Photography can be a lonely business, but there is no reason why that has to be the case. Of course, there are many that enjoy the solitude. If you’re a photographer who enjoys more of a community there are some great ways to get together for group photography.
The reasons to join a group are varied, and even if you’re a lone ranger there are likely some ideas here for you. Linking up with others could just be about an online community, or meeting up in person. However you like to do group photography, here are seven ideas for you.
1 – Create a photo walk
One of the easiest and most informal types of group photography event is the photo walk. These are often organized by photography clubs, and there is a popular one run annually by Scott Kelby. The nice thing about a photo walk is each participant can go at their own pace. The general idea is to have a start point, a finish point, and a time limit. You may choose to walk together as a group, or split off individually.
There may be some members who pass on tips to other photographers, making this type of event an informal workshop. At the end of the walk take some time to get to know your fellow photographers by having a meal, or stopping for a drink somewhere. Finally, share the photos you’ve taken that day on an agreed social media platform of some description.
2 – Photography clubs
Joining a photography club is one of the best conduits for group photography. Through a club, there is the possibility to organize many of the other ideas mentioned in this article. Photography clubs typically meet at regular intervals of perhaps once a week or once a month, though lots of activity can occur online between meetings.
The best place to find these clubs is through searching social media, your local community center, or perhaps there is a school club near you. These clubs are a great place to learn new photography skills, with evening post-processing workshops being fairly typical. Are you having trouble finding the right club for you? You could always start up your own group!
3 – Group photography projects
These are projects that a number of photographers partake in together. The idea at the end is to have a body of work under a common theme taken by every member of the group. A project like this could well lead to a group exhibition or a collaborative photography book.
In most cases, you’ll work on the photography individually, though the leader of the project may seek to curate your work in a certain direction. The following are a few ideas that you could try:
- Subway project – Most big cities have a mass transit system, with many stations. The aim of this type of project would be to take one photograph per station. The larger cities usually have many stations, so dividing up the workload makes sense. In projects like these, it’s often a good idea to seek permission from the authorities before beginning to do any photography.
- 365 days or 52 weeks – Instead of working on your own project share it with others, and ask them to make photographs on the same theme as your own! The dPS weekly photography challenge could form the basis of this project.
- Food photography – Everyone loves good food, so combine this with your photography. Each photographer can pick a country. Then make food from that country, and photograph it. You could even make this into an international cookbook.
4 – A photography team
There are times when forming a photography team will give you the edge as a photographer. The more you move into the commercial world of photography the more this becomes a need, as you can’t be everywhere all the time. Think of events like weddings, sports, or festivals. The need to cover all your angles means teaming up with other photographers so they can be where you’re not.
- Event photography – Having more than one photographer allows one of you to concentrate on the wider scene, while the other covers moments closer to the action. Think of when tennis players go from singles to playing in pairs on a team. In doubles they have different roles and need to complement each other.
- Portrait photography – Another great example of when a team of photographers is needed is portrait work with strobes. In this scenario, there is one main photographer, but having other photographers or assistants there to help with lighting equipment is desirable.
5 – Create an association
Related to creating a photography team is making an association. In this case, you’re creating more of a guild, and indeed a photo team could be formed from members of that guild. A grouping of photographers like this will look to use each other’s strengths, to form a stronger unit when a client comes along.
Such an association might look to create a stock library of their images, albeit on a much smaller scale to larger firms such as Getty Images. Other models for such a grouping of photographers would be the Magnum organization, though of course on a smaller scale.
6 – Weekly challenges
Weekly challenges are a good way to do group photography on an individual basis, and you can decide to opt out of weeks that are not your style. There is a great weekly challenge run by Digital Photography School, and you’ll find other photography communities that run a similar program as well.
It’s of course, possible to organize these on a more local level, where perhaps you meet up in a coffee shop together once a week to make your own challenge.
7 – Enter a photo competition
A final way you can interact with your fellow photographers is through a photo competition. The weekly challenge is, of course, a competition, but there are many different types of competition. Among the biggest contests are those organized by National Geographic or Sony to name but two. These are annual competitions and often have themes for contestants to try and fulfill.
There are also photography contests that require you to tell a story through a sequence of perhaps 10 photos. Once again these contests can be adapted to you and your community. If you have a photography club, why not take a leaf out of the bigger company’s book, and make a competition. A little competitive edge within your group can often be a great way of pushing you out of your comfort zone to help you produce even more amazing results.
How will you do your group photography?
There are many good ways to collaborate with others and do more group photography activities. Have you tried any of the ideas in this article before?
Perhaps you have a new more novel way to make a photography community that can be shared here. As always I’d love to get feedback from you, so leave your comments and I shall endeavor to respond.