This forum really is not the place for that type of question:
Nevertheless; I will try to give you an answer (I'm a member, not a paid moderator). I would suggest directly contacting local photographers and explain you are interested in the learning the business and are willing to work as an unpaid intern. I would be careful about signing any non-compete agreements. If they are well-written, and you sign one, you will have screwed yourself out of working locally for a while.
While a young Photography business owner may not be excited about training future competition...an older established business may be content to teach, and let you do the heavy lifting, with a possibility of selling you the business when they retire (but that would be a rare thing to find).
@Alison, welcome to Thumbtack and the online pro Community!
You’ve come to the right place to meet and chat with other pros in your industry. Soon we’ll be updating the Community and making space for these types of questions (and more). Maybe some photographers here in the Community have a word or two of advice to share. @Penn-The-Moment as an established photography pro on Thumbtack do you have any thoughts you’d be willing to share here?
@ReeseTee while many questions in the community in the past have focused on how Thumbtack works, we’re excited to see more of these type of questions/mentoring opportunities and will be focusing on pros as business owners with questions that extend beyond Thumbtack - we welcome and encourage them all!
Thank You @Kameron!
Hi @Alison and Welcome! As mentioned above @ReeseTee, who offered some great advice, definitely reach out to local pros and see if you can intern first. Learn the craft from a pro and take all you learn and expand upon that.
Do you have the equipment and skill set to start on your own? If so, then go out there and start capturing! Your best and hardest first critics will be friends, family, colleagues, and the people closest to you. Build a gallery with the quality images you have captured to get your work out there.
You also need to work on a brand for yourself and hone in on what type of photography you want to make a career out of. Be it weddings, portraits, nature, architectural. Decide on what you are most interested in and learn all there is to know about that.
As a photography business owner I will let you in on a few things. Photography is only 20% of what I do. The rest is mostly business. For example, I spend most of my day communicating with clients, non-stop phone calls, emails, writing up booking agreements, confirming details of my clients vision, editing, etc. So if you love photography and only want to capture images and not worry about the business side of things. Go work for a Pro who already has an established business or studio.
Hope this helps and good luck to you!!
We'll see if this gets kicked.
There are a number of 'book of faces' groups that are specifically about 2nd shooters.
Search for ones in your city/region/state.
Also, join local photography groups.
I belong to a local affiliate of the Professional Photographers of America (PPA). The in-person networking alone is worth the money.