Working for free

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by JLEphoto, Feb 14, 2010.

  1. JLEphoto

    JLEphoto TPF Noob!

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    So, I live near Miami, FL and I am looking at getting into wedding photography and portrait photography. I do not want to just suddenly become a wedding photographer because I know I would be sub-par. What I want to know is if any of you have ever accepted an assistant? I would be willing to work for free just to gain the experience. How would you suggest that I approch these photographers? What do I need to look for in a mentor? I would hate to learn all the wrong things. Thanks for your help.
     
  2. Johnboy2978

    Johnboy2978 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Take this for what it's worth as I haven't done this before. You aren't exactly working for free, your working to gain experience and knowledge. That being said, I would interview them as much as they are interviewing you. I would start with researching the local sampling of photogs. See their work and get to know their reputation. I would personally want to work with someone who is established, been in business for a number of years and has a good following to gain some business experience. Also, I would want to work with someone who's work is exceptional instead of just average/mediocre to increase my skills. Hopefully you can find someone w/ both those qualities, but not always. There is one photographer in my town that meets those criteria, and the others have one or neither of them. After narrowing down the list, I would put together a portfolio of some nice prints and see if any of the top three are interested in meeting with you. From there, I would think it would be based on personalities. Do you like them, and vice versa. Can you learn something from them? You need to come to the meeting with a list of reasons why they need a 'tag-a-long' and what you can do for them. Even if your free labor, there are a lot of people out there who are just too much trouble (too exhausting, emotionally unstable, undependable, narcissistic, neurotic, etc) that it's not worth the hassle. So you need to present yourself as if you were interviewing as a perspective paid employee. I think it's a lot of common sense.
     
  3. cirekoy

    cirekoy TPF Noob!

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    As someone who has interviewed people before (not for photography, but for another position), I'd say that this last part is especially important! Great Advice, Johnboy!

    Pretend like you'd like to be paid. If you go in to it saying that you just want to work for free, they just might think you aren't worth anything. I'm not saying that you should insist on a paycheck, but don't try to sell them on "free labor" angle necessarily, because they certainly don't want the arrangement to be more trouble than its worth. Convince them that you are the person to hire first, let the pay work itself out. Just my opinion :)
     
  4. JLEphoto

    JLEphoto TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the advice. It certainly gives me something to think about.
     

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