1. What exactly do you do?
- What field is your job in?
- What is your job title?
- Please provide a brief description of the firm or organization that you currently work for (size and general description of what type of organization it is)
I currently work at a retail, family photography establishment. There are multiple locations in every state, and the Corporation also has field employees as well as higher end studios. There are about 10-20 employees per studio, so thousands nationwide.
- How long have you been employed in this position?
3 1/2 years
- How many hours do you work a week on average?
- Please provide a BRIEF description of your duties and responsibilities. (job description)
- Please provide a BRIEF description of your duties and responsibilities. (job description)
Photography of babies, children, seniors, families; In studio. Sales and enhancement of photos. Customer service, leading group, helping with evaluations, training and marketing, as well as other administrative work.
- What was your gross income last year? Please include any bonuses or incentives received.
- What is your expected gross income for this year? Please include any bonuses or incentives you expect to receive.
- Please list any benefits you have (Please include number of weeks vacation, sick leave and type of health insurance, retirement plan 401k)
2 weeks paid vacation
- Do you feel you are under/well/over compensated at your current position?
under, very under
2. Work environment!
- Does your job entail you working with others on a daily basis? Is this something you like/dislike about your job? Explain
Yes, intensely with clients, and often with coworkers, most often sales people. I love working with people! It's fun to create something special for them and, while I love the babies and children, my favorites are the families and senior pictures. Seniors are a challenge because teenagers are hard to please. Families are great because of the fun group dynamics.
- Do you work collaboratively with supervisors/managers?
- Do you work collaboratively with your co-workers?
- Describe your work location (e.g., office, home, theatre, in the field) and what you like/dislike about working in it
Retail environment, studio inside a host store. Nice- i get a discount storewide, and it's easy to grab things I need before heading home. Stinks- very small space, some lowered expectations from customers. Some people come in looking for art and beautiful portraiture, but most expect a Sears/ Walmart type product
- Please rank in order of importance from 1-8 (1- most important 8- least important) Assign each number once.
- 7 Income
- 3 Work Environment - co-workers
- 4 Work Environment - supervisors
- 8 Benefits
- 2 Hours
- 5 Level of responsibility
- 1 The actual "work" you do at your job
- 6 Job Title
3. How should someone new to the workforce get a J-O-B like yours?
- If someone wanted to go about getting a job similar to yours, what would you recommend for him or her to do?
It's pretty easy actually. Go apply. For a better position, get some classes or a degree in photography under your belt (i have one, it was very important in my past positions (which paid a lot better and offered more room for creativity))
Be aware you need to be able to adapt quickly, think fast, and work with extremely varied and difficult situations and people while still retaining composure, calm and creativity. It's not for everyone. Many people with experience in the photography field can't hack it in retail because of the short time frames, and limited room
- What skills do you think a person should have if they want to pursue a position like yours? Please be specific and explain why (e.g., social skills, organization skills, technical skills)
See previous question.....
Go to school, check out competitor's sites, work in a fast-paced, demanding job for a bit and make sure you can handle the stress. Be able to learn quickly and remember a ton of details
- Do you feel that you need a certain level of education or training to be successful in your job?
no. I started in retail at 17. went quickly into management. I personally then went to college for photography, then worked in high-end studio for 7 years, but between my commute and long hours hit 80+ a week. when I had kids, that couldn't continue and i went back to retail for awhile
- What advice would you give to someone who was about to start work in your position/ line of work?
It's gonna get crazy. You can't take it personally. Yes it's hard because its your personal creation, but 25 percent of people are gonna hate the best pix and love the crap. Be able to run high on emotion and still control your attitude and not get flustered.
4. How did you get your J-O-B
- How did you find your current job? (e.g. newspaper, internet, referral, etc.)
internet- applied at corporate websites for all retail photo in area
- What was the application process for your job? (e.g. submitted resume, paper application, electronic application, all, etc.)
electronic application, resume and portfolio
- Did you have to interview for your current job? If yes, what did the interview process entail? (e.g., number of interviews, who you interviewed with, group interview, individual interview, etc.)
Yes. Individual interview. Between my resume and portfolio i was well over-qualified for this position, and it was pretty much fast-laned to this position
- If you can remember, what questions were you asked at your interview?
The usual in customer service and retail. But extras specific to the photography world, working with families
- Is this the job / field you planned to work in?
- If your job is in a different field from your original plan how did you get here? Explain (Plan can be from high school/college/post college/personal plan)
Started in retail photography at seventeen. Went into management at nineteen. Went to the Art Int. Of Colorado at 21 and got my Associate of Applied Sciences in Photography. Got a job with a company that did school pix, sports teams and individuals (school age) dances, dance studios.....and high end seniors in a studio in Illinois. After 7 years working my way up through the ranks I was full time in the studio April- October and filling in time the rest of the year with sports shoots. I was making 25+ an hour and /or commission dependng on the type of shoot. I loved it, but was also starting to do weddings and senior sits on my own in Wisconsin, where I live. I was working 50-60 hours a week, and driving another 20-30. When I had my first child, that wasn't going to be possible. So I became a stay at home mom. But I missed my creative outlet (and being outside the home), so I took a part time position with Lifetouch where I now work. Its crappy pay, high stress, and i've taken on a lot of my manager's job. But I have a lot of special requests and repeat customers, and I do it well, so there is my big reward. My kids start school next year, and I'm hoping to branch out on my own again at that time. For now, this'll do, it's what can work for me.
5. Background: Are you qualified?
- Was there training for your current position? If yes, what did it entail?
Usually there's alot. Camera training (how much depends on your experience), lighting training (not much in retail- it's all idiot proofed and stuck in certain spots), posing and cropping training. Then there's the Sales station, and consultations etc. But all of it is tailored to someone with no experienced, because that is often who is being trained. (We have jokingly referred to them as housewives with cameras- but in a way that's true. In this digital age ANYONE can use a camera, but you have to be able to do something special with it in order to succeed)
- Do you feel your employer properly prepared you for your job? Explain
Yes, it's a very well tailored program. Some people will not get it, but I truly believe that is because either they don't put in the effort, or they cannot build the confidence to jump in and do it. That's the biggest final step, is just going and doing it. You can have all the training in the world, but if you're afraid to go do it yourself, you're destined to fail
- Do you feel your educational background prepared you for your job? Explain
Yes. I went specifically for photography. No, the sales/ business side of things I was NOT prepared for. In fact I'm looking at going back to school for a business degree so that I can REALLY know what i'm doing when I set up my own studio
- If applicable, do you feel your internship experience helped you prepare you for your job?
6. The Future and Beyond (FINAL SECTION)
- If someone were to observe you at work, what would he or she say is "fun" about your job?
I get to be silly, its very relaxed (when its not busy) and I get to do what I love
- What is (are) the most fulfilling aspect(s) and least fulfilling aspect(s) of your current employment? (e.g. fiscal, spiritual, type of work, hours, commute, compensation, etc.)
Most- hours are flexible so I can be with my children when I need/ want to. Also I'm keeping my fingers in the field, staying on top of trends, and doing what i want to do. 15 minutes from home. Least- terrible compensation, unreasonable permformance expections (who can do 12 poses of a 2 yr old in under 10 minutes? And have them actually be good?), also it's a very high-stress job, expecially seasonally
- Is your current employment part of your career plan? Why or why not?
No. It's a fallback while I take care of my family. I can't wait to get out of there. I'm embarrassed to tell people I work for Target Portrait. Like I couldn't make it as a photographer and had to work in entry level. I have little to no room to move upwards, less time to create, and noone really cares about the photos as long as my Sales Average is up. Half the customers expect shitty uber-traditional work with nothing creative or contemporary and that is stifling.
- What are your current career goals? (Can be broad or specific)
Start my own studio. Do weddings, seniors, families, but only for myself. I don't want to answer for my dollar signs, only with how well I have done and how satisfied I am
- Is there anything else you would like to share about your career?
7. A Day in the Life Of...
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