It doesn’t matter how talented a photographer you are if you don’t have the clients to grow and sustain a business. Meeting other photographers in the field who can refer you to new clients is a great way to cultivate your business (and can become friends to talk to who understand!) But, we know that networking can be intimidating if you’re more comfortable behind the camera instead of at the forefront of a self-marketing campaign.
Because creating a referral network is so essential to having a healthy photography business, we turned to wedding photographer extraordinaire Chris Becker or “Becker” who has assembled his own vast network over the years and is always ready to provide great advice to others in the field.
How have you built your brand around referral-building?
“I have been committed to helping other photographers for my entire career. When I started my business way back in the 90s the local photographers were super mean to me. I made a promise that if I ever made anything of myself, I would be the kind of guy to help people up instead of trying to hold them down.”
What does building a referral network mean to you?
“Building a solid network is all about finding win-win solutions. And I hate to use win-win, because it’s such a cliche, but it’s true. All parties involved need to benefit from the relationship or it just won’t last. I’ve always been an advocate of networking with my so-called competition. I also made sure to try to help out the other wedding vendors with image files or links to their websites before I ask for anything in return.”
What are the top tips that you have to help photographers build a network?
“Be bold and put yourself out there. Wallflowers have a hard time getting noticed and making connections. Also, come at it from the angle that you want to help others before you ask for their help.”
Any other thoughts on building vs. nurturing relationships?
“It doesn’t happen overnight. Relationships (of all types) take time and effort. And you can’t win them all. Some relationships aren’t fruitful, and that’s OK; you really can’t win ‘em all. Focus your energy on the good ones and ignore the rest.”
Besides being an immensely talented photographer, Becker also moonlights as a business coach and fitness instructor. Although, if you asked him now, he’s most proud of recently becoming a dad. If you’d like more information on Becker, you can find him on his blog, his coaching site or his fitness site.
Follow him on Instagram @thebecker.
Thank you, Becker, and congrats on the new addition!