base with other photographers in your area, doing so can be very beneficial from a social – and economic – perspective.