Ask an Agent / How to get a job at LPA
Ask an Agent is a regular monthly feature answering your questions about the business of photography– the photography industry’s first Agony Aunt! If you have any questions you’d like to ask a photographers agent please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions can be on anything to do with the photography business, such as photoshoots, marketing, professional practice, pricing, contracts, legal stuff – anything.
This week for Ask an Agent we have a great question from a young lady who has recently spent a week with us on work experience.
Dear Ask an Agent,
Thanks for letting me do some work experience at LPA, I really enjoyed it and it was so interesting to see what goes on behind the scenes at an agency and on a shoot. So I had a question for Ask an Agent - what would you say are the top three things you look for when taking new people on to join the LPA team?
© LPA / Behind the scenes on a recent shoot
Thanks so much for your question, and also your input and ideas whilst you were with us, I have to say your editing skills were pretty impressive!
Well, as you mentioned, and although I say it myself, we have a fantastic team working at LPA. We do invest a lot of time and effort in finding the right people as that’s what makes LPA a success. We do get quite a lot of applicants when vacancies come up, as it’s an interesting and creative environment to work in, but I do think there are indeed three main things we look for, namely:
As soon as someone walks through the door for an interview, we can usually tell in the first couple of minutes whether or not they’d fit in and be the right kind of person to work at LPA. Some companies vary in terms of the culture , and so probably look for slightly different personalities that fit respectively. At LPA the kind of personality that would fit would be someone who is friendly, personable and honest, with a strong work ethic, genuine enthusiasm and ‘can do’ attitude. Whilst it’s good to be calm and unflappable it’s also important to have a certain sense of urgency and desire to turn things around efficiently as we have to deal with a lot of enquires and deadlines.
© Patrick Harrison
Genuine desire and understanding of the position
This might sound like an obvious one, but you’d be surprised at the amount of people who demonstrate little or no knowledge of what we actually do as a business, let alone the position being offered, when applying for a job at LPA. This is pretty key, as how can people possibly know if they’ll like the job and hang around once we’ve invested all that time into training them? I’ve received several covering letters that start with, ‘I really want to work at an art gallery because…’ and interviewed a fair few people who can’t name one of the photographers we represent as have clearly not even looked at our website. There’s plenty of research you can do online -a good starting point is our blog- to work out what we do as an agency and what working at LPA might entail.
I think this is slightly different to personality as it’s something that can be learnt and improved upon. So this would also make my top three. Whatever the job role, communication skills are paramount, as is an understanding of how important professionalism and good customer service are. If the role is for a producer, it’s also important to be organised with meticulous attention to detail; more of a marketing role, presentation skills, a good eye for images and a lot of self-motivation also come into it. Relevant experience is something that will certainly grab our attention when looking to take new people on. Even at entry level, work experience at a similar agency will jump out from a CV, so you are doing the right thing Cloudia!
© Nick David
Hope that helps and good luck with your career!
Whether you’re a creative director or a student, a photographer or a designer, an art buyer or an assistant, if you have any questions you’d like to ask a photographers agent please send them to email@example.com and we’ll answer as many as we can!
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