Your Network is Gold
There are many photographers in our area and around the country. Some could say there is a lot of competition. But being able to be a part of a network of female photographers that is collaborative and supportive is simply amazing. When I first opened my business in the summer of 2019, I was nervous, afraid, and clueless about how I was going to be a successful photographer. Everyone has their own definition of success so I will not go into that here, but I will say there were many unknowns. Shortly after “opening” my business, I was chatting with someone in my network (a real estate agent extraordinaire) about my new adventure. She let me know about a local networking group of female photographers she had heard about from someone in her network. She offered to connect me with them in case I was interested in learning more about the group. I couldn’t say “Yes and thank you” fast enough. The group is called Viewpoint Collaborative. I started by joining the private Facebook group—it is gold! You can check them out on their public Facebook page or Instagram pages.
Viewpoint Collaborative holds monthly meet-ups to share business successes, tips, and tricks, and have outside speakers occasionally share their expertise (like taxes - Yikes!). The first meet-up came around and I gathered all my strength and courage to head out. I’m an introvert and really shy when I’m in a large group where I don’t know anyone. (Once I know you and feel more comfortable, I’m a big goofball.) It was a big challenge for me to show up to the first monthly meet-up of the group not knowing anyone, especially with a big case of imposter syndrome. But I’m so happy that I did. I’ve met some amazing women. Some do photography full-time and others work part-time while juggling another job (either outside of the home or inside the home). They are at different stages in their own journeys with photography and business ownership.
I highly recommend folks to look for ways to introduce people you meet to others in your network. I’m so thankful for my diverse networking group. I love referring folks in my network from tax, legal, and financial experts to pet-sitters to personal trainers.
Not All Creatives are Created Equal
I grew up saying: “I’m not creative, but I can take a good photograph.” I’m very good at office work and slay with my organization skills. Yup, I own that! But I don’t have that same sense of being a badass when it comes to creativity. But I’ve been reflecting on that lately and realize that what I do in an office takes creativity, and knowing how to frame an image to take a good photograph is creative. To me being ‘creative’ always meant painting, playing an instrument, or acting. I’ve met some photographers who are more on the creative side and others who are like me with a mix of the creative and logistical. I love learning new computer programs and geeking out on my lists. Other creatives operate differently–not better or worse just different. But I thought that was the only way to be defined as a ‘creative.’ Cheers to learning it’s okay to be wrong.
Having a diverse network of female photographers helps me in my business in so many ways. For instance, when I get stuck on a lens, posing, or light issue I can reach out to my group for help. They can also reach out for brainstorming ideas on areas where they may be stuck. As the only member of my business, it is nice to have a group where you can ask questions and brainstorm. It is also a great referral source for second shooting/assisting or for a client that wants a specific type of photo session that you perhaps do not specialize in (for example, newborns or boudoir).
Another reason why I love this group is for the fun we have. This spring a few of us got together to do a shoot and try and capture some of the spring blooms (getting a dry day in the Pacific Northwest in spring with blooms is like chasing a unicorn). Luck was on our side and we had great weather and some pretty trees blooming. One of the photographers acted as our model while the rest of us took turns photographing her in various poses and outfits, then we also photographed each other. “Behind the scenes” photos were a must as well. We spent a couple of hours just before golden hour. We talked about lenses, cameras, lighting, our favorite type of shoots, and posing. One of the photographers had a lens I had been interested in and she loaned it to me to play around with for a bit. We both had the same body model so it fit perfectly. I fell in love with it and knew I was right to upgrade. It is the little things like that where you truly appreciate your supportive circle.
We are not each other’s competition. We are cheering each other on!
Below are some of the images from that fun afternoon.
Players for the day:
Julie Court Jacob
Taylor Erickson (model)
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I'm a Vancouver, WA photographer focusing on portraits and have a love of travel!