Why it’s a Good Idea to Befriend Your Competition
Lifestyle

I have been very fortunate to be surrounded by others who love photography. As you know, my friend, Megan Cieloha, is the one who got me into photography. I continue to call her and ask her questions quite often. After we moved, I found some other friends who I convince to like photography :O)

A little less than a year ago, another friend introduced me to one of her good friend’s who was a photographer, Aspen Burke. I have to admit, I was super intimated to go get coffee with a “real” photographer. She was in business and took amazing images!

Now, she isn’t my competition because I’m not in business but I have heard some people say they didn’t want to befriend their competition in fear of them stealing their clients. I think that is crazy! Below are several reasons you should get to know your “competition” and become friends.

1. You have a buddy to talk photography to who isn’t going to get sick of talking/listening about it. I have talked my husband’s ear off about photography and he kindly listens but I know he has no idea what I’m talking about. Aspen and I get together for coffee, catch up on life and then chat photography most times. It’s so fun to just sit and talk about our passions.

2. You can trade services. Aspen contacted me several months back and offered to pay me to do a session for her and her hubby. First off, I almost fell out of my chair because I couldn’t believe she would want me to take her photos. I told her I didn’t take photos for a fee but I would trade services. I was so excited when she said she would love to. I had a fantastic time taking photos for her and her husband. However, I was so nervous I’m pretty sure I couldn’t form words. I had never taken pictures for a “real” photographer before. I had the best time though! She just recently took photos of me and my family and I ADORE them!

3. You have someone to go shooting with. My sister and another friend, Trisha, and I went out about a year ago to practice backlighting and silhouettes. It was so fun to take one or two kids with us and just focus on practicing. Another friend, Tracy, and I were just talking about how we need to do this again. What a great way to focus on a skill while hanging out with your girlfriends.

4. You can try out/trade gear. I love being able to try out something before I buy it. I know my friends are the same way. There are a few of us who use Nikon and we have borrowed lenses and camera bodies before when in need.

5. You can learn from each other. When Aspen took our family photos, I was able to learn things just by being in front of the camera. I realized she is very intentional about her images. She isn’t clicking alway like a crazy person (like I sometimes do). I am constantly trying to slow down and shoot more intentionally. It’s fun to watch another photographer in action!

Below are just a few of the images Aspen at Aspen Burke Photography took for our family. I have already ordered one to be blown up to a 24×30, another is going to be a 16×20 canvas and I have all the other ones getting printed as well! I love these so much! Thank you Aspen!!! She also took my new profile picture which I love!






Do you have local photographer friends? Are you friends with your competition??

18 Comments
  • January 3, 2012 at 8:21 AM

    Great article! Another point to add: seems like most other photographers I know have different styles/price ranges/approaches, so they’re not direct competition. It’s not like a Sears vs. a Sears!

    Sarah:)

    • January 3, 2012 at 9:16 AM

      Great point!! Thanks for adding that!!

  • January 3, 2012 at 9:28 AM

    GREAT post Courtney! I agree! I LOVE getting together with other photographers and talking shop! Aspen is beautiful on the inside & outside! Love her work! Your family pics are BEAU-TI-FUL!

  • Dana Reeves
    January 3, 2012 at 10:20 AM

    These are so good!! I noticed your profile picture was different the other day on your blog. I loved it!! I’m not shocked at all that she asked you to take some photos for her. You take beautiful pictures as well.

  • Kim C.
    January 3, 2012 at 11:00 AM

    These are gorgeous!

  • January 3, 2012 at 11:45 AM

    I love, love, love those family photos–I don’t know how you are choosing which to enlarge. I enjoyed this post. . . I am such a novice and end up being so, so intimidated by real photographers. I have, however, befriended someone online who I think is AMAZING and I learn from her every time I ask a question and she gives me guidance. So many people just want to say “good job” but getting honest feedback is so important–who better to do that than friends?

  • January 3, 2012 at 11:48 AM

    Amazing photos!

  • These images are gorgeous and I do have local friends who are photographers. Not really competition, because I’m the only photography blogger and they actual take portraits or sell prints, but it’s nice to have someone that I can talk “glass” with; bonus – my boyfriend took a forensics photography class (he’s a cop) and he’s been into photography since. He doesn’t shoot as much as I do, but he can get excited about gear.

  • January 3, 2012 at 12:57 PM

    This is a fabulous post! As an amateur, I don’t feel like anyone is competition! Just fellow students. But I absolutely love to talk photography with anyone and everyone who will go for it, and I am really hungry for honest critiques which for that reason alone is well worth it.

  • January 4, 2012 at 12:39 AM

    I love this post! VERY good point!! I am starting to make some friends with some other amateur photographers in my area. I am not in business either but it is FUN to know that I can have a few other peeps to share thoughts with & learn from! I think I will share this post if you don’t mind! :)

  • January 4, 2012 at 1:21 AM

    OMG, I am so in love with these pictures! I may just fly to Japan to use your photographer. :)

  • January 4, 2012 at 1:51 AM

    I wish I was friends with someone who was my competition! I think that is so true! I talk my poor sisters ear off on photography. She gets soo tired of it! And my husband, I try not to talk to him soo much about specifics. since he deals with my business side, I don’t want him overwhelmed.

  • January 4, 2012 at 12:19 PM

    I love this post. I do have friends that love to take pictures as well and I love it! Funny enough, I know one person who can be negative about other photographers and doesn’t seem to want to befriend other photogs for just the reason you mentioned – I think he’s worried that another photographer would steal his clients. So much so, that when we did “talk shop”, he would get defensive.
    Anyway, all of that to say this: I am so glad that you advocate for camaraderie and friendship between photogs – I think it’s so crucial in the photography community. Thanks for the post!

  • January 5, 2012 at 7:30 AM

    gorgeous shoot! really fabulous capture of expression and your fun, sweet relationships :)

  • January 8, 2012 at 6:09 AM

    Beautiful, beautiful photos of your family! And this is a great post! I need to meet some photog friends in person. All of mine are online ;)

  • Jessica Peters
    January 13, 2012 at 2:04 AM

    I love the pictures! Beautiful! I have a good friend who is a fellow photog.. we go on fun shoots together, she lets me tag along on her gigs, I recently got a gig as a photog for a pageant, so I invited her, she invited me to be 2nd shooter at a wedding, it works both ways.

  • February 23, 2014 at 1:21 PM

    My experience with local Photographers has been poor, most of them are very rude and disrespectful. I am however friends with 2 of them and we do shoot together and try out each other’s equipment.

  • Jenny
    February 23, 2014 at 4:40 PM

    I don’t know anyone around me. I don’t really like to hang out with people anyway. Just me and my dolls :P And my husband. And my son. Yep~

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