Starting photographers can often be heard lamenting about “Access”. “If I could just find some good models, or makeup artists, or nice clothing, or locations…etc, then my photography would be better.” If you hear them say this, ask them this, “What was the last charity event you offered to work for free?” Charity events are often looking for people to assist with photography, and they are a ready made portfolio enhancer. The biggest benefit though is the networking potential. You will spend an entire day rubbing elbows with people that can help you in the future. You will find people that will want to collaborate with you, or on occasion they see your professionalism and product and then send you work.
A couple weeks ago I received an invitation, from a fellow photographer to assist him in working the Live out Loud charity fashion show in Chicago. I am really glad, I accepted it. I got to spend 12 hours with 100% access to the entire fashion show process. The show included Parisian Designer, Wafaa Lahlah and Mid-West Designer, Jealousy Jane Couture along with others. The clothing was stunning and we had about 60+ Hair and makeup artists on scene making sure everything was picture perfect. You could not ask for a better opportunity to take some quality photographs.
Now there are a couple things you need to remember when you get invited to these events. I was brought in as an assistant, so helping the person that brought me and making them look good, was JOB ONE. Make sure you know the dress code of the event, this was one notch below black tie, so we brought suits for the actual show and changed before it started. Next, work like an animal, step up and help with things even if they aren’t your responsibility, help the DJ, stay for tear down and help pickup. People remember the people who are team players and those who are in it for themselves. Last, always be thankful and express that to those hosting the event and the other talent. Here are a couple of the shots from that day:
Citation: All Images used in this post are original work created by Christopher Bergeron.