Five Things I Learned From Being A Photographer's Assistant

April 21, 2016

Here a while back I wrote about how I was able to accompany my friend to a wedding that she was shooting, and that I was going to help her out. “Help her out” really meant I pretended to know what I was doing, while honestly just praying that I took at least one good photo so that she would want to take me again.

She gave me a quick crash course on how to use the camera in the very dimly lit, but totally gorgeous, venue.  It had been a two hour car ride, and my anxiety was starting to flare up.  But once the wedding started, I immediately started having a different outlook on photographers as a whole.  Here are just a few of the things that I discovered from being a photographer’s “assistant” for the day.

  • ¨     The meme’s that tell you to tell your family to get out of the photographer’s way…are right: Yes, yes, I realize this may not be what your grandma or mom wants to hear.  Although looking back, none of my immediate family took their own pictures, because they knew I had a photographer. But either way, it is incredibly hard to get those perfect shots when you fighting with people holding their cell phones up. Let’s face it: the bride and groom wanted the photographer to be there, to take the photos, or they wouldn’t have hired them so please move on over and let them do their job.
  • ¨     They only get one shot (pun intended): Photographers have to know how the camera will work, have to be alert the whole time, and ready to snap that picture of the perfect shot.  There aren’t retakes for most of the pictures that they are going to capture, and are completely caught in the act of happening. You only get one “first kiss” as husband and wife; it’s up to them to make sure they capture it.  It’s hard work, making sure that you are in the right spot at the right time with the right lighting!
  • ¨     No, not everyone with a fancy camera can be a photographer: I had a fancy camera, and I am still not by any means a photographer! I may have gotten a few “good shots” in, but that does not mean that I can go start my own business doing this right now. Don’t get into that mindset, and underestimating your photographer!
  • Photography is the only language that can be understood anywhere in the world.           - Bruno Barbey
  • ¨     A Photographer is Worth Every Penny: Yes, photographer’s now a days cost a lot more then just running to Wal-Mart or Sears and getting their $10 special package (which I actually miss because it was easy for me to get pictures of my kids as I was grocery shopping, win-win right!?)  However I was one of those who didn’t particularly think that a photographer was completely necessary for my wedding, boy am I glad that I decided to have one. I look at my pictures constantly, and would be really sad if I would have just had the traditional family snapshots.  They are also worth the money because of my next point:
  • ¨     Photographer’s work hard: I don’t know how many steps I walked trying to run here and there and back again to get pictures or keep up with her. In a 6-hour time span, we didn’t sit down not once.  We didn’t get to stop and eat when everyone else did, we didn’t get but little sips of water (and both of us as nursing mom’s that was rough). But it’s hard; photographer’s don’t just sit on their bums, snap some pictures, and then get paid big bucks.  No. Not at all. It is hard emotionally, physically, and mentally. Not only do they take those thousands of photos while at the event, but they also have to sacrifice hours of time at home editing and going through the photos, making sure that everything is correct for you.

So when you are considering whether or not you want a photographer, I hope you’ll keep all of this in mind. I hope that you will learn to see things from other’s perspectives, but more importantly I hope you learn to appreciate those who do the “behind the scenes” stuff to make everything perfect for you and your family.

I am not a photographer, and my friend didn’t even know I was writing this post. As a matter of fact, she’s reading it for the first time as you are. So these thoughts are completely my own.

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