Social Photography

#TravelTuesday has landed here again on and I, Dave Williams, have a nugget to share with you!

Making progress in photography means many things to many people, but to me, it’s important to keep photography social if we stand a chance at making progress. Having a social angle allows us not only to network and to make and maintain relationships, but also to share experiences and ideas, and to challenge ourselves and our skills. On Sunday in London, I hosted a small meetup of photographers and it compounded my belief in creating and maintaining relationships in photography rather than doing what so many photographers do and seeing everyone else carrying a camera as a competitor. On that note, they’re not your competition! Trust me, they’re really not. A competitor is someone working in the same field as you, in the same location as you, reaching out to the same market as you. Even if you find yourself competing, if you’re staying on top of your game by networking and practicing, then you really have nothing to worry about anyway!

So, with the Worldwide Photowalk fresh in our minds as one obvious idea, what else can we do to be social in photography?

#1 – Engage on Social Media

If we see something awesome, we should say so! When an amazing image catches our eye for its aesthetics, its composition, its light, its tone, its worth, saying something. Every time you see something awesome, leave a positive comment and tell the photographer why you like it. Think of it the other way around—if you posted an awesome shot, you’d want people to say something nice, so leaving positive comments can kick-start that cycle. Another way to engage on social media is through Facebook groups. I have one here, where I look to people for advice and feedback, and there are some other great groups, such as the Photoshop and Lightroom Group, the Friends of the Grid, and PhotoReview, which all encourage sharing and learning through feedback. If you aren’t involved in groups on Facebook, I strongly recommend taking a look around and finding some groups that fit your interest and getting involved with them.

#2 – Enter Contests

This is a cool way to interact with other photographers and it can be very, very rewarding. I was fortunate enough to be in the final round of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition and the excitement and feeling of pride that came with it was insane—and I didn’t even win! There are contests in photography all the time, largely published on social media. I’ve run the Sunrise Challenge for the past two years and the community that forms around it is great, with everyone getting involved in the contest hashtag and checking out each other’s work. Another thing a contest can do is give you the opportunity to put your images in front of the biggest names in photography who often make up the judging panels, and they give you a goal to work towards as well.

#3 – Join a Club

This is perhaps one of the best things in the photography community. Through a club, you’ll have the door opened up to attend talks and events with big names in the industry, have critique on your images, and meet like-minded people who meet regularly with the same passion. Lots of things can happen in the in-between times as well, and it’s also possible to work toward a professional affiliation or recognition through a photography club with the right mentoring to get you there. If you don’t have a photography club near you, make one! Failing that, there are other ways to recreate the photography club experience, such as becoming a KelbyOne member and interacting in the forums with other members and learning through online courses (and there’s a sale on right now, too!)

#4 – Photo Walks!

This is the simplest, most engaging way to be social in photography. Scott organises the world’s largest photo walk each year, but there’s nothing to stop you from running one throughout the rest of the year. They can be fantastic ways to meet people and to forge and maintain friendships. I’m lucky to say that a lot of the people I have had attend my photo walks have become friends, and the reason is this: –

The photo walk, being the part with the camera, is the small part of a bigger picture. Meeting up and taking photos is cool because we can learn from each other whilst our lenses are pointed in the same direction, but it’s the bits in-between and afterward, that really matter the most. The walking between locations gives us an opportunity to really dig deep and share our experiences, both in photography and in life, and taking the time afterward to have some food or coffee (or beer) to further share and build those relationships. We’re one big team of photographers, we aren’t really competing, and we need to behave that way and help each other. You could be missing one small yet vital nugget of wisdom and all it could take to realise it is meeting with other photographers to help unlock that one thing to push you miles down the road in your photographic journey!

Jump into social photography, meet people, introduce yourself in those Facebook groups (say Dave sent you!), and see what a difference it makes.

Much love

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