What does an assistant photographer do?
When it comes to weddings, photographers need to focus all their attention on the task at hand – taking great photographs. If they want to move fast, run among the wedding guests, quickly get into strenuous poses and take creative shots, they simply can’t carry heavy bags with them everywhere the entire day, nor can they take care of their gear at all times. This is where an assistant photographer comes into play. So what does an assistant photographer do exactly we hear you ask?
Takes care of gear
It’s not smart to leave a backpack full of expensive lenses, cameras and other stuff lying unattended around. Someone could trip over it, the equipment could get inadvertently damaged or destroyed. We had a car run over one of our bags in a garden once. Notwithstanding the car was not supposed to be there, we’ve learned our lesson.
An assistant photographer therefore takes care of everything: carries and sets up equipment, cleans lenses, passes batteries, cards or anything else that needs to be switched. In this way, everything runs smoother, quicker and the entire experience is more pleasant not only for the photographer but also for the newlyweds.
Helps stylize portraits
When it comes to wedding portraits, the photographer needs to concentrate on the composition, light, or work with the expressions of the couple in front of the camera. On the other hand, an assistant photographer pays more attention to minor details such as unbuttoned shirts, suits and other imperfections.
When doing bridal or couple portraits, the assistant photographer helps out by holding the bride’s veil, adjusting her dress or holding the bouquet. The photographer does not have to run over to the bride and back constantly and can fully concentrate on the most important thing – shooting portraits.
As for group shots, a photographer can delegate certain tasks to the assistant photographer. The photographer concentrates on compositions, adjusting the subjects’ expressions and poses. Again, the assistant photographer looks for the little things.
The devil is in the details – ties, shirts, buttons, sunglasses, phones in pockets, et. From a practical point of view, it is not possible for a single photographer to pay attention to everything without the photoshoot taking forever.
Lighting and effects
Holding external flashes, reflectors or light diffusors. This is yet another area where an assistant photographer’s presence becomes essential. It’s often not possible for a photographer to light and shoot at the same time.
For example, you need to illuminate a scene from an angle and height that does not allow one person to do so. The assistant can also be at hand when performing various effects with sparklers, lights and other objects in front of the lens is needed.
Takes care of PR
Although networking is desirable for future collaborations, photographers normally don’t have much time for it. Whether it’s wedding guests looking for a photographer for their future wedding, or wedding suppliers who would like to cooperate in the future, the photographer’s thoughts often revolve only around photography. For this reason, an assistant photographer is a valuable asset. He can represent the photographer, exchange a few words with other vendors and exchange contact information.
An assistant photographer may also take photos or videos from the venue, their surroundings, or, photograph the photographer for socials.
Even though it may sound funny, hitting a tree, tripping over a stone, or falling into a swimming pool may not end up well for the photographer. Injuries or damages to the camera may ensue in such situations and that is never fun. Sometimes, photographers disregard any sense of danger when they get into the heat of doing their thing (especially when they move backwards). This is where an assistant photographer might save the day.
Other minor tasks
Last but not least, the assistant takes care of the photographer’s fluid intake and any other refreshments so that the photographer doesn’t have to waste time getting them himself. An assistant photographer also serves as a second driver and takes turns with the photographer behind the wheel. There are many other minor tasks that the assistant photographer can do of course.
You may think of them as supporting character in a movie. Despite not being essential to get the job done, the overall experience would be less enjoyable without them.
What’s not the assistant’s job?
An assistant photographer is by no means a second photographer. Unless you have ordered a second wedding photographer, you should not ask the assistant to take any photos or shots. An assistant photographer is primarily there to help the photographer and noone else. That being said, if you want to take a photograph but you don’t know where the photographer is, you may naturally ask the assistant to notify him.