Whether you’re running a successful business or simply starting out in photography, good networking skills are crucial in helping you grow and improve.
Here are 5 of our favorite tips for better networking that will also help you become a better photographer.
Take the Initiative
It can be nerve-wracking to put yourself out there but whether it’s deciding to go to your first networking event, striking up a conversation once you’re there, asking a stranger if you can photograph them or capturing the decisive moment, taking the initiative is the first step to success.
Remember, you fail at 100% of the things you never try!
Instead of worrying about being interesting, be interested. Asking people about themselves, and being interested in their replies, is a great way to put people at ease.
You may also learn that they have a skill or connection that will allow you to work together in a mutually beneficial way.
When photographing clients, asking them about themselves will help them to relax and open up in front of the camera, helping you create more natural portraits. This can be particularly useful when working with children.
Instead of wondering what someone can do for you, think about what you could do for them. It’s better to be remembered as someone who was willing to help, rather than someone who was out for themselves.
Helping someone out might open you up to unexpected opportunities or give you a skill that you were lacking before.
When taking street portraits, you should offer to send your subject the final image. Not only might you gain a new client, but the knowledge that someone will see the images will encourage you to do your best.
Carry Business Cards (and have a great website)
It’s important that new contacts can find you, and your work, quickly and easily. Have a great, clear business card that drives people to your website.
Your website should showcase only the best of your work, which means learning to critically view your own portfolio. Take a step back and really look at your photographs from a client perspective.
Look for images which don’t deliver and consider how you could improve next time.
When you make a new contact, be sure to follow up with an email soon after. This will stop your business card lying forgotten in their desk forever. Let them know that you enjoyed meeting them and suggest opportunities for further discussion.
Similarly, when working on personal projects be sure to review your images soon after a shoot. It’s easy to back up your images and forget about them in the bustle of everyday life but there may be something really great in there that you missed the first time.
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