If you're considering to be a photographer's assistant you need to learn from the master of assistants. Working as a photographer's assistant is the best way to gain lots of experience, especially when you're working your way to being a professional photographer. Working closely with a professional photographer gives you valuable insight on equipment, processes, and techniques. But if your an assistant and you want to be an actor, that's a whole different story. Take Jerome for example. He has been my assistant for a good time. He has been on crazy shoots and travels. But he is an aspiring actor.
Jerome has lot's of skills, here are a few things I can mention. For instance, I can use his gorgeous sweaty face as a stand-in. Before I shoot, I make sure that the lighting is set up properly and to achieve that I use Jerome as a lighting dummy.
Here's Jerome standing in for Camilla Luddington. He does a fine job of looking beautiful.
Here's Jerome standing in for Jill Wagner. He does an awesome job looking fierce.
Here's Jerome standing in for Jena Haze. He does a great job of looking seductive.
Here's Jerome standing in for Phillip Keene. He does an outstanding job at looking dashing.
As you can see he does an outstanding job being a light test dummy. He also has other skills like being a companion while holding the lights up for models.
Also being a talking boom stand to get the lights at impossible levels.
Sometimes he simply can get clueless like me telling him to move the light a little to the left. Then he gives me a curious face like this.
If I don't need him being a boom or being a talking stand, I can definitely use him to hold reflectors and flags.
He is also good for being a model for some iPhone artsy-fartsy shots. Having an actor as an assistant can get awfully useful at times.
But when we are not doing commissioned work, we are acting crazy. Like this day hanging out with the Power Rangers and acting like them.
Yes, sometimes he can't make certain days work. Either his sick or he is filming a short film. So the days that his not there, the sets are usually lonely and I have to do my light testing on a plain backdrop.
Either way when he is there I can always count on him to mingle with the crew and keep them entertained.
So if your thinking about assisting or learning how to be a professional photographer, think of Jerome. It can be fairly difficult to find assistant jobs and most professional photographers have their own Jerome lingering behind the scenes. Here are my tips and bullet points to be an awesome assistant.
1. Communication - Discuss the shoot and goal
2. Pre Shoot Preparations - Be ready, it's important that you check whether there is anything you can do to aid the main photographer in ensuring they have everything they need and in place.
3. Be Clear on your Role - Discuss with the photographer what your role for the day is. You need to find out how you will be of most use to them. It may be as simple as transporting gears or keeping an eye on the equipment to elaborate like setting lights, checking for batteries, etc.
4. Follow the Lead - Let the photographer introduce you to the clients and crew. Remember, that it's not about you, it's about the job on hand.
5. Be Ready - It's up to you to concentrate on what's going on within the shoot so that you can be ready to provide the photographer with the correct gear and adjustments. Think like the photographer and always be ahead of the game.
Remember these simple tips and it can be useful for your next adventure.