It’s a question all of us of working age have dealt with regardless of what field we are in. How many times has a young person, or someone switching fields and thus with no experience applied for entry level jobs that requires 2 years or more of experience? It’s frequent, and it’s a catch-22. How do you get hired when all the jobs require experience and no one is willing to give you the first bit of it? Like in other fields, in the creative world of photography, there are ways to work around it. Chase Jarvis, co-founder of CreativeLive, has recently taken a few minutes to address this very issue, a question, he says, that’s one of the most prevailing he gets asked.
[REWIND: The Best Business Advice I Can Offer You]
Some of what he said may seem like common knowledge, and perhaps common sense, but hearing it from a different voice, his voice, can have the advice carry more weight and be a call to action. He touches on points like making the effort to be around what you want to shoot, but also helps to shed a little light on why you can’t expect people to bet on you unless you do certain things, and it helps to see it from the hiring perspective. It’s a short watch, but entirely worth it, and may be the last kindling to light the fire under your behind to get you up and doing what you want to do.
One of the most important aspects of being successful in the photography world is through networking. You can learn a skill and hone your talent, but if you do not know how to speak and interact with people you will not get far; You cannot be a wallflower, and don’t be afraid of rejection when looking for a helping hand when looking into a new field or photography genre.
When I was starting as a wedding photographer I offered to work for free for any photographer who would work with me. I was lucky enough to find someone who allowed me to assist. It was a year and a half of experience and portfolio building before I landed a paid a paid position.
Cold calls to established photographers might not get you very far. Some of the photographers have paid mentoring programs, and that can be a tough starting out financially. At the risk of a flame war in the comments, one of the most effective ways to work with another photographer or venue is to offer your services (or part of) for free.
When you do get your foot in the door, be professional and try to be exciting, charismatic, and fun to be around. This will make you memorable for future work, also the occasional cup of cappuccino doesn’t hurt either.