how do you find a good assistant?

 
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ianmcc
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Joined: 09 Mar 2006
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Location: Winnipeg Manitoba Canada

PostPosted: Fri Mar 24, 2006 2:57 pm    Post subject: how do you find a good assistant? Reply with quote

I just laid off my first full time assistant, partly due to the work calming down but also because of a distinct lack of motivation. Now I am looking for someone to help out part time.

What do you do at the interview stage to figureout they may or may not know what their talking about?

Any other experiences working with assistants you wish to share,posstive or negative, please do!
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Brooks Ayola
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 24, 2006 3:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I've never had a full time assistant, but it seems like hiring one for a few smaller jobs would give you a pretty good idea. I've always been more interested in how we get a long than how much they know.

On a similar note, I had this idea that never quite panned out, but I still want to try it some day. I would love to have a couple days of assistant "casting," for lack of a better word. I talked to a couple other local photographers and we thought it would be a great idea to have a bunch of assistants come to one of our studios where we could all ask questions and meet as many as possible. We could discuss what we liked and didn't like about each one as a group.
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brent 4y's
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Joined: 20 Mar 2006
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Location: Calgary,Ab. Canada

PostPosted: Fri Mar 24, 2006 4:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Where I am located, There is a collage that has a photography program. I also graduated here and find it a good resource for finding assistants. However some people just do lack motivation and arn't the best assistants. So trial and error and patience are also required.
Local camrea houses also should be able to refer assistants.
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Suzanne
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 24, 2006 9:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm always leary of students because I remember being a student and the free time to assist wasn't that great which I know caused some of my friends to be a bit flaky on jobs.

My first post college assisting job I was so wrecked worrying that I was going to screw up or not know something that I'm sure I sucked. Unless someone is a total cockup I'd give them at least a second chance.

I agree with Brooks though, getting along is much better than someone who knows everything yet you can't stand.
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Brooks Ayola
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2006 5:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I brought this up over at the forums on photoassistant.net, but thought I might add it here too.

How much does an assistant's appearance have to do with hiring them?

The other day, I was perusing the assistants database over there and noticed that I automatically passed by any profiles that didn't have a picture of the assistant. Now, I don't need a hot girl or even a good looking guy, but for certain jobs I might want a conservative looking person because of the client or even the simple fact that I don't know a new client well enough to know how open minded they are.

On the other hand, if I were shooting a rock band or something, I might want the guy or girl with the hot pink dreads. :-)
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ianmcc
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Location: Winnipeg Manitoba Canada

PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2006 6:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have had some crazy looking work experience students. The one guy who was the smartest and (probably the one I shoulda hired), had partial dreads, rings in his ears with a plastic zebra stuck in one of them, a fu macnhu beard in progress and some wacked clothing.

I took him along to shoot the CEO of Investors Group, one of Canada's biggest Mutal fund companies. Part of me worried about it, but part of me knew everything would be cool. You know why? Cuz this guy was the most gentle and articulate person you could meet and he knew what his place on set was. He was extremely polite when spoken to by MR CEO ( who probably thought "Hey I can try connecting with today's youth!") It was a nice moment.

So I guess what I am saying is it depends on the person, and how they carry themselves.
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JamesNYC
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2006 6:45 pm    Post subject: Help for assistants & getting work. Reply with quote

Well the first thing you want to do is add your name the the assistants database over at www.PhotoAssistant.Net then maybe add your name to www.DigitalPhotoTechnician.Com also; both are FREE DB's.
Then surf the forums for all the free info that others have passed along.
People get hired from these databse's all of the time.
Next step is cold calling all of the people you want to work with.
It sucks, but thats what it takes some time.

I've found that the quickest way to get a job has been to fax a bunch of resumes. and wait by the phone and also make s calls.
In the past every time I did this I would get booked for 6 months.
then make connections on everyone of those jobs.

good luck.

James/NYC
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Brooks Ayola
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2006 7:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, what's actually ON the resume might help. Trust me. I get a lot of strange resumes. I do like a little persistence though. Not stalking, but I don't want to look into my list and wonder if you're still assisting because the last email I got from you was two years ago.
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Gregman
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PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2006 6:42 pm    Post subject: Re: Help for assistants & getting work. Reply with quote

JamesNYC wrote:

then make connections on everyone of those jobs.


Thats the thing that pisses me off the most and will get an assistant never hired by me again - Its one thing if I am passing on the assistants name to other photographers or if my assistants are networking with the other assistants but when an assistant is trying to network with clients or creatives - thats crossing the line and it would also be the last time their entering my studio.
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JamesNYC
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PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2006 6:55 pm    Post subject: Don't assume... Reply with quote

My comment did not state or other wise imply that I or any other assistant should cozy up to the clients or art directors while on a shoot.

As I say in my E-Book "How to be a PhotoAssistant" www.PhotoAssistant.Net
Chatting up the models, clients, art directors, or even bringing a portfolio to a shoot are all good ways to get fired or never hired again.

As an assistant I talk to the rental studio manager, the people in the equipment room, the people in the cafe making my I.V. drip of espresso.
I talk to the hair and make-up people, the stylists and there assistants.
And I do it all before the photographer or the client gets there.
I will greet the client and make sure they are comfortable and have there needs met before I get too heavy into lighting a set or other.

By the end of the shoot the client knows my name, knows that I made the shoot move smoother, and will speak with me when we meet out side of the shoot setting; and often they have given me there cards discreetly and said stay in touch.

Yes there are idiots that openly try to harvest clients while on shoots, and they end up shooting weddings because they've pissed off all of the commercial photographers.

James/NYC.
WWW.PHOTOASSISTANT.NET
WWW.DIGITALPHOTOTECHNICIAN.COM
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Gregman
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PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2006 8:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

James - well put.
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EL PIC
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Joined: 26 Jan 2008
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Location: Austin Texas

PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2008 3:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Assistants burn out just like models and for same reasons.
Was assistant for a well named Icon NYC Fashion Photographer for 6 weeks.
That was 30 years ago when the biz was much more sane.
Went back to Rochester and made more as photographer in college.
I had good conections to a high end port studio and ad agency there.

Could not afford to keep being a NYC assistant.
It only improved my sex life and other party contacts.
This was also the same for my RIT college room mate who also worked
very hard for a super expensive icon fashion photog of the 70's.
He could only afford to live in a NYC attic w parents help and could not even afford Pizza and enterainment.
After 2 years he left photo and went back to school as an IT major.

Above lies the biggest problems.
These days are job specific w/ Part Time, no low pay, seldom Full Time.
Local Community and Art Colleges will fit this bill.
If you want one for the long term - Get a rich $$ endowed one that can afford a job like this and contribute to your upper line. Pay them reasonable rates, allow them to expand/contribute, treat them well.

There is way oversupply in photo with the digi explosion of 21st Century.
170,000 US Full Time staff photogs and millions more that venture the grey line of advanced amature to pro to semi pro.
I am a mentor for RIT and alumni ... Colleges just take in more students, charge more tuition, with out jobs being there.
Brooks is being class action sued for overselling their program and supposed photo job market.
Many unemployed and underemployed photogs are now on the book and instruction circuit to make ends meet.
This adds to oversupply and cheap instruction.
Most people can learn good photo without college or even being assistants.
Their Business Skills are actually more important, Art is second, technical is third and last.
Its a real shame in many respects.
Gone are Scientist's of the 19 th C {Niepee, Talbot, Daguerre, etc} ...
Gone are Icons of the 20 th C {Avedon, Newhall, Adams, etc} ...
Welcome the Masses of the 21st {What's their names anyway ??} ...

EL
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Robert Randall
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Joined: 24 Jan 2008
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 11:21 pm    Post subject: Re: Don't assume... Reply with quote

Hi James,

You have a well informed and correct attitude. It was a pleasure to read your post. Would you forward your contact info to me. I would like to add you to my assistants list.

bob

bob@bobrandall.com

JamesNYC wrote:
My comment did not state or other wise imply that I or any other assistant should cozy up to the clients or art directors while on a shoot.

As I say in my E-Book "How to be a PhotoAssistant" www.PhotoAssistant.Net
Chatting up the models, clients, art directors, or even bringing a portfolio to a shoot are all good ways to get fired or never hired again.

As an assistant I talk to the rental studio manager, the people in the equipment room, the people in the cafe making my I.V. drip of espresso.
I talk to the hair and make-up people, the stylists and there assistants.
And I do it all before the photographer or the client gets there.
I will greet the client and make sure they are comfortable and have there needs met before I get too heavy into lighting a set or other.

By the end of the shoot the client knows my name, knows that I made the shoot move smoother, and will speak with me when we meet out side of the shoot setting; and often they have given me there cards discreetly and said stay in touch.

Yes there are idiots that openly try to harvest clients while on shoots, and they end up shooting weddings because they've pissed off all of the commercial photographers.

James/NYC.
WWW.PHOTOASSISTANT.NET
WWW.DIGITALPHOTOTECHNICIAN.COM

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shanekislack
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 04, 2008 8:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm generally accepted as a good assistant. The main reasons I'm told is that...

1. I'm always on time. early infact.
2. I listen and anticipate the photographer's needs.
3. I'm a little older and know how to act/dress in front of clients.
4. I know that I don't know it all.
5. I usually have good stories and bad jokes.
6. I don't market myself to their clients on set.

I often hear that there is a shortage of good assistants and none of the reasons ever have anything to do with how much you know about photography. I could go on about why 'I' think I'm a good assistant but just really wanted to point out that the things that make you a good assistant are the same character traits that will make you successful at anything.

In return, I've had many really good experiences with photographers helping/mentoring me.
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bluehouse
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 28, 2012 10:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think one who is hardworking can prove to be a good assistent.
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kendrikwiley
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2013 6:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are many people who wants to start their photography career as an assistant and there are many ways where you can find an assistant who is hard working as well as has an expert kind of photography skills.
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Alise_09
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 5:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

nice
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Tom McKenzie
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2014 3:15 pm    Post subject: ASMP Reply with quote

ASMP Find an assistant [url] http://asmp.org/find-an-assistant#.U0_vxcZ6228[/url]
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JamesNYC
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2014 4:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Since this thread began back in 2006, 8 years ago
we have changed our name from http://PhotoAssistant.Net
to http://1ProCrew.Com
To date the longest running FREE real-time Photo Production database.

Check out the new site and the new features added including our recommendations for Photo Assistants and Digital Techs.

James
1ProPhoto.Com
1ProCrew.Com
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