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10 Simple Steps, How to Be a Great Photo Assistant

By Anthony Thurston on October 4th 2013

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One of the best ways to learn more about the field of photography that you are interested in is to be an assistant to a photographer in that field. This statement is a little deceiving, because in order to be an assistant you normally need some sort of experience with photography yourself (usually within the field you are assisting in). Actually getting on as an assistant can be a challenge to, so here are some great tips for how to be a great photo assistant courtesy of Jeff Guyer.

[Rewind: Check out the Fstoppers Wedding Photography DVD]

  1. Know the Photographer, and What he Does – It is important to research photographers before applying to assist them. This can help you do better in an interview as well as weed out photographers whose style or specialty do not match your interests.
  2. Dress Appropriately – Dress for the Job, you are representing that photographers brand. So you need to make sure that you are rep’n it well.
  3. Early is “On Time.” On Time is “Late.” – Seriously, you should always be 10-15 minutes early. Not only does it give a good impression, but it prevents you from ever being late.
  4. Know Your Stuff. – Its important to know what you are doing. The photographer is going to be relying on you to get things done and if you can’t then you won’t be around very long.
  5. Know Their Gear, As Well or Better Than They Do – You need to know their cameras, lenses, how they like them setup and stored. This is key to being a well respected assistant.
  6. Think Ahead and Stay Busy -Think about things that can be done before they NEED to be done. This will go a long way towards bolstering your rep. That and never stand around, always be doing something. If  you cant find or think of anything to do then ask for something to do, just never stand around unless you are on a break.
  7. Know Where Things Are on Location – Know where the nearest bathrooms are, where the electrical outlets are, and things like that. This will impress most photographers.
  8. Solve Problems – Inevitably there will be issues on a job or project, be proactive and vocal with solutions.
  9. Be Silent and Invisible – You are not the center of attention. You should only speak when spoken to, and should not interact with clients or other people unless instructed to by the photographer. A good assistant will be invisible on set.
  10. No Self Promotion, Ever. – You work for the photographer, you represent them. You should never give your your business card or point someone in the direction of your website over the photographer with whom you are assisting. This is the cardinal rule of assisting (and 2nd shooting) and if broken you will almost always be without a job after the photographer finds out.

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The above tips are just part of a wonderful post by Jeff Guyer over on DIY Photography. If you are interested further in what it takes to be a great photo assistant head over there and take a look.

What are your thoughts? Do you disagree with any of the tips? Any tips to add? Let us know in a comment below. 

Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

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  1. Joseph Prusa

    Thanks for sharing

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