Teachable Moments


The summertime brings more than just buckets of sunscreen to photo sets. There’s also the wave of new assistants and photo interns who arrive fresh-faced from school and are, perhaps, unaware of certain etiquette and conventions that us grizzled old-timers take for granted.

I took the above photo on a recent job after I’d asked the eager, but very inexperienced, assistant to, “Please tape-down the cords.”

Now, I am not sharing this image to belittle them or any other new assistant. On the contrary, the fault here is mine. This ‘newbie’ followed my instructions to the letter…. Literally.

My assumption that they would straighten out and group the cords before applying tape might seem like common sense, but for someone with little to no on-set experience, the fear of being reprimanded for doing something that wasn’t explicitly requested over-ruled their gut instinct. I had hastily assigned a ‘simple’ task without clarifying exactly what I needed done and why.

So, when dealing with new talent, the lessons here are: assume nothing, communicate fully and TEACH the reasons why things are done a certain way.

Which I did with this assistant; but not before I snapped a few more photos of their abstract masterpiece.

I look forward to meeting your newest assistants/interns and hopefully sharing some useful knowledge with them on your next shoot.


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