PhotoChat; Working With Others

PhotoChat is a weekly conversation between Photography Pro’s and Amateurs that takes place on Thursdays at 1PM EST hosted by Prime Social Marketing. To follow the conversation or take part use #Photochat on Twitter.

This blog post covers my longer answers to the questions that are condensed then put into tweets for the Photochat.

Q1: How often do you work with other people in your photographic pursuits? In what ways?

With the work that I do I only really work with those who are commissioning me to do work. This is usually a mixture of them telling me what they want and then me interpreting it into what they actually want. A classic example is of a wedding, people say they want photographs of the day. What they want are memories captured, key moments in the ceremony and day as well as their friends and family.

I suppose it could be said that in my teaching I also have to work with my students. Working with their level of English and knowledge to try and help them understanding of photography as well as working with their ideas of photography and their scepticism about an image being true.

Q2: Do you think it’s important to work alongside other professionals? What value can come of it?

It is important to work alongside other professionals because they see photography in a different way and understand photography differently. Other professionals can help to make your work more easily read by others.
Working with other professionals is also important for networking; if you work as a one man band then you are not interacting with other fields that may need photography. If you are working with others then more people are seeing your work and could be a future recommendation.
It is also good to appreciate that you are not the god of everything and there is a time when you may need the help of other professions in improving your business. For example, most people in a web driven world the internet is a person’s first point of contact with you. Hiring a web designer at the right time could be a massive difference in your success and carrying along as you are.

The value of other professionals is their skills and their different view point. This is something you can value even if it is a sounding board for ideas.

Q3: When working with another photographer on a shoot, is it difficult to deal with their conflicting style or methods?

If you are the only person in the room you can only hear your own voice. This is a good analogy for working by yourself. Working with others means that there is more than one voice to listen to. Photographers all become photographers in different ways through different types of learning; some through a trial and error approach and others through formal studies. This means that you are sometimes singing the same song from the different hymn sheet.

When it comes to conflicting styles this is something you just have to deal with and try and learn something from. There are some styles I am really not a fan of, yet for others they are amazing. If styles conflict it is a case of working together and finding a style and approach that suits you both, this could even lead to a hybrid style.

Q4: How do you ask a fellow photographer to do something differently on the job without offending them?

Before asking a fellow photographer to do something differently, is to appreciate why they are doing something in a certain way. It could be that the end result is the same but the workflow is different.

If this is not the case taking the approach of suggestion is best, suggesting of a different way to work, explaining the benefits of this way of doing things.
The most important thing is not to sound as if you are superior to the person you are helping.

Q5: Does teaching or giving advice to a less-experienced photographer come easy? Any tips or tricks?

To teach and or give advice to a less experience photographer the most important thing is for that photographer to want to learn something new. As we all have done at some point, we have believed we are great at something. When we are in that state of mind we don’t want to learn because we shun what is said and become ignorant to the fact that what we know is wrong or that our knowledge is incomplete.
If the learner is in a space to learn then it can be easy to start teaching.

To make the learning experience easy is not to get bogged down in technobabble but keep it straight and easy with basic ideas they can relate to. Allow for questions, in letting someone ask questions is a way for them to check what they have understood or to clarify what you have just taught. Finally photography is a practical skill not solely theory based so a practical way of teaching is the best approach.

Now with so many people getting into photography in different ways, I feel it is important not to fence off photography but to embrace people who want to take pictures offering help and advice but not to force anything to advanced down their throat but take them as far as they want to go for that moment in time. For some they want to become pros, for most they want to take better pictures.

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I would love to know what your opinions to the questions are. Do you agree or disagree with my answers? Either way you can let me know using the comment box below.

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