Assisting

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by indigenous, Nov 6, 2006.

  1. indigenous

    indigenous TPF Noob!

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    Has anyone tried assisting, or went to a photographer for an assistant position. What approach did you use, did you just show up at their studio and ask them if they needed anyone? Did you take your portfolio? I would like to start assisting, but i dont know the correct method to do so.
    Any advice would be helpful.
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Welcome to the forum.

    You will probably want to check out the photographer's work...you won't want to work for a photographer who's work you don't like.

    E-mail would probably be the quickest and easiest way to do it. You could E-mail a bunch of photographers in a short time. Put some of your very best photos up on a site or on-line gallery...make sure they are easy to view.

    You may have to start at the bottom...which would mean no shooting...just dragging gear around and getting coffee etc...but who knows what could happen.

    Be prepared for a lot of "no thanks"...or not even getting a response...but you never know what could happen.
     
  3. ladyphotog

    ladyphotog TPF Noob!

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    Find some photographers that you really like their work, then go and see them. If you call or email you will get a no right away. Photographers want an assistant that is going to go that extra mile. I used to have people call me all the time and I thought the same thing, if you want it bad enough, show it. Join some photography associations and groups in your area, get to know some photographers and talk to them. Offer to assist for nothing but knowledge. That is usually what leads to a paying position. That is exactly what I did when I graduated photo school. I worked for nothing and then got a third assistant postion, it didn't pay much but I slowly worked up to first assistant and then started shooting. Unfortunately there are too many assistants and not enough photographers so you have to do the leg work and pound the pavement. One other bit of advice, leave any ego at the door. If you are assisting for someone they are the photographer and the only one that should have any ego. Sweep floors, hump equipment, get coffee and lunch, whatever needs to be done. Good luck!
     
  4. mysteryscribe

    mysteryscribe TPF Noob!

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    I had them calling me regularly mostly walmart and olin mills people who wanted to get into real photography, then there was the graduating class from the tech schools. I honestly didn't need some kid out of school telling me what I was doing wrong, even though there was a lot I'm sure I was doing wrong. Most of them had no idea what I did, so I didn't bother with them. I had some adults that I trained, such as I could. They were people I met at the labs or people who were introduced to me.

    Then there was my son in law. Need go no farther with that.

    I began as an assistant, carrier of cases for a pro in 1969... In those days it was the old guys way of holding on a couple of more years, sort of a retirement plan, also a way for a guy like me to get practical experience.

    I got his name and the intro from a teacher at the school where I took art and photography. She was also a friend which didn't hurt. So when he called to ask for a helper I was the one who showed up at this door.

    He didn't give a rats rear what kind of photographer I was at first. It was my job to carry the bags and load the cameras. Eventually I wound up doing over half the work on a wedding and most of the leg work on all his portraits. I learned more about the craft of photography and a lot about people from that old man. I hardly ever got real money from him, but I was extremely well paid for my work.

    That's all i know, but I never used anyone from the phone, Im sure email would be the same for me. It isn't like there aren't a hundred people who would love the experience of working with an even mediocre photographer like me.
     
  5. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    My advice would be to network, network, network. Most of the good stuff that has happened for me in the photography world is because of the people I know. Not that anyone was playing favorites or taking advantage of friendships, but people tend to like to work with those they know.

    I took classes at the local darkroom and got to know the guy that ran the gallery next door and became friends with him. That led me to hang work there, have one of my images chosen for the theme image for one of the biggest photo shows here in Rochester (he was on the board), and getting my own solo show.

    I joined a photo club and met a bunch of cool people. One of them was a wedding photographer who liked my worked and asked me to assist for him, which got my feet into the door of that world.

    I met a fellow photographer at another show who has become a friend. He used to work for Elle magazine and is a great source of info on promotion and other things.

    A friend of mine who is an author needed an image for a reprint of one of her books. She fell in love with one of mine and so bought the right to use it for the cover.

    Take classes, go to photo show openings, and generally just get yourself out there. It's all about making connections, but that can be a good thing.
     

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