Photographing with other people has tons of advantages; it offers new perspectives, helps you improve, and makes your outings more enjoyable.
But how can you actually find photography friends? While it may take a bit of effort, locating photo buddies isn’t as hard as you might think – and in this article, I share my favorite ways to discover friends and active photography groups.
Let’s dive right in!
1. Take a class
Lots of universities have photography departments, and you don’t need to be a photography major to take a photo class. Some schools 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. These can be pretty cheap. And who knows? You might even learn something along the way!
You can also look for classes conducted by local photography educators; also check the course listings at nearby art centers, community centers, art galleries, libraries, and camera shops.
Try to be open and friendly during the class sessions. When the class is coming to a close, you can express interest in meeting up with others. In my experience, taking photo classes is a great way to find other folks who want to shoot. I actually just started a club with some people from a class I took earlier this year!
2. Browse Meetup.com
Meetup.com is a website dedicated to group meetups – including photo walks, photography clubs, and photo workshops. Depending on where you live, there might already be a handful of photography groups nearby; just head over to Meetup.com, type in your address, and see what you can find.
If you identify a group that interests you, click the “Join This Group” button, and check out the upcoming events. Some events – especially the photography workshops – cost a few dollars, but most are free.
Meetup.com is a great way to meet other photographers without making much of a commitment. And if you can’t find a group that caters to your interests, you can always make your own!
3. Search Facebook groups
Facebook is full of people who want to become your photography friends. You just don’t know it yet!
The trick is to find local photography groups. Head over to the “Groups” tab, then type in “your location” + “photography.”
You may not discover any in-person photography meetups or photowalks, but if you find a group for image critiquing and/or sharing, create a brief post. List your photography interests, share your location, and express your desire to meet up with other photographers. With any luck, you’ll get plenty of commenters looking to have some photographic fun!
4. DM local photographers on Instagram
These days, Instagram draws photographers from across the globe – including, I’ll bet, plenty who live near you.
And thanks to Instagram’s tagging features, it’s easy to find snappers who like to shoot where you shoot. Simply head over to Instagram and type your location into the search option. You can then see images taken nearby, or you can view hashtags dedicated to nearby towns and cities.
Find a photographer (or three) whose interests align with your own. Then reach out to them! Instagram offers a direct messaging function, so it shouldn’t be hard to strike up a conversation. Ask about their work, their favorite locations, and more. Then consider proposing a meetup. Over time, maybe it’ll turn into a regular outing!
5. Join local camera clubs
The term “camera club” might bring to mind a bunch of people sitting around a table in a library…
…but that’s not always the case. (Plus, what’s wrong with a good old library meeting?)
These days, camera clubs are still very active, and they’re not all round-table discussion groups, either. Plenty of camera clubs offer workshops, group meetups, and photowalk fun. Plus, they’re a great way to meet other photographers who have similar interests and live in the general vicinity. If the club doesn’t offer any interesting activities, go ahead and make your own.
How do you find local photography clouds? Try Googling “camera clubs near me” and “photography clubs near me.” See what comes up!
6. Spend time on online photography forums
If you’re looking for in-person photo friends you can shoot and hang out with, this one isn’t such a great idea. But some folks don’t mind (or even prefer) making online friends – people with whom you can chat about inspiration, share photos, ask for critiques, and so on.
So check out some online photography forums and websites. Ideally, you’ll find a group of photographers who share your interests – for instance, a site like Nature Photographers Network is (as the name suggests) dedicated to nature photography – but more general sites, such as Reddit’s r/photography, can also work.
You can participate as an active forum member, and if you seem to connect with any of the posters, send them a private message. Ask to see their latest photos, and ask if you can show them yours. See if you can get a regular chat going!
7. Find local photowalks
If you live near a major city (or even a smaller one), there may be a photowalk or two that’s conducted on a regular basis. These are pretty informal; photowalk members will meet, spend a few hours shooting a location, and maybe even hang out afterward. These photography groups do tend to be more street- and architecture-focused, but you can find nature and landscape photowalks, too.
Unfortunately, because photowalks tend to be so informal, it can be difficult to track them down in the first place. I’d start with a Google search, but if you can’t find anything, spend some time messaging local photographers on Facebook and Instagram. You might also try reaching out to camera stores in the area; sometimes, they may offer a photowalk of their own – and if not, they might be able to point you in the right direction.
Of course, if you can’t find a good photowalk, you can always create your own. I’d recommend setting up a group on Facebook, then inviting local photographers to join. You can also post on local Facebook photography groups. Explain what you’ve created, how it’ll work, then propose a time, a route, and a starting location for your first meetup.
How to find photography friends: final words
Talking and shooting with other photographers can be a very valuable experience. If you’re going it alone all the time, then you’re missing out!
So try to find some friends. Seek out photography groups, look for camera clubs, and contact local shooters on Instagram. And above all, have fun!
Now over to you:
Do you have any ideas for finding photography friends? Which of these suggestions do you plan to try? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Kat Landreth runs PareandFocus, a website for photography basics on a budget.