Volunteer Task Descriptions

Festival Volunteer Program:

Volunteering at the Palm Springs Photo Festival is a fun and educational experience! The festival counts on the talent and dedication of our volunteer staff to assist management in almost every aspect of the event. The paragraphs below provide a general summary of the volunteer program and describe the various volunteer positions available at the festival.

SUBMIT YOUR APPLICATION to be a Festival Volunteer (opens in new window).

General Info:

We strive to place volunteers into job categories based on volunteer preference, experience, and skill. Please note that these categories have been created to provide a general outline of the various volunteer tasks available at the festival – they should not be interpreted as a job description. Volunteers should be prepared to perform a variety of tasks outside their “assigned” position as needed. We do not want any volunteer to perform a task with which he/she is not completely comfortable. Concerns with any task assigned can be addressed at the festival with the Staff & Volunteer Coordinator, who will be available to discuss volunteer concerns and/or reassign area of responsibility.

Volunteers are invited to enjoy complimentary meals on the day(s) of their assignments – breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets are scheduled each day. Festival Management has worked with the chosen caterer to provide nutritious food that includes a vegetarian option at each meal. A list of the daily meals will be sent to all chosen volunteers before the festival. Unfortunately, specific food requirements (i.e. gluten free, vegan, food allergies, etc) cannot be accommodated.

Transportation to and from the festival is each volunteer’s responsibility. There will be free parking available for volunteer vehicles. Festival Management encourages volunteers to carpool where possible and will provide an online resource to selected applicants to help facilitate rides.

While lodging is not provided, we have a system to allow volunteers to arrange to share rooms at our staff / volunteer hotel. This brings the cost to between $180 and $320 for the 5 nights of the festival. In exchange we offer free access (outside of your assigned volunteer roles) to all of our events (seminars, symposiums, evening presentations and our two parties) and waive our daily registration fees. We endeavor to place you in roles that reflect your interests.

Volunteer Categories:

If you haven’t already, take a few moments to familiarize yourself with the various FESTIVAL PROGRAMS.

Volunteer Captains:

We are looking for a few people that want to take on a little more responsibility. Several of our Volunteer categories need Captains – a leader that Festival Management can rely on to learn the systems, manage the other volunteers in your crew, and make real-time decisions on the fly during the festival. Please write-in your request to be a Festival Volunteer Captain on your volunteer application.

The ideal candidate is:

  • Comfortable leading a team
  • Experienced and skilled with all aspects of volunteer category you wish to lead (see descriptions below).
  • Computer savy (Mac)
  • Full availability festival week
  • Available to for a training session and meet-and-greet with Festival Staff and other Captains at West Hollywood office 1-2 weeks prior to festival dates.

Festival Intern:

Festival Interns will work directly with Festival Management in our West Hollywood production office in the months leading up to the event. Responsibilities vary from assisting Festival Producer and Associate Producers with key production planning to basic graphic design / layout, travel accommodations, research and customer support. During the festival week, Interns will work primarily with the Registration and Help Desk Crew in a critical leadership role. Strong preference will be given to applicants that are available for the entire festival week.

The ideal candidate is:

  • Located convenient to West Hollywood office
  • Availability 2-3 days per week beginning early January thru first week of April.
  • Full availability during Festival week.
  • Willingness help wherever needed and fill a variety of roles on a day to day basis
  • Be comfortable speaking with customers on the phone and in person
  • Basic computer skills (Mac) including experience with Word and Excel
  • Basic understanding of design and design programs (preferred, but not required)
  • Interest in special event / photo production as a career or hobby

Workshop Assistant:

Each Workshop Assistant is paired with one of the renown, world-class photographers teaching a workshop program at the festival. In addition to being the photographer’s main assistant on shooting days, Workshop Assistants act as the liaison between the photographer, the workshop class, and Festival Management. Responsibilities include assisting photographer, pre-festival communication with enrolled students, transporting class and gear to/from shooting location(s), managing workshop and festival equipment, and helping to keep the workshop on schedule. Workshop Assistant positions are the most sought after at the festival, and preference is usually given to candidates that have volunteered at the festival at least once before. However, any candidate demonstrating strong assisting knowledge and experience will be considered.

Workshop Assistants should apply with the knowledge that participating in the workshop program removes them from the normal flow of the festival. There is little opportunity to participate in most other festival programs outside the workshop they are assisting.

The ideal candidate is:

  • A working photography assistant
  • Knowledgeable and experienced using photo equipment and basic grip
  • Full availability during Festival week
  • 25 years of age or older with a valid Driver’s License (required to operate rented vehicles)
  • Comfortable working early mornings and long days.
  • Mainly interested in working with a specific workshop instructor, understanding that their responsibilities will prevent them from participating in most other festival programming.
  • Particular interest in a specific workshop instructor’s field of work

Portfolio Review Crew:

The Portfolio Review Program is one of the Festival’s most popular programs. Volunteers will have the opportunity to work with the festival’s renowned curators, editors, art buyers, art directors, etc. It is a fast-paced position that requires organization, maintaining a tight schedule, excellent communication skills, and a cool temperament.

The ideal candidate is:

  • Cool under pressure
  • Organized
  • Comfortable speaking with customers on the phone and in person
  • Basic computer skills (Mac)
  • Full availability week of festival
  • Mainly interested in attending festival symposiums and evening presentations.

Seminar Crew:

Hundreds of festival guests attend the various Festival Seminars each day. Volunteers in this category will assist Festival Management check-in registered guests, quickly prepare and reset equipment and seating during change-overs, keep the seminars on schedule, and be available to help troubleshoot any issues guest speakers encounter during their presentations.

The ideal candidate is:

  • Comfortable with frequent and hurried change-overs during each shift.
  • Experienced working with basic A/V equipment (projector, PA, wireless mics, etc)
  • Full availability week of festival
  • Mainly interested in attending symposiums and evening presentations. Opportunity to listen in on select seminars as well.

Equipment Crew:

Working mainly with the Workshop Program, but touching every aspect of the festival, Volunteers in Equipment Crew assist Festival Management to distribute and track all Workshop and production equipment across all four festival venues. Tasks will include prepping gear for Workshops, equipment check in / check out, and equipment setup for various events.

The ideal candidate is:

  • Experienced Photo/Production Assistant or similar.
  • Experienced working with basic photo and production equipment
  • Comfortable working in an environment with heavy equipment and machinery.
  • Comfortable lifting and moving photo and production equipment.
  • Comfortable working mostly outside.
  • Full availability festival week.
  • Mainly interested in attending Festival Symposiums and Evening Presentations.

Events Crew:

Various festival events take place each evening during the festival week. The Events Crew will work closely with the Events Manager to setup and remove event equipment and decorations, run the festival bar, manage guest lists and generally be on hand to ensure events run smoothly.

The ideal candidate is:

  • Friendly and comfortable interacting with event guests and VIPs
  • Comfortable working late nights
  • Comfortable lifting and moving event equipment (tables, chairs, work lights, etc).
  • Experience with catering company, concessions operation and/or bar.
  • ABC certified (preferred, not required)
  • Mainly interested in attending festival seminars.

Transportation Crew:

Festival guests are always on the move – constantly traveling between the four festival venues. Volunteers in this category work closely with the Transportation Coordinator to make pickups and deliveries, shuttle festival guests between venues and move festival personnel and equipment as needed. There are two transportation shifts – morning and evening.

The ideal candidate is:

  • Friendly and comfortable interacting with festival guests
  • 25 years of age or older with valid Driver’s License (required to operate rental vehicle)
  • Comfortable driving various vehicles including cargo van, 15 passenger van and box truck.
  • Comfortable working early mornings (morning shift) or late nights (evening shift).
  • Mainly interested in attending Symposiums, Evening Presentations or Seminars.

Festival Floaters:

Festival Floaters will work closely with the Staff & Volunteer Coordinator relieving other volunteers for breaks and filling in wherever Festival Management needs some extra help. Volunteers will get to experience many different aspects of the festival each day.

The ideal candidate is:

  • Friendly and comfortable interacting with customers
  • Basic computer skill (Mac)
  • Palm Springs local resident
  • Looking to participate in the festival for only a day or two, not the whole week.
  • Mainly interested in attending Symposiums and Evening Presentations
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