Finding the right peer group
It doesn't matter what your endeavor is, finding the right peer groups to be associated with is not an easy task. I am sharing my experience in the hopes to help fellow artist looking into their specialties, See if anyone else has similar experiences in other respective fields that they would like to share and to see if anyone else has advice for myself and those reading this.
As many know, I am a graphic design executive by trade and have been pursuing my photography to explore more creativity, to share and sell. While doing so, I first needed to find my niche. I also needed a plan to build awareness, and sell my work. Part of the plan is to find a good peer group to learn from and grow with, groups to help give my work exposure and other organizations to help sell my imagery.
Doing your research is important. You need to see what each group has to offer and also what costs are associated with joining and decide if you think the value outweighs the costs.For me, it was easy to find the places to sell my work, although. I constantly need to make sure the value is there and my work is selling. Also finding online exposure has been plentiful. Each group offers something different.
See | me is mainly online exposure,but it also has shows in major cities. I have shown my work in NYC galleries because of this network. It also has many completions if you care to participate in them. https://paulcammarata.see.me/
Behance is a great online portfolio site. No cost, pretty good exposure. http://www.behance.net/gallerycstudios
Long Island Photo Gallery has both an online gallery and a brick and mortar gallery in Islip, NY. There are costs associated in having your work shown ( like any gallery).Good group and the owners work hard a promoting L.I. based photographers.... Which is one thing that I like... The focus is solely photography. http://www.members.longislandphotogallery.com/Artist-Cammarata.html
Fine art America has beginners to professionals and it is where I have sold most of my work. The moral support from artist in the network is great. 0$-$60 associated. What is great is I set pricing for my images and they print frame and ship the work... High quality prints. http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/paul-cammarata.html
The biggest challenge for me is in finding a local creative association to meet regularly to exchange ideas, learn from each other and get local exposure that helps my business. Most art groups delve more into painting and exchange ideas based solely around fine art painting.
I have found only a couple of local photography groups. Of those, I found them to either have high costs that outweigh the value or there is more of an importance about having a night out for food and drinks rather than the exchange of ideas.
The good thing in researching these organizations and speaking to people who are involved, it is helping me focus the direction that I am taking and showing me to keep finding my own ways to get exposure. I have also asked to attend a groups meeting or event before joining to see if it is a good fit. I speak with photographers that I have art directed over the years for advice as well.
So what ever you are pursuing...research and talk to people. Sometimes you have to jump in to a group to see if it works.
If anyone has advice or want to share experiences, please do!