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Sharing Contacts - OK or Not?

hello all,

as a follow up to a recent thread about starting out in this crazy biz, i wanted to ask the group how they felt about sharing contacts with one another.  

do you share contacts? 
when would you and when would you not?
is is ok to ask other photographers for their contacts?

personally, i don’t have a problem with it in theory, but at the same time i do feel guarded and a little reluctant.  i want to help anyone anyway i can, but what if that photographer takes away a potential assignment, etc?  and if we all have the same contacts, then won’t be all be trying to drink from the same pool?  also, if i’ve nurtured this contact or that one for months or even years, why should i just give it out to someone who hasn’t done any research/nurturing/networking of their own? 

i’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

thanks as always,


by Jason Sangster at 2005-09-17 07:46:54 UTC (ed. Mar 12 2008 ) Atlanta , United States | Bookmark | | Report spam→

Hey Jason,
great question!
I think it’s true to say we are all drinking from the same pool in more ways than one: yes, we might be shooting for the same clientele and fishing for the same kind of assigments, but we are also faced with the same challenges, legalities and market ups-and-downs.

In general, I personally would like to think (or believe, as the case may be) there’s enough work for all of us, and I wouldn’t hesitate to exchange contact information with colleagues, especially since, at least in the editorial market, this information is usually readily available at Barnes & Nobles or elsewhere on the web, anyway.

Then again, I got my "photo community" training in New York, where EVERYBODY is a photographer, or aspriring to become one. It was virtually impossible NOT to constantly run into people who were on the exact same path photographically as I was, so for me, it always was a no-brainer to share information freely, and my fellow photographers always shared freely with me.

I am not sure how I would feel sharing info about contacts I’ve been nurturing for a long time, though, as is the case for you here. If this was regarding a personal project that I am immensly attached to, I probably wouldn’t. If it was about bread-and-butter work, I probably would.

I think (or I hope, rather), that ultimately the work speaks for itself, and that we all get hired for the kind of pictures we take, and not for what talented schmoozers we are. (Although I realize that, more often than not, personal chemistry, respect and plain being able to communicate effectively has a huge role to play in keeping clients over a long period of time)

Also: who’s to say the colleague who’s asking for the info doesn’t have to spend the same amount of time gaining the trust and respect of that person/client/organization as you did?

Lots of thoughts.
Interesting topic!

by Imke Lass | 17 Sep 2005 11:09 (ed. Sep 17 2005) | Savannah, United States | | Report spam→
I do not think giving contacts away is a problem but I do think that we have to be selective. I mean that if I have a friend (because they are more likely to show me their work than unknowns!) that I think needs one of my contacts because his pics fit to the publication or whatever else, then I give the contact away without them asking for it. There is in the other side no reason to give away a contact that I think will not serve him in anyway.

by [former member] | 17 Sep 2005 12:09 | Milan, Italy | | Report spam→
If I trust them,and know them fairly well.i.e.have worked with them,then no problem,unless the subject is super-sensitive. I expect the favor to be returned because it is a matter of courtesy and good manners,mutual self respect etc. In short anything that makes life easy for me in the short and long term.

We all depend on each other in one way or another and it’s only when it all goes to hell do you discover who your friends really are. I’m not a snapper,so maybe the competitive thing doesn’t exist as much,but still.I have had good relationships almost destroyed because I gave contact details to ‘pals’ who ran roughshod all over them and abused both my goodwill and their hospitality, so after that….you know the rest.

by Mikethehack | 17 Sep 2005 16:09 | | Report spam→

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Jason Sangster, Jason Sangster
[undisclosed location].
Imke Lass, Photographer Imke Lass
Hamburg , Germany
Mikethehack, Freelance thril performer Mikethehack
Freelance thril performer
Way Up My Own Ass , United Kingdom


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