{san francisco} what i need to do

Well, it was a long weekend for me as I spent two full days at the APA Photo Assistant Basic Training workshop. I've been meaning to join APA and I finally got around to looking at the site last week and that's when I noticed the workshop coming up a few days later. I can't convey how perfect the timing was! Being new to the area and wanting to work with photographers, I couldn't have been presented with a better opportunity.

Assisting photographers is something that I was encouraged to do back in college but never did. Now, college was four years ago and I find that I don't really know what I'm doing. Sure, I've done a few freelancing jobs and I worked as a full-time photographer at a printing company. But I was the only photographer there and, for the most part, I felt like I was stumbling along doing things the only way I knew how, getting out of practice, creating bad habits (i.e. not using a light meter or incorporating light ratios), and overall not learning from anyone. 

People keep telling me that I'm a great photographer and could open my own studio, but I always say that I don't want to. I'm not being humble, it's just that I know how much I still need to learn! I want to work at a studio with someone who knows what they're doing, has worked in the industry for quite awhile, doing the kind of work I'm interested in, and who's willing to take the time to teach me. I don't want to be the photographer right now. I don't need to be. 

Looking back at my college days, I realize that yes, I should've been assisting. And now I find myself in this amazing city and it seems to be the right time in my life. For those of you who don't know, assisting is something that is very hard and scary (cold calls!) to get into. You don't make a lot of money at first, yet you still need to be flexible and not having a job right now might actually be a good thing!

So, this weekend went really well! I got a lot of questions answered, refreshed my memory on basic lighting setups, made quite a few contacts, and met some amazing women (even one who went to Virginia Tech and, like me, just moved here from across the country about a month ago). 


Margeaux said...

I couldn't have written that better myself. I feel the same. Especially after this last wedding I had. It made me never want to do another wedding ever again and also made me feel like other photographers could have pulled it off much better than I did. (It was a monsoon outside for a beach wedding. Everything was ruined as I had to do ALL of the portrait type photos in the hotel room.) I don't need the stress of that right now. I'm not ready for it. I totally agree with wanting to be a professional assistant and nothing more at the moment. Good luck! Hope you find a great photographer to work for! I'm going to start looking, myself.

Monica said...

excellent! flow happens when we're open to it. after your move and all that entailed, you became ready.

having a mentor of any kind can be invaluable. it does depend on what type/style of art we're creating of course. it can be detrimental and box us up.

but if you're looking to learn the best way into technical side of photography, then yes, assisting is perfect.

yes, it's tough to get into, there are more assistant wannabes than willing photographers. i remember all my colleagues at university doing the cold calls. i was lucky with my very arty-don't-give-a-damn-about-lighting style. lol

i admire your ability to know what is right for you.

good luck!