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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos The Business of Photography 
Thread started 02 May 2011 (Monday) 06:44
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Looking for work as an assistant

 
tripl3distill3d
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May 02, 2011 06:44 |  #1

I need a job. Correction, I need money. Going to school for photography has ill prepared me to become working photographer. After losing a part-time retail job, I have vowed to set the bar higher and do something that gets me excited about getting out of bed again. (I am from and live in NYC.)
Long story short, I'm trying to pick up some extra cash assisting but am not sure what avenues I should take to become someones assistant; should I intern? When I first tried to do this straight out of high school, my inquiries were met with a bunch of "we already have assistants that we work with." I was discouraged and never actively tried again.
Does anyone have any advice or thoughts?




  
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BaghdadFred
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May 02, 2011 06:51 |  #2

I don't have any first hand experience with but I know for certain that craigslist has listings under "Gigs" for photography interns in your same situation. I'm sure it also helps since your in a major metropolitan area (I have been checking the listing recently for Los Angeles).

Check under both "Talent" and "Media" sections for Jobs and also Gigs.. there out there.


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PhotosGuy
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May 02, 2011 09:13 |  #3

Going to school for photography...

Have you asked your instructors? Wouldn't they know the pros in NY better than most of us would?

When I first tried to do this straight out of high school, my inquiries were met with a bunch of "we already have assistants that we work with."

Time passes & things change. For instance, you know more now than you did then, right? Make the rounds again, and every month from now on. A good reason would be, "Here's a new series that I'm really excited about. What do you think? And do you need another assistant for an upcoming project?"
As for "assistants that we work with", we had pro assistants who did that job for their whole life.

should I intern?

Legal ramifications of Hiring an intern, or unpaid assistant

All the links:
So You Want To Be A Photographers Assistant


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Jimbers
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May 02, 2011 09:20 |  #4
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your whole post seems kind of whiny and negative. i would suggest an attitude adjustment. the quicker the better.




  
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breal101
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May 02, 2011 10:02 |  #5

First read the threads that PhotosGuy provided links for. There is a lot of good information in them, especially pay attention to what sfaust has to say. I started the assistants thread with day rate assisting in mind, this would be a good way to start.

It's in the thread but worth repeating, look into joining one or more of the professional organizations in NYC and attending meetings. ASMP for instance is relatively cheap to join as an associate member. That would allow you to be put on the assistants register. Local photographers and visiting photographers use that list to hire assistants as needed.

If you do decide to join ASMP go to meetings that feature guest speakers, they are the best attended and usually have a social hour before the meeting starts, that gives you a chance to meet face to face with working photographers. Have some cards printed and be ready to offer them to those who seem interested. Don't be afraid to walk up and start a conversation with these guys and gals, they're people just like everybody else. Even though most may already have assistants they work with they may need extra help on some jobs. If you make a good impression you may be the one they call. Be persistent, if you get turned down keep trying, you never know when you will get the break you're looking for.


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ssim
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May 02, 2011 10:12 as a reply to  @ Jimbers's post |  #6

Without goals and aspirations you will always flounder. You are not going to get rich assisting but you will gain experience and in all likelihood you may have to have a second job to provide cash. You are fortunate to live in an area that has some of the largest commercial photographers in the country doing work for major corporations and magazines. You may not be ready for them but perhaps you could call on some of them to get them to mentor you with respect to getting yourself the right kind of training to join them.

You don't say which college you attended but every post secondary education institute that I have read about had job placement or assistance in their system. Have you checked with them. Called your classmates to see if they have any leads. Did you take anything else in college that you can use in another field in the interim.

I think that you will find the kind of assisting jobs you will get off of free forums like craigslist are going to be working for free or very little but gaining experience. Do you have a portfolio and resume prepared. If yes then hit the bricks and start to knock on doors, if not then get them. The internet is great but door knocking can also provide you good results. At least it shows to the potential employers that you have initiative.

It sounds like you don't take rejection well. In this field you better get used to it. If you call on someone and they say they already have enough assistants you can't go hide in bedroom and say, "OK, I tried". This is a tough field and the competition is fierce if you want to hang out your own shingle and even harder in some cases to get the right assisting job that pays decent. Quite honestly, posting on forum boards is a waste of time, imo. Do you really think you are going to get job leads by putting up a post like you did.


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downhillnews
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May 03, 2011 22:14 |  #7

tripl3distill3d wrote in post #12331710 (external link)
I need a job. Correction, I need money. Going to school for photography has ill prepared me to become working photographer. After losing a part-time retail job, I have vowed to set the bar higher and do something that gets me excited about getting out of bed again. (I am from and live in NYC.)
Long story short, I'm trying to pick up some extra cash assisting but am not sure what avenues I should take to become someones assistant; should I intern? When I first tried to do this straight out of high school, my inquiries were met with a bunch of "we already have assistants that we work with." I was discouraged and never actively tried again.
Does anyone have any advice or thoughts?

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tripl3distill3d
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May 04, 2011 11:46 |  #8

Thank you all for your input. I am appreciative of all the feedback that I have received here and will definitely work on improving my attitude.




  
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orena
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May 04, 2011 11:58 |  #9

just wanted to say great thread. i'm moving back to chicago after a few years away and also need to start looking for work as an assistant/2nd shooter again.. good advice here.


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J ­ Michael
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May 05, 2011 07:21 |  #10

If I were in your shoes I would think long and hard about the type of photography I wanted to do and then determine who is the best person in that specialty. I would then do whatever it took to get on board with them. Photography attracts people willing to work for small change, or for free, so don't expect to be compensated with much other than experience. Jay Maisel occasionally has some unpaid intern openings listed on his website.

An alternative approach is to think of a specialty like you would a specialty in a medical profession and go get training in that specific specialty at workshops or other short-term classes, then go develop your skills before you start out on your own. You probably didn't get much business training in school, so read up on the things you need to know for running a business - you are unlikely to be successful working for anyone other than yourself, in the long term at least.




  
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airfrogusmc
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May 05, 2011 07:39 |  #11

tripl3distill3d wrote in post #12331710 (external link)
I need a job. Correction, I need money. Going to school for photography has ill prepared me to become working photographer. After losing a part-time retail job, I have vowed to set the bar higher and do something that gets me excited about getting out of bed again. (I am from and live in NYC.)
Long story short, I'm trying to pick up some extra cash assisting but am not sure what avenues I should take to become someones assistant; should I intern? When I first tried to do this straight out of high school, my inquiries were met with a bunch of "we already have assistants that we work with." I was discouraged and never actively tried again.
Does anyone have any advice or thoughts?

You're in New York City and can't find assisting jobs? WOW. Anyway, when I use assistants I use people that know lighting. What I mean is how to set up for different quality of light situations. These are things you should have learned in school. I don't have time on a shoot to baby sit or tell someone everything. If that were the case why wouldn't I just do it myself? While my assistants are setting up I'm usually going over the shoot with the designer and art director.

Did you graduate. If so, associates, bachelors, masters or MFA in photography?




  
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AZGeorge
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May 05, 2011 21:59 |  #12

tripl3distill3d wrote in post #12331710 (external link)
. . . . Does anyone have any advice or thoughts?

1. With your portfolio up to date and reference letters in hand make contact with those who might hire you and ask about possibilities. If they have none ask who might. Repeat a hundred times before you even think of being discouraged.

2. Get out of bed early each morning and learn something you don't know or practice a skill you find important.


George
Democracy Dies in Darkness

  
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