Photographer's Assistant - What Does He/She Do?


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ady

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What exactly does a photographer's assistant do on an advertising shoot?
 

ady

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Yeah-lah... I know assist. :bsmilie: But how exactly? Is it even photography related? Is it technical? Or is it just being a coolie?
 

G-man

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#6
Everything the photographer asks you to do, within reason, you do.

Hold reflector, make kopi for clients, adjust lighting bla bla bla.

Sai kang warrior with the added bonus of learning.
 

Astin

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#8
Some setup the light and camera, some hold reflector, some hold camera bags and lens cases, some make kopi and sweep floor.
 

Tuck Loong

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Assistants can specialise and contribute in a Advertising shoot differently. My job scope for them.

Lighting
* Handle the HMIs, strobes, power packs, accessories

Location/sets
* Assist the art director to set up at the location (eg shift furniture)

Styling/logistics/PR
* Assist the stylist. Coordinate with makeup/hair/models. Buy drinks/food for everyone (can't afford the lunch truck all the time). PR with the clients...make sure they are well taken care of...

Camera/tripod
* Help me to lock camera position, handle and make sure the tethered shooting is smooth. Coordinate with DI artist to make sure framing is what is required.

This is for advertising :) For other type....u combine the job scope due to lower budgets
 

Clown

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#10
actually assistant means u do everything the photographer tell u to do and dont argue.
even if he tell u buy drinks or run errands.
you're there to make the whole production more efficient.
it's not the photographer's job to teach u skills and such so dont expect him to do so and get upset when he doesnt.
 

_espn_

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#11
Clown said:
actually assistant means u do everything the photographer tell u to do and dont argue.
even if he tell u buy drinks or run errands.
you're there to make the whole production more efficient.
it's not the photographer's job to teach u skills and such so dont expect him to do so and get upset when he doesnt.
Some don't think this way lor :)
 

sk.images

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#12
There are as many definitions of assistant as there are assistants - what I mean is that every relationship between photographer and assistant is different, although there are probably a few generalisations and groupings that can be made. The three off the top of my head are;

1. Apprentice = assists the photographer as others have mentioned above, particularily Tuck Loong + the photographer takes the time to teach and mentor the assistant -both on and off the job.

2. Non-apprentice = Exactly as clown stated. Learning happens almost solely by observation and experience (N.B. This sounds harsher then it really is - think of the analogy of a football star that becomes a coach after retiring from playing)

3. Second photographer = does all of the above + takes photos to suplement the primary photographer, e.g. weddings, events, etc

Having worked as a professional assistant for a couple of years (in a previous lifetime :) ) I've experienced all of the above and a couple of others as well.
 

Clown

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#14
_espn_ said:
Some don't think this way lor :)
that's the problem..
so if wanna learn about commercial photography, go school lor. dun later join a production house then make everyone angry by asking "why ar?"
i mean, sometimes skills and methods will be taught patiently. but shouldnt expect it everytime.
 

G-man

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#15
Skills are taught in school AND when you work, by observing and actually doing (aka being an asst is one way of actually DOING it).
 

ady

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Nov 21, 2004
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#16
Hi. Thanks all for the interesting input.

Astin & Tuck Loong - setting up the camera for the photographer, do you mean that the assistant also does the framing of the shot in the camera, set aperture, etc?
 

Yezrah

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#17
A new assistant is someone who take orders from the photographer. An experienced assistant is someone who read the photographer's mind. Hence, if you think you can read minds, becoming an assistant is just a stepping stone to become a psychic. :thumbsup:
 

Tuck Loong

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#18
ady said:
Hi. Thanks all for the interesting input.

Astin & Tuck Loong - setting up the camera for the photographer, do you mean that the assistant also does the framing of the shot in the camera, set aperture, etc?
The framing of the shot is dictated by the storyboard...locking camera means he must ensure the camera position is fixed. This is especially important when we need to montage several elements/pictures into the final product. If there is no assistant at the camera. I am sure someone will get itchy and go touch or shift the camera setup....it has happened to me before...client go shift the camera 3m behind so she can walk and have a chat with the model...got to reshoot all eight pictures required as the camera position is gone le.
 

Clown

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#19
Tuck Loong said:
The framing of the shot is dictated by the storyboard...locking camera means he must ensure the camera position is fixed. This is especially important when we need to montage several elements/pictures into the final product. If there is no assistant at the camera. I am sure someone will get itchy and go touch or shift the camera setup....it has happened to me before...client go shift the camera 3m behind so she can walk and have a chat with the model...got to reshoot all eight pictures required as the camera position is gone le.
wah.. bang balls sia. esp for interior shots, the tripod must never move.
 

Clown

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#20
ady said:
Hi. Thanks all for the interesting input.

Astin & Tuck Loong - setting up the camera for the photographer, do you mean that the assistant also does the framing of the shot in the camera, set aperture, etc?
yes. the assistant can be given that kind of job scope and the photographer will come and press the shutter release later.
this is when you're experienced enough.
when the photographer presses the shutter release, it means he has inspected everything and find it ok, then he'll bear responsibility for the outcome. that's why there's a difference between a photographer and the assistant. when something goes wrong with the shot, the client will shoot the photographer, not the assistant.
 

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