How to Find Photography Buddies

How to Find Photography Buddies

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A Guest post by Kat Landreth.

puppy-camera.jpgYou 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.

Meetup.com

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.

Facebook

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.

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Some Older Comments

  • Mary February 9, 2013 12:11 am

    What's the best software as far as touch ups on the ipad?

  • Maria September 11, 2011 05:31 am

    I actually started a photography group on facebook about 2 to 3 months ago. I already have almost 60 members. It has been great. The group has newbies to professionals. We are South Jersey Lifestyle Photographers. We ask questions and share information from ISO, Jpeg vs RAW. to the business end of photography. We also love getting to see everyones work, since we keep a running list of everyones sites. We are https://www.facebook.com/groups/howiseeitnj/

  • Tad January 22, 2011 08:26 pm

    For those of you in the UK, The Photographic Alliance of Great Britain is in an umbrella organisation of many (Most?) of the local camera clubs and photographic societies in the UK. There are links from their website (http://www.pagb-photography-uk.co.uk) to the local organisations. These offer meetings, competitions, workshops, 1 to 1 tuition, expert advice, or just a social occasion.

  • Frank King January 22, 2011 02:48 pm

    I've never desired to do photography with anyone else; when I'm out doing landscapes/nature, I want to do my own thing without feeling like I'm competing with anyone else for great pictures or spots to get the perfect viewpoint, etc.

  • Gayle January 21, 2011 12:58 pm

    I live in the Tampa Bay area and join the local Meet-up photography group two months ago. I have learned so much at every meetup including on line Webex webinars. I'm going places I've never known about for wonderful wild life photos. Our leaders have a wealth of knowledge and are eager to share.

  • cortlander January 21, 2011 11:19 am

    Great post. For those of you living in the lower Hudson Valley in the New York area come join our free photography meetup group:

    http://www.meetup.com/Cortlandt-Manor-Photo-Club/

    Our next group shoot is the Eaglefest - come and photograph our national bird on Feb 5th

    http://www.meetup.com/Cortlandt-Manor-Photo-Club/calendar/15850303/

  • Julian Hebbrecht January 21, 2011 10:11 am

    For me photography is like writing a novel or paining a canvas. You don't write a novel with buddies or paint a canvas so I don't take pictures with buddies either. Just me and my camera, everything else is a disturbance. Period.

  • Trep Ford January 21, 2011 07:11 am

    We have a saying in our family ... "When you can't find what you're looking for, no matter where you look, then start something yourself."

    My wife was looking for Russian speaking play groups and found nothing in our area after 2 years of searching. So finally, she started one. Totally uncertain, totally inexperienced, she dove in and created what eventually became three different activities for Russian speaking families.

    You've identified the need in your area. I'd suggest starting your own Photography Club and/or Lecture Series where you invite experienced photographers to share their knowledge with enthusiastic amateurs. If the members kick in just a little money per person, you can afford to pay your visitors a modest speaking fee.

    What qualifies you to start such a thing? A) You're enthusiasm for photography, B) your recognition that something like what you're looking for doesn't yet exist, C) your instinct that such a thing SHOULD exist.

    You may have been assuming that to start such a group, you'd need to be an experienced photographer ... but there's no reason why, as an less experienced enthusiast, you can't create a group of similar folks who represent a teaching opportunity for experienced shooters.

    Identify photographers on the web whose work you like and invite them to put on presentations. Even just trading what knowledge you DO have amongst yourself as amateurs will help you all grow. Sharing your mistakes together aids learning. Just creating a place where hungry amateurs can get together and learn will move you in the direction of what you want.

    When my wife began her journey, she felt there was nothing available to her and that she had nothing to offer. Now she's considered the local focal point (pardon the photography pun) for Russian speaking family activities in the area. In less than a year, things blossomed very nicely.

    If none of that sounds like something you could ever consider doing, then I'd offer two other possibilities:

    A) Look for online learning opportunities
    B) Move ... to a location where there are more creative people interested in the things you love. I used to live very far from where I live now, and moving here opened up my creative side in a BIG way. Different crowd. Different attitude. Different scenery. It can be very stimulating.

  • Kat Landreth January 19, 2011 06:23 am

    @PhotographyProjects- Have you tried flickr? A few people have mentioned it here in the comments as a way to find other local photogs. And don't forget, you can start your own Meetup.com group if you can't find one that fits. Good luck!

  • Bo Nielsen January 19, 2011 02:59 am

    Joined the local photoclub

    Found/ and joined a Photowalk group that operates in my area on Flickr

    When I was going to the US last summer I wrote on Buzz (where I follow and is followed by photographers) if any one wanted to meet up, had two who responded, and it was really fun shooting with some one you don't know.

  • Mei Teng January 18, 2011 10:41 pm

    Thanks for sharing. I have been shooting solo mostly...for 2.5 years and still am right now. I find I work best shooting alone...but I don't mind having photography buddies.

  • THE aSTIG @ CustomPinoyRides.com January 18, 2011 07:33 pm

    This is so true. This is precisely the reason why we recently formed a Car Photography Club to get like-minded individuals with a passion for Car Photography to be part of one community. Now, we've got members from local publications including Top Gear Magazine! It's perfect for learning new things from other members!

  • Jason St. Petersburg Photographer January 18, 2011 04:08 pm

    @Kat Landreth -- thanks about the portraits.....good luck with the Venice Beach business!

  • Izzie Kientz January 18, 2011 01:50 pm

    Thank you for this very useful article. Because of this, I had joined a meetup nearest me this afternoon. I hope I can meet someone who would like to be my photography buddy at this meet-up apart from being with people who shares my interest.

  • Loyce Hood January 18, 2011 12:26 pm

    Another benefit is there is safety in numbers. That's the main reason I started my own meetup groups. We are walking around with many thousands of dollars worth of photo equipment either hanging on our necks or on our backs. Alone, we're an easy hit for someone looking to grab our gear. In a group, there's much less danger.

    Of course, the friendships made along the way is priceless.

  • Photographer Detroit January 18, 2011 12:06 pm

    Great post! You've shown that photography is a fine art that requires a unique and creative eye.

    Photographer Detroit

  • ted January 18, 2011 07:57 am

    i've actually made most of my photo buddies via flickr. there was a group just for my area ... made a few posts ... joined a couple of meetups ... and made some great new friends!

  • Kat Landreth January 18, 2011 04:52 am

    @John- I can see that becoming an issue... thankfully my husband isn't into photography!

    @Jason St. Petersburg Photographer- Awesome "portraits"! And thanks for mentioning starting a business. I'm just about to fill out permits and such to sell prints at Venice Beach in California. I don't know how I would get all of this stuff done if I didn't have my photo buddy/partner in crime to do this with. I'm really glad I don't have to do Everthing myself anymore!

  • panfocusrio January 18, 2011 04:41 am

    i've signed up for a photography workshop, which would be my first, and i hope to meet other photographers that i could do shoots with later. other than that, i have a good friend who's also a weekend photographer and gives me really good advice. we haven't shot together yet. my husband is/was a film photographer but we haven't had time to go shoot together since getting married. we do have the equipment to do that, just not the time. but i also go to him for his opinion and advice on photography.

  • Jason St. Petersburg Photographer January 18, 2011 03:27 am

    I really recommend Meetup.com for getting to know your fellow local photographers, of all experience levels. I moved to St. Petersburg two years ago and right away made friends with some photographers and now we all second shoot for each other when needed, offer photo business advice and share experiences, etc. They are a super valuable resource to me.

    It can also be a lot of fun to have great photographers as friends. Two photog friends and I went to downtown Tampa a few months back to take some action/unorthodox "headshot" photos of each other.

    http://jasoncollinphotography.com/blog/2010/9/5/epic-aerial-portraits-in-downtown-tampa-part-1-yours-truly.html

    It really helps to have photographer friends when starting your own photography business.

  • Photography Projects January 18, 2011 02:48 am

    I live in Essex in the UK, and none of our local colleges provide any short term courses. I find this amazing, and disappointing. There are a few professional photographers offering weekend courses, but they don't really seem to offer exactly what I'm looking for and they charge much more than I think a local college would.

    Also meetup.com doesn't seem to have much in my area either :( All I want is to participate in various photography projects with people but I haven't been able to find it easily at a local level.

  • Sharon January 18, 2011 02:34 am

    I recently attended a photography school which had an instructor who started a Project 365 group on Flickr. I am heading out to Santa Barbara today with three wonderful photography gals from that group/school for our own mini photowalk! I had gone shooting with two of them a couple of weeks ago and, throughout the day, we kept telling each other how much fun it was.

    Checking out photography groups on Meetup.com is also a must as well. Nice article!

  • Pat Bloomfield January 18, 2011 01:58 am

    Great article Kat.

    Knowing local photographers is also great for referring leads that aren't appropriate to you or you're already booked :-)

    Pat
    PatB Photography

  • john January 17, 2011 11:35 pm

    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.”
    few min later, "you" just see at target that need 100mm Macro
    you in his mind "Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh no"

    by the way, I know a pair of couple. "Husband" use Cannon, "Wife" use Nikon, to prevent unhappy gear change

  • Jen at Cabin Fever January 17, 2011 05:20 am

    I've never shot with a group and most of my close friends don't use a camera for anything other than documenting family life, but I'd def like to find someone to hang out with that likes photography like I do.

    One Word. One Photo. Everyday.

  • marcus January 17, 2011 04:03 am

    Flickr is a great way to find real-life photo buddies. There are several Flickr Meetup groups in my area, and I've made a bunch of friends just from showing up and hanging out.

  • Kat Landreth January 17, 2011 03:21 am

    Right on guys. I knew I wasn't the only one who liked to shoot with a group. Great suggestions so far. Flickr and the dps forum should be great places to find photography buddies too. Keep 'em coming!

  • Ed January 17, 2011 03:14 am

    Definitely a good idea to check out the local meetup group(s). Here in Charlotte there are probably a dozen photography clubs that cater to all different needs and provide some excellent photo opportunities.

  • indykaleu January 17, 2011 02:55 am

    I joined a local Flickr meet up group and met several other people that I now go out regularly with and have a lot fun. I've also joined a couple of local photography clubs and may also join a local meetup.com as well. After joining these groups, I've spent more time shooting with the camera instead of sitting at home and just thinking about going out.

  • Mully410 January 17, 2011 12:33 am

    Great idea about meet-up! I've met tons of local photogs who have encourage me to shoot outside my comfort zone and to show my work. Check out the Twin Cities Photography Group in Minneapolis/St. Paul. We have over 1200 members and tons of different activities. http://www.meetup.com/tcphotogroup/

  • Sandee January 17, 2011 12:14 am

    I joined the local photo club!

  • Woods January 17, 2011 12:14 am

    Why not simply on dPs forum ?? I'm sure that would be sooo easy to find a buddy there.

    On Flickr, it's very easy to find people that live in the same area as you and shoot what you like to shoot. You can then contact them by FlickrMail.

    -- Woods

  • Vicki DeVico January 16, 2011 11:59 pm

    There are other ways, as well. In pre-Facebook days, I used to (and still do occasionally) chat in an AOL chatroom geared to photographers. I've been on many shoots with folks I've met there...in New Hampshire, Florida and Virginia (I live in NJ). Also, joining a camera club and going on outings with the club helps a lot...and has enabled me to find that one 'shooting buddy' to go with. Plus, joining the PSA and meeting others can open doors. Oh...one more. Give your husband your old camera and have him join you! The amazing thing I find is that having a camera around my neck starts many conversations...photographers are the friendliest people!!!

  • Stephen January 16, 2011 11:36 pm

    Although photographers often make their best photos solo, the learning experience from meetups is irreplaceable! We run http://photowalk.ie in Ireland for this very reason and it has had a positive impact on all of our respective outputs!

    Super article!