Q & A: Tips for new photographers looking for work experience

Q & A: Tips for new photographers looking for work experience

So this week’s Q & A comes from not just one email but the many emails I’ve had over the years as a photographer requesting photography work experience.

There are quite a few ways to easily improve your chances and here are some of my top tips to get you started.

First up!

Email etiquette

It may sound obvious but get the name of the person you are emailing correct!

Don’t copy and paste you email either. Make it personal to that particular photographer (yes, you gotta put a bit of effort into these things!)

Do your research about the person, and double check that the photographer may be actually someone you could enjoy working with. Get a bit stalky and check them out, get a feel for their personality.

Apart from maybe having an amazing portfolio, what else do you know about them? Do you like them? Admire their attitude? Do you think you would get along? Because if your instincts scream at you that you two won’t hit it off, then don’t bother pursuing work experience with that person. You are going to waste your time and their time. Start your career the way you mean to go on and try and work with people that you respect, admire and hopefully have a great working relationship with too!

In the process of cold emailing for work experience, not only should you introduce yourself but tell the other person what you are hoping you can offer them in return for your work experience.

What are you skills? Talents? Strengths? This is a chance to sell yourself!

Show your photographs

This one should go without saying but it’s one of the biggest mistakes made when sending out emails – give the photographer a link to your photographs! 9 out of 10 emails I’ve received never link or include any photographs.

If a photographer who is in the market to take on a trainee reads your email at the right time but then has to email you back to ask for a link and wait for you to email back…well, they might go off the boil, and you could lose out on an opportunity.

If you feel your portfolio isn’t strong, don’t worry about it, you’re learning and it may be that your photographs are awesome but you maybe feel intimidated by showing them to a professional, but I’d say get at least 3 good photos that you are proud to show off. I don’t have to tell you that photographers are very visual people!

Get offline!

But how about being less passive and instead of sending out emails, how about getting offline?


Research the photographers you would really like to work with. If they are using social media, then starting interacting and join in the conversation with them. But also, are they going to any events that you could go to and use that as a chance to say ‘hi’. Where will you find photographers to work with? What events do they go to? Where will you stand a chance of meeting professional photographers? Put yourself out there and getting meeting people, and in the process begin building your photography network work. You will increase your chances of getting great work experience if people can meet you and get to know you. As my wise mum says to me, if you don’t show, you don’t sell!

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Have you got any tips for new photographers wanting to get work experience with a professional photographer? Share them in the comments below!


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