A few weeks ago, Brian, a photo assistant in Minneapolis, emailed me and asked how I had been keeping so busy with work over the summer. He mentioned how slow things had been for him and how frustrated he was getting because the phone wasn’t ringing. He was besides himself, worried he was doing something wrong.
All I can really say, right off, is just hang in there. It probably has little to do with anything you’re doing. It could be something you’re NOT doing, but, I believe the biggest issue affecting Brian, and many of us in the photo industry these days, is the recession. It has definitely upset the scales, as far as supply and demand goes, so you just need to be patient, but stay disciplined and diligent in seeking work. You still have to go through the motions to let the photo gods know that you’re still available, willing, and able. Until there is more work, we all just have to weather the storm.
Now, I don’t know what Brian, or anyone else, is exactly doing to attract work. There are many things that a resourceful and proactive photo assistant can do to stay visible and communicate their availability. But, at the same time, if you’re just listing yourself on the ASMP and APA websites, and making a couple calls and sending a few emails, here and there, you can’t really expect everyone to be busting down your door with job offers… especially in a recession. At any rate, I figure this is a good opportunity to share with everyone some of my techniques for seeking work. They aren’t that revolutionary, but I do believe them to be tried-and-true. My methods are simple and require just a little creativity and resourcefulness. So, over the course of the next few weeks, I will share my thoughts, ideas, and techniques for attracting work for photo assisting, through a series of blog posts titled Attracting Work and Staying Visible in the Photo Community.
The following is an approximate list of topics I will cover in this series, so you can perhaps do a little pre-pro of your own. If you don’t see something you think I’ve omitted, and want to see covered, let me know in the comments.
Online networking (Twitter, Facebook, Linked-in, etc.).
ASMP, APA meetings, networking, and membership.
Flyers, post cards, and biz cards at professional camera stores and lighting rental stores.
Classifieds in PDN and workbook.com.
Online Forums — prophotoforums, ASMPproAdvice, APAnet, APAdigital.
More online resources like Photocrew.com, 1ProPhoto.com.
Even more online resources such as Craigslist, OMP, model mayhem (to find models for trade, stay active shooting, keep visible).
As the Attracting Work series unravels, you will begin to understand how every action supports all the other actions, creating a sort of a universal magnet. If you work just a little bit of each technique into your daily or weekly routine, over time you will expose yourself to many photographers, studio managers, producers, and other industry professionals which will eventually lead to more work.
Until then, happy shooting!