Sometimes as a photographer, it can feel like it’s you against the world. But there’s a big community of photographers out there who can help you get where you want to be as a photographer and as a business owner. Take a look at some of the ways you can work with others to improve your photography business:

Second Shooters

Any wedding photographer could tell you that a second shooter can make or break a wedding, and many pro photographers, including Sue Bryce and Ana Brandt, have pointed out how important behind-the-scenes footage can be in marketing portrait photography. If you’re not comfortable hiring a photographer professionally to help create a marketing video, you can go to another photographer and offer to record video for them them if they’ll do the same in return.

For example, Ana Silva wanted a behind-the-scenes video to market her photography. She reached out to fellow photographer Ryan Eda, who helped create a beautiful marketing video to advertise her business.

Referral groups

Though it may seem counterintuitive, referring business to other photographers is an easy way to get more business. Photographers and photography educators Justin and Mary Marantz recommend forming a referral group to build up a client base. Meet up with a few of photographers in your area with similar skill sets and price ranges, then set up an easy way to communicate online. That way, when one person is booked (or may not be a good fit for the client), he or she can refer the client to someone else in the group, and everyone in the group gets what Justin and Mary call a “super referral” — a glowing recommendation from photographers who ought to be your competition.

Constructive criticism and support

If you’ve looked at a photo or video slideshow a million times and just don’t know how you feel about it anymore, try working with a group of photographers for constructive criticism or support.

Even if you don’t have many peers in your neighborhood, you can always join an online community. Sue Bryce Education offers great support for glamour photographers, courtesy of Sue Bryce; Jen Rozenbaum has an active, talented community of boudoir photographers; and Felix Kunze has the Lighting Challenge to help you develop your lighting skills. And of course, there’s Animoto for Professional Photographers to help you work on your video marketing.

Don’t go it alone — find friends and colleagues in the photography community, and you’ll improve both your business and your craft, while developing the support system every photographer needs to thrive.

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