I think we're built to be in community and do life together, don't you agree? I don't care whether you're a mom or a storm chaser or a photographer or a musician or a computer programmer - life is more fully lived when done WITH others. We are meant to be in relationship and not in isolation. As a photographer, I enjoy knowing other local photographers on the front lines - and here are a few reasons why:
- I realize I'm totally normal! (well...for the most part). In talking to other photographers I realize that we all have fears. We all get anxious before shoots. We all have to fake it sometimes. We get confused about pricing and wonder if anyone will ever book us if we raise our prices. We all have 'gaps' in our understanding of gear and workflow and editing techniques. We've all been there.
- I can give and receive referrals! I don't do babies or weddings - but I sure know some AHHMAZING photographers who DO love babies and weddings, and confidently pass the leads to them. And every now and then I get a referral for a head shot or a large family or a highschool senior. That works for me. I'd much rather have the ability to give work to a colleague, then just tell the potential client that I don't have time or can't help them.
- I learn things! Putting myself around people that know more than I do is ALWAYS a good thing. I have learned so much from fellow photographers who have taken the time to show me the ropes, give me their feedback and encourage me. I'm a better person and photographer because of their investment.
- I can celebrate successes with others! Just this past week I got to have a conversation with a fellow tog who was nervous about an in-person sale that she was doing. The meeting came and went and she thought she hadn't sold a thing. And then a day later the client called back and said they wanted to order $750 worth of product. It was so fun to scream 'ahhhhhhhhhh' in a text back to her. So much more fun to cheer each other on!
- We get to hang out and talk shop! Sometimes we just need someone who 'speaks our language' don't we? Our spouses or friends may not really understand what it takes to do a 2 Year shoot, or how hard it is to get white balance correct, or how to make sure the fstop, shutter speed and ISO shake hands to get the outcome we want. They. will. never. understand. October.
So, what's it gonna be? Are you being intentional about spending time with a local community of like-minded people? What places or resources have you found to be a good fit for you? Yeah....it will get messy every now and then....people are messy. But I think we're better together.