Assisting at a wedding

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by cassarilda, Mar 15, 2004.

  1. Just got a gig as an assistant (yay!), with a fab photographer who
    is going to take me along to weddings and such to help shoot and
    general assist.

    So, my question is this: "As a wedding photographer, what would you
    like your assistant to be like/do at the event? What do I wear (I'm
    a girl... such so you know)? etc etc? Any tips would be great.

    I know I will probably get a briefing from my boss, but I figured
    you guys might bring up some useful advice. (and I'm engaged so
    dont worry about me trying to pick up any of the guests or wedding
    party(I've seen it happen!))

  2. Your boss will tell you what he/she wants.

    To get a jump on it, find out what cameras he/she uses and be sure you know how to
    swap lenses and load film. For example, if he/she uses a Hasselblad, it is imperative to
    know how to load the magazine correctly, and to be sure of the proper procedure for
    changing lenses ( improperly handled, a Hassey's can jam and put the camera out of
    commission in mere seconds).

    If he/she uses digital, you must find out the method used to organize the CF cards as the
    shoot progresses.

    I require my assistant to wear all black and dress rather conservatively which includes nice
    but comfortable shoes. The Bride is the star, not the photographers.
  3. jbs


    I need my assistants to be able to set up the next shot, be looking for what is going on and inform me of a special moment about to happen. Another set of "photographic eyes" for the back of my head....;)...J
  4. Wear dark clothing. Guard the equipment on the floor. Do not give your name out at the
    wedding as a "professional photographer." Do not distract the photographer. Let him
    educate you at the speed he choses.
  5. Yes, dark clothes... I want my assistants to have pockets...A watch...and shoes with rubber soles as well as clothes that are easy to move in. <p>Each photographer will have different needs. I can only tell you mine. My assistants load the film, take the film and put it safely in a zip lock bag. They have the shot list and a pen. They keep track of what we've shot. They keep me on schedule. They park the car. They check the batteries..change them when needed.. They let me know if I have flash failure. They watch for sunglasses, mussed hair, blinking subjects, pocketbooks, sun on bald spots.. ;-) Sometimes they hold a second flash. They anticipate which camera I'll need next. They carry the bags. They make sure I have water. They throw out all the empty film boxes. They act as gophers when needed. They watch me constantly in case I need them. When they really get good - they shoot things I can't get while I'm doing group shots. They suggest good spots for photos. They help direct groups and point out things that need attention. <p>They are simply wonderful and I make sure to show my appreciation by making sure they are fed well and paid well. I always take them out for drinks on me afterwards.
  6. The role of the assistant is to enable the photographer to concentrate on the photography so they can take better pictures. To do this well you have to be able to anticipate what the photographer needs and wants. What you will do will range from being a moving man to being an “OR nurse”. On your first job you will not know how he shoots, where anything is and in general be more trouble than you are worth. Any photographer that has worked with assistants before will know this, and be happy if you try your best to be useful and don’t break anything.

    One of the hardest things will be finding gear. Even if you are an experienced photographer and know what all the bits and pieces are, you won’t know how the bags are packed and where things are. Since things at a wedding happen “right now” and you have to be ready, you’ll be under pressure to find the double density framus and have no idea which pocket it’s tucked in. Before you run off to get it, find out exactly where it is and don’t panic. The more gear the photographer works with the bigger the issue this becomes.

    There are lots of assisting tips, but here are some major points: assistants almost always keep the media (film or memory cards) – DO NOT lose or misplace it! I use a zippered waist pack for holding it. Do not drop gear – you will probably be holding other lenses and or cameras make sure you work out hand offs with the photographer. Photographers are under a lot of pressure to “get the shot”, and may not be always be warm and chatty – don’t take it personal. If you notice something that you don't think the photographer sees, but should, quietly point it out to him. Wear comfortable shoes. A full wedding shoot is long and tiring; drink lots of fluids and ask the photographer if they would like a drink too.
  7. Anticipate all you can, need for fluids, media, equipment, and ask about her/his preffered order of formals (this will tell you when its close to being done) then be as ready as you can for the next .....??
  8. hmmmm... remembering to drink myself and make sure photographer drinks enough as wel.... see theres something I didnt think of. cool.

    Thankyou for all the help and hints. Very helpful.

    My photographer has never had an assistant before, so i'm helping her organising her business and stuff so thatll be great fun on top of all the other stuff (I am serious.. Im an organiser... fanatic so says my fiance! :p ).

    Thanks again

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