Focused Insight Blog

From Isolation to Connection

From Isolation to Connection

How To Unleash Your Creativity, Overcome Fear And Connect With Your Community Of Photographers

March, 10th 2023

Tapping into a community, building authentic friendships and allowing your creative powers truly run wild can be a struggle. Especially starting out…

Whether you’re an introvert like me, a little shy, or not quite sure how to grow your network within the photography community, this blog will explain how to go about getting connected. Plus, how to develop more confidence, so when you find yourself in a room of high level models, photographers and other people in this industry, you feel like you belong.

So, I’m going to share how I began getting connected with other high level people and models. How I fought against my introvertedness to take the opportunity that allowed my career to start taking off.

Here we go!

Where It Started & Why I Decided To

When I started getting into photography, I would just take pictures mainly on my travels and I never thought to take portraits of other people. As an introvert, I was constantly staying in my comfort zone. But, one day while I was self-employed carpenter, I was allowed to build a set in a Zurich photo studio for an advertising campaign in 2019. I was able to follow the whole process and got to see what an enormous effort it is until a picture can appear as an ad. It utterly fascinated me…

I had a thought at the time, why not actually photograph people? All people are different, each has their own story and everywhere in the world are more people with a different story. But, I didn’t think about it until a few weeks later when an unknown woman contacted me… 

She said she organizes photo workshops with models in Morocco and would be happy if I were there. Since being a part of this photoshoot operation in Zurich, I guess word got out that I was involved in photoshoot operations as well as being a photographer. Which was pretty cool, I must say. But being an introvert, I first looked for reasons why I couldn’t go. Why this would not be for me. However, I knew that if I really wanted to take my photography career seriously, I needed to go.

So, I decided to participate in this workshop and see what it was all about. I flew to Morocco in March of 2019 to take part in the workshop and (reluctantly) meet new people. I instantly fell in love with the wonderful country, all the great people and interesting culture. But as you could imagine, I was super nervous to meet everyone at the workshop and to move – as far as photography is concerned – on an unknown path. However, I was very warmly welcomed by everyone! We had a great professional team and a wonderful time together!

Today I must say that this was one of the best decisions in my life. I learned a lot about myself, people and of course photography. 

Perhaps an even more important point that I have taken out is that you have to get out of your comfort zone and try new things. You can only win and grow as a person when you do.

Now, let’s get into how you can begin to do this for yourself! How you can immediately begin growing your knowledge, network, notoriety and credibility within the industry!

Take Part In Photography Related Things Even If You’re Not The Photographer

This is obviously not the easiest route to take. And it may seem a little different or weird. 

But as I referenced earlier, what got me an invite to the Morocco workshop that changed the course of my career was my involvement with building a set in Zurich. Not necessarily being the photographer doing the job…

Being a part of the team allowed me to put my foot in the door, collaborate with the photographers, build relationships and get my name tossed into the mix.

So, what shoots or operations are going on in your area that you could help out with? They may not need a photographer, but you may be able to help set up. Here’s some other quick ideas I have… 

You can offer to help find locations for the photoshoot, scouting out interesting and unique places that would make great backdrops for the shoot. This can be a great way to contribute your own ideas and creativity to the project.

Or, you can offer to take behind-the-scenes photos of the shoot. This can be a great way to document the process and to capture candid moments that the main photographer may not have time to photograph.

You can even offer to manage the photographer’s social media accounts during the shoot by posting updates, sharing behind-the-scenes photos, and engaging with followers. This can be a great way to get involved in the shoot and to contribute your own ideas and creativity.

You see, this is all about building relationships and getting your name out there. Doesn’t always have to be AS the photographer. Just as a part of the operation. I know it’s a little different, but go ask some of the biggest people in any industry. I bet they did shit like this starting out. In fact, I would wager most of them did…

Attend Workshops And Classes

Pretty straight forward here… Find as many classes and workshops as you can for photographers. Sign up and see what they’re all about. There are an endless amount of valuable experiences from these.

You’ll have hands-on learning experiences where you can practice and apply new skills and techniques. This can be a highly effective way to learn and improve your photography skills, as you get immediate feedback and guidance from experienced instructors.

You can receive more personalized instruction and feedback, which can be especially helpful if you have specific questions or areas of focus that you want to improve upon.

Meet and network with other photographers who share your interests. You can discuss photography techniques, share your work, and get feedback from other attendees. This can be a great way to make new friends who share your interests and to find a sense of belonging within the photography community.

Obviously these are led by experienced photographers who can provide expert guidance and advice on a wide range of topics. You’ll be able to develop your skills and knowledge of photography, plus, provide you with inspiration and motivation to continue learning and improving.

You’ll be introduced to new techniques and equipment that you may not have had access to otherwise. This can help you stay up-to-date with the latest trends and techniques in photography, and can also provide opportunities to experiment with new approaches and tools.

It’s also a great way to challenge yourself and grow as a photographer. By pushing yourself to try new things and learn new skills, you can develop greater confidence and a stronger sense of self as a photographer.

I strongly recommend everyone to participate in workshops, and spend time with like-minded people. You get to experience new areas, new people, make valuable connections and friends for life. Your career will instantly take a step forward with all the knowledge, connections and notoriety that comes with it.

Join A Photography Group, Club And Attend Gatherings

Goes without saying, but this is an incredible way to meet, network and develop relationships within the space.

You’ll meet models, lighting experts, photographers with different backgrounds and people who see the artform differently. All would provide interesting or valuable viewpoints for you to take away. 

Gatherings such as conferences and exhibitions provide tons of opportunities to learn new skills and techniques from experienced photographers. Plus, they may offer lectures, demonstrations, and hands-on experiences that can help you improve your skills and knowledge of photography.

And as you can imagine, seeing the work of other photographers, hearing about their experiences, and learning about new trends and techniques can help you grow as a photographer and keep you motivated to continue learning and improving.

You can discuss photography techniques, share your work and get feedback from other attendees. Which is a great way to make new friends who share your interests and to find a sense of belonging within the photography community.

This opens up more opportunities to showcase your work and gain recognition within the photography community.

Another cool aspect is these gatherings often take place in interesting and unique locations, such as galleries, museums, and outdoor spaces. Or in other countries like Morocco. Attending can provide opportunities to explore and appreciate the cultural and artistic aspects of photography.

Experiment With New Styles And Challenges

Here’s a few more great ways to begin stretching your comfort zone and unleashing your creativity. Experiment with different styles of photography to find what you enjoy the most and add more layers to your style. Try shooting in black and white, or macro photography or incorporating different cultural characteristics into your shots. 

In doing this, you may discover new interests that you didn’t even know you had and you’ll definitely raise your vocabulary when it comes to being artistic. The more you know, the more creative you’ll be and the more you’ll be able to bring to a collaboration.

Set Challenges For Yourself To Overcome Fear And Doubt

Set yourself challenges to help you overcome fear and push yourself out of your comfort zone. For example, challenge yourself to take a photo every day for a month, or to shoot in a new location or with a new subject matter.

You could bring in a few people to participate with you from a group, club or event as well. This opens up a whole new world of possibilities!

Another thing you could do is reach out to 5 other photographers a day within your group to make connections. Or 5 other people within the industry you know will help grow your career and notoriety. Just aim to connect with them. The more well connected you are, the more opportunities will come your way and the more you’ll realize that other people just want to connect as well.

Limiting the nervousness around meeting new people. 

I hope you got a lot of value from this, and I look forward to seeing you at a workshop or gathering soon!

Shots taken with Camera Nikon D800, Nikkor AF Lens, and natural light.

I hope you enjoyed the shots, this blog and are inspired to go see this place for yourself!

Below is a link to more pictures and information about this amazing location and model!

Now let’s get out there, and shoot!

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