“I’m most compelled by people who reach out in a very professional manner and exhibit good communications skills,” Denny says. “I like to see that somebody has personalized the email to me. I want to know: Why are they reaching out to me among thousands of photographers they could email? I would like them to be informed about the work I do and what king of help I might need.”
A resume isn’t necessary, Denny continues. “Keep the email brief. Tell me your skills, and where you went to school. That’s all I need to know right off the bat.” Her other advice is to spell correctly (especially her name), and avoid getting too personal or sentimental in the email. “I’ve had people tell me [in introductory emails] too much about their struggle to find work. That might come up in a conversation when I meet them, but leading with that is not good,” Denny says.
Denny notes, “The number one thing I’m always asking prospective assistants, especially those who have just graduated from art school, is whether or not they now how to run Capture One [and] whether they know how to shoot tethered to a computer…If I were just graduating from art school I would try to get work as a digitech, because it is so much more lucrative than any other kind of assisting, and in more informal shoots I often need somebody to run [Capture One] on my computer for me.”
While some commercial shoots have the budget to hire crews that include several assistants and PAs, Denny notes, “Often the shoots I’m doing are scrappier than that, and I need to ask my assistant to wear a couple of different hats.”
See the full story for a lot more insight and advice from other photographers about how to get work as a photo assistant.
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