Truth be told the first film I ever recorded was on a Sony camera that used floppy disks that I had to rapidly change out. It was a masterpiece on my favorite condiment, Ketchup, and it is still played on occasion by the tech studies class in Melbourne High School. A lot has changed since then and like any professional it is important to stay updated with the latest equipment, software, and knowledge. A huge way I do this is by being involved in Facebook Groups.
There are groups for every segment of video and photography imaginable full of all levels of experience there to discuss gear, editing or what trending ideas you might want to incorporate in your next film. I personally am active in a Real Estate Videography group, Real Estate Photography from Amateur to Expert group, Freelance Videography group, and several marketing groups. I give advice and also post my work for constructive feedback.
Constructive criticism or CC in social media lingo is vital to improve your skills in cinematography and elsewhere. The only way to get better is to discover what you are doing wrong. WARNING - there are assholes on social media so prepare for it. There are also people that are outright wrong and do not give the best advice. I have been in dozens of groups and now am only in a handful. You will notice that different groups have higher or lower skill levels as well as helpfulness.
The first group that got me into Facebook Groups was a group called “Photography and Friends” I was invited to join after completing a photography course on the Udemy education platform. It is still the best photography group with the best photographers for me to this day. All members are educated and professional in the craft. Cyber-bullying and negative comments that are not helpful are not permitted.
Avoid spamming the groups and groups that are spam. Spam is a general term for unsolicited communications and it does not help your business to do this. Beware of spam and scams posted in groups and do not trust everything you read. If you find editors and freelancers in groups do not give any financial or private information to them. Pay through a secure gateway like Remitly or PayPal (although many foreigners do not have PayPal.)
Do not be afraid to contribute or afraid to be wrong. I will sometimes comment on a post and will find out later I was incorrect. This is both humbling and a great learning experience. Adjustments and techniques have changed drastically for me since joining the groups and I would not be at the level I am today without the help of others.
Groups are also a great way to network. You can go outside of photography and video groups I discussed to gamer groups, car groups or anything. Through these other groups, you can network and find opportunities. By sharing your links in a non-spammy way you will increase website traffic and SEO. Overall make sure to bring value into the groups you join and you will reap the benefits. Thank you for reading!