Photography Assistants Rock!

snapshot photo of Paul Ottaviano portrait photography session
Paul Ottaviano Photography session. Photo by Adam Korst.

Many times I’ve gone the lone wolf route, when doing a photo shoot. Sometimes it’s just the way it goes. But if you have a choice, and the budget, then I recommend hiring an assistant and makeup artist or hair stylist. Why?

For starters, it will make your job much easier on the day of the shoot. Having someone to help carry-in, set-up, move, and take down lighting equipment – even speedlights – is wonderful. It will free you up to just concentrate on executing your shot list and vision, plus give you time to interact with your client or model.

Having a makeup artist on set is an obvious benefit, particularly when photographing women. A side bonus is that your client can relax pre-shoot, and let someone else fuss over hair and makeup. The less hurried a model or client is, the better things will go.

Also, I want my assistants to speak up – tactfully – if they notice something a bit off or to suggest an idea. Certainly nobody wants a smarty pants, or someone insubordinate. But I think that an assistant is likely a good photographer in their own right, and their suggestions will be considered. I want my sets to be fun and worthwhile to everyone, not an egocentric fiefdom.

And finally, assistants can snap photos of you working! That alway’s looks good.


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