Wednesday, 9 May 2012

A stint assisting an established photographer is a brilliant introduction to the day-to-day reality of working in the image business. Three photographers who have assisted in the past share their advice on making the most of the experience…

Be proactive
Assisting jobs are rarely advertised, so building a good network of industry contacts is vital. “All my assisting roles have been made possible through my contacts,” says Nik Adam, who has assisted Jason Evans, Taiyo Onorato and Nico Krebs, and Nadav Kander. “My advice would be to chat to your tutors while you’re at uni, build a network and use Twitter – it's an incredible tool to find opportunities!” A similarly proactive approach worked for Mark Cocksedge, who assisted John Angerson and Daniel Kennedy when he was starting out. “John Angerson did a talk at my university and I managed to talk to him after. Six months later I got a text saying, ‘Free tomorrow 6pm?’ I was like, ‘Yes!’”

Research photographers whose work you admire and call them up directly to see if they need any help. Phone is always better than email in the first instance because it won’t get lost in an inbox. Stick to your chosen area – there’s not much point assisting a fashion photographer if what you want to do is documentary.

Prove you’re committed
“You need to be dedicated,” says Mark, stressing that when a photographer calls you up with a job, “You can’t say, ‘Oh I’m shooting my own stuff so I can’t assist you today’ – you need to dedicate time to them.” Obviously there are going to be occasions when you have obligations that can’t be missed but try to make yourself as available as possible. If you say no, the photographer will simply call up the next person on their list. And if their second choice does a decent enough job, that might be the last you ever hear from them.

Read the full article on IdeasMag.

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