Saturday, July 5, 2008

The Photographer Assistant Guide : An advice, A Rant

It has come to my attention that a good photoblog doesn't just show off my talents and skills, but also helps give back to the community. I'll be starting rants and thoughts, and just feedback from my own experiences, so that it may serve to help aspiring photographers. Thru the course of my assignments, I've also found many cool products that certainly make a photographer's job alot easier. Watch for them in the near future. All said and done, I hope you guys had a happy 4th! I appreciate all the fan emails and the encouragement.

On the average, I get about 3-4 emails daily from aspiring photographers, offering to Intern or to be a photography assistant. On the top of their list, most of them would put their technical skills up in the forefront. There's usually waaaay too much emphasis about showing off what lighting systems they know, what camera systems they know, what digital backs they've used, etc. To me, that should be a given. Technical skills can easily be learnt by researching, Googling or even just popping into your local photo store and playing with the equipment until you're savvy with it. If you're determined, you'll make it happen. And even then, I can sit down with someone and show them how my system works. Most lighting systems are the same, the button layouts are just a little different. So all things being equal, your technical savvyness should be the minimum baseline, that's never what I look for when I hire.

To me, technical skills are common, what strikes me in a good assistant / intern is a GOOD POSITIVE ATTITUDE, RESPONSIBILITY, COMMITMENT and INITIATIVE. Yes, there are days, when it gets long on set. All photographers want someone that can keep their spirits up and not start to bitch and whine. I haven't kicked any people off my set yet, but I've come pretty close to. And this brings us to responsibility, this is one of the biggest traits I look for. All photographers need someone they can trust. Basically, the photographer's job is to make the clients look good, and the assistants job is to make the photographer look good. We all want someone we can trust to handle the deeds that were set forth. Always keep good communication/contact with the photographer/producer. If something can't be done, speak up. If you're running late, call. If your plans change, tell the photographer, don't just not show up. Honestly, a good shoot relies on the people at ground level setting it up. Believe me, I know how important you are. Eventually, I find out during the day whether or not you had my back. And Karma always comes back, I always take care of the people that have struggled with me. Be it a bonus, annual gift, tickets, etc., I'll always take care of the people that took care of me.

And the last is commitment, and I guess Determination comes in at some point. If you're committed, you're in 150%. Everyone gives their 100%, that's the minimum standard in the game. I'm looking for someone that has the initiative and will go above and beyond the call of duty. Someone that takes the time to learn my habits and executes a task without even me or the producer having to say something. Know that at any moment, there are 20 other people waiting in line to take your place, as harsh as it is, you're Replaceable. Ask yourself what is it about you that makes me want to keep you around. Trust me your technical skills isn't going to be one of them.

1 comment:

Victor Garcia said...

Amen to that brother. I love your attitude!