Networking For Photographers: What & How?
I asked siri to define networking before I started writing this article. It said: the action or process of interacting with others to exchange information and develop professional or social contacts. I saw this same definition on Google as well. Anyway, this article is not about definitions but to help you the photographer broaden your network and become better at this skill. What we notice in this definition is simple. In my own words, it’s saying networking is making new friends in the professional world. That’s just it.
I want you to notice some keywords in the definition. There is action, exchange, and development. All of these are verbs except development (which is a noun), develop is the verb.
A verb conveys an action, and this is what networking is all about — action.
The goal of networking as a photographer is to develop professional relationships with other photographer but importantly with people who are genuinely interested in your work.
We live in a digital world and the internet has become a new planet, and it’s easier to interact with people now more than any time in history.
Before you reach out to a prospect, be certain to get your facts right. You want to network. Being friends with them is something you want to do. You don’t want to sell them anything in your first sentence or conversation. I see photographers and retouchers making this mistake on LinkedIn. They send you a text demanding money. Who wants to pay you that? Who wants to pay a person they don’t know just because they have a great portfolio?
Here is where Gary Vee’s formula of networking comes in, “jab, jab, jab, right hook.” Did I get it right? He says this a lot! The idea here is that you want to provide them with value before you ask anything.
Don’t go in hard wanting to sell. Relax. Introduce yourself and your mission, mainly how you can bring value to them. How can your photography help them feel better, or build or increase their brand awareness?
In 2019, after watching videos of Gary Vee hundreds of times, I had enough courage to send a text to one of the leading brand strategists here in Ghana. I’m a photographer and I offered to work for him for free. He had something I wanted, but I dared not ask anything. I only offered value. That is how to grasp attention. He teaches branding, runs a podcast and he’s an author of over 70 books. After sending a text on Instagram, I was invited to his next workshop. I wanted to learn how to run a podcast, write and publish books, and build a brand. All started with just a text, “I want to photograph your workshops.”
I acted, we exchanged information and a professional contact was developed. I did not send him “hi” and wait for his response. I just sent what I had to and waited for his response. That was it. It’s been over 3 years and we’re good friends.
Do you wish to become an authority in your field? Be great at your craft and network. Networking is about building your connections. Your parents might have zero connections and it’s probably why you grew up broke. Your connections can make you rich. You’re in charge of your life (up to some degree). Take charge of what you can.
I went hard on this one, didn’t I? Thank you for checking out this article. If you’re new here, I’m Clement Eastwood, a photographer and an author who has made it his mission to educate photographers. Tap on this link to have access to my books on photography. And here’s a link to my podcast.
More to come on business in photography.