Understudying professional photographers?


Aimevous

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Mar 5, 2009
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#1
Hi,

I've been shooting around for almost a year now and I felt that I've made some progress ( a little, not a lot), after reading tonnes of stuff online and practising some of the stuffs I read.

I was wondering if there are any professional or experienced photographers willing to take me along for his assignments, be it wedding or events, to be a secondary photographer, because I believe that one can learn faster when there's someone to teach.

I am not looking to be paid at all, just wanting to further my skills in my hobby.

Anyone with advice or any comments (good/bad/flame?), feel free to say it! =)

Thanks.
 

Agetan

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#2
Thought I share,

If you want to assist and learn the trick from Professional photographer, you will really need to show that you have some value added aspect.

Most working pro will be quite busy to do their work and run their business and don't have much time to teach.

So unless you can contribute, there is not much point of asking. Some may pose as pro and ask you to do work free of charge...so be careful of that.

Best way to learn is to post the images and let people comment on it. CS is one of them, there are many online community which you can try and that is probably the best way to learn.

I hope that make sense to you and for any one who is looking for similar.

Hart
 

Aimevous

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#3
Thought I share,

If you want to assist and learn the trick from Professional photographer, you will really need to show that you have some value added aspect.

Most working pro will be quite busy to do their work and run their business and don't have much time to teach.

So unless you can contribute, there is not much point of asking. Some may pose as pro and ask you to do work free of charge...so be careful of that.

Best way to learn is to post the images and let people comment on it. CS is one of them, there are many online community which you can try and that is probably the best way to learn.

I hope that make sense to you and for any one who is looking for similar.

Hart
Thanks, because I thought like covering events or even weddings is something that isn't so easily learnt and definitely requires someone to help (I don't want to spoil anyone's event with poor pictures).

But I guess I'll try and get some photos and upload for people to comment!

Thanks for your advice!
 

Jed

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#4
If you want to learn about photography, then understudying a professional is probably not the best way to do it. The professional will likely be busy to explain relatively basic things, and they'll have other concerns to worry about. Shadowing a professional is what you want to do if you want to learn about becoming a professional, more than about photography.

The best way instead is to go and find some good amateur photographers and take outings with them instead. They'll have more time to share, and they'll likely be sharing things that are more relevant to you.
 

ed9119

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#5
Jed, if you'll allow me to add a couple more comments to what you said above .....

TS... my comments below are on the assumption that you want to eventually shoot for a living....

First you will need to find a mentor whose frequencies you need to admire, respect and tune in to...... this is a relationship you should cherish so choose carefully because its best to understand that it is possibly going to be a long term association (NOT a forever apprentice, but beyond that)

Assisting a full time photog with an objective of maybe starting your own business can be a wise move IF

1. you use your initiative and learn through observation
2. you keep mental notes of logistics needed at location and/or in the studio
3. pay attention to the business end of his business
4. you observe how he manages time and resources
5. u learn how he protects himself from a business perspective (contracts, deposits, how slow/late payments are addressed
6. post-shoot workflows and presentation/delivery of the end product
7. understand the types of pricing packages he uses
8. are willing to work your arse off being paid a small travel and maybe food allowance
9. Understand the values and ethics practiced

The good things, hopefully you will recognize and learn to embrace
The not-so-good things, hopefully you will recognize and avoid in future

SO many more things that you can add to this list...... but it all boils down to YOU and your ability to work hard and fast .... and picking up an 'education' as you go along

IF you expect him to sit you down in a classroom an hour or two a week to teach..... you will likely be disappointed.... same same if you expect to learn how to take better images (Jed I agree with you if this is what you meant)

I dont know about Singapore (strangely enough) but in neighboring countries..... full time photogs who run businesses have little qualms about taking on assistants (when the vibes between both parties are good) where in the long=term, good relationships and stronger networks are built as a result of this 'mentorship' .

I've also known a couple of old-timers who have never had apprentices because of a fear that it might breed competition in future (maybe a worker or clerk just to move stuff and run paperwork or man the phone and office [usually their children or wives] )
 

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fotoudavid

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Mar 11, 2005
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#6
I work as an assistance for a $650 per month, and learn a lot.

I agreed with ed9119, but attitude is very important, and you must be able to withstand the scolding out from no where.

You get to learn many basics, even coiling of cables, different photographers does it differently, i am lucky to have assist quite a few.

If you are willing to learn, some commercial photographers will take you in, but full time assistance will learn more as he will spend more time, if you have job to care off, i suggest better to join group outings.
 

ed9119

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#7
oh and...... being a good photographer does NOT equate to being successful in a photo business..... there are more than enough 'starving artist' photogs out there
 

Jed

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#8
TS... my comments below are on the assumption that you want to eventually shoot for a living....

<snipped>

IF you expect him to sit you down in a classroom an hour or two a week to teach..... you will likely be disappointed.... same same if you expect to learn how to take better images (Jed I agree with you if this is what you meant)
That is what I meant Ed.

I totally agree with your points, but as I said, "shadowing a professional is what you want to do if you want to learn about becoming a professional, more than about (learning) photography."

As you point out there are plenty of aspects about the business that you can pick up, but if one is only a keen amateur photographer with no direct intention to go professional then I reckon going with an experienced amateur is a more useful objective :)

Put another way, you gain more from shadowing a professional if you want to learn about the profession. If you only want to know more about photography I feel there are better ways of doing it, but I am not in any way saying that shadowing a professional is a waste of time, far from it.

I was working on the basis of the TS saying, "I am.... just wanting to further my skills in my hobby" and there wasn't any direct indication that he hoped to go pro.

And yes you can present the flip side anytime you want :)
 

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ed9119

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#9
sorry... getting old..... missed that part :embrass:

My opening remarks amended ..... kekeke
 

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Jed

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sorry... getting old..... missed that part :embrass:

My opening remarks amended ..... kekeke
Stop apologising you have nowt to apologise for :) Your points are all good points anyway if someone was looking in that direction ^.^

And besides you're doing a fair bit with your critiques to help people along :D
 

Yoricko

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#11
I'm also interested at understudying professional photographers and this thread has helped me loads.

Very new and don't where where and how to get started.
 

Aimevous

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#12
wow thanks for the response guys.

I am actually considering going professional one day, but then I'm still not sure, so I thought maybe I can learn a bit of how professionals do it and see if its really my thing. I do have an interest in shooting events like weddings etc.

I'm not really after the basics (like really basic), but more of how the professional photographer thinks and move. If I'm not mistaken, I see some of you using the term and is its called "shadowing" right?

But I guess it is pretty hard to find someone to shadow from CS.. as my friends have also said, the photography business in singapore is pretty saturated, and I guess some people are afraid of newbies stealing their rice bowl? But personally, I feel that this fear is unfounded. If you're good, its hard to be beaten by a newbie...

But anyway, I really appreciate all your lengthy and informative replies =):thumbsup:
 

night86mare

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#13
But I guess it is pretty hard to find someone to shadow from CS.. as my friends have also said, the photography business in singapore is pretty saturated, and I guess some people are afraid of newbies stealing their rice bowl? But personally, I feel that this fear is unfounded. If you're good, its hard to be beaten by a newbie...
well, not everyone knows what is good and bad photography.

for example, if you dangle a $25 wedding photography coverage in front of that not-so-artisitically-inclined couple...... versus the usual package that costs significantly more, well, you can't really blame them for accepting "nice IQ pictures that aren't that great" for the discount. ;)
 

Jed

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#14
I'm also interested at understudying professional photographers and this thread has helped me loads.

Very new and don't where where and how to get started.
I am writing this with the understanding that you are looking at going professional in the longer term. Exposure to a professional environment is not necessarily bad, but I would strongly recommend you get your photographic foundations sorted first. You might already have, I don't know, it depends on what exactly you mean by "very new".

Otherwise it might be a bit like learning to be a driving instructor without knowing how to drive first.
 

JacePhoto

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#15
Thought I share,

If you want to assist and learn the trick from Professional photographer, you will really need to show that you have some value added aspect.


Hart

so totally agree. i got people who just want to come and 'WATCH'... i literally mean it 'watch' how i work. Hey, come on, are professional photographers an animal for you to watch? EVen the animals in the zoo gets paid.

There are people who come and leave half way through citing girlfriends meeting, go home for dinner etc. :thumbsd:

Who wants to rely on photo-enthusiast? They are the most unreliable bunch/
 

ed9119

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#16
JacePhoto :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: this is SO true with some of these aspiring assistants ....... totally feel for you.

Thats why its SO important for BOTH mentor and apprentice to choose each other carefully and not just take any walk-in wannabe because of the cheap labor

The worst are those who apprentice halfway and just walk off and quit without notice when they lost interest ....

Just dump them if the commitment to seriously apprencitce is not there......

EVERYTHING ELSE MUST take a back seat (maybe except bereavements in the immediate family) otherwise dont waste other people's time and effort
 

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Aimevous

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#17
Hmm, personally I am keen on learning the skills on becoming a professional so I wont be one of those walking off/watching only etc.

I can imagine the scenarios understand the concerns, it applies to learning almost every type of skillset, e.g. I hate to teach someone things who only learn it half heartedly.

So if I really do want to approach someone to learn/shadow, can anyone suggest how I can go about doing it?

So far everyone has been very very helpful and I really appreciate the response :)
 

#18
so totally agree. i got people who just want to come and 'WATCH'... i literally mean it 'watch' how i work. Hey, come on, are professional photographers an animal for you to watch? EVen the animals in the zoo gets paid.

There are people who come and leave half way through citing girlfriends meeting, go home for dinner etc. :thumbsd:

Who wants to rely on photo-enthusiast? They are the most unreliable bunch/
S'truth.

How 'bout those when u try to explain to them what they are doing wrong and what they can do to improve, end up getting defensive and upset.
 

hotwork77

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#19
JacePhoto :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: this is SO true with some of these aspiring assistants ....... totally feel for you.

Thats why its SO important for BOTH mentor and apprentice to choose each other carefully and not just take any walk-in wannabe because of the cheap labor

The worst are those who apprentice halfway and just walk off and quit without notice when they lost interest ....

Just dump them if the commitment to seriously apprencitce is not there......

EVERYTHING ELSE MUST take a back seat (maybe except bereavements in the immediate family) otherwise dont waste other people's time and effort
Hey...I totally agree with you and Jed. I have always advocate that to improve in photography is to experiment, learn from past "mistakes", ability to work around the limitations of your equipment etc.

Photography like everything else is only a hobby. To me, it is an avenue to record a scene in time to remind me later on when my memory fades. There's no right or wrong in taking a picture. Just like doodle. Some doodles are worth millions and some are fit for the rubbish heap.

To improve one's standard to reach an artistic plane is commendable. We also have to acknowledge that no matter how much we try, we can never reach some famous photographers' standards simply because it is not easy to copy someone elses style.

No point apeing others by shadowing. Let's go out more and snap some more. That's the way to go boldly where no one else has gone before.
 

JacePhoto

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#20
so totally agree. i got people who just want to come and 'WATCH'... i literally mean it 'watch' how i work. Hey, come on, are professional photographers an animal for you to watch? EVen the animals in the zoo gets paid.

There are people who come and leave half way through citing girlfriends meeting, go home for dinner etc. :thumbsd:

Who wants to rely on photo-enthusiast? They are the most unreliable bunch/
On hindsight, i may have been too harsh. There are tons of photographers who gives their assistants hell as well. They also ought to be :thumbsd:
 

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