Two Heads Are Better Than One? Great Minds Think Alike?
However, is that the best strategy for improving your photography? Is working alone all the time the best way to go?
Well, I reckon there's a whole different approach to this….
At the end of the day, that decision will ultimately be yours, i.e. going solo, but you should consider the pros on working with other photographers from time to time.
How To Be A Better Photographer With Others
1. Sharing Experience
Working in a team often means sharing experiences and techniques both intentionally and unintentionally. Every experience has great value towards your skills, thus gathering as much as you can is always good for you.
On the other hand, the photographer or photographers who will work with you will have the same benefit, thus making this a win-win scenario. You too, will likely have some tips, techniques or skills they do not and vice versa and that's a great way to improve!
Experiences are shared all the time. Practical work (the execution of the idea) is the part of the process where most of the experiences are shared since it's the biggest part of the process of course.
However, during the development of the idea, conceptualizing, and pre-visualizing are also experiences shared, whether you see it or not.
Actually collaborating together on an idea and the experiencing this whole process from its infancy means you are effectively really putting your minds together aka “teamwork”.
By doing the practical work with other photographers, you can really put together an effective “what to do next time” plan afterward to ensure you all learn – and that's most important of all, learning. You will learn and so will the more experienced photographers.
Remember, just because one person has less “experience” it doesn't mean they won't notice potential improvements or what they thought was exceptional about the shoot.
2. Combining And Developing Ideas
As you’ve noticed so far, most of the ideas you come by are probably done by somebody else, whether completely or partially.
It's fair to say that largely, our brain creates ideas based upon numerous memories.
Therefore, 99% of the ideas will be based on your experiences and thus the chances are quite high that something that you perceive as a genuine and unique idea at the time of conception is just a remix of something you have seen or heard before.
Don't let this put you off – go with it, so what if someone else says “yes, I've heard that before” – great, then you're on the same page, right?
Photo by Massimo Barbieri
Every idea is a remix, a combination of several ideas or experiences in hopes of creating something new. When you get to something unique, it is actually the combination of the concepts your brain decides to use to be the unique part.
However, creating something unique is much easier when you have more people focusing on the same idea, developing it further, polishing it to perfection.
This is simply because the idea itself is created by different combinations of different experiences from which many can’t be connected together.
What Does This Mean?
Well, by this I mean that your concepts aren’t connected to the concepts that your collaborators have, therefore the odds for a unique idea are much greater. It's actually quite simple, but highly impactful and useful.
Additionally, having more people working on the same thing, whether it is an idea or the workflow, simply increases efficiency towards what you're trying to achieve.
This means that you’ll get to the final product faster and easier, and would probably do it better than you would do it alone – not always true I know – but generally more heads together create greater efficiency.
The photographers who you will be working with have an audience too. At the end of the day, the project you will be doing will be presented by all of you, meaning your audience, and the audiences that follow the other photographers will all be combined and brought to one place.
The benefits here are pretty obvious, it means greater exposure for all of you!
Photo by Angelo Amboldi
This means that most of the audience that your collaborators have is now your audience too and vice versa. Power in numbers…
Collaborations Are The Most Efficient Way To Increase Your Audience
The fun part in all that is that everybody gains equally, so it isn’t selfish to want to collaborate just for an audience, quite the contrary, actually.
I am sure you see bloggers, celebrities, and so forth doing this all the time. Bloggers do it with guest posts and pingbacks, celebrities do it with direct collaborations, and the effect is the same: everybody gets a bigger audience. Awesome really!?
Additionally, it's a chain reaction, the bigger the audience the more audience you’ll gain by word of mouth, thus every collaboration just makes things more efficient, and you’ll gain bigger audience every time. The snowball keeps moving….
Photo by Angelo Amboldi
Finally, besides the organic audience, collaborations are also great for the media. When the reporters see more people putting hard work onto a project it suddenly has more value to them.
This can equate to a higher chance they will do a report on it and that will bring even more audience to all of you. Come on folks, your audience has some serious potential with these ideas – the sky's the limit! Or maybe the moon. That'd make a nice photograph…
Don’t be afraid of having somebody else working with you. You don’t lose credibility that way, nor you lose value. The product is shared, yes, but you gain much more than that.
Besides the fact that you gain more experience than working alone, and that you achieve your goal faster with a bigger audience, you will be making friends. I bet you wondered where the social benefits would be slipped in here?
You’ll be working with people who are just like you.
Your collaborators will be people of your caliber doing what you do, and you all share the same love, the love for photography. At the end of the day, you’ll spend time with people that will cherish and invest themselves into a project as much as you would.
A happy ending.
How To Be A Better Photographer With Others – Top Takeaways
- Working with other photographers gives you a sense of community and a shared love for the art.
- Bounce ideas and bond over unforgettable experiences.
- Grow your audience – not just social media, but in physical life – get people actually talking about your work!
- Got some cool ideas? Make them not just cool, but astounding!
- Do You Genuinely Want To Improve As A Photographer? Share The Ideas Behind Your Images by Dzvonko Petrovski
- Eat, Photograph, Love: A Passion For Photography by Sheen Watkins
- How to Come Up With Ideas for Your Own Photography Projects by Tiffany Mueller
Working with others, you'll soon learn that for any great portrait you NEED to be able to use and manipulate light, there’s no escaping that.
Luckily, we have a course designed to bring your light skills up to scratch! “Fantastic Fundamental Light Skills”
What We Recommend to Improve Your Photography Fast
It's possible to get some pretty large improvements in your photography skills very fast be learning some fundamentals. Consider this the 80:20 rule of photography where 80% of the improvements will come from 20% of the learnable skills. Those fundamentals include camera craft, composition, understanding light and mastering post-production. Here are the premium guides we recommend.