The Photo Assistant Blog: Tom Fielden

I'm loving the recent guest bloggers over here on the Creative Resources & Advice Blog and this week there's another great guy sharing his tips on Photography Assisting. If you haven't read my blog post on photography assisting make sure you take a read, in the meantime here's what Tom Fielden has to say:  

"To become a commercial or advertising photographer, it is considered essential to pursue work as a photographic assistant for several years before attempting to shoot for yourself. This allows you to build industry knowledge, contacts and refine your own craft before making the jump to photographer. 

When I first started my career as an assistant, I didn’t know anybody working in the field. So spent the first few weeks after university emailing and contacting photographers asking for unpaid experience. This proved a successful method as there was less pressure on me, as I wasn’t being paid – but gave me the chance to impress them with the knowledge I already had and gain their trust for future paid work.

It isn’t a career that will take off instantly. There are already many experienced assistants circulating in the industry who are trusted to get the job done. All you can do is take every opportunity you can, and impress each time. After a few months, you will start to see more and more paid work come your way. My one piece of advice I recommend you take is to not become disheartened or lose interest when there isn’t work as this ‘separates the wheat from the chaff’. Persistence is key and hard work will pay off.

When you start to get more regular work you will begin to build a kit to help you on shoots. There are some essential pieces of equipment every assistant should carry in their kit.

Mine includes:

•  Tape! Lots of tape! (gaffa, masking and insulating). Tape is always needed on set, whether holding down the end of a colorarma, or making a "jerk stopper" for the tether cable. It's always handy to have at least one of each type in your kit. YOU WILL USE IT.

•  Small tool kit of screwdrivers, pliers and tweezers. Not always needed, but when out on location and something needs tightening or fixing, you'll be glad to have it.

•  Grips and clamps - I always carry two or more super clamps and 'A' clamps.

•  Small selection of different amp fuses. Very useful if one blows in an extension lead or charger.

• Leatherman or another form of Stanley knife. Scissors will also be useful but not a necessity.

This is a good place to start with your kit. You will find out what works for you and what you use most. "

Big thank you to Tom for sharing a few tips on photography assisting, make sure you check out his awesome THE PHOTO ASSISTANT BLOG for more tips!


If you're interested in seeing more guest bloggers take a read below!