If you’re a beginner in photography, you have to realize that there will be times where you won’t get any work contracts. It might take months or longer before you can get a good opportunity; this is where networking comes in handy. It helps you score business deals from all the available sources and contacts.
Networking is a great thing you can do for yourself and your business as it is what attracts people towards you. It is a form of marketing of your photography work that helps you build a relationship with different clients and businesses. Therefore, networking guarantees you more volumes of business and contracts.
You might even have to meet people to introduce yourself and your plans, or you can even ask a friend to help you out with it. If your strategy focuses on establishing a long-term relationship with big companies, a strong network will play a crucial role in helping you out.
Networking Tips for Photographers
1. Creating an Online Presence
Before you start a network, you should create a professional website for photography that shows who you are and what you offer. Doing that allows you to showcase your work to people and serves as a foundation for socializing and networking efforts.
We live in an age of social media, and nowadays, if you don’t have an online presence, people consider that you don’t even exist or are probably not reliable. That is why you need to have a website with an attractive layout, which is very important for a good networking setup.
2. Printing Business Cards
After setting up an online presence, you should get your business cards made with your name, number, work, etc. You might be thinking that business cards are a thing of the past, but in reality, they aren’t.
If you don’t have a business card, you have a high chance of losing various business opportunities. The business cards serve as a reminder for people that you’ve met and spoken with and helps them contact you and build a relationship with you in the future.
Moreover, some people are so busy with things that they don’t always remember everything and can also have a short-term memory. Therefore, a business card can help you overcome such concerns easily.
3. Creating an Action Plan
In your pursuit of becoming a professional photographer, you will find that all your goals are easily achievable when you divide them down into smaller plans. This strategy does not only apply to achieving big milestones but also applies to your day-to-day things like meeting potential clients and working on projects etc.
If you attend an event, you should have an action plan beforehand to make your goals much easier to achieve. For example, think about the minimum number of people with whom you want to have a conversation, what to discuss and share, and how to proceed further.
4. Dressing Well
Before meeting people, you should make sure that you are dressed well and looking good, which gives a great impression. Dressing and presenting yourself well can make you look more professional and approachable. Furthermore, it is one of the secrets of being social and scoring more business deals.
5. Having Effective Communication Skills
The main thing in building a successful network is to be a good listener and conveying your message in the best manner possible. A business conversation’s success entirely depends on how you perceive, reply, make an offer, and communicate with the clients.
The more engaging your conversation is, the higher the chances of you scoring the business. You can try to think of interesting questions to ask to make the conversation better and suited to your needs. It would be best to be careful about some of the client’s concerns and what he requires first and then propose accordingly.
Another thing to remember is to keep your conversation nice and short. The person you are talking to might not have a lot of time and could be very busy. Therefore you need to make sure to keep your discussion as short and sweet as possible, making them interested in your proposal in a short time.
6. Tagging Friends Along to Help You
Friends are good to have, especially for conducting business meetings and photoshoots. If you think that approaching strangers to talk about business can make you uncomfortable, you can always ask your friends to join in and help you. The more helping hands you have in this cause, the better your chances are of building a successful network.
One thing to keep in mind here is that they should also possess good communication skills before approaching people and presenting them with their ideas and proposals.
7. Finding Relevant Events
One of the essential things that you should remember is not to waste your time on events that are not according to your profession. You should know enough about the event before signing up for it and figure out if you can benefit from it according to your goals.
For example, a wildlife photographer will hardly find himself talking to people of a different niche. They both would have different requirements and ways of taking pictures.
8. Meeting People and Being Confident
Meeting with people can make you a bit nervous if you’re new to this. Even though it might seem hard at first, but the benefits of it will drive your fear of meeting people away. The main thing to remember here is that you’re doing this to better yourself and expand your network. Being confident in conveying your ideas across will be a huge plus point in your negotiations.
Confidence is an admirable quality that makes people attracted towards you and listen to what you have to say; hence the more composed and confident you are, the more successful you’ll be.
9. Going to High-Density Places
Suppose you’re going on a mission to do some hardcore advertising and marketing of your skills in pursuit of building your network. In this case, you should go to concentrated locations, which are heavily populated.
A crowded area will increase your chances of getting into conversations with people and conveying your ideas. It is also one of the fastest and quickest ways to build your network and get people to know you.
10. Getting in Touch With Different Businesses
One of the most effective ways to build your network is to contact businesses that require photographers for their public events. Most companies hire photographers so that they can take excellent pictures of the event and everyone attending them.
Building good relations with the business owners is a key to improving your network and expanding it further.
11. Building a Genuine Relationship
One of the things that most people don’t realize is when you have a network, the next thing you have to work on is building a genuine relationship with your contacts and clients. Take care of their concerns, ask for their opinions in improving things, see how they feel about you, and rate your skills overall.
The goal here is to have an honest relationship with the clients so they can have a better understanding of you and what you have to offer. Doing that will positively impact your network and make more people trust and work with you in the future.
Building a Network – An Effective Strategy for Growth
Networking is all about being confident in your social and communication skills. It’s also about building an influential and trustworthy communication chain where the people work with you in the long run. However, success takes time; you cannot hope to achieve everything overnight – you have to be patient and build relationships with people gradually. The more successful you are with people, the more your network expands.