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Tips for Getting an Exciting Photography Internship

Bethany Cleg
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Published on May 14, 2015

Photography internships can enable you to work with top-notch photographers. Many are even willing to give amateur photographers with great potential a first look into the process of making a career out of photography.

It’s a tough world out there in this specific field, considering the amount of competition that grows every year, and doing an internship can get you on the right track. Use these 10 great tips for finding and landing these internships successfully.

1. Create a Perfect Physical Portfolio

Make sure you have a portfolio that really showcases your skills as a photographer. Printing out your images on glossy paper or any type of photography paper will show that you are serious. Internship employers usually want to find people who are creative. If you can showcase this to them, you will have a higher chance of getting hired.

Look books are a good idea, but if you spend the time to make a custom portfolio and look book geared toward the position you are applying for, your chances essentially skyrocket. It shows creativity and a strong desire for the internship.

2. Digital Portfolio

Take the plunge and buy a domain, like www.yourname.com, and build a portfolio site. Products like Squarespace allow you to make super slick sites with no knowledge of web development, and portfolio sites are relatively simple. You are just showcasing all your work.

Make sure you have social 2.0 accounts for your photography on all the major outlets: a Facebook page, Instagram, Tumblr, WordPress and more. Make sure these are separate from your personal social accounts as it implies an air of professionalism when they are accounts dedicated to your photography.

Have these linked and featured on your portfolio site. This makes you look much larger than life.

3. Keep an Online Press Kit Handy

Also on your portfolio site, you are going to want a page that is a one-page type press kit. Usually new businesses and bands have press kits, but you’ll find them useful as well for landing work in this field. This is basically a kit with your logo, promotional materials and anything else that the public or media needs to know about you or your business. In this case, it’s a unique little kit to showcase who you are to employers.

4. Find Internships Online

You don’t need to go through classified ads or newspapers to find these opportunities. The Internet is filled with companies looking to hire you as an intern. There are sites that aggregate internships, and they are a really good resource.

I would also recommend approaching companies that normally don’t offer internships but have a clear need for photos, and try pitching them your ideas.

I bought some glasses online from glasses.com, and in the process, I noticed that all their product shots were the same. I also assumed they had tons of products that always needed shooting. I simply emailed them my desire to intern and my willingness to work for pennies. I pitched a few alternate ideas about how to shoot their product, and I got the internship!

There are probably millions of websites and local business out there that need product or branding photography. (Seriously, e-commerce websites like this that have shot after shot of inventory, large and small, are everywhere.) They may not be advertising an internship, but that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t be interested in having an intern. They just don’t know it yet. That’s where you come in.

5. Cover Letter

It is highly recommended to submit a cover letter for an internship. This letter should indicate reasons that outline why you should be given the chance to be an intern. Don’t be afraid to include information about who you are, including your previous experiences. This letter is not your resume. Think of it as a way to touch base about who you are; it’s the cherry on top of your resume.

6. References

Any kind of previous work involves working with employers. If you’re in good touch with any companies you have worked with, try asking for a letter of recommendation. If you have worked with a charity or have volunteered at your church, these are sources that can help add that special effect that says you know what you’re doing as a photographer.

7. Interview Like You’re Ready to Learn

During the phone interview, you want to make sure that you are eager to learn from the best. Showcase your technical expertise and know-how; let them know what you’re capable of, but always show them that you’re eager to learn. This is what internships are all about in the end. It’s about employers giving new people like you the chance to learn the business and work from the bottom-up. Showing this eagerness and willingness to learn will increase your chances of employment.

8. In-Person Interviews

Doing in-person interviews are very scary, and they require a different level of preparation as opposed to traditional phone interviews. It is highly recommended to wear professional clothing, speak with confidence and be the best version of you. They want to hire somebody with that natural extinct in this field, so showcase your abilities throughout the interview.

9. Which Internship Should I Apply to?

Consider applying to an internship that interests you. There are times when an internship may involve photographing people or things you aren’t interested in. Find out what the job will entail, and you will be able to see by the job description if it is of any interest to you.

The tips above should help get you on the right track to landing an internship in the photography field. The key is to make sure that you present yourself as a professional photographer who is ready to learn about the business.

Bethany Cleg

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