A Guest post by Kat Landreth.
You and your camera are best buddies. Your camera never complains about how long your shot is taking and it never eats your snacks while you’re not looking. You make a great pair. But if your camera is your only shooting partner, you’re missing out.
Shooting with other people has tons of advantages.
It’s nice to have at least one other person watching your back while your eye is glued to a viewfinder. You know, safety in numbers. It’s also great to have another photographer’s perspective on a shot. Keeps things from getting stale. And it’s priceless to have an assistant to hold up reflectors and do other dirty work while you man the camera.
Here’s my favorite part:
You can swap gear!
Me: “Wanna try my new 50mm?”
You: “Heck yes… you wanna give my 100mm Macro a go?”
Me: “You know it.”
So quit thinking of photography as a solitary hobby and get out there with some other photographers. Finding them is easier than you’d think.
Take a class
Lots of colleges have photography departments and you don’t have to be a photography major to take a beginning photography class. Some even offer weekend short courses (not for credit) for folks who just want to brush up on their skills or learn how to use a digital camera.
Community centers and local art galleries are good places to look for classes too. And of course, there’s Craigslist.org. Taking any photography class is a great way to meet other people who want to go out shooting.
I just started a photography club with some people from a photography class I took this year.
This website lets you find people in your area who are interested in the same things you are. Let’s say you join a Meetup group for local landscape photography. Members of the group will suggest times, places, and goals for a Meetup. If enough people want to take pictures of the beach at 5:00 pm on Saturday at the Santa Monica Pier, then the Meetup is confirmed and you go for it.
This is a great way of meeting people without a big commitment.
In my area there’s a photography Meetup group for just about everyone. People join groups for everything from street photography to boudoir photography. And if you can’t find just what you’re looking for you can always start your own group. Sign up for Meetup.com (it’s free) to find out what’s going on in your area.
You ever try to get three people with different schedules to pick a time and place to meet? This should be a relatively simple task but it always ends up a complicated mess when I’m in charge. Maybe I’m just bad at keeping track of dates and deadlines.
But there is hope for me yet! I’m using Facebook to help organize the photography club I just started. So far so good. The best part is, I don’t have to be in charge.
If you already know some people who want to shoot with you, but you’re having trouble getting everyone on the same page, try using a Facebook group. Members of a group can message each other and create events. Getting group members to RSVP to Facebook group events is a really convenient way of getting busy people together. It’s a lot easier than playing phone tag and explaining schedules and conflicts to one person at a time.
The bottom line…
…shooting with other photographers is a really valuable experience. If you’re going solo 100% of the time, you’re missing out. But finding other photo taking types is easy. You don’t have to go it alone if you don’t want to.
These aren’t the only ways to find other photographers to shoot with. So let me know in the comments, how did/will you find your photography buddies?
Kat Landreth runs PareandFocus.com, a website for photography basics on a budget. Because we all want great pictures but we can’t all be doctors.