Monday, July 18, 2011

Models and Photographers Tip 2: Networking in Model Photography

Disclaimer: I'm not a professional; these are my opinions and my opinions only and based on my own experiences in model photography.

Models and Photographers Tip 2: Networking in Model Photography…
From what I’ve experienced since I’ve started photography and model photography it’s been extremely difficult to network with fellow photographers, especially with fellow production crew members for model photography. Yes we have model mayhem, flickr, facebook, etc. websites designed to social network with these people, but having people who are actually serious about networking in person and maybe even working together is near to impossible.
But that’s my experience about networking within the NEPA area with fellow photographers, model photographers, models and other production crew members in model photography, and I would like to advise you amazing readers of mine, especially photographers and models. To get out and get networking! And I don’t mean just online networking I mean actually network with fellow like minded people or especially in our area of model photography. If you’re a model, model photographer, MUA, hair stylist, digital artist/retoucher, photographer assistant, etc., you need to network with each other, period! If you’re serious about getting a successful career in model photography, or even if you want to accomplish and create some amazing work together, you MUST network! And work very hard to network and keep a stable network. Now when I say network I don’t mean clients (paid work), or similar, I mean that and especially working with fellow talented (or has potential to having talent) people in model photography on TRADE (TF).
When starting out working on TF as much as possible with people you’re interested in working with or/and just want to help out just cause you think they’re a nice person that deserves a shot or even has good potential on becoming better with your help. And especially if it would add value to your portfolio and it needs some diversification or updating.
What are the steps to start networking?
Of course marketing yourselves is the first step which I went over in the last article [HERE]. As for the next step is using those websites mentioned from that article and friend as many local people that works in the model photography industry, but primarily of course those looking for TF work (people who are new or starting out). More specifically on (MM) in the browse section click any instead of a specific person you’re looking for or click and holding “CTRL” key on a PC keyboard to click on multiple types of people such as model, photographer, makeup artist, etc. Also when on MM browse section click on sort by part “Last Activity” so it would sort from the top of your results showing the most recently active profile which is what you would want. As well ensure on the area you’re looking at is local and in the range you’re willing to travel, such as I put a range of 50miles from my home location on my search for I can get more results when searching for models. Unless I knew I was getting large number of results then I would lower the range, but in my case in suburbs and not urban area.
Right now, Model Mayhem is the only place I know online I can find the most or any active models to contact locally (or somewhat locally in my range). But I also have a photographer/professional account on facebook so having models, mua’s, hair stylists, and other model photographers on my account as my friends it helps a lot because we can market to each other’s work and tag photos a lot for we can somewhat share contact information on the models they’ve shot in the tagged photos. Also “suggested friends” feature in Facebook generally would be a model for me or other photographers so that sometimes help me getting more models and models who don’t use model mayhem or who are inactive model mayhem members that don’t show up on my results.
Now in my opinion it’s a lot easier for models to network with photographers than the other way around because there is more photographers (and generally more active) looking for models than actual models existing and active. So, when I make a search on MM for photographers I would generally get 3-4x more results than model results. And honestly many more models on MM are not as serious as the photographers are.  Before I go into rant mode let me talk about other potential places to network, and I could tell you now it’s not easy at all, MM and Facebook is the only two places I use for networking, as for other places it’s very unlikely you’ll find anyone from this industry because MM is for model photography specifically. MM and Facebook the only two places that I know that is free for all parties joining as for other places that require a cost for some parties like photographers is one, but I can’t say anything about it because I can’t afford to join it yet.
Another form to network as a model photographer is to network with other model photographers. Become good friends if possible because what you could get is more models for both parties, and maybe production crew members such as MUA’s, hair stylists, photographer assistants, etc… Don’t be afraid of sharing your knowledge, don’t be competitive just enjoy each other’s work and help each other out as model photographers or even as general overall photographers.
When networking is it okay to keep it only professional relationship or more?
You may or may not be asking this but I’ll answer it because I honestly want more than just a professional relationship because that’s when we all work together better and not just as individuals but as a community. And when I say more than a professional relationship I don’t mean that in a creepy way I mean in a friendship way where like minded people who are working for similar goals or even same goals can help each other out by about any means and with fellow like minded people who actually care about each other’s success and work within the model photography arena. Hopefully in your local areas there are model/photographer community groups just working together on portfolio building on TF basis (of course) and working with other production crew members as well in a TF basis. If not make one of your own and get a community started in your area ether by making a group or flickr group, or other grouping sites for this can be possible. It won’t be easy to start one right away, it will take dedication, and especially in a suburban area where there is a lot less people working in the model photography arena, but as for in an urban area you shouldn’t have too much of a difficult time if you know how to organize pretty well.
So there you have it, you should have some kind of an idea now on how important is networking in model photography and somewhat on how to network within model photography.

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