Social Skills

Picture by Pedro Ribeiro Simões. Three photographers in their mid-twenties sitting on the curb, chatting and smiling. A male in the middle of two girls.

Perhaps overlooked, social skills is also something a photographer can benefit from greatly. You need the social skills to open doors to new possibilities. Social skills are the abilities to interact and communicate with others. You follow some social rules and know what’s acceptable to develop a relationship with others. You create bonds, connections, and networks. These skills are great for a photographer because in many cases you will need to persuade, ask, lead and/or guide others. Great pictures can be taken if you have a good relationship with your subject; if you can make your subject laugh or feel comfortable you can get natural and beautiful spontaneous portraits or group pictures. With social skills you can also interact with strangers and take pictures of them. Adding some leadership to your interpersonal relationships and you can persuade and organize people to do whatever you want for the next shot, photo session, or big photography project.

Also, sometimes disregarded, having a good network or persuasive skills can give you a photography job or access to places or people that others don’t have. Can you think, for example, of an interesting place that only few people have access to? Perhaps an old theater, the top of a particular skyscraper, a reservation zone, a private garden, a studio, or an empty stadium? Do you know or can you persuade someone to get you there? Social skills can open the door to amazing and exclusive shots of all types of people, animals, places, and more.

Social skills are also appreciated by people. If they like you, you will be hired again. They will recommend you. Other photographers will also talk to you and you may exchange tips and advice. Be friendly, be polite, respectful and courteous. If you need some help to improve your social skills, or if you just want some general tips, I recommend you reading the article Effective Communication – Improving Your Social Skills and if you want even more, there are many books in the personal development shelf that address social skills. I can recommend you The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz. The book has been sold over 4 million copies and it focuses on the way you should think so you can act. But if you want to upscale it and you need a readon, I recommend you another great book Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us by Seth Godin. This book is focused more on the why and the leadership.


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