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12 Foolproof Ways to Find Photography Friends

How to find photography friends

This article was updated in January 2024 with contributions from Kat Landreth, Karthika Gupta, and Jaymes Dempsey.

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

Chairs in a classroom

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!

There is nothing quite like getting a bunch of photographers in a room to talk shop and discuss the latest and greatest gear and techniques. The energy and the learnings at such events are incredible. Most conferences and events get the best speakers and teachers, so this is a great way to increase your skill set and also meet some of your mentors and peers.

As someone who has started to speak and teach at conferences and events, I am just as nervous to get up on stage as you might be to come to an event! However, I am so happy to meet and mingle with my people (folks who love photography as much as I do!).

So go with an open mind and be willing to put yourself out there to make genuine connections and friends.

Food styling and food photography workshop Collaborate with other photographers Karthika Gupta
I had the opportunity to attend a conference and took some food styling and food photography classes. While there, I made some amazing friends who, to date, have been very supportive of each other’s work. (Image by Karthika Gupta)

3. Just go up and introduce yourself

Yes, it’s simple – but when you’re out capturing the beauty of the world, keep your eyes open for fellow photography enthusiasts. If you spot someone with a camera who seems to share the same interests, don’t hesitate to approach them! A shared passion is a powerful icebreaker.

Introducing yourself to another photographer doesn’t have to be daunting. You can compliment their gear or ask them about what they’re photographing, and if they’re interest in engaging, this will open the door to a more in-depth conversation.

Mention that you’re a photographer too (if they can’t already tell from your camera!) and express your interest in connecting further. Social media platforms like Instagram are perfect for this because they provide an immediate way to share your work and see theirs.

Once the initial connection is made, you can always suggest a joint photography outing. Whether it’s exploring urban landscapes, chasing the golden hour in the countryside, or setting up a studio shoot, doing photography together can help strengthen your bond. These shared experiences often lead to learning from each other, sharing tips and techniques, and, most importantly, building a friendship!

4. Browse Meetup.com

Meetup.com finding photography friends

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!

5. Search Facebook groups

Facebook find photography friends

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!

6. DM local photographers on Instagram

Person holding up phone in front of buildings

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!

7. Join local camera clubs

Camera and coffee on a table

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!

8. Hang out at your local camera shop

Camera shops are not just places to buy new gear; they’re hubs for the photography community. These stores often attract individuals who are passionate about photography, including the staff. In my experience, many of the folks who work in camera shops are photographers themselves and can offer insights into the latest gear, photography techniques, and local photography spots worth exploring. If you explain that you’re looking for likeminded folks to photograph with, they might even be interested in shooting!

You can also ask if the camera shop offers classes or meetups of any sort – and if they do, make sure to sign up! Plus, the allure of new cameras and lenses is undeniable for any photography enthusiast. While browsing the latest equipment, you might strike up a conversation with someone who shares your excitement, and this shared enthusiasm can be the beginning of a friendship!

9. 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!

10. Find local photowalks

People on a photowalk

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.

11. Contact local photographers through their websites

In the digital age, connecting with fellow photographers has never been easier. If you’re seeking more targeted connections, particularly with professionals or hobbyists within your own genre of photography, a simple online search for “[GENRE] photographers near me” can open up a world of possibilities. With any luck, you’ll find a host of websites, where you can get inspired with local work – and you can perhaps reach out through the website contact form, start up a conversation, and maybe even share some work of your own.

If you do decide to reach out, draft a message that explains who you are, touches on how their work has inspired you, and perhaps even share a bit of your own portfolio. It’s a gesture that not only demonstrates your genuine interest in their work but also lays the groundwork for a relationship. Should they respond, the conversation can naturally progress towards suggesting a joint shooting session. Of course, it’s always important to approach these interactions with respect for the photographer’s time and an openness to the possibility of collaboration rather than immediate friendship.

12. Go to art fairs

Art fairs offer a vibrant tableau of creativity and culture, and while these events may not always be photography-centric, they frequently feature at least on or two photographers among the exhibitors. This presents an excellent opportunity for you to discover local photographers whose work resonates with your own creative sensibilities!

Start by conducting a bit of research online to locate art fairs in your vicinity. Once you’ve found a few interesting fairs, make it a priority to attend.

Once at the fair, take the time to appreciate the work, and don’t hesitate to initiate conversations with the photographers. Discussing their photography can serve as a great icebreaker and may lead to deeper discussions about techniques, inspirations, and experiences!

As with the other tips for making photography friends, having an earnest conversation can always turn into collaborative opportunities and real friendships. Whether it’s planning a joint exhibition, participating in a group project, or simply arranging a casual photo walk, the relationships fostered at art fairs can be hugely valuable! By being proactive and open to new connections, you stand to gain not only new friends but also – if you’re lucky – a wealth of inspiration and support.

How to find photography friends: final words

How to find photography friends

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!

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