Discover more from Process by Wesley Verhoeve
116 ☼ Connecting with Photographers and Building Community
GIVEAWAY: $150 gift certificate for Moment
This week's letter is about the importance of finding and building a community of like-minded photography peers. Also, a preview of some work I shot in beautifully autumnal Oslo this week. That’s right, Norway!
Also in this issue, a continuation of a wonderful Process Giveaway with my friends at Moment who made available a $150 gift certificate to their photo shop.
A quick hello to the new readers who found their way here after Process was selected as a Featured Publication by the good folks at Substack. Thank you Substack! <3
So, if you’re new here — Hello! I’m Wesley Verhoeve, a photographer and curator, and this is Process, where I write about photography and finding your creative voice.
Process was the first Substack about photography, and has readers in nearly 130 countries. When I started writing, I lived in the New York City, and now I call Amsterdam home. I am deeply passionate about my craft and sharing what I learn.
Some favorite issues from the archive:
☀️ Shout out to my friends at Squarespace for helping make this issue possible ☀️
The Freelancer's Dilemma: A Lonely Journey
Being a freelance photographer can be an inspiring way to make a living. But, it’s not all glamour. We walk a path less traveled, one that's often shrouded in uncertainty and isolation. Unlike our friends with regular 9-to-5 gigs, we miss out on the perks of a "traditional" workplace - a stable paycheck, help from specialized departments like HR and finance, mentorship and training, and the benefits of having co-workers. Let’s start with that last one.
Picture this: A bustling restaurant kitchen. Chefs, line cooks, and waitstaff buzzing around, working together to create a culinary masterpiece. It's a symphony of chaos, but everyone has a role, and you're part of a larger collective. That camaraderie can work wonders for performance, efficiency, and provide a sense of belonging.
But, as freelancers, we're more like a solo chef in our creative kitchen, and it can get quite lonely and overwhelming. The support system is not as readily available. We are responsible for navigating every task by ourselves. This includes areas of work that we are confused and overwhelmed by like accounting, pricing, and negotiating deals. Oh, and no one closes the restaurant and tells us go home. We’re often our own worst boss.
The Bright Side of Going Solo
All that aside, when you're not just surviving but actually thriving as a freelancer, there are serious perks. You're in control of your time and your location. Want to take Wednesday off to go hiking? It’s possible, if you plan for it! Want to work on a personal project that makes your heart race? Go right ahead!
To go back to our restaurant metaphor, you’re head chef in your own kitchen, where you decide the menu, and your creativity is the secret ingredient that elevates the final product. There's nothing quite like telling a visual story through your unique lens.
When your work is a labor of love, and you're hired for projects that align with your artistic vision, it can be truly life-affirming. The freedom, the control, and the creative satisfaction are a sweet reward for those willing to embrace the challenges.
Six Tips for Building Your Professional Community
Here are some things I’ve learned about building a community of like-minded peers that can provide support and friendship just like co-workers.
Seek Out True Partners: Find accountants, assistants, and other service providers who understand you and how you work. They're not just hired help; they're part of your team. For example, I have an accountant that understands how my adhd brain works and he helps me keep my ship steady even in my weaker moments.
Initiate the Conversation: Don't wait for someone to invite you to the party. Reach out to your fellow photographers, grab a coffee, and chat about the art you love, the work you make, the challenges you’re facing at the moment.
Don't Be Afraid to Ask: When you're stuck on the technical stuff or pricing is giving you a headache, don't just throw in the towel. Ask for help. Traditionally, I’ve been terrible at this but recently I’ve become a lot better thanks to the support and love of those closest to me. Asking for help is ok! People don’t mind!
Cook Up Collaborative Projects: Partner with other creatives on a project that gets you fired up. Collaboration comes with new insights and joy and a new way to look at your own work. For example, a street portraits collaboration I did with Zach Leon, or a series of shoots with actress Isabella Rochin.
Mentorship is the Special Ingredient: Find a mentor, or become one. It's like passing on secret recipes. Sharing your knowledge is not only rewarding; it can create strong bonds and friendships.
Community for All, Not Just the Pros
This isn't just about seasoned pros; it's about aspiring photographers and hobbyists too. We all need a tribe. We all need communal fire to fuel our creative passion. We all thrive when we're part of a community, regardless of where we are on our journey.
So, remember, even though you may feel alone at times, you're not actually alone! There is a vast world of photographers out there just waiting to break bread with you, to share stories, and to have your back. Embrace the journey, reach out, and watch your creative world grow and enrich. Your community is out there, waiting to welcome you with open arms and a big, hearty cheers.
Bonus Tip: talk to fellow Process readers in the comments and if you happen to be in or near Amsterdam join me for these two in-person Process events.
📸 The first PROCESS PHOTO WALK is happening in Amsterdam on Sunday, November 5th. It will be followed by a free screening of the street photo doc series Wrong Side of the Lens. RSVP here — there is room for 56 guests and there’s only 6 seats left. Each attendee receives 1 year free on Glass.
News: director Josh Ethan Johnson will fly in from NYC for a live Q&A!
🍻 I am co-hosting the first official SUBSTACK MEETUP in Amsterdam with my friend Deepa Paul on October 18th. Only 1 seat left, so RSVP here. A casual hang with kind writers and a beverage. The Substack team interviewed me about the value of getting folks together in real life, which you can read here
That’s it for this week! If you enjoyed this issue I’d love for you to share it with friends.
Next Week: Analog portraits in a backyard studio I built for under $100.
If you’re new here and curious for more? Subscribe below.
Keep shooting and take good care of yourselves and others. <3
PS If you're interested in supporting Process and seeing a body of work I’m very proud of, please consider buying my photo book NOTICE. Second print out now.
Gear & Tools Used
Camera: The images in this issue of Process were shot on the Fujifilm X100F.
Lab: All my analog work is developed and scanned by my friends at Carmencita Film Lab. They’re my favorite lab in the world. Use code “PROCESS” to get a free upgrade.
Portfolio Site: Big shout out to Squarespace for helping make this issue of Process possible. If you need a website, I can’t recommend using Squarespace more. I have been a paying customer for more than 10 years (!!?) and it’s been so easy to build and maintain a beautiful and professional portfolio. I even added a shop to it recently.
Check out Squarespace and use the code PROCESS10 for 10% off your first order.
To enter this week’s Process Giveaway answer the question below in the comments:
QUESTION: What are you most grateful for in your photography journey?
Many of you already shared moving, wonderful answers in last week’s comments and I recommend check them out and get to know each other.
ENTER THIS WEEK’S GIVEAWAY before 11 a.m. EST on October 21st.
The winner will be randomly drawn. This giveaway is for Process subscribers only.