A Helping Hand

So, I've had some computer issues. Well, a friend of mine, also a photographer, is a tech for his day job. He popped in reset my settings and fingers crossed, maybe I'm good to go.

Whether or not I have a permanent fix or not (only time will tell) doesn't matter. What matters is he helped me out of the goodness of his heart. We don't know each other very well outside of photography, yet he stepped in.

Photographers seem to like to help each other. There are groups with a massive amount of members that are specifically set up to help one another. Whether technical help with Photo Shop or Light Room, critiques on images, or basic camera functions; the help is there. In this very saturated market and hectic day to day life there is kindness to share knowledge.

I have a PS/ACR guru, a posing guru (and the computer tekkie I spoke of), and an artificial light guru (who is also a gear head) in my circle. If I have a question in any of these areas I go to them. So, what do I do? I don't know how to return the favor yet. I enjoy talking to them and shooting with the ones local to me. My posing guy asked me about my marketing recently I shared all that I could think of off hand. That's all I've had to actively give back so far. So, for now, I have been sharing what knowledge I do have with people just starting out (I don't offer classes they come to me with questions and I take them out shooting). I have a good understanding of the exposure triangle and try to get them as far as I can with that. It's the basics of photography.

Ok, Why would photographers help each other out when we are "competing" against one another? For one, we aren't competing. We are networking. I refer out my wedding and new born inquiries because I don't do them. We all have different target clients. For example my goal for portraits is to sell prints and canvases from their custom photo session. I also target small local, yet creative, businesses. I love seeing what other people can make. Being a big supporter of small businesses and having a love for art and creativity I choose to offer my services to them.  My friends are portrait photographers, too.  However, one is OK with giving digitals for a portrait session. Though I do sell the digital files, I prefer to know they are being printed by high quality labs and hung up in their homes. We also have different price ranges. There is a market for every one.

I know I don't speak highly of the $50 shoot and burn, but it's not me to decide the value of another photographer's work (psst I think some should charge more). Nor is it up to me to decide if they should have a client base or not. They should and they do! There is a photographer for every budget, every family, every lifestyle out there. What would I do when someone "scoffs" at my prices? I would refer them to someone in their budget and hopefully close to my style of work. I mean, they came to me first for a reason and if it wasn't my prices it had to be they liked my work. So why not help the client that wasn't to be AND another photographer?

If everyone paid it forward, we would live in a happier place. I would like to think that the good vibes I put out will come back. I actually think they already do.

Pay it forward, lend a helping had. Help the people around you; your colleagues, clients/customers, family and friends. A complete stranger,even. If nothing else you get to feel warm and fuzzy. That's always a bonus.

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