Successful freelance photographers often cite networking as one of the best ways to find clients and professional connections. Building a network of like-minded photographers is also a great way to get meaningful feedback on your work, discuss gear, and find inspiration for new projects.
Facebook might seem like more of a place to get distracted from work than a source of motivation, but hundreds of thousands of photographers use Facebook photography groups to make connections and have their work critiqued by peers. These photography groups are free, fully-moderated spaces to creative professionals looking for community.
Most of these groups offer a forum for feedback and tutorials as well as a marketplace for gear. These Facebook groups are also great networking opportunities, giving freelance photographers a chance to meet like-minded professionals as well as prospective clients.
1. Shoot & Share
Shoot & Share is a global community of photographers boasting seven moderators, 75 local chapters, and an inclusive mission statement billing itself as a safe space for beginner and novice professionals to develop their skills. This group is a smart starting point for Facebook photography groups, especially for those just starting out in the industry. Be sure to check if your city has a local group for networking opportunities.
2. Photoshop and Lightroom
The Photoshop and Lightroom group has been active and building since 2010, and has a comically thorough Guidelines section—you can tell they’ve had a lot of irritating moments in seven years. Not for the thin-skinned, the members of this group are experienced when it comes to dissecting bad form. You’re told to put a “No CC” in your posts if you can’t handle constructive criticism. One of the most densely populated photography groups, it’s a great place to see a huge variety of content.
Fstoppers is a no-nonsense feedback and networking group run by the editorial team of the popular website Fstoppers. Critiques, questions and conversations are welcome here, as well as tips for marketing a growing photography business. There is some branded content here and there, but largely consists of member discussion.
4. Retouching Academy
If you’re looking for ways to step up your post skills, Retouching Academy is an excellent resource. This large community collaborates on members’ before and after retouched images, sharing advice, tricks, and strategies to boost the quality of their work. It’s also a great resource for finding free education materials and walk-through tutorials.
This Facebook group is a very positive environment for small business owners and creative entrepreneurs. It’s run by two successful business owners, who started the group to share their start up experience and connect with other like-minded professionals. Users can expect a no-nonsense dialogue focusing only on creating a profitable business. Some often-overlooked entrepreneurial nuggets are highlighted here, like insurance, legal issues, and regional tax law.
6. Tribe Archipeglago
This group is a stunning showcase for images edited with the Tribe Archipelago suite of Lightroom presets, often featuring cutting-edge techniques and trends in editing and post production. It’s a great resource for tips on how to maintain thematic uniformity across your work when using effects. Users will also find thorough tutorials on using these presets properly.
7. The Rising Tide Society
With members ranging from florists to furniture builders, the Rising Tide Society is one of the more creatively diverse group on Facebook. While the group isn’t specifically focused on photography, its most active members are working photographers and dominate most of the discussion. Rising Tide Society provides a sense of variety if you’re just following photography groups, which can be valuable. The exchange of ideas and networking spans a number of different industries.
8. SLR Lounge Photography Community
SLR Lounge Photography Community is a well-populated Facebook group extolling the virtues of positive energy when critiquing another’s work. This group is operated by the team at SLR Lounge, and is frequently updated with great content. Generous giveaways also occur on a semi-regular basis (currently, there’s a chance to win one of a $5,200 value). This group is a good way to get acquainted with the group dynamic typical to Facebook photography communities.
9. The Art of the Second Shot
This group is designed to help wedding photographers break the habit of going into autopilot and shooting a technical checklist on a client’s big day. The idea in this group is that shooting a wedding is a privilege, and shooting it in the most creative, narrative way is the best way to honor it. Some really interesting insights on the creative process can be found here, like the idea of “unlearning” your own technique.
10. Bridal Show Success For Photographers
Bridal Show Success is a small (by comparison) but powerful group, ideal for photographers and entrepreneurs interested in participating in a bridal show. Lots of inspirational content and advice can be found here, as well as templates for printed marketing materials. This Facebook group is a valuable resource to learn how to stand out among hundreds of competitors in a packed convention hall.
11. #MagMod Community
While this group does feature photography almost exclusively taken using MagMod products, it really is an inspirational community despite the corporate presence. Talented members share their MagMod-created images, but they typically provide all the settings and setup they used so you can learn from their process. #MagMod Community also holds a monthly contest, usually based on a specific topic or theme. Winners are awarded prizes, usually free gear.