Approaching new team members
Follow our advice below on how to secure new teammates.
Once you've found a collaborator you'd like to contact, send them a polite, professional email or social media message. Keep it brief by focusing only on the information they need to make an informed decision about joining the team.
In your message, consider including the following information:
- Outline of your concept/ plan for the project, including any relevant documents as a PDF.
- Why you're interested in them specifically to work on this project.
- Proposed shoot date.
- What will be produced (for example: an editorial shoot, fashion film, brand campaign, etc).
- Any other potential constraints that could influence a decision (location, travel, graphic content, unusual days/hours etc).
- If relevant, the client, rate and usage rights.
- If relevant, where you're planning to submit the project for exposure (publication titles, for example).
- The next step: suggest meeting up to discuss further, and propose a time and location.
Your potential collaborator will be keen to see your work and past projects, so go prepared with your portfolio, or the online equivalent. It sounds like common sense, but have a version available offline just in case the wifi where you meet isn't working or good enough.
You don't need to bring everything you've ever done; just a curated collection of your best images that you think best express your aesthetic and/or the kind of work you're hoping to create together.
Do your research
Research the person you're meeting thoroughly ahead of time. Find out where they've worked before, who with and any existing connections that you have. Get familiar with their social media and the kind of person they are – do they have an informal, humorous outlook or are they more serious? This will show you're interested in them and
Ask questions (and be ready to answer them)
A professional meeting between collaborators is similar to a job interview – you should go in prepared to answer questions and have questions ready to ask. Expect to be asked about:
- Your aesthetic and inspirations.
- Your level of experience.
- Who you've worked with and who's in your creative network.
- What you're planning to work on in the future and how this person will be expected to support you.
In return, you might want to ask about:
- Their level of experience.
- Who they've worked with and who's in their creative network.
- What they think they can bring to your upcoming projects.
Be prepared to hear their feedback on your work, and be ready to act on it if you think it's helpful.
Build the relationship
After a meeting, be sure to follow up with a polite message thanking them for their time and outlining any next steps. If they're not interested in growing the relationship, don't take it personally – it's all good experience and it's usually nothing to do with you personally; more often it's down to timing and existing responsibilities.
If you do get on and decide to continue working together, remember that it's important to have social relationships as well as professional ones. Invite your collaborators to relevant social events, so you have the chance to become acquaintances, not just colleagues. If your workspace has social get-togethers, you have an exhibition or opening, or you're based in different cities but will be in the same place for whatever reason, make the effort to reach out and make social plans, where possible.
- Make the decision as easy as possible. The aim of following these steps is to make it as easy as possible for your potential collaborator to decide whether they'll work with you so you can both move forward. Ask yourself, 'what would I expect from someone if they approached me to collaborate on this project?' to help you focus on your teammates' needs so you can address them and get the outcome you want.