Creatively Hiring a Photographer

I’ve been having a blast shooting for International House Pacific ( this summer, however all good things must come to an end. As one of  my projects this summer it is up to me to find, and train a photographer to take over my role at International House. I must admit this saddens me because I’ve been with International House for over 7 years, but at same time I’m happy to knowing there will be someone to continue posting photographs once I’m gone.

International House gave me an opportunity to grow and develop my photography skills, and I want to give that same opportunity to someone else. So in starting my search I went to where I used to go looking for job when I was first starting out in photography: Craigslist’s Creative Gigs Section. Here is the ad I posted:

ESL Photographer (Vancouver)

We are an ESL school located close to Broadway/Granville and we are looking for a part time photographer. This job will be about 10-15 hours a week. We are looking for someone looking to improve their portfolio and gain more experience photographing events. 

This is ideal for a photography student. 

If you are interested please send me a little description of yourself and a link to some of your work. 

The interview will be held this Friday Aug 9th between 1:30 – 3 please respond only if you can make the interview.

To me this ad was clear, precise and down to the point. I’m looking for someone studying photography, who is available to work part-time at an ESL school. In monitoring the responses I learned some tips for when applying for a job.

1: Read the job description carefully.

Even after stating multiple times that I am seeking a student who is looking to improve their portfolio I received a surprisingly large amount of email starting with: I’ve been working as a professional photographer for the past _ years. To me this was a red light right off the bat. If you are a professional photographer in the industry for multiple years why are you looking for a job in which you can improve your portfolio? Save yourself the time and effort of applying for a job by reading the description. The employer is aware of what they are looking for and if that is not you, move on.

2: A Link to Instagram does not classify as a portfolio.

We all know that Instagram is able to make just about anyone look like a decent photographer, however that does not mean that any can be a photographer. In a portfolio I’m looking for your best work and if that’s Instagram I think it’s time you reconsider your profession.

3: Have your own website.

Creating a website has never been easier. No longer do you have to know programing to create a website, there are sites such as  on which you can create a professional looking portfolio for free in under a couple of hours. To me this is much better then a link to a flickr account or an album on your personal facebook profile which I don’t have access to.

4: Check your grammar and spelling. 

I’ll be the first to admin that my grammar and spelling are not the best. However taking the time to proof read and fix up any mistakes made will take an additional five minutes but might be the deciding factor for getting a response.

5: Use the correct name and edition of any programs you claim to know.

There are two photo editing programs that dominate the photography industry Lightroom and Photoshop. Lightroom is my preferred photo editing because it is quick, simple, and makes my photos look awesome. Photoshop is great for photo manipulation however when using it for simple edits it does take additional time. Lightroom just released their newest version Lightroom 5, and photoshop is currently on CS6. If you tell me you work with Lightroom CS6 I instantly move on to the next applicant.

See Videos of the Applicants

After reviewing all the applicants I summed it down to seven that I thought were a good fit. However due to the nature of the job I didn’t think a traditional interview would be the best way to judge who would be the best fit at International House. Instead I invited my top candidates to a shoot off, in which I will have the opportunity to see observe both their shooting styles, and see how they will interact with the other students. The photographers have been asked to meet me at the beach, they will have an hour an a half to shoot, after which I’m asking them to provide me with an album of their top 20 shots which will be judged by both the staff and students on International House’s Facebook Page ( Top 4 students will then be given a final photography task, and from that a new photographer will be chosen.

Up next: The Interview / Shoot off

Ida Adamowicz

Ida Adamowicz
– Television Broadcasting, 2013

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