What to expect in an interview for photo assistant?


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Jul 22, 2011
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I applied for a job to be a (wedding) photo assistant and got emailed back for an interview. Does anyone know what I can expect in the interview? Should I also bring a portfolio with me? (I emailed them my online portfolio.)
How serious is the job? I mean, "professionals" will often post for a photo assistant. But they can't shoot their way out of a burlap sack themselves.
It wouldn't hurt to bring a portfolio, even if it is just a digital version on your phone (or better yet, a tablet).
My advice for a portfolio is that less is often better. Only show your very best photo...unless you have some that are included for a specific purpose. For example, if you have a photo or two, that show that you know how to control your DOF effectively, I'd include that. Or maybe if you have some photos that were taken in challenging situations (and they turned out well), then I'd include those. But don't just put in 20+ just because you want to show them lots of pictures. We tend to judge ourselves on our best photos...but others may judge us on the worst ones that they see...so only show them your best.

More important, will be your attitude and personality. If I were hiring an assistant, I'd be looking for someone who is enthusiastic but professional.

Sometimes it's important that they have their own gear...but not always. Sometimes it's important that they have a good knowledge of photography and lighting...but sometimes that is something they will be learning as they go.

I guess it will depend on your expectations...but I'd be sure to communicate what you are wanting to do, and what you are willing to do. I've heard from a few photographers who have hired assistants who only want to shoot, they don't really want to help out by carrying gear or something like that.

I've worked as a 2nd shooter / assistant many times...and for me, it's all hands on deck and I'll do whatever it takes to get the job done...the job, of course, is to get the best product to the client. So if that means I have to carry gear, fluff dresses and hold someone's purse...that's what I'll do.
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did Big Mike just admit to being a fluffer?

I'd bring a sample of your work and just treat it like any other interview. the questions asked will vary by the person doing the hiring. be on time ( a few minutes early) dress professionally. act professionally and make sure you interview them as well. I have learned to walk into any interview as if i'm giving the interview, not "I hope they hire me", but more "is this a company I want to work for". Find out about who you would be working for, how they are, what there expectations are, how they act and what they expect from you. Make sure it's a good fit for you.
I agree with all of the advice above.

As an assistant/employee you'll be representing your employer so make sure you are presentable. Always dress better for an interview than what would be normal for the job. Have your references prepared and forewarned. Make sure that any written correspondence or material you bring is well written and error free. Show up early and well groomed, if there is a receptionist introduce yourself and ask for the washroom so that you can freshen up. Try to get a good night's sleep before. If you have your own transportation it might be an asset but it must be presentable. Have all your supporting documents with you: drivers license, S.I.N., proof of residency and current address, certificates-dilomas-degrees, awards and letters of recognition, etc...

Be prepared to answer some personal questions regarding heath and dependancy issues, be frank about your availability regarding evening and weekend work. Do not answer the question, if asked, about the rate of pay you expect, best to be diplomatic with that one. Answer honestly if asked why you left your last place of employment, even if you were fired or if was just as a part time bag boy at Walmart. Get as much information as you can about the firm before you get there, shows you are interested in who you'll be working for. Good chance you'll be asked why you want to work there and what your career aspirations are so think about your answer and be ready.

Try not be too nervous, look them in the eye when answering questions, don't be overly friendly at first - show some respect. Don't sit down until indicated to do so. Use polite and appropriate language, avoid slangs and acronyms. Try to remember to say 'photographer', 'photography' and 'photograph' instead of 'tog', 'shoot' and 'pic'.

Good luck.
did Big Mike just admit to being a fluffer?
If a bride (or bridesmaid) needs to be fluffed....it's all hands on deck. :er: :lol:
I second shoot weddings and events from time to time.
quite often, "assistant" gets rolled up into that job as well.
granted, schlepping gear for the main photographer, fetching lenses or strobes, and setting up their lights isn't in my contract (technically per contract i am just there to shoot) but ive never EVER turned down a plea for help when things get busy or chaotic. As a second shooter, (if thats what this job is) your primary concern should be that the main photographer is able to get what they need done in the most efficient way possible.
MY biggest piece of advice is, if they ask you what YOU think your job description will be....tell them whatever is needed for the job to get done right. if your needed to haul gear, fetch lenses, move lights...tell them you are more than happy to do so. whatever helps the main photographer do their job BETTER, is your job.

speaking of...is this a photo assistant job where you will be taking pictures? or just "helping out"? either way, take any chance you are offered to get some behind the
camera experience.
Bring a portfolio just in case. I don't require one for assistants because assistants don't shoot. A second shooter needs to show me a portfolio so I know that they can do the job.

Tell the truth, if you don't know the answer to a question say so, but also say you are more than willing to learn. No BS.

BE 5 MINUTES EARLY for the interview. You have to prove you are dependable.
Tell the truth, if you don't know the answer to a question say so, but also say you are more than willing to learn. No BS.
Absolutely. :thumbup:

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