Happy Monday fam! Starting out the week with a sunny morning and reveling on a great weekend with amazing people. I’m feeling those spring vibes finally popping through and my heart is OVERJOYED. I wanted to pop in today to answer two questions I get asked almost every week.
Can I second shoot with you? OR Tips on becoming a second shooter?
I love this! Second shooting is such a great way to gain confidence, experience and work for your portfolio. However, when you start reaching out to photographers you love to become their assistant I think there are a few things you can do to get selected (or passed on!).
1. Don’t send a DM.
I often receive messages with one line saying “Can I second shoot or shadow you?”. Umm first of all- can I get a hello? 😉 People can get a little overwhelmed with social media messages or just plain forget about them in the bustle of busy life. Sending an email or contact form inquiry is a much more professional way to get in touch with someone and stay front of mind!
2. Do the leg work.
If you’re inquiring to gain experience from another creative they shouldn’t have to put effort into finding more info about you. When hiring assistants our clients entrust us to bring someone along who is reliable, hard working and a great fit for their big day. We can’t just pick any random person off the internet. Okay, I hear ya. So what should I do next?
Take the time to send an email and sound like a real human! What should be included in that message: A greeting. Who you are? What kind of experience do you have? Where are you based? What is your gear list? Why are you interested in working with me specifically? What are you asking of me? Being an actual person and giving me the information I need up front makes you much more likely to be a top preference when opportunities arise.
3. Make your email personal and don’t just talk about yourself.
When you approach someone you’re asking them to share their time, experience and knowledge with you. If you send a message asking for those things and don’t acknowledge them as a person it can feel a little cold (re: rude). I think it’s important to include why you reached out to them specifically. What you admire about their work and business. How they’ve influenced you. Last year a sweet soul named Madeleine Decker from to Bloom and Wander reached out with the kindest + most thoughtful email asking if I would ever give her the chance to shadow. She was concise, personable and made a point to mention the reasons she admired me as a fellow business owner. We didn’t know each other personally and I didn’t have anything for her in that moment. HOWEVER, almost three months later when an opportunity popped up she immediately came to mind and I sent her an email. She was able to join me on a wedding day and it was a blast! Because she took the time to reach out and shoot me a message (that wasn’t a canned response) her name stayed in the back of my mind and I actively scanned for a chance to work together.
The creative industry is fueled on relationships and connections. I’ve selected and avoided working with assistants based on our online interactions and on how much effort they put into reaching out to me. Don’t be lazy! I believe how you choose to communicate is a reflection on how professional you would be in a working relationship. Putting the extra effort in is always worth it and can land you not only more work but also some of the most genuinely incredible friends. I hope this was helpful!