I always have an assistant with me for every photography assignment. An assistant is not only responsible for lugging equipments, but also setting up camera and lighting. The assistant also make sure everything runs smoothly, i.e. checking the camera and lights, exposure, focus, etc. An assistant that only carry equipments and do as what the photographer told is not a brilliant assistant. An assistant worth his/her gold is one that thinks like a photographer. Even if you are new as an assistant, the characters that I value most is motivation, enthusiasm and initiative. Here’s how you can add value as an assistant:
- Be available. You should be within a photographer’s reach when he needs anything.
- Put your phone on silent/vibrate. When you are on the phone you won’t be available for the photographer. Refer to point above.
- Always be early. Never show up late.
- Be reliable. You will be handling photographic equipments and expected to take care of it. A lost equipment may cost more than monetary loss to the photographer.
- Ask if you don’t know how to do something.
- Be helpful to everyone. Don’t forget your main role is to support. Don’t stand at a side while everyone is busy.
Most importantly, love what you do and have a passion for photography. Remember you are not a donkey carrying equipments. You are part of the team – including make up artist, hair stylist, fashion stylist – to support the creation of images. An assistant is not a glamorous work, in fact it is often long hours, sweaty and bone breaking job. Still keen on being a photographer’s assistant? Read on here and here.