So I'm guessing that you are not that photographer and that you are reading this because you already know that getting experience is the most practical route to go down. So how can you go about getting some?
Here are some tips:
- Be selective about who you target. It should be someone who's work you genuinely admire as then you will be able to display your knowledge of their images and why you think you might be a good fit.
- Time it well. Don't contact anyone first thing on a Monday morning or last thing on a Friday afternoon. Nobody really wants to deal with anything above and beyond what needs to happen at either of these times and you will be far down anyone's priority list. If the person you approaching is successful then they will be busy.
- Put yourself in the other person's shoes. Think what's in it for them? They won't be sitting there thinking I wish there was someone here asking me loads of questions and learning how I do everything so that they can set up in competition against me.What do you really have to offer? What skill sets do you bring that will actually improve that photographer's life? You need to sell yourself as someone that will benefit them. I'm sorry to tell you that most photographers don't need help with the shooting side of things as much as the admin side. It's more likely that you will be filing and making tea rather than getting your hands on all their expensive gear.
- Show your personality. Don't be afraid to show your character traits. You can assume that if someone is a level where you want to approach them, then so will several others, so aim to stand out. When people write I have a GSOH in dating profiles it doesn't mean anything but the person who shows wit in how they word their biography will be more appealing.
- Think creatively. This is a creative industry, so it amazes me how people approach so much of it in uncreative ways. Everyone else is sending a lazy cut and paste email? Then send your communication some other way. Show how creative you are by posting them something lovely, show how brave you are by actually picking up the phone and talking to the person you are asking to train you.
- Be realistic. Aim not to land a full time job but aim to get your foot in the door. You are highly unlikely to contact someone sitting there with a full time job to give you. Aim instead to get a day or a week's work experience and then make yourself utterly indispensable.