Photo assistant’s role?

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A photo assistant provides technical and administrative support to photographers, helping with shoots, managing day-to-day business activities, and liaising with makeup artists and designers. Qualifications vary, with some requiring degrees and others preferring experience.

A photo assistant provides technical and administrative support to a photographer. In many cases, assistants are interns or people involved in apprenticeship programs that help qualified photographers through training. Other assistants help photographers manage various day-to-day business activities.

Some photographers specialize in taking portraits and these individuals tend to do most of their shoots in studios. A photo assistant can help the photographer position lights, props and sets prior to shooting sessions. During filming, the assistant can instruct the subjects to smile, where to look and how to position themselves. After a photography session, the assistant can make arrangements for the subjects to pay for the portraits and have the photos ready. Additionally, many assistants are secretaries, in which case these individuals may be able to take phone calls and set up appointments for photographers.

Publishers often hire assistants to work alongside company photographers. These people may hold lighting fixtures during outdoor photo shoots in remote locations or load film or memory cards into cameras before pictures are taken. The assistant may be responsible for arranging travel for the photographer, and in some cases, assistants carry supplies and equipment during filming sessions. When the photographer is finished with his work, the assistant is usually required to transport the memory cards or negatives to the production office.

A photography assistant involved in the fashion industry may be responsible for liaising with makeup artists and designers to ensure models are ready for photo shoots. The assistant can convey the photographer’s plans for the shoot to the models or provide the photographer with information on how the designer would like his work to be presented. An assistant employed by a freelance photographer may be responsible for marketing that individual’s work in fashion magazines, websites and periodicals. In these cases, the photo assistant must negotiate on behalf of the photographer until an agreement can be reached on the initial fee plus royalties.

As the precise responsibilities of a photo assistant vary from employer to employer, applicants’ academic and professional qualifications will also vary. Some photographers prefer to work alongside people who have completed degree programs in photography, while others take orders from people who have learned to use various types of cameras or photography equipment. Top publishers typically require assistants to have some previous industry experience, although many people gain this experience while working as unpaid interns.

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