Professional photographers might have mixed feelings about Flickr, but there’s one thing everyone in the industry can agree on: you can’t ignore it. It’s just too useful.
We’ve already discussed how photographers can use Flickr to find photography competitions  and do online location scouting . And putting your best photos online for buyers to see goes without saying.
But there’s one more thing that that photographers could do with Flickr, and it’s something that would really only benefit professionals: they could create mentoring groups.
Most of Flickr’s groups are set up to let members focus on areas that interest them most. That could be child photography  or portraits  or pictures of Peru . But what would happen if a photographer also created a group that functioned as a sort of online photography workshop? Instead of just letting the members chat about a particular type of shot, the photographer would offer professional tips, suggestions and examples in an area in which he or she specialized.
What would the photographer get out of it?
Well, apart from the pleasure that comes from sharing knowledge (and there is a lot of pleasure in that), the photographer would also get to build a brand, one associated with his or her name. When that photographer has a few hundred people looking at his images, talking about his methods and trying them out for themselves, he’s not just a professional photographer. He’s the leader of an online school of photography.
When the photographer releases a book or mounts an exhibition, the members would make up a ready audience.
And when top buyers want the sort of images that the photographer creates, they’d come directly to him or her.
A lot would depend on the title of the group. It would have to contain both the photographer’s name and the subject of the specialization. This would brand the name and communicate the expertise. And the photographer would also need to be prepared to put in time to build up the group and offer help to its members.
Once it’s all set up, though, the photographer can find that he’s not just another photographer on Flickr, or even just another professional photographer on Flickr. He’s a leading photographer on Flickr.
And let’s face it, that can’t do any harm at all these days.
[tags]Flickr, photography advice[/tags]