One of the biggest mistakes people new to photography make is not being involved in their profession. That includes memberships in professional organizations, like PPA, and being involved with local photography groups, meet-ups, and events.
Some of you may chaff at that idea, thinking it’s nothing but a bunch of old ladies with point-and-shoot cameras and you’d be wrong. The WorldWide Photowalk was this weekend and at one of the local walks, which drew about 20 people, a quarter were working professionals from around the area and half made some part of their living from photography.
There was equipment of every manufacturer. Cameras by Nikon, Canon and one Sony Alpha, flash units by Sunpak, Canon and Quantum, lenses that ranged from kits lenses to Zeiss primes. We had a great time and I got to mingle with some really good shooters.
Another option to consider is going on paid photography tours, especially if you’re visiting a strange city for the first time. Hiring a local photographer to serve as a guide can insure that you’re not missing lesser known photogenic parts of the city. Besides, most of the locals will know your walk organizer and you can borrow some of that credibility. Even experienced hunters hire a guide when hunting in a new area, so don’t discount the idea of paying a guide.
Walks, meet-ups and group TFP (Time For Prints) shoots are all ways to meeting other photographers, pick up shooting tips and get your name out there. I came back with a stack of business cards after a two hour photo walk, including ideas for new paying projects. It turned out to be a wise investment of my time.
Helping to organize photo walks and TFP shoots is always appreciated, and organizing one of your own is great advertising.
So grab your gear and get going!