What makes a good assistant???

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by Rrr3319, Oct 13, 2007.

  1. Rrr3319

    Rrr3319 TPF Noob!

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    Hi everybody! I've been lurking around for a while, but I finally got around to posting. I've loved photography for a long time but only recently bought my first SLR (Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT kit) and took a class at the local community college. I'd really like to get into wedding photography and would like to work as an assistant sometime in the not-too-distant future. (Right now things are a little nuts, and I'll probably be moving to a new state soon, so I have a little while before I'd be ready to start) In the meantime, I'm trying to get myself prepared to be a good candidate to be an assistant. So I was just curious, what do you guys look for? Someone with more/better equipment than what I have (I have the camera kit with one 18-55mm lens and a tripod)? More experience? Or do you think I could get by on the fact that I have a good attitude and work ethic? Also, I don't have a ton of Photoshop experience. I'm thinking of taking a class in that as well. Any input you have would be greatly appreciated!!!:)
    Thanks!
    robin
     
  2. dvduval

    dvduval TPF Noob!

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    I think a lot of it has to do with the personality of the photographer. Everyone has weak point. It could be that they are disorganized and need help in that area. Or maybe they are not very good with people and need someone that is warm and friendly. You should try to look carefully to assess what they may need the most. It may be something very simple. Good luck. :)
     
  3. Peanuts

    Peanuts TPF Noob!

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    What dvduval said hits the nail right on the head.

    One thing they will want is someone with more experience, perhaps not with weddings, but portraiture, posing, things like that.

    The most invaluable thing in an assistant is that you are open to everything the photographer says and are willing to be the mule - you get to carry the equipment and your own (assuming they allow you to shoot), you get to do the dirty work such as posing large groups, telling great-aunt-Hilda's-great-niece-in-law to please step to the side with her camera as she is distracting the wedding party from the photographer.

    Equipment wise, you may want to look into investing a faster lens, perhaps a 50mm which will giv eyou a leg up both in portraiture and in areas with little light (read: churches)

    Regarding photoshop it really depends on the photographer. Some will insist on editing your images as well so all the images are consistant or they may love the fact that you will do all of your own editing, so they can give more images to the client for very little additional work.

    Bset of luck, it looks like you are on the right track!
     
  4. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

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    What Peanuts said hits the nail right on the head. I was a commercial assistant for years. Tough deal for sure. You will learn the business. Hard seeing that when you are carrying tons of gear or listening to the photographer yell at you for a mistake he made.

    Years later I am a photographer. I owe that to assisting and of course college. Do it as soon as you get the chance. Not a lot of credentials needed. Just a good portfolio and a lot of hard work.

    Love & Bass
     
  5. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    That all sounds like good advice to me. A good attitude and a willingness to do what it takes.

    I'll second the recommendation for a new lens. You may or may not be allowed to shoot along with the photographer you are assisting...but either way, you will be better off with a 'faster' lens. The 50mm F1.8 is a good choice, mostly because it's affordable. Not to mention, you may impress a pro when you tell them that you ditched the kit lens because it was too slow for weddings.
     

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