When I started my photography business, one of the first things I did was contacting local photographers in Brussels that I admired and ask them to meet. In this article, I want to share my experience with you to encourage you to go out and assist professional photographers you admire in your area. 

Becoming an assistant photographer was beneficial for me when I was starting my photography business, and it was also advantageous for them because of what I was providing to them. Let’s get right into it.

Contact local photographers.

When I knew I wanted to start my photography business, I contacted about ten different local photographers. Some of them never replied, some did but were not interested, and a couple of them took the time to respond and met me in person.

At first, I was interested in knowing about their experience as professional photographers. I wanted to understand if it was feasible to be a photographer in Brussels and make a living out of it. I was coming from an IT world and needed to understand the market before jumping into it. I was, however, decided that I wanted to give it a try. 

Having an honest and open conversation with local photographers allowed me to understand better what my chances were, and perhaps even what were the steps I needed to take to succeed. After our meeting, I got a call in which they asked me if I wanted to be their assistant photographer. I gladly said, yes. It was the beginning of my assisting experience.

Show readiness and enthusiasm.

I had no experience being an assistant photographer, but that didn’t impede me from being ready to get my hands dirty with excitement so I could be of help to them. In the beginning, I had to get used to their rhythms and ways of working, the equipment, and preferred techniques. My willingness to be helpful allowed me to keep working with them over time, so I became their partner of trust when they needed an assistant. I was ready for all challenges ahead.

Eventually, with time, we started working as a team, and we were in sync, I knew what they needed, so it was easier for me to be of help to them. The more we worked together, the better I got at it, and the more I learned.

Learn by observing.

Since we spent lots of time together, I had the chance to see them closely in action at work. This experience allowed me to learn first hand what I could do when I would be taking pictures of my clients in the future.

I didn’t want to be a burden and be asking a bunch of questions every time they would do something so I could learn. I was there to help, not to question. Of course, it was not a problem if I asked at the right time. However, when they were in their zone, I stayed put, helped as much as I could, and observed everything they did. An attentive observation was everything I needed to learn when assisting.

Get professional experience.

While assisting professional photographers, I was in the first line of action seeing their interaction with subjects and clients. My intentions were transparent and honest, and I was absorbing as much information as I could that could help me learn from the experience.

I was able to see the business aspect of their photography venture and take everything I could to make it my own. Believe it or not, some experienced photographers are more than happy sharing tips and tricks about their business with their assistant. They know how important it was for them when they started to get help, and so they are happily passing that information to the next generations.

With the right intentions and questions, I managed to obtain lots of valuable information and knowledge that still sticks today and that I apply to my own photography business.

Enjoy.

Last but not least, I decided that enjoying every moment of my assisting career was of utmost importance. It was my willingness to learn, help, and work, combined with my passion for photography that made me a good assistant. I enjoyed every step of the experience, and in exchange, not only I got paid for my efforts, but I also learned a whole lot.

Final thoughts

Becoming an assistant photographer was highly beneficial to my career as a professional photographer that taught me many things and accelerated my success. Having that first-hand experience was extremely valuable in my early days, and I still apply many of the things I learned in my own photography business.

If you are an aspiring photographer, I strongly recommend you assisting established photographers in your area. Get to know them, show interest, and see if they need assistance without sounding desperate. If they need help and you show charisma and transparency, they will probably call you, and you are on your way to starting a fruitful relationship.

I hope you find value in this article from my own experience, and that you can increase your chances of success by becoming an assistant photographer. Do you have any advice or personal experience being an assistant? Let me know on the comments below. I would be happy to hear from you. Thank you for your time.

Video on YouTube available here https://youtu.be/Np-CuLNrx8c


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