Interview for Assistant Photographer in a studio

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by BekahAura, Oct 15, 2010.

  1. BekahAura

    BekahAura New Member

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    Hey guys!

    I'm very excited to have a job interview on Monday, but I'm also pretty nervous because I've never worked in a studio before.

    I do have experience working with small flashes and umbrellas. I've read a lot of David Hobby's blog, which is my main source of education on the topic.

    The studio, that I will hopefully be working for soon, shoots a variety of household items. I've practiced my off camera lighting mostly on people and animals, so I'm not really sure where to start learning about lighting techniques on different kinds of objects.

    I guess I'm looking to study as much as I can in one weekend. I need to learn

    A) about the common equipment used in a big studio

    and

    B) common lighting techniques used in catalog-like photographs

    If anyone has any good sources I could go over before my interview, please leave me links. I'll take recommendations for good books on the topic too.

    I know I probably won't be taking pictures at this job, and I'm really looking forward to the learning experience of working there. I just need to get my foot in the door, and that means giving a good impression at the interview.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!
     
  2. ArranLomas

    ArranLomas New Member

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  3. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member

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    It would totally depend on the photographer at the studio...but I'm thinking that if you show up and appear to know 'too much'...it might be a turn off.
    They likely have a technique that they like using, which is probably different from what others might do, and they don't want you (or anyone else) coming in and telling them what to do.

    I would emphasize that you are willing to learn from them and are very interested in what they do. Of course, knowing the basics and the equipment will be key...but photography is an art, as much or more than it's a science...so there really isn't a right or wrong in most cases.
     
  4. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish

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    The product photograpers lighting bible is:

    Light: Science and Magic, An Introduction To Photographic Lighting by Hunter, Biver, and Faqua.
     
  5. closaret

    closaret New Member

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    Good luck, friend ! I wish I am in the same situation as you. Cheers!
     
  6. c.cloudwalker

    c.cloudwalker New Member

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    Since I have both worked as an assistant and hired assistants for myself, this is a good question for me to answer. :)

    I worked as an assistant when I switched from being a PJ to doing commercial work and I knew absolutely nothing about studio work. My experience was limited to 35mm cameras and flash units. Period. But that was ok because a photog looking for an assistant is not looking for someone who wants to do his/her job.

    An assistant is basically a do it all (except photography) kind of person and your photog will teach you what they want. Just be energetic and happy. And don't be a klutz. Nothing in the studio is rocket science but be careful when first putting gear together. Being over eager can be as bad as being a lazy as*. If not sure how to do something, just say so.

    My first photog referred me to a friend of his within a few weeks because I was so good, lol, and I had almost full time employment for 2 years. Basically for the same reason any other employer would like you. Willing to do it all, don't complain, etc. All that within reason of course...

    Realize that an assistant job is not school, it's a job. Your photog will teach you stuff but mostly it will be your picking it up as you work. Don't bug him/her with questions until you are not working. Travel time is a good one to ask questions.


    Now, when I hired my newest assistants recently I was looking for two very different people. One was going to be a run-of-the-mill assistant and the other was someone I could quickly have shooting. My studio has 3 shooting areas and I wanted to have 2 of them in use on a daily basis. So for assistant #1 refer to what I said earlier. For assistant #2, I wanted someone who knew a whole lot more. But not so much that I couldn't train him in my ways. Doesn't that sound like a lot of jobs?

    We started working together about 2 months before the official opening of the studio and by the time it did open, he was ready to shoot on his own. Specific things, mind you. After all my clients pay to have me shooting, lol. I will soon be looking for a 3rd assistant who will be my 1st assistant's assitant.

    Ok, so this is not an ABC of getting a job as an assistant. There is no such thing because each photog is looking for something slightly different. But it hopefully gives you an idea of what is out there.

    Your knowledge is not as important as your willingness to learn and do.
     
  7. BekahAura

    BekahAura New Member

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    Thanks a lot guys =) I'm feeling much more confident not knowing so much now. :lol:

    I went to Barnes & Noble today to buy that book, Keith. I had seen it there before, but they didn't have it today. I'll definitely order it though. I did, however, buy the magazine I'll be working for if I get the job, that will be helpful.

    Thanks for the advice Big Mike and Cloudwalker, I can definitely do happy and energetic, and I will emphasize my willingness to learn. I am a bit of a klutz, but I've managed to keep most of my equipment in good condition, (ok my umbrellas are shot from falling over in the wind outside but the expensive stuff is still intact lol) so I think I'll be ok.

    I'm so excited!
     

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