The Importance of a Business Network

A beautiful Saturday in May. 3 cars, 3 motorcycles, 2 lives lost and many injuries. One of the seriously injured, a photographer.

A Facebook post in a private group, a few text messages and several phone calls later, a group of photographers has come together, volunteering to shoot the sessions and weddings the injured photographer has on the books. Unconditional help in a time of need.

True story.

We are apart of an amazing industry. As photographers, a special gift has been bestowed upon you. You are given the opportunity to step into the lives of others and preserve those precious moments for them with the click of your shutter button. Moments that will never happen again.

What happens when your ability to capture those moments is taken from you, even if only temporarily? What happens to your business? Everything that you have worked so hard to build?

Do you have a network that will step in for you, no questions asked, no payment needed, nothing in return expected?

It’s times like the reality above, when we need to throw our egos aside and say ‘yes they may be my competition, but what if that was me? Would someone help me in my time of need?’.

My time of need came on a Saturday in July of 2006. My mom and I were in a studio together at the time. We were shooting a wedding that day. We had finished the groups and were headed to the church for the ceremony. We pulled in. Mom stumbled as she got out of the car. Next thing I knew, she was having a stroke. I sent her to the hospital in an ambulance. I turned and walked into the church. I had a wedding to shoot.

I also had my mom’s phone. I started calling every photographer in her address book. I just needed someone there for support, to make it through the day.

One very dear photographer friend picked up her phone. I told her what was going on. She said, ‘I’m on my way.’ No questions asked. Nothing expected in return. She appeared at the church right before the ceremony began.

We made it through the rest of the day.

The next day, my phone began ringing and ringing. Photographers from ALL over the state were calling, offering their assistance. One even left her studio for 5 days to come help me run my studio.

My photography network is a God send. I would have never made it through those first few days without my network.

Do you have a network of photographers in your area? Or are you so worried that someone might steal your clients that you remain anonymous to your community of photographers?

Get out and meet the other photographers in your area. Go to lunch together. Plan shoot outs together. Offer to photograph the others family. Get to know one another. Refer business to each other. Learn from each other. Be kind to one another. Be loving.

Find a mentor. Be a mentor. Join your state PPA, PPA, and WPPI. Attend conventions,  schools and workshops.

Begin building relationships with each other so when your time of need appears, you have a network in place that will step up and be there for you.

Do you have a network? If not, what is stopping you?