-Part 1 of a 2 part blog
I am a firm believer in creating a crew that you work with often and are able to build a trusting business relationship. An assistant is a significant asset to any photography or video media production assignment and becomes more valuable the more you work together.
A team that works together often allows for smoother productivity, impresses the client, creates a great synergy on set for everyone else to follow and if the "shit" hits the fan, it is the assistant and myself that works right through it without any moments of panic.
Nonni Muller, an assistant of mine of about two years, is invaluable on many levels. Together we created a list of what makes a good assistant:
- Provides relief by being the second pair of hands onset!
- Allows the photographer or videographer to be free of the smaller details so they can focus on the creativity, subject, and client.
- Anticipates the photographer's actions and is ready to spring into action.
- Leave your ego at the door - the photo assistant may not get much credit but a good photographer will value a good assistant. When the fit is right, they will do everything to keep them.
- Listen and be aware of the project.
- Know when to speak up and to give feedback.
- Anticipates what is going to happen next.
- Works as an extra set of eyes to make sure everything and subjects look great.
Nonni has been both assisting and shooting photo or video herself for eight years in the media industry, and she has worked with both keen and unappreciative lead photographers alike. The dynamic between the assistant and the lead is essential. If you have some critical factors down and understand the role of an assistant, you can work for almost anyone as a valuable asset to the set.
Your goal should always be to make the day more comfortable for everyone around you, and ultimately, care about the result. If you consider yourself part of the team, even if you never get acknowledged as such, you will do a better job overall.
Assistants may take the back seat, but we can be proud of the work that we do. We are an essential part of the process regarding image making and vital in some cases to the success of the whole media production.