Breaking into the photography industry can be tricky at best, and many burgeoning photographers want to know just how to do it. In fact, acclaimed fashion photographer Alexi Lubomirski says that it’s the question his students ask him the most: “How did you get started?” To answer this, Lubomirski goes on a rather whimsical walking tour of Rome, telling his story of how he broke into the business:
It all started at the university, where a visiting lecturer told Lubomirski’s class that none of them would ever work in the industry. Defying this pronouncement (and snagging the lecturer’s list of contacts), Lubomirski then went on a journey to see if he could somehow meet the right person at the right time. After many, many slammed doors and almost giving up, he was told,
“You’re not good enough to be a photographer, but you’re good enough to be an assistant.”
And that person opened the door. For the next four years Lubomirski assisted the famous fashion photographer Mario Testino before finally going on to start his own business.
His advice? Assist. Assist. Assist. Being an assistant allows you to learn the ropes and get the vital training that you just can’t learn in school.
It “allows you to learn about networking, how business is done, how to talk to models, how to talk to celebrities, how to work with your team as a team.”
But as excellent as it is, assisting alone is not enough to break into the business. Practice, perseverance, and luck will all have an equal hand in your success, as well as a level of stubbornness that prevents you from giving up:
“It doesn’t matter how many doors get slammed in your face. It only takes one person to make a difference.”
The last tip? Work hard. Work very hard. That way, when luck hits, you’ll be ready for it.
Have you managed to break into the photography industry? If so, share your story below.
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