These are my BFFs in the photography business. I thought I’d write about them to just give them a shout out but to also encourage you to find your own close buddies in the business that you can bounce ideas off of, ask to cover for you, celebrate with, send referrals to, and also grow together.
The three of us are real life friends, when we get together we of course chat about what brought us together to begin with – photography, but we dig deeper into real life. Both these girls were at my backyard wedding reception and I love them dearly!
Of course I have other wonderful fantastic friends in the photography business and they are super important to me and it’s important to have many peers in the industry – the goal of this post is I want to encourage all of you to have some close friends that you can really be open with in your industry.
You should not attempt to be a photographer alone, as it can be incredibly frustrating to go at it by yourself. By having friends in the industry you’ll have some interesting issues you’ll want feedback on how to proceed, and a ton of questions. The photography industry is very welcoming and open to sharing so go out there and find your photography BFFs!
Finding peers in the industry
- Go to local meetings to meet others, just see who you click with. Follow on Twitter and interact.
- Online Facebook groups or even Twitter is a great way to meet up for coffee – that’s how I met Courtney and Melissa! I heard about them, we began following each other and decided it was time to meet up!
- Find someone who is on the same path as you – starting out is scary so finding someone who can share that with you is wonderful. If you’re more established, you’ll mesh well with someone in the similar boat who you can respect and bounce issues off of.
- You don’t feel any competition with them or tension whatsoever.
The main thing is feeling like you can add wisdom without just taking it. You want to share with your peers and have good conversation. If you feel like you might be taking too much from the other, you might want to consider asking them to mentor you instead. I’m not kidding when I tell you that you really do want to pass along referrals to these friends, you follow their work, and your friendship is based upon real friendship, not what you do for a living (sometimes this takes time).
As with any industry, if you peg someone as your competitor, you’re basically the first to proclaim that you’re not going to be an asset to the industry and you will have a tough time making friends. Remember there are 52 weekends in a year and you can’t take every wedding your way – there will be weekends you are booked and you can refer, and they will refer back to you. There is plenty of business to go around.
Finding a mentor
Having a mentor who is experienced in the industry is great too if you’re just starting to get your feet wet. (This is also my shout out to thank my friends Ryan Nicholson and Stephanie Fay who were great at answering any of my questions – I appreciate you both!)
However, know that you should always respect a photographer’s time. You may not understand that now with all the questions or advice you are requesting, but you can ask for mentoring, just be willing to pay for it and tell them. Innocent questions can turn into long winded questions so be respectful, because one day you’ll be asked by up and comers and you’ll love to help, but you’ll also know you are super busy marketing your business or editing your jobs.
Always consider taking a photographer out to coffee or lunch (and say so) if you really want to meet up with a photographer who doesn’t offer mentoring. Or even if it’s a peer in the industry who you respect and you know you will be asking them a lot of questions that benefit you (in that case, it’s less of a friendship meeting and more of you wanting information so please be real and honest), offer to pick up the tab. It’ll be much appreciated.
Also don’t forget thank you’s and even gifts are nice when a peer sends you a referral that you actually book – it’s good to show appreciation if you want more sent your way. Always be gracious, but be real.