Being An Assistant Photographer

I have been working for Tommy Martin since May 2014. Since then I have continued to work for him about once or twice a month assisting on photoshoots. He is a landscape/lifestyle/commercial photographer who lives and works in Penrith, North Lakes.

It was interesting working with him the first time because I had to get used to going in someone else’s bag and handling their equipment. Never mind that he trusted me enough to handle his expensive cameras and thousands of pounds worth of lights. I soon learned the names and uses for all of his gear and now after almost a year, I am comfortable doing that. Even to the point where I can make suggestions about lighting, but always cautiously and never in front of one of his clients. Thats something I learned from the get go. In order for him to look as professional as possible I need to be able to take clear direction and show that I can follow his lead yet still show initiative. Here’s a picture from summer when we worked on the Caravan and Camping Club’s summer campaign (which is shot a year early).

Tommy Martin Shoots C&C club

In general my responsibilities include carrying several bags of equipment on location shoots. Setting up the agreed lights while Tommy talks to the client. Basically, it’s my job to make sure his job is easy; to be one step ahead. Even bringing food and spare drinks to shoots incase the models or make up artists forget as sometimes we can be shooting for up to 8 hours and often without breaks. I have met some amazing people thanks to him and he’s very patient when I don’t understand particular terminology or how a piece of equipment fits together. It’s great to discuss my work with other professionals too because it makes a more rounded perspective on the work.

The most recent work together was assisting for a big client of his, fashion designer Karl Bowman. Karl was showing his latest collection Autumn/Winter 15 in a pre-London Fashion Week (LFW) show and needed photographs urgently for his Lookbook to display for potential buyers.

There was quite a complicated lighting set up as the lighting needed to be flat and as Tommy emphasised during the shoot, it’s about the product and the clothes, not the model in them. Thats a very different aspect that I hadn’t considered for these types of shoots which I need to remember that advice for doing my own future shoots. Here’s some images of the set up and of Tommy and Karl working.

IMG_0430 IMG_0432

As someone who is completely obsessed with fashion, I loved this shoot. After completing my work setting up the lights and making tweaks I got to talk with Karl about fashion and his collection, getting to know a bit more about the clothes and his design aesthetic and of course, how important commercial photographs are for buyers in the fashion industry. It was a great networking day and I’m really learning how important it is to meet people and work as hard as I can as it is an industry I am keen to enter. The next shoot we’re doing will be at a manor house in Ullswater shooting for a bridal company in mid-March.

Here is a link to Tommy’s final images.
Thanks for reading!


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