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 Studio Tip: Have an Assistant or Another Photographer On Set

Studio Tip: It’s a good idea to have an assistant on set while shooting. You can use them to fill in to adjust lights and settings while the model is getting ready. If you can’t afford to hire an assistant, take on an intern or ask another photographer to join you.

Last weekend, I invited Sarah—a local photographer and model—to tag along on a personal Teen Vogue project shoot. In-between sets, while the model was getting ready, I had Sarah fill in as the model. We adjusted the lights and worked on a few poses. Once the model came on set, we could focus on being creative instead of thinking technical. When I was done shooting, I reviewed the images with the Art Director (the teen’s mother) while Sarah took over shooting.

One person is in charge and controls the set

It’s great to have a second shooter or an assistant on set, but you have to be careful not to have “too many cooks in the kitchen.” Agree ahead of time who is taking the lead. If you are designated as the assistant, give advice when the main shooter asks for it. Don’t disturb the flow. Discuss any issue when the subject is offset. It’s important the subject sees the main shooter as the one taking command of the set.

Decide who is publishing the images

Part of collaborating on a shoot is for all parties to benefit. If you are paying an assistant, money is their benefit. If you have a second shooter, either your knowledge or their images of the shoot is their benefit. The problem comes when both the main shooter and second shooter post the same images on social media. The images may lose their uniqueness. That’s not to say you both can’t give the images to the client or agree you both can publish to social media accounts. Just agree ahead of time what the purpose of the shoot is and how you want to handle the images.

Last piece of advice

It’s not a competition. The goal is to make everyone feel they help made the project successful. Check egos at the door and collaborate as a team.

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