I have been a photographer in San Diego for the past four years. It was not easy to build my portfolio in the beginning. I basically had to reach out to everyone that I knew and see if they needed new photos to get content for my portfolio. All the people that agreed to get in front of my camera we’re not charged a penny. That is because I got photos for my portfolio and in return they got new photos for their time, it was a win-win for everyone. These gigs would typically be events, weddings, newborn photos, and couples that I personally knew.
As time past, my portfolio grew but not the way I wanted it to. It was being filled with lots of styles of photography with no central theme. That is why I had to focus on what I liked to do; individual, couple, and family outdoor portrait photography. So in an effort to cycle out the older content and get fresh new frames in my portfolio, I reached out to people that would potentially work with me.
In the beginning, I would use Instagram as my primary platform to reach out to people that would consider a collaboration with me, which worked beautifully. I mean I did get the people that just ignored me or wanted to charge me money for there time. However, I did get those that did want to work with me on a collaboration or two. Those people helped me with developing a portfolio that I was proud to show off and one that will define who I am as an artist/photographer for the rest of my life.
After a few collaborations, people started to ask me why I didn’t go to photo meetups for even more chances to build my portfolio and I could not answer that question. I say that because I literally had no idea things like that existed at the time. So I did a little research and decided to go to my first meetup which was sponsored by @SDPhotoSquad on Instagram.
That meetup was in Coronado, CA, started at golden hour, and lasted late into the evening. SDPhotoSquad did that to try to accommodate as many types of photography as they could, from portraits to nighttime light painting. Overall, I met a few other San Diego photographers, got some great shots to add to my portfolio, and met some new models that I could work with down the road. All I had todo was just show up with business cards to hand out to people that I worked with and take photos to get new content for my portfolio, it was that easy.
As time passed, I went to more meetups and learned more about the different types of meetups that where out there. I mean there are San Diego photography meetups for cosplay, cars, nature, astro, product, and portrait photography. Basically, what ever photography you are into, there is a meetup group for you. All you have to do is find the meetup group you want to join, get in contact with the individual(s) that run the meetup group and go if you can.
I belief the best ways to get in contact with those meetup groups or at least the methods that I know of are Instagram and Facebook. You can easily search for the different meetup photography groups that you are looking for on each platform based on your location and/or type of photography. That is how I found the two meetup groups that I currently belong too, @SDPhotoSquad and Sunday Meetz – Facebook group. I also still use both social media platforms to find new photography meetup groups to attend, just for marketing purposes and diversification of content.
As you can see, collaborating with other photographers and/or models leads to other types of photography collaboration opportunities. Also, going to meetups allows you to work with a lot more subjects than one on one sessions. So those are the two reasons why I do collaborations with people and why as a new photographer, I believe it is important for other beginning photographers to do this type of work too. It will help you build your portfolio the way you want to build it and gain exposure for your business at the same time.