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5 Reasons To Become A Photography Assistant

By Edited Mar 12, 2014 1 0
Assistant fighting with the wind
Credit: Joshua Reber photography

Today when someone buys a camera they tend to think they are a photographer. People don't realize how much depth it takes to becoming a master at the craft. When they try to prove their skill, they run into problems and can't output the quality of work that's needed. By working under a photographer who will teach you these skills, you will be able to properly contribute to the industry.

So here are five reasons on becoming a photography assistant, and what I have learned myself with working as an assistant.

1. You learn faster from someone who hav mastered the craft: When I started assisting photographers I realized this is the fastest way to get closer to mastery. No matter how many tutorials, practice, and time I spent on photography I never learned faster than learning from the person I was assisting. Your mirror neurons fire rapidly and you gain insight when someone is working in front of you. By watching someone you see what they doing and can imitate their work. You are also being taught how to set up the equipment, what to do and help make the shoot flow well.

2. You gain insightful experience on  the industry: You see how the industry is and make connections through the person you work for. Being able to watch the photographer work with the clients is essential to being successful in the industry. When I began my career as a photographer I lost a big client because I didn't communicate correctly with the client and realized I did something that wasn't an industry standard. Knowing what is acceptable and unacceptable can make sure you don't destroy your potential career.

3. You gain more humility: This is something I learned really quick. You start out in a pretty low place, are the one dragging around the equipment and are doing the errands for the photographer. This is where most successful photographers start out, and you get knocked on your face when you do something wrong pretty fast. I am glad to have assisted and still assist since this reminds me where I started out. This is a good reminder that even though you can have all the equipment, that means nothing unless you have the skills a highly trained photographer has. By working under the best you become the best.

4. You gain more responsibility: You are the eyes and ears of the photographer. The more you work with someone, the more they trust you and give you various responsibilities. They expect more from you, but the benefits outweigh the frustrations of gaining more responsibilities. The photographer even at times would have me use the camera while he was dealing with a problem on set that I didn't notice.

5. You make a path for you in the industry: Working under someone who has a good reputation in the creative industry makes you a better prospect to potentially hire. You will know how to work on set, will gain some of the skills the photographer you worked for, and will be looked as someone who has worked their way up the ladder in the industry. This is certainly a much more cost-effective route on becoming a photographer, and is better than piling on school debt to find out that you have to become an assistant after getting a degree.

Any other good reasons on becoming a photography assistant that you can think of? I would love to hear in the comments below!

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