Q: "What are your suggestions for finding people locally with photographic interests who will share knowledge rather than be threatened by our interest?" V. Tiffany
A: "Great question! Since I am not sure whether you are talking about photography as a hobby or a profession, I'll do my best to answer it generically. I do believe that the photography community at large is very generous at sharing knowledge. Yet, when I was breaking into the business of commercial photography years ago, I also noticed that local photographers were not particularly keen on sharing. I also thought that it was probably because they were threatened by new competition entering the market place. What they failed to realize is that if they were not responsive when I approached them, I was certainly not going to send work their way if I turned down a client for one reason or another... This business is about sharing. As a pro photographer you give 80%, you receive 20%, that's how it works.
Why not share knowledge? There is no secret to photography, every possible piece of marketing advice or technical information is out there on the web and free! Also, although every one thinks they are a photographer, your work will stand out and your personality will shine in the end. If you're a pro, the client buys your talents, your expertise and your personality.
Okay, now back to the question... If you are thinking of joining a photo club to meet like-minded people and share ideas, there are some really great ones out there. Unfortunately, there are also many whose members seem to be more interested in the gear and the pixels than the craft and the story, those have been a turn off for me. Check your area for photo walk groups or clubs. Attend a meeting or two to get a feel for the community. If all else fails, start your own! That's what I did when I started my Passion & Vision photo walk group. As photographers, we NEED to hang out with like-minded people. For me, it's a necessity and part of the reason why I love traveling the world teaching photo workshops so much! When I'm not traveling, I lead photo walks during my time off. They are not workshops and everyone is very respectful of that. We get together to shoot and talk, and sometimes share a drink along the way. We learn from each other. We all have different levels of expertise and experience. Some members show up with $10,000 worth of gear, others show up with an iPhone. No one cares, because it's all about vision and passion.
We all have something to bring to the table as we continue to learn this beautiful craft. Attending photo workshops is also a great way to meet other photographers and share ideas. If you still feel like there is tension among pros locally and a certain fear to share knowledge, then social media may be the answer. I often do Google Hang-outs with colleagues to share tips about marketing, etc. I hope this helps, good luck!
I wrote quite a few articles on the subject which are all linked on the publications page of my website.
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