I receive a fair few emails from youngsters looking for work experience, trainee or second photographer jobs.  As someone who has run my own business for 24 years ago I owe a lot to the people who I worked with during my twenties. 

Back then it was a different time as there were generally few photographers, so jobs were more easy to come by. I was fortunate to have worked for several photographers before I set up on my own and without the knowledge and experience I gained from other professionals I would never have been able to work for myself.

These days it's very different, the working environment is now very much self employed/freelance. A lot of people look to leave college or university to set up on their own with no knowledge of how to actually run a business, regardless of how good they may be at photography or video. I've spoken a little about this before in a previous article but this time I'd like to say to established photographers that we should be helping the younger generation as much as we can. Yes I agree there is a risk that we teach someone everything only for them to leave and set up on their own.....but that's what most of us did anyway!

 

My own team is made up of ex-students of mine that I hand picked, identifying them as individuals that could help me and my business. One member of the team recently left to set up his own image retouching business but I pass on all my retouching work to him. I was disappointed he was leaving but I wished him all the best and he still helps me out with photography and video jobs when I need him. I continue to encourage him as much as I can and it's a relationship that works both ways. I've also recently had two 17 year old Media students help edit some of our video jobs because they're so good! I approached the local college and interviewed a group of second year students and gave two of them regular work at good rates of pay. I wasn't looking for cheap labour, I simply thought having younger minds may benefit my own outlook.

A younger generation won't take work away from established photographers; not if you teach them how to do things correctly, in fact they can be hugely beneficial for your business as they bring in a different thought process. You may not agree with them all the time but I can guarantee they will constantly say and do things and you'll ask yourself why you hadn't thought of it yourself. 

The time will come when they want to leave and set up their own business, so instead of being bitter wish them all the best and feel proud that you've passed on your knowledge and experience for someone to take it further. So I encourage all photographers out there with established businesses to help and offer work experience as I guarantee it will motivate you personally and move your business forward. 

A lot of the work on my own website wouldn't have been possible if i hadn't given others an opportunity; abraxasphoto.co.uk