One of the most difficult aspects of professional photography is dealing with business. This will help.
"It can be hard to be a business owner who is prone to shyness and introversion,” says a Shapr user named Gwendolyn, who owns a portrait photography service. She’s voicing a universal concern, particularly among many professional photographers: behind the camera, you can be in full control and intensely alive. However, stepping into a business networking situation can make you a bit camera shy.
Unfortunately, here’s the unfiltered, unphotoshopped truth: business networking is the key to building a successful business and growing a client base, and it’s often easier said than done. Luckily, Shapr is changing the way people connect. Your camera work may be amazing, but what you are ultimately getting out there is you — your brand. In order to strengthen that brand and get yourself to the next level, the goal is to step outside your comfort zone and start shaking some hands.
Of course, you can always fall back on good-old social media to keep you connected. Ultimately, though, all the likes and thumbs-up in the world will not build real relationships with clients who will swear by you. When it comes to expanding your network for real, you still need that personal connection.
When you network in person, you attract unique client and customer opportunities, which in turn brings referrals and more business. Networking also exposes you to industry news, new technology, and the latest equipment and gadgets that elevate you to higher levels; you gain useful advice about how to grow your business, as well as tips on new ways to shoot, light, and edit.
Yet the idea of attending business networking functions often feels somehow wrong, off, awkward — a waste of time and money. It’s enough to make even outgoing people feel a bit queasy and unsure. The fact remains that the most effective way to network is by meeting people in person, face to face. The more you share and the more you learn from others, the more you build a group of colleagues you can trust, which is one of the greatest rewards of networking.
It’s best to network mindfully and efficiently. Shapr, the free business networking app that is leveraging their powerful algorithm to help you make the right connections, pulls together the professionals you need to get with, using your geographic proximity, goals, and interests. The result: a daily, extremely personalized selection of 10-15 driven people who may help you bring your business into sharp focus and maybe even get you to the next level.
To tap into a vibrant community of movers and shakers, simply set up your profile for iOS or Android, plug in your LinkedIn profile, and add up to 12 interests (perhaps photography, media, videography, marketing, for starters — whatever is important to you and your future). Signing up will take you two minutes; the effects may last for years, as you will discover networking on your terms can be your new lifestyle.
In fact, Shapr CEO Ludovic Huraux believes that networking should be more than just a function of business; it should a way of life. He says: “Networking should be a joyful experience, because it's about meeting new people. It's not just a trick to generate more sales or find some humdrum job; we see it as a lifestyle. Connecting regularly with inspiring individuals is the key to a more meaningful, fulfilling, healthy existence. And that's why we made an app.”
Shapr appeals to photographers like Gwendolyn, who prefers a low-pressure environment where she can meet others and make connections without “wondering what they were thinking of me or having to awkwardly wedge my way into a circle of people connecting at a networking event.”
She adds that she can first “network from my bed, where my first impression was based on the content of my profile and not what I chose to wear.”
Also consider Ben, who is a videographer and now collaborating with a colleague he met on Shapr. The team is working with a six-time Grammy-nominated producer.
“The project is going great,” Ben says, “and we are building a work relationship that we hope will last a long time.”
Ben’s story pretty much sums up this platform: it’s not about raking up connections, but listening, learning, and helping. The most successful Shapr users are those who understand that listening, genuine interest, caring, and concern are usually the qualities that make the best fit and attract the most colleagues.