Making Connections That Last In The Industry

The longer I’m in the industry, the more I realize that almost all of my friends work in fashion. The fashion industry is an insanely close network, not just in your main city, but all over. With the use of social media, it’s easier now more than ever to be in contact with photographers, stylists, makeup artists and other creators. It can be intimidating when you’re trying to build your book, or going to a new place for the first time, but reaching out and trying to make those connections can completely change your life.

When you’re reaching out online, always be as detailed as possible. Here’s an example that I wrote when I was going to LA and wanted to meet a big name photographer:

“Hey *photographer’s name*,

My name’s Lauren, I’m from Chicago and will be in LA from May 1-10 for a booking. I was wondering if you’d be interested or available to work together while I’m out there. If not, I’ll be meeting up with a group of people to hang out at *insert club name here* on the evening of May 8th. Let me know if you’re down to hang out.

Best, Lauren”

Photo by Michelle Terris

If a photographer gives you their rates, don’t be offended since doing photoshoots is the way photographers make money. By saying if they can’t shoot you’re meeting up with a bunch of other people in the industry, you’re leaving the door open or a friendship, which could lead to shoots in the future.

On top of reaching out to photographers for shoots, if you appreciate someone’s work, tell them! Tell a creator how their work inspires you and how much you enjoy seeing their work on your feed! This is more about building a relationship with creators you love and spreading positivity and encouragement throughout the community. When you’re reaching out and thanking people for creating such beautiful shots, you’re showing you’re more interested in the growth of everyone rather than just yourself and your book. Replying to Instagram stories or commenting on Facebook and Instagram posts is a great way to say you’re engaging with their work and enjoying it.

So you’re shooting with your dream photographers, who you’ve become close friends with, now what? Maintaining these friendships, and making sure they’re actually genuine, is the most challenging part. A good way to support them is sharing their accomplishments in your own story or through interacting with their work. Attending their events, gallery openings and other social events is a good way to maintain these working relationships.

For a closer relationship, my friends who are in the industry and I will host game nights and other activities, like bowling–sounds lame but is actually a great way to have fun and introduce new people into our group. (For women, we also do a seperate women’s night where cool women inspire other cool women.) Find something fun to do with your core group, at least once a month, that fits what you guys love to do! When we create events, we try to include at least one new person from the industry to make sure we’re always meeting new people and growing as a group.

Ultimately these friendships and connections are like any other friendship you’re trying to build. Find a way to make connections that are uniquely you.

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