People have feelings about group shoots, a lot of them. What is a group shoot you ask? A group shoot, or sometimes called a meet and greet, is when a bunch of photographers, models, and other industry professionals that get together to network and sometimes shoot some photos. There are so many different kinds of these industry get-togethers and there seems to be about as equal amount of opinions about them.
I’m going to come out and admit it. I love them. Meet and greets are great opportunities to meet potential clients, plan future collaborations, and be around a bunch of people with the same interests and goals as you. Yes, some of the larger ones tend to have some people that just don’t get it there. However, the gain you can get from going in with a good attitude and doing a little homework beforehand is huge.
Some of my favorite shoots happened at meet and greets. I got to work with models that were passing through the area, and have made contacts with wardrobe designers and performers that I went on to collaborate later on with. There is definitely a certain group shoot etiquette where you give everyone the space and respect they deserve, but honestly most of that has to do with just being a respectful human being. I plan on going further into detail about this particular part in a later blog post, because it really should have its own feature. Group shoots can work, but they don’t work if you’re disrespectful.
This is an example of what I shot at one of my local group shoots at Studio Murder. Model: Alexandra Fische (Book her, she’s awesome)
Above is a shoot with Alexandra Fische that I shot at a small studio meet and greet. There are all kinds from indoor to outdoor, traditional studios to interesting venues. Starting as a photographer, my first few meet and greets really helped propel me into the modeling and photography scene. I shot a lot my first few and didn’t really talk and network as much as I should have, but nerveless I got good images and my name out there. However to best utilize your time there remember a few things
- Reaching out to people beforehand is good. Check out their portfolios if the event has posted a link to them and contact people ahead of time if you may be interested in shooting a little. However, make sure you don’t bog down your full day. I tend to only plan one or two quick shoots when I am there and don’t tend to spend too much time planning. Group shoots are great for seeing how people’s energies work.
- Bring a bag, but not every prop/wardrobe piece you own. Being mobile and having the ability to just pick up and shoot something on the fly is good. I tend to only bring a small bag of wardrobe/fabrics/props. Nothing crazy, but if you have some weird experimental idea you wanted to try out, then bring it and someone might just dig it.
- Bring your portfolio! Meet and greets are for networking too and this is really where you can make an impression. Plus, if you are walking up to someone wanting to shoot and your name is not instantly recognized, they have NO IDEA if you are any good or not. I love having a printed portfolio but I am guilty of having mine fall out of date, so if you don’t have a physical portfolio download an app or have your images on your phone or tablet to show off.
- Business cards. It should kind of go without saying but they are a must. So you spent your whole day shooting and meeting all sorts of amazing people that you want to stay in touch with. When they ask for your information what do you do… write it on a napkin? Having a calling card says that you are serious and plus, what else are they for?
- Follow up! After you have gone home make sure to reach out to the people you met and shot with. Set expectations on when they should see their photos, talk about what you want to work on in the future, or send them that link to that thing you said you were going to.
Shot at a ‘group shoot.’ Model: Sera Ferron (she is also awesome and can pose for days, photo her)
So where do you hear about these get-togethers? Think of where you connect with anyone in your field now. I find that social media and word of mouth are my two biggest ways of finding out about events in my area (and further away). I try and not limit my going to just ones in my city either, while these may be some of the most convenient, sometimes I will travel a little to meet some new people and see some new places. Some of my favorite places to find events are facebook groups and events, meetup.com, and sometimes I still come across one on modelmayhem. Talk to other photographers and artists in your area and see if there is anything going on, and if there isn’t….make one! I am a firm believer if you can’t find it then pool some people together and make it yourself. Now, putting on a group shoot is a bigger task than just going to one, but it doesn’t have to be super structured either. The idea is to get some like-minded people in the same place and things will happen.
What are your thoughts? Do you go to group shoots? What has your experience been? Do you have any coming up? Share!