Go Back   Rangefinderforum.com > Rangefinder Forum > The Business Of Photography

The Business Of Photography This is the place to ask questions about the business of being a photographer -- including but not limited to business set up, marketing, copyright, and the ever popular how much to charge.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes

Photo assisting/ Studio Intern
Old 04-06-2011   #1
Dwayneb9584
Registered User
 
Dwayneb9584 is offline
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: NYC
Age: 29
Posts: 263
Photo assisting/ Studio Intern

Hey all,

Just wanted to ask if any of you on here every assisted or worked as an intern for a professional photographer. I have an interview with one on Friday and it's unpaid and I'm pretty bumbed by that. However, I can use the studio space in return and gain lots of experience from him. What's you take on this?
  Reply With Quote

Old 04-06-2011   #2
Roger Hicks
Registered User
 
Roger Hicks is offline
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Aquitaine
Posts: 19,731
When I was a little younger than you, I worked as an assistant. The money was lousy but it was an earnest of good intent, and, as you say, I got to use the studio and learned a LOT. Working for nothing looks like exploitation to me. But I was doing it a third of a century ago. If things have changed that much, perhaps photography is a field to avoid.

Cheers,

R.
__________________
Now even more free photography information on www.rogerandfrances.com
  Reply With Quote

Old 04-06-2011   #3
EcoLeica
Check out my blog!!!
 
EcoLeica's Avatar
 
EcoLeica is offline
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: New Zealand
Age: 29
Posts: 444
Depending on how much time you are going to help the photographer I'd say its a good deal (you must have money to eat). Being able to use a studio space is a wonderful way to compensate you for your time. Also be a sponge...learn as much as you can. I have been in similar situations and what little money i made was no where near as important as the experience I gained.

CHeers
  Reply With Quote

Old 04-06-2011   #4
Chriscrawfordphoto
Real Men Shoot Film.
 
Chriscrawfordphoto's Avatar
 
Chriscrawfordphoto is offline
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Fort Wayne, Indiana
Age: 38
Posts: 6,325
I agree with Roger, don't work for free. If you're working, you should be paid. This photographer is not a school, you aren't working for him just to learn. He's making money off your labor, and if your work is really worth nothing to him, I'd ask why he wants you.
__________________
Christopher Crawford
Fine Art Photography
Fort Wayne, Indiana

Back home again in Indiana

http://www.chriscrawfordphoto.com

My Technical Info pages: Film Developing times, scanning, printing, editing.

Like My Work on Facebook
  Reply With Quote

Old 04-06-2011   #5
jasonrutter
Registered User
 
jasonrutter is offline
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Western Michigan
Posts: 45
I have worked as both a studio assistant and darkroom assistant in the past, and now currently have an assistant helping me with my work. I have in the past been paid for the work I was doing, but am not able to afford to have a paid assistant these days. I compensate my assistant with meals and use of the majority of my equipment that they do not have means to afford. I also spend a good portion of time teaching/mentoring them to make sure it is a value added experience for them. The primary reason for this is that I currently work in higher education and want to make a learning experience as much as I need the help with the production of my own work.

I feel that having an unpaid assistant there needs to be a transfer of knowledge and experience gained to justify the time the assistant contributes. Having an unpaid assistant to just get coffee and sweep floors is unfair in my mind. You do have to start at the bottom and work your way up, but be sure it is something that will ultimately benefit your career, and hopefully theirs as well.

The assistant/photographer relationship should be beneficial to both.

If you have more specific questions feel free and I will do my best to answer.

Cheers, rutter
  Reply With Quote

Old 04-06-2011   #6
jbf
Rangefinder Convert
 
jbf's Avatar
 
jbf is offline
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Los Angeles
Age: 28
Posts: 932
You are working as an intern? Any self-respecting photographer will work with you a few times to 'test you out'. If you perform well and they are a human being, they will pay you.

If the photographer is new/student/whatever it is one thing.... But if they are a paid working professional, they can at the very least supply you with minimum wage or even slightly above.

I worked for a year or two as a photo assistant earning about 8-10 dollars an hour, sometimes more depending on the shoot, etc.

Overall it was a good exeperience. Though it all depends on what you are trying to do.

A lot of big big names will just use you because they know they have 10 other people who are willing to do the work for free, so if your not up to it, someone else will be.

James Nachtwey is notorious for this as are countless others. To be fair i'm positive you would learn something from him, but at the same time, it is questionable business practices.

Then again intern does not equal full time assistance. Internships generally are more and more common to find unpaid.

You just have to decide how good the photog is. If they are steller, then it'd be worth it to do unpaid. If they are just some jo schmo who (may make money) but arnt going to lead you on a career path to stardom, then forget it.
__________________
www.fletchart.com
Flickr Gallery


5D, M6, Yashica 124G.
  Reply With Quote

Old 04-06-2011   #7
Roger Hicks
Registered User
 
Roger Hicks is offline
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Aquitaine
Posts: 19,731
Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonrutter View Post
I have worked as both a studio assistant and darkroom assistant in the past, and now currently have an assistant helping me with my work. I have in the past been paid for the work I was doing, but am not able to afford to have a paid assistant these days. I compensate my assistant with meals and use of the majority of my equipment that they do not have means to afford. I also spend a good portion of time teaching/mentoring them to make sure it is a value added experience for them. The primary reason for this is that I currently work in higher education and want to make a learning experience as much as I need the help with the production of my own work.

I feel that having an unpaid assistant there needs to be a transfer of knowledge and experience gained to justify the time the assistant contributes. Having an unpaid assistant to just get coffee and sweep floors is unfair in my mind. You do have to start at the bottom and work your way up, but be sure it is something that will ultimately benefit your career, and hopefully theirs as well.

The assistant/photographer relationship should be beneficial to both.

If you have more specific questions feel free and I will do my best to answer.

Cheers, rutter
Dear Rutter,

Probably a realistic analysis for the 21st century, and totally honest. But as I say, if there's no money for an assistant, even the pitiful amount I was paid in the 70s, is it a rational career choice for the assistant?

Not that we all make rational career choices...

Cheers,

R.
__________________
Now even more free photography information on www.rogerandfrances.com
  Reply With Quote

Old 04-06-2011   #8
MartinP
Registered User
 
MartinP is offline
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 2,044
I am curious about the contract which one would have 'working' under these conditions. After all, all individuals involved will/should be covered under a professional insurance scheme to protect the client as much as the photographer. At what point does the intern become a 'someone who came off the street' and not protected in any way ? I am thinking of accidentally dropping the priceless artefact that one is supposed to be lighting, for example.
  Reply With Quote

Old 04-06-2011   #9
jasonrutter
Registered User
 
jasonrutter is offline
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Western Michigan
Posts: 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Hicks View Post
Dear Rutter,

Probably a realistic analysis for the 21st century, and totally honest. But as I say, if there's no money for an assistant, even the pitiful amount I was paid in the 70s, is it a rational career choice for the assistant?

Not that we all make rational career choices...

Cheers,

R.
A rational person would have gone to school to be a doctor or a lawyer. However in the context of the topic it is in my mind a questionable practice in commercial photography to have an unpaid assistant and does cause for question in regards to quality of the photographer.

My current assistant helps me a couple hours a week with moving my fine art work forward by helping digitize images and keeping files organized. They will at the end our time working together gained a skill set of digital asset management, analog to digital workflow, and a greater understanding of printing than is taught in the curriculum at the university they attend. My hope for them is that they quickly overshadow my own abilities and have me as an assistant. However it is a rare case that someone wants free labor with the hope of bettering anyone but themselves.

It is such a case by case thing, but I think with any unpaid situation caution is a must.

rutter
  Reply With Quote

Old 04-06-2011   #10
Roger Hicks
Registered User
 
Roger Hicks is offline
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Aquitaine
Posts: 19,731
Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonrutter View Post
A rational person would have gone to school to be a doctor or a lawyer. However in the context of the topic it is in my mind a questionable practice in commercial photography to have an unpaid assistant and does cause for question in regards to quality of the photographer.

My current assistant helps me a couple hours a week with moving my fine art work forward by helping digitize images and keeping files organized. They will at the end our time working together gained a skill set of digital asset management, analog to digital workflow, and a greater understanding of printing than is taught in the curriculum at the university they attend. My hope for them is that they quickly overshadow my own abilities and have me as an assistant. However it is a rare case that someone wants free labor with the hope of bettering anyone but themselves.

It is such a case by case thing, but I think with any unpaid situation caution is a must.

rutter
Dear Rutter,

Yeah...

Roger W. Hicks, LL.B. (Not kidding, but not always rational in subsequent career choice. Then again, I suspect I have a much better life now, at 60, than I would have had if I'd stuck with the law, which I read after failing to get into medical school: in the 1960s, you didn't tell the interview board that you wanted to be a psychiatrist. For that matter, I also studied accountancy. For three months, after which I went to the training partner and said, "I don't think I was cut out to be an accountant." He said, "I agree. Let's call it quits.")
__________________
Now even more free photography information on www.rogerandfrances.com
  Reply With Quote

Old 04-06-2011   #11
Dwayneb9584
Registered User
 
Dwayneb9584 is offline
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: NYC
Age: 29
Posts: 263
Thanks for all the replies. Long story short, I graduated from college in 08 with a BFA in graphic design. I've been doing photography since high school but took it serious after college.I choose to do photography as it was more meaningful to me and wanting to preserve all the moments that I felt were worth my while. I also though it was a great feeling to know I am making history in some instances. Much better than designing fliers for a sign shop. Friends found my work cool and I starting photographing my friends bands, their bands, fashion starting to come in, other things etc. I spend a great time doing personal work and currently working on an ongoing series entitled "Across the platform which you can view on my site here. The reason why I applied to this job was because I see is as a window to more opportunity for me. I know I'm not getting paid and currently I teach photography at an after school program to middle school kids which is very rewarding at the moment. But I would like to take things to the next level. I also thought why work for someone when I am essentially doing the work myself. I'm just doing it on location. I have alien bee strobes and I have a shoot scheduled next month. I just don't have many clients. I also thought maybe I should just dedicate all this time while there to just shooting my personal work. This can be a waste of time or rewarding. There's so many things to consider. The photographer is Sean Gilligan.

Last edited by Dwayneb9584 : 04-06-2011 at 17:14.
  Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 11:37.


vBulletin skin developed by: eXtremepixels
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

All content on this site is Copyright Protected and owned by its respective owner. You may link to content on this site but you may not reproduce any of it in whole or part without written consent from its owner.