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Taking the path to become a photographer’s assistant is an excellent way to get noticed by the pros and launch your own photo career. By learning from and supporting accomplished photographers, photo assistants get the firsthand experience necessary to grow their own careers in a demanding industry.
Still, the reality is that photography assistant jobs can be hard to come by, and it may be the hardest you will ever work. But you will find the secrets to success in this line of work surprisingly simple.
The Photo Assistant’s Handbook will help you:
- Sort through the benefits of working as a full-time or freelance assistant photographer.
- Learn the 12 problems that all photography assistants are expected to solve.
- Create the essential equipment kit and prepare for every scenario.
- Plus tips from Robert Seale and Vincent Laforet on what skills they look for in
As a sneak peak of what’s inside the handbook, here are the 12 problems that all photo assistants are expected to solve:
1. If the power goes out or you blow a fuse, you’ll need to know how to reset the fuses and/or switch all of the equipment to battery or generator power if those options are available.
2. If the PocketWizards or other wireless transmitters aren’t working, you’ll need to know how to troubleshoot them or switch them to new channels in case of radio interference.
3. You’ll need to figure out how to position all of the equipment to achieve the creative effect the photographer is looking for while keeping it safe, ready for the next look, and clean looking for the client.
4. In the event a piece of equipment breaks or gets lost in transit, be prepared to set up a backup or accomplish the same goals with the remaining equipment. Do so without letting the client know anything has gone wrong.
5. In the event that the weather or shooting conditions change suddenly, know how to protect sensitive equipment to keep it running and how to secure any grip or set pieces to keep the crew and talent safe.
6. Things go wrong with cameras and lenses all the time. Know how to troubleshoot the equipment the photographer uses.
7. If tethering and editing software crashes during the shoot, you’ll need know how to restart the system if there is no digital tech.
8. When creative direction changes on set, so does the equipment the photographer needs. Know how to create a (insert name of piece of equipment you don’t have) out of the available materials.
9. Know how to find the nearest, coffee shop, bathroom, car service, best buy, courier service, etc.
10. Your photographer may ask you for a quality or quantity of light without being specific. Know how to make harder, softer, broader, narrower, brighter or darker light using the equipment at hand.
11. Sensitive equipment like cameras, lenses, drives, lights, and props need to be shipped safely. Know how to properly pack these things for travel by plane, car, messenger, etc.
12. Whenever the quality or quantity of light moves outside of what is acceptable for the creative direction, know how to adjust your equipment accordingly to keep things consistent.