The last (but very important) part of the Team Tutorial: working with an assistant.
- the number one mistake you can make is to involve someone who is not that interested in your process or in photography in general. Sometimes you have a right light (moving cloud) or a gust of wind just for a second or two - it's a shame if you don't have the help you need because your assistant is busy admiring the scenery.
- second biggest mistake is the opposite - having the assistant with his/her own camera who snaps the pictures of your model directed by you on your set to later use them for their portfolio (yes, that happened to me). Guys, no matter how creative was the angle you got - the only acceptable place for such actions is a masterclass.
- the mistake you might make on the other hand is not tagging the assistant or not giving credits. It goes both for your own assistant(s) and HMUA's or stylist's. One exception is if you have model's mom on set who is kind of helping, she might not want credit.
- the credit name I use is "production assistant".
- if I am compensated for the photoshoot I will always give a part of the compensation to my assistant, but it only goes for the people I bring in - the arrangement HMUA and stylist have with their people is up to them.
- the assistant doesn't have to be a professional photographer. I often ask a person who is driving or helping me with the location to work the reflector or my portable light as well. Normally it's super easy and fun for people.
- if you are bringing an aspiring photographer as an assistant make sure he/she understands you won't have time to answer his/her questions while shooting. It's a nice thing though to give 15-30 min of your time to answer his/her questions afterwards.
- when you give the assistant certain task, make sure you would do it. For example don't ask them to go into a river or climb a fence if you can't show them how.
- make sure your assistant doesn't get into anyone's personal space, like if the model is changing in a car assistant should leave the car; or when shooting backstage he/she has to make sure he/she is not on the way of HMUA's elbow and not blocking their tools.
- make sure assistant knows not to jump into the frame. If the stylist's assistant wants to adjust a belt for example he/she should say "coming in" and wait for your OK
- don't take an assistant for granted. Yes, sometimes you need to be brief because you need to get things done in the moment, but when it's don't make sure you compliment him/her on how they handled the task or situation and give your suggestions for the next time. Other team members will have pictures and main credits from the shoot - assistant is mostly there to learn, so help him/her do that.
Next Up: Dumbing down