Photography Industry Leaders Share Their 6 Top Interview Tips For Getting Ahead
Hey there FashionPhotographyBlog.com readers. Our friends from the Dots are back once again to share great tips from photography industry leaders who attended their portfolio masterclass in London, UK. The Dots is a community of creative professionals, designed to connect creatives with collaborators, companies and commercial opportunities. They believe in collectively building a stronger, more profitable and diverse creative sector, similar to us here at FPBlog. We are super excited to have them here with us again on our website.
Just in case you may not be aware, The Dots hosted a Photography Portfolio Masterclass at Spring Studios to give talented emerging photographers the chance to have their work reviewed by some of the UK’s most prominent picture editors and photographic agents. It was also an opportunity for these budding photographers to ask questions and engage in dialogue with these photography representatives, who would be otherwise out of reach.
With such a wealth of collective experience in the room, they all must have heard all sorts of answers photographers give in interviews when they come to meet them. This is why the team at The Dots took each of them aside to ask them for their best interview tips they could give to photographers to get ahead in the hugely competitive photography industry. Here’s what the photography industry representatives revealed:
6 Interviews Tips For Photographers Who Want To Move Up In The Industry
It may seem obvious to some, but our industry leaders’ main interview tip was to make sure you do your research.
Jamie Klingler (Publishing Manager, Shortlist/Stylist Magazine) made it very clear that “if you walk in and you don’t know what my job is, you don’t know where I’ve worked before, you haven’t seen any of the shoots I’ve produced before – you’re not gonna have an ‘in’ with me, you’re not gonna be showing me your professionalism.”
David Birkitt (Owner & Managing Director, DMB Represents) noted that you should “have a really good reason as to why you’re coming to see me, be aware of what I do. Be aware of something you can add to what I’ve got, not replicate what I’ve got. Have a goal, have a reason for why you want to come, and have at least one thing that you wanna learn.”
Our golden rule for interviews: Do your homework!
Have a point of view
(Robin Derrick, Executive Creative Director, Spring Studios) illuminates why perfectly – “when people ask me how to become a fashion photographer – which is mostly what I commission. What they should remember is the word ‘Fashion’ is as big as the word ‘Photographer’ in that phrase, and it’s very important for a fashion photographer to have a point of view on fashion […] most people can take a picture; I think really learning about fashion and having a point of view on that is normally what improves the work.”
Holly Hay (Photographic Editor, AnOther Magazine & Another Man) reinforced this notion, stating that she also looks for “someone who has something to say, someone who has an opinion on the world and on fashion and on style.”
Make sure your style fits.
If your work is more ‘classic’ than ‘edgy’ then there’s no point in applying for a job at places such as Dazed or Vice as that’s not the kind of work they’re looking for, it’s “a waste of time for everybody, a waste of time for the photographer and for ourselves” Dalia Nassimi (Deputy Picture Editor, WIRED).
Your time is precious; make sure you’re not wasting it!
Jamie Klingler needs to see passion from a photographer in an interview – “it’s not an easy job, we’re not in this because we want to work 9-5, we’re in this because we want more. So you have to show me that you want to give more and you want to collaborate more.”
Dalia Nassimi points out that, “in magazines – you’re not in it for money you’re in it for the experience, for the exposure. You’re going to get access to a really interesting person or access to a really interesting company. That’s what we’re giving you – go run with it, because in ad world you don’t get that.”
So, in your interview, be passionate about the project and let them know how much you want the opportunity to work with them.
Be on time
Again it may seem obvious, but punctuality is crucial in an interview. It’s the very first impression you give to the interviewer and you don’t want it to be a bad one, as Jamie Klingler stresses, “if I think you’re late for an interview you’re gonna be late for my shoot and I just don’t deal with lateness […] I’ve never hired anyone that was late for an interview.”
After so many emails sent with no response, it can feel like you may never get your big break.
But Holly Hay’s advice for breaking into the industry is to “have persistence – don’t feel like you’re chasing people. Everyone is so busy they won’t feel hounded […] it’s all about timing – hitting someone’s inbox at the right time. So persistence and be brave, and stay true to why you originally started taking pictures.”
What did you think about these photographer’s interview tips? Hopefully, next time you are sitting at the desk of a photography magazine editor or creative director to pitch an idea or show them your portfolio, you will now be better prepared. If you have any interview tips for getting ahead in the industry that you want to share, that hasn’t been mentioned in this post, or you want to leave a comment about the ones listed above please feel free to write them in the comment section below.
To find out more about The Dots’ next Photography Portfolio Masterclasses here: https://the-dots.co.uk/about/portfolio-masterclasses
Feature image & images 1: courtesy of Jack Woodhouse