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Old 23-07-2007, 17:32   #1 (permalink)
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Getting an assistant placement how!

Ok so Im writing ringing etc off to local and not so local photographer s to see if i can do some assiting lol

Not wanting payment ( but wouldnt say no if offered) but not really getting any yes's

Its hard lookng at websites as you cant tell if its one person or a big studio etc any tips or ideas on actually getting someone to say yes!?!

Keep trying I know is one thing but anything i can do to sway it ?

help appreciated as my temp accounts job is doing my head in! lol
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Old 23-07-2007, 17:47   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Getting an assistant placement how!

I would look in the local papers rather than the internet. You will be more likely to find the smaller outfits that would probably be more likely to consider you, and you would be getting one to one teaching too.

If you start looking at the back of national mags/pro mags/internet, it is less likely you will find one near you.

How about the 'togs used by the local papers themselves? You might see them at local events/shows etc.
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Old 23-07-2007, 20:01   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Getting an assistant placement how!

Two questions. What type of photography/assisting do you want to do and where are you located?

Being a good assistant is NOT the same as being a photographer! If you want an apprentice/junior photographer type position look at bigger studios rather than one-person setups. If you want to work in the fields of advertising/editorial then you need to be thinking as a self-employed person and make the decision to be the best freelance assistant in the world. There are always new photographers who can't afford to pay good money for an experienced assistant (worth their weight in gold when you find one though) and will be happy to have extra help cheap (if that's what you want to do).

OTOH, if you believe you can be the best of the best then pitch at the top named photographers working in the field yuo want to go into and work down from the top (this is easier than going from bottom to top). Often you will find the top names are more likely to give a young person a break since they have nothing to fear from you whereas someone starting out will likely have the usual paranoia regarding competition from others and be less likely to help.

Remember these points for a good assistant:

1. Enthusiasm and stamina are more useful then photo knowledge. Always get there 5 minutes early and NEVER one minute late. Make the first cup of coffee straight away.

2. No-one has the time/inclination on a shoot to teach you anything, you learn by observation and listening (questions posed at a convenient time may be answered if you are lucky)

3. NEVER get smart and tell the photographer your ideas in front of the client, always be diplomatic and don't expect credit for an idea.

4. Make the best coffee in the world and know where to get the best food near the studio since you will likely be going for the lunches

5. Make sure you get paid! Don't be soft and never be fooled by the carrot on a stick routine i.e. if you do this job for free I promise to pay you next time. Never happens!

6. Persevere, persevere, persevere! You will get down-hearted, bounce back and always be happy even under extreme pressure.

Hope this helps.

Regards

Les
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Old 23-07-2007, 20:15   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Getting an assistant placement how!

LOL thanks Les and Dab

Truthfully I tend to just go bull at a gate with things and if i could i would jump in at the deep end but I know full well I have a lot to learn in the industry and that selling a few pics to friends wont paythe bills. Im now 30 so i wonder if this will be an advantage or no
well will see and going to keep on going lol
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Old 23-07-2007, 20:52   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Getting an assistant placement how!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Summerleft View Post
if i could i would jump in at the deep end
YOU can so just jump right on in! You are only stopping yourself.

Being 30 can either be your advantage or your baggage. You have maturity of years, advantage, you have social skills, advantage, you have energy, advantage, you have 'balls' like a bull, advantage. You are 30, lots of young guns around full of themselves, your advantage, you will stand out and be remembered if you play it right. Disadvantage, portfolio of fantastic images, photographers are paranoid (did I mention that already?). WHEN you get a foot in the door, i.e. your first 'come and have a chat', you may want to be different and NOT take a portfolio, they wo't be interested anyway really (a daring new move possibly!?).

True story: The late lamented fashion photographer, Terence Donovan (who?), once opened his door to a mature, 27yr old, photo student which was the first major break for the student (Donovan was notoriously difficult to 'get at' and had a tough PA who protected him well). How did this happen? Research and persistence. The student learned that Donovan was a black belt in judo. He used this to his advantage. The student was a brown belt in karate. He rang the PA and simply told her he wanted to talk about martial arts with Donovan and would she pass on the message. He then rang EVERY Monday and Thursday morning for four weeks to ask if there had been a response to the request. After four weeks of 'chatting up' the PA and building a good rapport with her, she eventually relented and connected the student with the man. Result: invitation to lunch in London (he paid) and work as second assistant in his studio. Why? Persistence, maturity and not accepting NO for an answer.

You have what it takes, now make it happen and don't let anyone tell you (including your inner demon) that you can't do it, Just Do IT!

Pick up the phone and call the top names in the field you want to work in and keep calling until they let you in the door.

Your age is your biggest advantage, use it!

Regards

Les

PS Oh, the student, you guessed it! Donovan opened other doors and they opened other doors etc.
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Old 23-07-2007, 21:04   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Getting an assistant placement how!

Excellent advice Les ...... great to have this kind of enthusiasm
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Old 23-07-2007, 21:12   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Getting an assistant placement how!

Are you sure you shouldnt be doing motivational speaking on the side :P
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Old 24-07-2007, 02:06   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Getting an assistant placement how!

Dear 30 yr person with advantage

You got me! Besides being the best photographer ever, I also do drawing, colour and, yes, peak performance workshops! Now, as you can see modesty is not in the vocabulary.

Motivation is either your biggest ally or your worst enemy, i.e. you can choose either to be motivated or not. As we all know, the latter is easier to do but harder on the soul whereas the former is not as hard as our inner demon would have us believe.

Summerleft is your handle, it should read SummerRIGHT since that is more of an affirmation of your desire to be you, am I wrong?

Being a pro photographer is a hard existence, even for the top names. Having to live or die by your last image is a pressure most 'wannabes' will never be able to hack, if you truly believe in yourself you can do it! Aim for the impossible, you will be surprised how often the Universe will bend in your direction to accommodate your goals. Impossible is just a word, action is the key, go for it and don't look back, after all if you do look back you will only see the cloud of dust you leave in your wake.

Oh, and beware the 'crazy makers' in your life, they will only hold you back!

Regards

Les
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Old 27-07-2007, 01:36   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Getting an assistant placement how!

Lots of excellent advice already...

You might want to also check out the book:

"The Photographer's Assistant Handbook" by Matt Proux.... Lots of interesting information in there.
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