*image by Carol Lynn of Freckle Face Photography
The photography world is a fascinating thing to be a part of. Each person is on their own unique journey, exploring the world around them with camera in hand. As exciting and satisfying as this journey can be, it can also be challenging, discouraging, and even lonely at times. I’ve come up with a few suggestions on how each of us can take on the role of “The Friendly Photographer” and work together to help foster a positive photography community.
Think for yourself
There is so much amazing photography happening all around us. Daily inspiration in the form of beautiful works of art and captivating portraits. It can be so easy to get sucked in and start comparing ourselves to all of this talent. We may begin to doubt our own skills; downplaying our positive traits and allowing ourselves to feel only the frustration of the things we are still working on. Allow yourself to be amazed and inspired (yes there really is some awesome talent out there!) but instead of comparing yourself, allow it to fill you with ambition and motivation to get out there and create your own unique photographs. We are all on our own individual path and copying someone else’s big idea is never going to fulfill you like the creation of your very own masterpiece.
Be Supportive and Encouraging
Photography is a constant learning process. The aspiring photographer has much they can learn by those with more experience, and the established photographer may be surprised to find they have much to learn from a fresh new mind. By working together, we give ourselves the opportunity to grow. Becoming a great photographer doesn’t have to be an elite and super secretive endeavor. Share your knowledge, help a friend, and inspire others to be great! It will only help to create a stronger photography community. If you come across another photographer who is doing something super uncool or challenging your ways, take the opportunity to educate them. Instead of demeaning them, give them the tools to become better. Keep in mind they may not understand or may just have a different point of view, and we can dwell on it, or accept it and move right along. On the same note, if someone is doing something amazing, tell them! Make them feel awesome! Wouldn’t you want someone to do the same for you?
Mind your manners
As important as it is to share your knowledge and give a little lovin’, it is equally important to remember when you’re on the receiving end that you remember to say thank you! We don’t want to get so caught up in ourselves that we forget to value the time and effort put in by those who help and support us. And what about all those not-so-friendly photographers out there? People have gotten burned, copied, stolen from, accused, turned down, excluded, scared (the complaint list could go on…). The best solution to deal with these not-so-friendly folks is to simply kill ‘em with kindness. Be the bigger person and make them realize that their actions aren’t going to stop your from being your awesome self.
Together, we are much stronger, much smarter, and can be more successful than any one person can be on their own. Get out there and start spreading some love in your photography community. Be nice, be fabulous and don’t be afraid to be uniquely you.
I asked a few of the CMPros to weigh in with their thoughts on what it means to be a friendly photographer…
Being a friendly photographer means respecting other photographers in their journey, no matter their skill level. We are each on our own path and encouraging, supporting and offering insightful critique are all ways I work towards be ‘friendly’ in the photography community.
As a self professed ‘friendly photographer’ I try to be respectful in my interactions with other photographers, refer business to colleagues when i can, and cheer their successes alongside my own. I prefer to have a collaborative tone to our conversations and always present myself as open and approachable.
I try to be nice by answering questions from new photographers and encouraging those that are just starting out. Locally, I try to foster a sense of “community” by referring clients and participating in and organizing events.
Being respectful of all photographers no matter where they are in their journey. Being willing to share and give back to a community that has taught me everything I know.