Paving the Path to Creative Connection: Finding Your Photography Community

Paving the Path to Creative Connection: Finding Your Photography Community

When you think of photography, you think of a solo pursuit. We find ourselves mostly alone when creating photographs and advancing our craft. However, consider the inspiring and motivating personal growth opportunities a photography community can provide.

It's not just about the enriching experiences, the potential to meet and work with like-minded individuals, and the doors that can open for your creative journey. A photography community can offer a platform for sharing your work, receiving constructive feedback, and learning from others' experiences, which can significantly enhance your skills and creativity.

Photography, the Solo Pursuit

Creating images is primarily a solo pursuit. We use it as self-reflection to challenge ourselves and find creative independence. In times of challenge, we go it alone, trying to dig out of a creative rut or find the solution to a problematic dilemma. Why go it alone?

The Power of a Tight-Knit Creative Community

I started to grow as a photographer when I found my community. I slowly built a tiny but mighty community of creatives with whom I regularly surrounded myself. I’ve always believed that quality over quantity is best. Having a small community I can rely on is more important than having dozens. When times get hard, I know they will be there with the feedback and support I am looking for and can trust. I won’t be messaging dozens of people who are merely acquaintances but allies. This community has improved my technical skills and fostered my personal growth, pushing me to explore new perspectives and challenge my creative boundaries.

Inspiration and Motivation

At some point in your creative journey, there will come a day when motivation and creativity will be lacking or nonexistent. Having a community can help you navigate these waters by providing that much-needed boost to get back at it. I have a few photographers I will call or meet in person for coffee to vent or bounce ideas off, especially when self-doubt has set in and lingers more than I care for it.

Learning and Growth

I am not one who you will see out with another photographer while on an adventure; it seems to cramp my style, and I am not 110 percent focused on the task. You will, though, see me meeting with my Coffee and Clicks community once a month, discussing photography for a few hours over a cup of coffee. We bounce off each other's new ideas, what we have or have yet to be photographing. Cell phones are passed around, showing the latest images for feedback. While all this is happening, we are learning and helping each other grow in our craft as a group! They even help with the “I didn’t think of that” moment when you're trying to find a solution to a problem.

Support and Encouragement

It's human nature not to want to put ourselves or our images out there, especially in today’s world with the internet. We need to have that community to fall back on when times are tough, and we need a helping hand to get us back off the ground and brush off the dirt. Self-doubt and self-worth come hand in hand as a creative. Self-doubt will reach your doorstep, and your community will be there to squash any remaining doubt. I have reached out to mine and said I am selling XYZ for this amount, and they came to my rescue and told me, “You are selling that to me,” and gave me the much-needed feedback! Because I like to overthink and doubt almost everything I do.

Critique Sessions

We all know that if we ask our mom for a photo critique, that photo will always be the “best,” and the next image will be even better. Not to hate on Mom, but she isn't the most reliable when critiquing our pictures. Having that community to fall back on and ask for constructive feedback will lead us to do more substantial work because we are asking the community with a shared passion and knowledge to give us truthful feedback. If your community isn't returning to being honest and constructive critiques, they're not your community.


The biggest one is networking. I can’t count on how many hands someone I have networked with said they have an opportunity for me they want to pass on because it is just not their thing! I have talked with another person, and someone piped in to say, “Hey, I know someone who can help you with that.” The more you network, the bigger your circle becomes. You speak with this group all the time, but sometimes they will think of you for that job they don’t want to do and believe you are the best candidate.

In the end, having a small and mighty photo community around you will make you a better photographer and end photography as a solo pursuit. It will open up more doors than you can, at times, barely handle. You will start to see growth in your work, a boost in your creative freedom and confidence, and a new way to see things with a few new friends!

Justin Tedford's picture

Justin Tedford, a Midwest photographer, captures the essence of rural America along Iowa's backroads. He's a road trip junkie, enjoys exploring national parks, and savors a good cup of coffee while focusing on showcasing the beauty of the rural American landscapes.

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Justin, when I read your brief bio here I found that we have some things in common ...

" ..... a road trip junkie, enjoys exploring national parks, and savors a good cup of coffee ..... "

I focus on wildlife, while you focus on landscapes, but we are both nature photographers who venture forth in search of the next satisfying image.

I think you make great points in the article about the importance of community in photography. I have used Instagram to expand my community of wildlife photographers. Thru social media, I have gotten to know a lot of wildlife photographers in many parts of the US. Then, when I go to these areas, I already know others there who do what I do and who love the things I love, so it's easy to meet up and shoot together or just get together for a meal after a long day afield. We keep in touch throughout the year and often meet in areas far from any of our homes.

It's pretty cool to head across the country to a remote part of northern Minnesota to photograph boreal bird species in the dead of winter, and bump into someone I know from England, a couple I know from Illinois, and a guy I first met years ago while photographing deer in Colorado.

It's also fulfilling to be photographing deer in Ohio, bump into a total stranger who is photographing the same deer .... we're the only photographers in the woods .... we get to talking and find that we know a LOT of the same people, and know them well. We exchange Instagram profiles ..... and now we've been messaging back and forth about wildlife opportunities for the past 9 months!

I could literally write for hours about similar situations where I have met people in the field and then stay in touch with them for years, or people who I meet online and then see in person and shoot with and even share lodging and trips together. The more photographers you can find who are deeply passionate about the same kind of photography, and the closer you can get to them, the better!

Tom, this is great! I have a friend I met through social media, and he lives in Minnesota. We occasionally meet up on Google Meets. It's excellent finding others who have the same passion as we do! Feel free to reach out at any time! I mean, who couldn't use another photographer friend?

I have met some wonderful photographers through networking or just talking to others out in the field.

Yes! Me too!