Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Life After a Photography Degree (Guest Writer)

I often get photography students perusing this blog so I thought it about time I popped up some wise words from a recent graduate. Over to Jack Snell, a Bournemouth '12 Grad . . .

"“Breaking into any part of the creative industry is going to be practically impossible”. You will hear this throughout your university life. You may just shrug it off and put it to the back of your mind but trust me it’s not an easy task. I can count on one hand how many people from my course are surviving on photography alone.

There are many routes you can take after graduating. On our course we were told from the very beginning that not all us were going to be photographers. We were told that some of us would be picture editors, production assistants and set designers etc. For me, I decided to be a studio assistant. I was told that working in a studio is a great way to gain experience and to meet people in the industry and ultimately, I do want to be a photographer.

Working 60-70 hours a week in a photography studio for not a lot of money doesn't sound so glamorous does it? Well it isn’t, and it never will be. However, if you leave university expecting the high life straight away then you might as well forget it. On the other hand, if you are looking to gain experience in one of the quickest ways possible, then maybe studio assisting is for you.

In my opinion it is the best way to get into the industry. I think you can gain a lot of respect from industry people if they know you have worked in a studio. It's bloody hard work but it does pay off. You can see that everyday, through every person you meet, every bit of information you absorb and all the experience you gain from being in that studio.

Studio assisting is as much about public relations as it is about photography. Learning who to talk to, how to talk to them and when to talk to them is very important. Being good with names and faces is a must and if you hear the words "you read my mind" then you are doing it right. Whether that’s getting a piece of kit, a roll of gaffer tape or even a fresh pot of coffee; reputations can be made as a Studio Assistant. Being two steps ahead will always work in your favour. Your time working in a studio could be where you make or break your photographic career, If you mistreat the wrong person then word will quickly spread and no one will want to work with you. On the other hand, if you go that extra mile every time and make someone’s day, that person could be a future employer. They will remember you!

Now being half way through my contract at the studio i need to decide what my next step will be. It's an easy decision for me, i am going to use all the contacts and experience i have gained in my time here and work as a freelance photographer's assistant. That doesn't mean I won't be working in a studio ever again, a friend of mine works for a very well known and established photographer and she works in studios from time to time for the extra cash.

So my advice for you, if you are still studying, start building those relationships NOW. Use twitter, blogs, emails, LinkedIn, what ever you can to get in contact with industry people. Go for a coffee and get into this community as early as you can.

It's not about having that lucky break, it's about putting in the hours and the hard work and creating your own luck."

Jack has been full time at Sunbeam Studios and is about to embark on freelance assisting. You can see his LinkedIn CV here <==

No comments:

Post a Comment