From the Emailbag

- - FAQ's

A reader asks, “why don’t photo editors don’t return phone calls and emails?”

The good news is that we listen to and read each one so it’s not like you’re not getting through to us. The reason we don’t get back to you and say no thanks or hey what did you want to tell me, besides the problem of not having enough time, it’s because I’m not a robot (I can dance like one tho) and once we start a conversation I feel obligated to return all future phone calls and emails and it can get very time consuming and draining. So, if it’s not something I’m interested in I don’t call back. Plenty of publicists don’t return mine. I don’t take it personally.

A reader asks, “how do I get a job as a photo assistant?”

Well, you can head over to www.photoassistant.net or you can contact photographers you want to learn from and see if they need an assistant.

A reader asks, “do you know where there is a list of photo editor with email addresses to contact them?”

Workbook has a phone book with names and they also have mailing lists you can buy. There are other services but workbook is one of the few that calls me to see if I exist.

A reader asks, “what do you think of Redux as an agency?”

If I’m looking for a photographer that doesn’t live in NYC then it’s my first stop. When looking for photojournalists it’s in the top 5. When looking for photographers in general it’s on the list.

A reader asks, “do e-promos work anymore?”

Yes, but the volume is increasing exponentially. It’s all about the subject line now. Weird to think about it that way but I’m seeing some great subject lines that make me want to click.

There Are 13 Comments On This Article.

  1. The subject line is such a winner! Whats been the best so far? I tend to send quite random ones.

    I often get the how to be an assistant question too. Then followed by ‘But I don’t know howwwww’

    No one did……

  2. I agree, it would feel nicer if you would get reply, especially when starting. But people really shouldn’t take this personally. If you set up generic reply, people would be offended by generic reply just as much as with no reply at all, and I guess we all know, noone has time to answer 100s of mails and/or phone calls on daily basis… and still doing his/her primary job.

  3. On both sides of the biz, well-meaning spam-spewers and tough-love editors preach one thing…it’s not personal. The distillation process is stepped up and both sides necessarily lose more. Cui bono?

  4. First it was about creating a well-actualized photograph that would communicate concepts of beauty and truth.

    Now all these ‘why” questions. And “what” and “how” and “who.” Like what’s an appropriate present to give a client for Christmas. And what color is the best for my portfolio bag.

    I remember a time when conversations were about sex and religion – not about the asking price for your co-op and what interest rate you got.

    Now I get an assignment and the first thing I must discuss is “how much.”

    Now I have to think about the subject line of my emails.

    I’m struggling with this. I really am.

  5. Everyone gets way too much information shoved at them and it’s a shame because some of it is truly worthy, though most should just be titled “hire me now”.

    From 4 e-mail addresses, 5 voice mails, text messaging, faxes and mail, if I or anyone personally answered every inquiry we would do nothing but respond 100% of the time.

    Most of what I receive is crew looking for a gig and to get a result 50% of it is content, the other 50% is timing.

    If I’m in the middle of shooting obviously I don’t need a hair stylist “today” but if the work is amazing, they will make our “future” list, or if my stylist decided to blow out to the Islands for 4 weeks, then the e-mail that is titled “great hair stylist”, will obviously get my attention.

    The interesting thing is few people that send me e-mails state straight out where they live, usually just an area code to their cell like 626 or something like that, which goes straight into my delete bin because I don’t have time to search and find out if 626 is Pasadena.

    The e-mails I dread the most are “MOVING TO NEW YORK AND WILL WORK FOR FREE”.

    God I feel for these people because I know why lies ahead and it’s not pretty.

    I would never hire anyone at any level that will work for free. I don’t work for free, my clients don’t work for free and though the age old apprentice system has been refined by some in New York to the level of indentured servant, those e-mails go in the trash first thing, because I know that unless they’re an heiress to a margarine corporation, they’ll just come in, sleep on some friends pull out in Brooklyn, suffer malnutrition, have a hard time focusing on work and spend their first 4 months in the city lost and bewildered.

    This industry operates on many levels and though most that are young and fresh off the farm don’t know it yet, rather than look for work with that “name” photogrpaher that will probably pay them less than a living wage, work them 16 hour days and then make them wait 6 months for even that, they should direct their energies to photogrpahers and studios that function as a business with real investment.

    James Russell

  6. la.photo.assistant.

    Ditto #5 James Russell

    When I first started assisting, one of the first things I heard was don’t work for free although I do know a few folks who did assist for free for a bit. Back in the 90s, as a newbie, I charged $50 bucks a day (this was Dallas) and slowly work up to today’s $250 (LA)…although off topuc, once I found out during a conversation with the photographer that hired me, that with overtime I actually made more than him I asked him about it. He shrugged. He needed money. Well…we all know that feeling.

    Anyways, for newbie photo assistants…charge something.

  7. Sort of off topic, but if you’re a photographer and providing content to a magazine for editorial use that will be clearly used as an advertising vehicle for your photography and the vendors involved in a wedding, and you are told that there will be a legible credit on first page of the article, don’t you think you should get that instead of having to hunt in the fold of the magazine only to find a thin 6 point font that is white ..placed overtop of the section of the photograph that is about 10% grey..making your name and company website completely unreadable?
    Read more here:
    http://andreasphotoinc.blogspot.com/2007/12/wedding-bells-spring-summer-feature.html

  8. “It’s all about the subject line now.”

    WOW.

    I understand that photography is a business and that it involves a certain amount of marketing and hoo-ha, as it were, but it’s a bit depressing to think that a witty subject header is the end point, at this point. I knew editors were getting blasted with emails, but I had no idea that things were so bad. I am not a writer — trying to come up with some kind of fabulous word pizzazz is a weird concept.

  9. #1 Ben:

    Certain times of the year I seem to get deluged with emails asking for either work experience placements or work as an assistant.

    Being the nice sort of bloke I am, I always try to reply to the eager students with a personalised email. This does take time, especially if trying to cover points raised, include hyperlinks to useful sites, associations etc etc.

    What really annoys me though are those people who, having got a decent, well thought out reply then can’t be arsed to hit the “reply” button and say a simple “thanks for that”.

    I’d say one in ten actually have the courtesy and manners to say thanks.

    Of course, this dents my enthusiasm to spend time on further replies.

    Its a vicious circle which will no doubt end in no replies to anyone ever.

    Perhaps this is how the current vogue for not replying if not interested came about – a gradual helpfulness that tailed off into indifference….