To build a commercial photography business that thrives, you’ll need to make connections with people. Expand your sphere of influence by finding more opportunities to develop a reputation.

A significant part of your interactions relies on how you network, so you must choose the best routes for you. With all of the information at your disposal, you can make a name for yourself and your photos.

This guide discusses how to build your commercial photographers network, which includes:

  • Workshops and courses
  • Competitions
  • Exhibitions
  • Social media
  • Group meetups

How to build your commercial photography network:

Workshops and courses

To meet other photographers or people in similar industries, attend workshops and courses. After COVID-19, more of these are available to access online, so you won’t have to travel either.

A few photography course providers include:

Network with other commercial photographers as you learn. If there’s the opportunity to engage others in conversation, then take it and provide contact details.

Don’t see other photographers as your competition. You can learn from those with more experience and help others who have less. 

There could be a chance to collaborate on projects together in future and recommend each other for work.

Aside from a way to meet fellow students, the skills and qualifications from courses can help you appeal more to clients. Also, course leaders may have their own connections to share.

Competitions

Let your ability speak for itself to help build your commercial photographers network. If you enter competitions, you’ll have the opportunity to show off your work to industry insiders and bring exposure to your work.

As a commercial photographer, you’ll look to attract businesses to hire you for your services. With awards to your name, you can give yourself more credibility.

Some of the competitions you could enter:

Even if you don’t win any competitions, you’ll still have the entries you can add to your portfolio. You can create a catalogue of your best photos in a PDF to send to clients or use an online portfolio platform.

Portfolio platforms can let you provide contact details so people can approach you.

Some portfolio platforms include:

For more information on portfolios, see our article: How to create a photography portfolio website.

Exhibitions

To build your commercial photographers network through your work, you can put on exhibitions. 

These can give you the chance to show the public what you do, which can help you make connections at your event.

You’ll need to rent a space to hold your exhibition, like a gallery or community centre. 

Still, to save money, you could even open up your home for the day. Exhibitions often offer free food and drinks, which might be an incentive to encourage people to attend.

Make sure that you can keep in touch with everyone who attends your event. Provide your business cards on entry or get guests to scan a QR code that directs them to your portfolio (in return for free drinks).

You’ll need to promote the exhibition to get people to turn up, so it might be helpful to be active on social media.

Social media

As someone who aims to build a commercial photography network, you can use social media platforms to help you.

Instagram

Photography is perfect for a visual content hub like Instagram. If you can upload photos people like to see, you can increase your following on the platform.

Your Instagram profile can attract clients, they’ll see what attention you’ll bring to their accounts through your photography. 

YouTube

Many people seek to improve their photography skills to create better posts on all platforms. So with your skills and experience, teach people how to take better pictures.

YouTube is a great platform to create tutorials and video blogging. You can share tips and advice for amateur photographers. 

If you can provide people with consistent and helpful videos, you’ll increase the number of people who subscribe to your channel.

LinkedIn

To gain traction on YouTube or Instagram, you need to post consistently and it can take time. But to connect and speak to people within your industry instantly, you can use LinkedIn.

It’s a social network for professionals to communicate, and it’s often how a lot of recruiters find talent.

So if you have a presence on the platform, it could make it easier for clients to see you, and you can pitch yourself directly to them.

Group meetups

You might find that the task to expand your commercial photographers network can be daunting. But, it’s good to remember that you’re not the only one in that position.

With that in mind, plenty of groups in the UK seek to bring like-minded photography professionals together. These include:

If you become an active member of groups, you can attend or organise meetups to bring photographers together. With that, you’ll be able to exchange contact details and offer each other support to gain work.

Networking can have costs

Building a solid network for your photography business might require some investments. For example:

  • Course fees
  • Competition entry fees
  • Rent for exhibition space
  • Business cards

These are all vital costs to expand the reach of your business, but you must manage your spending so you can afford to continue to grow.

Manage finances to keep up your network with Countingup

Countingup is a business account with built-in accounting software, and it makes financial management simple through your phone.

The app’s expense categorisation feature can sort your costs to show you where your networking spending is going.

Get started for free.

For more financial management information, see: Bookkeeping for self-employed photographers.