A group of Raleigh photographers want to make it easier for newcomers to learn their craft, one photo shoot at a time.
Nearly 50 photographers, models and stylists flocked to a property in Youngsville earlier this month for a rustic fall fashion shoot, with experienced practitioners in each field offering guidance to those who have just started.
At the shoot, stylists worked in the open back of a box truck, models posed in front of old barns, by classic cars and on an open expanse of green lawn, and photographers rotated from station to station to capture the scenes.
Participants said they showed up for a chance to build their portfolios and meet colleagues from their respective fields during the shoot, which was organized by members of the Raleigh Photo Group.
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“When people start getting more comfortable, they start taking better pictures,” said William McEwen, a photographer with a background in lighting design, who started the group on Facebook about three years ago with about 20 people. Today, more than 700 are at least casual members, with 60 core members who regularly swap photos and advice.
Freelance photographer Dimitri Williams helped organize the photo shoot. He said that in a tight market, it can be hard to find someone willing to help a new photographer break in. But those people are out there, if you know where to look.
“There’s a misconception that it’s all competition,” he said. “It’s not all negativity.”
Kim Jordan, the lead stylist for the day, said events like the photo shoot also highlight that Raleigh has a creative, fashion-forward side.
Jordan has worked in Raleigh for 23 years but also travels across the country for fashion and beauty events. She said the city’s reputation as a stylish place continues to grow.
“It’s been really cool to see the shift,” she said. “I don’t think Raleigh needs to feel like we’re podunk.”
The photo shoot drew James Thomas, a pharmacy graduate student at Campbell University, who enjoys photography as a hobby. He’s taken photos for about a decade but started working in earnest to improve his skills about a year ago.
“It’s really an education for all of us,” said Thomas. “Because the only way to really learn to do this is to practice.”