When I first started my photography journey, I won’t lie, I was scared to approach other local photographers out of fear. I feared they’d think I would try to take their clients, locations, etc. I stayed to myself which I feel did more harm than good, but all I really wanted was someone to connect with. Avoiding everyone local could have given off a vibe that I thought I was better than all the others, which is SO not the case. In my attempts to connect, I recently reached out to a local photog about going out for coffee to chat about cameras, photos, everything.
Best. Idea. Ever.
We realized that we have so much in common, and there have since been more “coffee dates”. The great thing about her and I – we don’t care about sharing our ideas with each other. I feel that if you are confident enough in where you are as a photographer, you don’t mind sharing. She has given me the push I need. She totally encourages me when I am feeling sub-par. She is even going to photograph my family for me.
It is almost like when you have a baby and you search for moms that have a baby the same age as yours. Our photography is the equivalent of a child. We want to do whatever we can to allow it to grow and thrive and be everything it is supposed to be.
Think about it: If you’re booked, you have someone you feel comfortable referring your clients to (and vice versa). You have someone in the same industry that understands mishaps, disappointments, and the hilarity that others will not get. It is also nice to laugh HARD at what our work used to look like. And who else would you feel comfortable getting an honest opinion from?
I encourage you to go out and meet someone local. Send them a FB message, contact them through their website. It may be one of the best things you could do for your business.
If you do contact someone local, do it with good intentions. I believe so much of the cattiness in the industry is a result of sneakiness and feeling betrayed. If you want to buddy up with a local, be sure that you can give as much as you receive. Please don’t take their style, and certainly don’t poach their clients. If you are afraid of posting a photo because it looks too much like your peer’s work, it probably does. In this business, imitation is not the sincerest form of flattery. If you are curious about your local competitor’s pricing, I bet they’d appreciate it more if you just came out and asked rather than pretend to be a potential client. Let’s keep it real people
I’m looking forward to many more cups of coffee with my friend. I hope we can inspire each other and watch our “babies” grow together.
Disclaimer: Not every photographer is going to be willing to share everything they have. We work very hard on establishing pricing, policies, etc. Please don’t get discouraged!