I don't often start a post without a photo, but in this case, that is exactly my point. Yet again, I have received an inquiry from a would be second shooter/assistant/do-you-have-a-job-for-me kind of person. To be honest, the ones that look like form letters rarely get a response from me. If the letter or the website are intriguing enough, I might reply....if I remember (note: sometimes you should write twice to busy people!).
I recently heard from a student who would like to be an intern, and when I saw the photo on her resume it reminded me of something I have been meaning to mention for years.... I need to see what you look like, folks!
I work in the image business. I shoot high end events for people who are highly successful and highly educated. They dress well, speak well, and generally look like they could be speaking on television momentarily . It is NOT ok in my workplace to have crazy hair coloring, excessive tattoos, or body piercings. I have dressed like a guest at every event I have ever photographed for the last 20 years. If the wedding is "black tie", that is my dresscode. Blending in is a key part to what I do. If you want to work with me, I need to see what you look like and I need to know if you can blend in too (do you have a suit? or can you get one in a hurry?). Of course I would like to meet you and see if you are a friendly 'people-person'. Yes, I care about your photography skills too.....but honestly you have to pass all those other hurdles first.
One of my favorite assistants recently wrote to me just after Halloween to say his head had had a close encounter with a razor in the name of a better costume, and he was trying to find a hair stylist to fix the issue, but basically the sides of his head were hairless. He was scheduled to work with me a few days later, at a corporate event for a new client I had never worked with. He had lined up a replacement, just in case I didn't like the new 'do. I asked him to send a photo, and I didn't like what I saw....so I hired his friend at the last minute. I was SO grateful that he had that much foresight and thoughtfulness to ask!
Note to all you would be great assistants out there: I give HUGE points for YOUR ability to anticipate and problem-solve. It is what I used to do best as an assistant myself. It is what I like to see most in anyone who is working for me. I hired him again about a week later for a different job in Florida. He gets an 'A' in my book for anticipation AND problem solving! He is very skilled as a photographer and as an assistant and he's a lot of fun to have around.....but I am glad he knew that a crazy haircut might not be appropriate for the kinds of clients I have.
Oh...and how did I find my current favorite assistant? I asked a friend in the business who runs her own photography company and hires a LOT of freelancers. So, when you impress one boss....remember you are impressing many.