I have a lot of friends who are photographers. It hasn't always been this way, though - I only had one or two photographer friends before I got into photography myself, but as I have progressed with photography over the years, I have also gained quite a few friends who are also photographers.
Some of you may be hesitant to be pals with the competition, and I've heard some of you mention that it might even make you feel like a big old schmooze. I'm here to offer some insight on why building relationships with your fellow photographers can be totally enriching!
THERE ARE A LOT OF US
Having a great relationship with the other photographers in your area is not going to kill your business, I promise. Here's why: potential clients will gravitate to some photographers, while other potential clients will choose another photographer - it all depends on style, price, what the client wants, and what you, as well as the photographer, have to offer. Some photographers are better suited for other clients, and that's just the way it is. The pros of having a good relationship with other photographers far outweigh the cons.
BEING A PHOTOGRAPHER CAN BE DIFFICULT
Anyone who is a photographer, professional or otherwise, knows how difficult photography is. From mastering the basics, to developing your own style, and hearing everyone's opinion - good and bad! - on your hard work, is not easy. Having the support of others who understand the ups and downs will give you the encouragement you need to keep striving.
WE LOVE TO SHARE OUR KNOWLEDGE
Get a group of photographers together, and there will be lots of knowledge-sharing, it's a given. Everything from gear, to business tips, to editing - we love sharing what we know! I'm not really sure why this is, but it is something I have learned over the years - there's something about being a photographer that goes hand-in-hand with being the type of person who likes to help others out with their own photography. It's pretty rare to find a photographer who isn't willing to share what they know.
SECOND OPINIONS CAN BE CRUCIAL TO LEARNING
Being a photographer involves a lot of looking - looking through our viewfinders, looking at our computer monitors as we edit - and having another set of eyes to look at our work for us can provide us with valuable insight into our own work, because those extra eyes that belong to someone else always see things differently, and help us to see what we may have missed on the first go-round with shooting and editing.
PHOTOGRAPHERS MAKE GREAT FRIENDS, PLAIN AND SIMPLE
I have met quite a range of photographer personalities over the years. Even though we each have our own personalities and styles of photography, I think that deep down, we all connect very deeply over this shared passion, and when you share a passion, it's a great basis for friendships to develop. I would like to say that photographers make great friends because we are such totally awesome people (and that has a lot to do with it, obviously) but at the end of the day, it really is our shared passion that makes photographer friendships so important.