When I’m travelling round the country and lecturing at colleges, there are many little gems of information that I try and pass on to the students. I always try and work from either my own experience or that of those close to me, rather than just passing on rumours I’ve heard. Call me old-fashioned, but I just feel it’s a bit more valid if I’ve actually got something to back it up with!
One little detail that I often mention is email addresses, and how important they can be. I’m not a big name photographer, and yet I still get half a dozen emails a week from people wanting assisting work and/or work experience. Besides the sometimes impenetrable spelling and grammar of some of these requests there’s occasionally something else that relegates certain emails to the recycle bin before I respond to them, and that’s the email address itself!
When you’re 12 years old or so, and get an email address, signing up for “firstname.lastname@example.org” is quite amusing. Likewise, if you’re 18, “email@example.com” brings quite a chuckle to your mate’s face when it lands in their inbox. However, to those of us in the professional world, it doesn’t create quite the right impression! A colleague of mine at Calumet always refers at this point to an email he once received from a photography student who was enquiring after some work. Her email address was, and I quote:
Which almost brings a tear to the eye!
I came across a blog post just recently which reminded me of this, as I’ve been meaning to mention it for ages. It’s such a simple thing, yet it can be so enormously off putting that it’s very careless not to take care of it.
Don’t think that the only solution is to pay for your own domain name and email server, just get an email address that’s not embarrassing! The signup for Yahoo and Gmail are very quick and straightforward (I’ve been with gmail for 5 years, and can very highly recommend them), and even if you end up with “your name/photo 365” it’ll be better than “jizzmonkey”.