59. Build your photography network and community

Sustainable Podcast Cover Episode 59 "Build your network and community"

When I started, I didn’t have any photographer friends. It was hard to get to know anyone, and social media wasn’t a thing like it is now. I also lived in the UK, where I didn’t really know anyone when I started, and then I moved to Svalbard, and after just a few months I moved back home to where I live now. Moving around doesn’t make starting a business easier, and it certainly doesn’t make creating a network of photographer friends or loyal clients easy. 

A lot of photographers may relate to what I experienced. I didn’t have anyone who believed in me back then. Maybe because I wasn’t that good, and I didn’t believe in myself either. 

But I knew I wanted to be a photographer. And I wanted photography friends. But I’m such an introvert. And I don’t enjoy being social all the time, and I’m not that good at it either. 

I tried getting in touch with some photographers I knew of, but no one seemed interested. I was getting a lot of inquiries back then, and I thought a good way of getting friends was to send referrals to other photographers. But it didn’t work. 

In this episode, you’ll learn the importance of building your network and community to build a sustainable business. 

Importance of building a network

After a while though, I did start getting some photographer friends, and it’s made such a big difference. Having someone to meet up with or message when something funny or difficult happens. 

Having photographer friends or colleagues was actually on my dream board back then. And I don’t think I’ll ever take that off. Because having someone who understands makes such a big difference. 

Why you should build your network?

  • Having a network to support you will indirectly help you get more shoots
  • Your friends, family, colleagues, followers on social media, and clients will help you promote your photography business. They’ll talk you up, mention you to their network and so it spreads organically. 

How to build your network

So, if you don’t have a network yet, what can you do? 

  1. Social media. You can have your closest photographers and colleagues and hang out with them online. 
  2. Meet new friends when you attend events or workshops
  3. Join memberships, network groups, and meetups.

Learn Instagram tips for photographers with Kristen Sturdevant in podcast episode 40.

Episode 40

I bet if you start looking, or asking your new social media friends, you’re bound to find some. If you live in a place where you can’t build a network physically, start inviting photographers to meet up and hang out. Or you can organize something yourself too!

And don’t forget about your clients. They are part of your network as well. They might be a great help when it comes to referring you to their network. 

Learn how to get the best testimonials from your clients in podcast episode 27.

Episode 27

Social media is great for meeting new people, but it’s also a great way to see your photography. If you create content that is shared that might lead to incredible things too.

When’s the time to not reach out (yet)

I don’t want to say that there are wrong ways to build relationships, but I can say that some ways are more effective than others. 

If you reach out to someone you’ve never talked to before and ask them to recommend you. Or to collaborate, or be their second shooter, that doesn’t help you so much. Think of it like dating. If someone jumps into your DMs and asks you to marry them, that’s taking a bit too far. You’re not likely to say yes. But if you start by liking their photos, commenting on stories, and then after some time, it becomes more natural to ask for something bigger. 

Of course, there are exceptions to everything and people are different. But make sure you get along with someone and take your time to build a relationship never hurts. 

Learn more on how you can be hurting your business in podcast episode 39.

Episode 39

Key takeaways

The people you surround yourself with, will (hopefully) help you to get booked. But it’s also great to have a team of cheerleaders. And if you get to know other photographers, it’s nice to have someone to ask for help and advice or someone to take over if you get sick. And just generally be fun to hang around with because they might be the only ones who understand what you do. 

If you wanna learn more about this or anything else when it comes to building your network and community, you should join the Sustainable Photography Program.

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Sustainable Photography
Sustainable Photography
59. Build your photography network and community

hi, i'm ingvild

This podcast is all about education and inspiration for photographers. A sustainable business is profitable and lasting. Instead of short-term wins you want to make sure you’re doing things that matter. Both to yourself, and to create the business you want. The goal of this podcast is that it will help you build and structure your business around your life, instead of the other way around.