- 2013 Photographer's Market: The Most Trusted Guide to Selling Your Photography
- How to Create Stunning D igital Photography
- Best Business Practices for Photographers
- The Fast Track Photographer Business Plan: Build a Successful Photography Venture from the Ground Up
- Group Portrait Photography Handbook
- 500 Poses for Photographing Women
- The Best of Family Portrait Photography: Professional Techniques and Images
- 500 Poses for Photographing Group Portraits
- Selling Your Photography: Ho w to Make Money in New and Traditional Markets
- Starting Your Career as a Freelance Photograp her
- Photographer's Survival Manual: A Legal Guide for Artists in the Digital Age
- Legal Handbook for Photographers: The Rights and Liab ilities of Making Images
- Taking Stock: Make money in microstock creating photos that sell
- Going Pro: How to Make the Leap from Aspiring to Professional Photographer
Being the assistant of a professional, internationally acclaimed photographer is a job that many would give a lot for. It is also the best form of education you will ever get in this business, better than all colleges and self-teaching combined. But it is also highly demanding. Once you get to a certain level, you need to be as professional in your job as the photographer is in his. It’s hard to get there, very hard to stay there and very easy to slip. Here are a few golden rules for being a valuable assistant.
He leads, you follow
When the clients or models show up to his studio, let him introduce you. You are a secondary person in the equation, but it doesn’t mean you are not important for the well-going of the shoot. The most important person on a commercial shoot is the client, not even the photographer.
Be extra careful with the gear
You know well enough not to drop anything, but that’s not all there’s to it. A demanding photographer will observe how you pick up a piece of equipment or how you move it around. It’s first of all common sense to be careful with other people’s things, but this time it may cost you your job.
Be clear about your role
Before the shoot starts, the photographer will typically have a chat with you about what he needs that day. It might be just carrying gear around, or it could be setting up lights or even providing a second opinion now and then. Whatever it is, you need to have a clear understanding of what is expected of you.
Never, ever be late
If you are, you might as well go back home and sleep. It’s very unlikely that someone will tolerate their assistant being late for a shoot, unless it is for extremely serious reasons. Get there 30 minutes sooner if you have to, just don’t be late.
The photographer might want to take a break and let you take some shots. If you find yourself behind the camera, act confident and natural. Even if your heart is racing and your head feels absolutely empty of any ideas, you have to project an image of calm. Otherwise your boss may have second doubts about you and the talent might begin to feel uncomfortable too.
Keep your eyes open
Constantly have your eyes on everything that’s going on. It can be a stressful task, especially on large shoots that involve a lot of people. The point is to anticipate whatever the crew might need. Be the one they need without even knowing it and give them what they want before they ask for it. It’s one of the best ways to gain respect.
Work on your portfolio
Working as an assistant will leave you with very little personal time. That’s still no excuse for letting you portfolio go. You have to work and improve it constantly. First of all you it will give you the opportunity to apply what you’ve learned. Second, if your boss becomes aware of your improvement it might boost your career a little quicker than expected.