How to Connect with Other Photographers

How to Connect with Other Photographers

Networking is important for all creative professionals, but this is especially true of photographers who are often solitary in their practice. You, and your business, can benefit tremendously from reaching out and connecting with other industry professionals.
Networking is a great way to meet new people, gain referrals, bounce ideas off one another, learn new techniques, and much more. One of the best ways to grow your photography business is by networking and connecting with other photographers.

The Top 7 Ways to Make the Most of Your Networking Sessions

We’re going to look at a few of the ways that you can make the most out of your networking sessions because this is another skill set in and of itself that isn't always obvious to people when they first start attending these sorts of meetups.
However, by following these tips, you'll be able to get much more out of your networking sessions than you would otherwise be able to, and that can lead to dramatic real-world results not only in your professional practice but also in your personal life.

1. Don’t be afraid

Right off the bat, the first and probably the best tip anybody can give you when it comes to networking is simply not to be afraid. Realize that everybody at the event is there for one purpose, and that's to make connections with other photographers.
It's natural to feel a bit shy or awkward when you're in a room full of many people that you don't know, but the trick is to focus on your excitement and the potential benefits that you'll enjoy when you reach out and connect with people as discussed above rather than focusing on a fear of rejection that in all likelihood you will not experience at a networking event with like-minded individuals.

2. Build a solid online presence

When you do attend networking events with other photographers, the last thing you want to do is shove your portfolio in their face; this comes across as obnoxious and, in some cases, may even dissuade people from wanting to get to know you better. Now, of course, you want to showcase your work, but it's important that you use your people skills to strike up a conversation with those people before launching into business.
Many photographers find that the best technique for showcasing their work is to show people their website. So, for example, you could hand someone a business card that has your website on it and encourage them to check it out or pull it up on your phone and show some of your best shots.
By having a solid online presence, you can establish yourself as an industry professional and demonstrate that you have credibility within the photography community, this is a great way to gain new referrals, and it's also helpful when it comes to earning the respect of your peers and colleagues.

 

The Top 7 Ways to Make the Most of Your Networking Sessions - Tip 2. Build a solid online presence

 

3. Make sure you have business cards

So, as mentioned above, it can be very helpful if you have an online portfolio, and you, of course, want to have your website listed on a business card, which brings us to the next point.  You should always have plenty of business cards on hand when you attend a networking conference with other professional photographers.
Throughout the day, you should be exchanging business cards with other photographers who specialize in different niches; you guys can show referrals when they come your way. Not having a business card with you or running out of business cards early in the day is a rookie mistake that can end up costing you business in the long run, so always be sure that you have more business cards than you think you'll need because in all likelihood you'll end up needing them.

4. Have a plan and execute it

One of the most important and most often neglected aspects of attending networking conferences with other industry professionals is just having a plan. If you show up to the event without a plan, you can find yourself standing around, unsure of what to do next. But by coming up with a plan, you'll know exactly what you want to accomplish, and you can check things off that list as you go throughout the event.
So, for example, you could make a plan to meet and exchange contact information with at least ten people. That's a really solid plan that is likely to result in you gaining more business in the future. Whatever your plan happens to be, the trick is to make a concerted effort to execute it while you're at the event.

 

The Top 7 Ways to Make the Most of Your Networking Sessions - Tip 3. Make sure you have business  cards

 

5. Look approachable

Now because these events are face-to-face meetups, it's important that you look approachable so that other people will actually come up to you and strike up a conversation. Suppose you look busy, upset, distracted, or otherwise unapproachable. In that case, there's a very good chance that other people will not approach you, which is, of course, counterproductive because the whole reason for your attending the event is to meet with other people.
Now that doesn't mean you need to stand around with a huge grin on your face beckoning people towards you, just be natural, be yourself, and do your best to communicate to the other people in the room that you're open to meeting with them and having a conversation about photography.

6. Introduce yourself

Likewise, it's important that you take the time to approach other people and introduce yourself. If you see somebody standing in the room not doing much who looks like they might be a bit uncomfortable, chances are that this is a person who isn't sure how to conduct themselves at this sort of a networking meetup.
Odds are that they're a great professional photographer, so be bold and make the first move; it's as simple as walking up, saying hello, telling them your name and what type of photography you specialize in, and then asking them a little bit about themselves. In almost all cases, they will relax and open up immediately, and this could lead to you gaining a new industry partner or possibly even a long-term friend.

 

The Top 7 Ways to Make the Most of Your Networking Sessions - 6. Introduce yourself

 

7. Exchange contact information and follow up with people

Finally, the most important aspect of networking with other photographers is exchanging contact information. This is so that you can exchange referrals, but it's also so that you'll have a point of reference in the event that you ever need any advice or help related to photography.
Those who are new to networking often make this mistake. They show up to the event and strike up a great conversation with somebody, but then they forget to actually exchange contact information with that person. What happens is that a few days later, you forget their name, and you're unable to find them online, which means that for all intents and purposes, the connection has been lost.
So, before you end any conversation at a networking event, always offer your business card and ask for one of theirs in return. Afterward, mark it in your calendar so that you can remember to follow up with them within a couple of days; this is the best way to ensure that they will remember you as well and will enable you to develop a professional or personal relationship.

 

The Top 7 Ways to Make the Most of Your Networking Sessions - Tip 7. Exchange contact information  and follow up with people

 

Summary

Networking is an important aspect of any business, but this is especially true in creative businesses such as photography. It may seem scary or daunting at first, but once you get used to networking, it becomes second nature and the benefits associated with making connections with other industry professionals greatly outweigh any risks involved with striking up a conversation.

 

Pro Prints is the premier destination for professional canvas prints. So, whether you want to display your best photos in a gallery or in your home, be sure to check out Pro Prints today.