Los Angeles photographer Travis Shinn spent a decade—“too long,” he says—as an assistant. “Get in, learn what you can and get out. Or you start getting bitter.”
Here’s a quick test to help you figure out if it’s time to strike out on your own as a photographer:
1. Have you been assisting 5 years? 7? 10 or more?
2. Do you feel like a slave to somebody else’s vision?
3. Do you silently second-guess the photographers you work for?
4. Do you try to steal the spotlight from photographers who hire you?
5. Do you weep while loading someone else’s film, schlepping their gear, or adjusting their lights?
For other tell-tale signs, see “How to Know When It’s Time to Make the Jump from Assistant to Professional Photographer.”
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