Building a network is essential for anyone who wants to progress in the world of photography. The bigger your network, the more people you will be able to learn from, and the more opportunities you will get
How to build a photography network from scratch
Here are our top tips for growing your professional network in photography, both offline and online:
1 Get some business cards
Hand them out to everyone you meet who might be interested in your photography services or who you might be able to exchange professional information with. Make sure your cards are beautiful - you are a creator after all - and that they exude your personal style. Use your best images for the design.
Focus Editor's tip:
Rather than a conventional business card, a lot of photographers choose to do something slightly different (all part of the creative process). For example, postcards with contact information on the back are popular with photographers, like this example above (which is mine!).
2 Join a photography organisation
Joining an organisation brings many benefits. As part of a photographic community you will have the opportunity to attend special events where you can network with other like-minded photographers - not to mention some organisations have online forums where you can build your online network too.
There are a myriad of other benefits to joining a photography network. These include photography competitions, the chance to be featured in special publications, portfolio reviews - the list goes on. It’s a good idea to put in the research and figure out which association is the best fit for you, but this is a great way to become part of a ready-made professional network.
3 Go to photography meetups
Meetup.com is an excellent website for finding photography meet-ups, from Instagram walks to camera workshops and everything in between. Just make sure you come home with less business cards than you ventured out with!
4 Take local photography workshops
These are a great opportunity to sharpen your skills or learn some new ones while meeting other photographers in your area. Talk to everyone - you never know what opportunities a new friend could lead you to!
5 Stay in touch with your customers
Stay in touch with anyone you work with - they may be able to introduce you to more work!
6 Share your knowledge
Make sure you share all your own photography knowledge with everyone you meet. Networking is reciprocal, for example if they have never heard of Picfair, tell them about it - you'll no doubt find out new things photography-related you'd never heard about too!
7 Keep on top of your online presence
Make sure your social profiles, website and/ or Picfair Store is professional, up to date, and displays your best work.
There are lots of tools available online to build a good looking website, or get a designer to create it for you. You should include links to all your social media channels from your website and/ or Picfair Store, and you should link back from all your social media channels.
All you really need are examples of your best work, your contact details, and links to any other places where your photography is available - if you have a website and Picfair Store for example, make sure both are linked. You may wish to include a blog, which is another great way to grow your network by writing engaging and thoughtful pieces that other photographers will love reading.
"Building your following takes time, but it is a worthwhile investment."
8 Be active on social media
It can be time consuming, but it is worth it. You are far more likely to grow a fruitful network if you can post on all your channels regularly. Having said that, quality over quantity is important. Do not post things just for the sake of it - only post things of value to your followers. Tips, hacks, news, updates on your work etc. Imagine if someone who has never heard of you landed on your social profiles - would your posts make them want to follow you?
"You are far more likely to grow a fruitful network if you can post on all your channels regularly."
9 Share your best photos and their stories
This goes without saying - share your very best images - but tell the story behind your photos, too. Photography is far more interesting when you know the story behind the image. Photos with stories also have a better chance of starting a discussion, which is what networking is all about.
"Imagine if someone who has never heard of you landed on your social profiles - would your posts make them want to follow you?"
10 Ask questions
Once your network is building nicely, a good way to continue engagement is by asking questions. Don’t just seek answers to things you need to know though - start conversations. “What is your dream camera setup?” or “What is the strangest situation you’ve ever been in taking a photo”, for example, are good questions to get an interesting conversation started with your followers. Look for conversations to get involved in, too!
11 Use #hashtags
When posting, always use hashtags to increase the chances of someone new finding you and becoming a follower. Whether you fill a particular niche or post on a variety subjects, a quick Google search can help you find a list of relevant hashtags to increase your reach.
12 Take advantage of online communities
You can take advantage of online photographer communities to join in the conversation, find new people to follow, and find new followers yourself. For a good place to start, you'll find many photographer communities on Facebook, Instagram and X (formerly Twitter).
"Once your network is building nicely, a good way to continue engagement is by asking questions."
13 Be patient
Quality over quantity. It is better to have a following of 100 people on your social profiles who engage with you and are willing to exchange valuable information, than 1,000 who don’t. Building your following takes time, but it is a worthwhile investment.