Photo Assistant Basic Training Workshop

Sat 12th Nov, 2022 – 10:00am–2:00pm

Posted by APA Admin Posted in Career Development, Workshop


Sat 12th Nov, 2022


$10: APA Members
$25: General Public


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$25 - General Public


Professional photographer Dave Rentauskas leads APA Chicago's photo assistant basic training workshop on Saturday, November 12. Launch a career in the photo industry with this tried and tested program developed years ago by APA. With panel discussions, equipment demonstrations from industry professionals, and hands-on training, attendees will come away with the essential knowledge and confidence to build your own Pro Assistant reputation. Acquire a comprehensive understanding of professional assisting behavioral guidelines, including contemporary set-etiquette, and discover how this valuable training will get you more call-backs – more repeat clients, more work.

All attendees will receive the official Photo Assistant Handbook produced by PhotoShelter and APA. This handbook details crucial assisting principles with photographer and first-call assistant interviews. Includes written job description for assisting, 12 problems that photo assistants are expected to solve, building relationships, managing your finances and much more.

Master assisting professionalism and get booked solid.


  • 10:15A: Doors open / Check-in
  • 10:30A: Panel Discussion & Q&A
  • 11:45A: Break
  • 12:15P: Gear demonstration / Hands on training
  • 02:00P: Workshop ends

Morning session: panel discussions

Questions and topics the panel will cover:

  • How an aspiring assistant should approach a photographer
  • How to get your first assistant job
  • How do I find photographers to work for?
  • What rate should an assistant charge
  • What is the difference between a tech and an assistant?
  • How long should I wait to get paid?
  • Who besides a photographer should I contact to get assisting work?
  • What do you look for in a photographer you work for?
  • What should an assistant bring to a shoot
  • What questions should an assistant ask when called for a job?
  • What do you say if asked if you are a photographer too?
  • What do you do if you have to make a call? Cell phones on set?
  • Networking and social media?
  • What non-photo skills should I have? Social Media, blogging, self-promotion, etc?
  • How should you dress/appear?
  • What about mixing male/female assistants?
  • Travel, Overtime, Cancellations?
  • Assistants as employees/freelancers?
  • How should an assistant pick up gear and equipment before & after the shoot?
  • Interns? Are they paid?
  • How much of your work do you shoot while being a busy assistant?

Afternoon session: gear demonstration

The afternoon session begins with a hands-on workshop with much of the gear an assistant will most likely encounter on most professional photo shoots. Many aspects of assisting will be explained in great detail, i.e. strobes, hot lights, flags, scrims, set etiquette, and the assistant kit.

Learn from professional photographers and assistants

  1. Dave Rentauskas, photographer (Moderator). Dave Rentauskas is an award-winning editorial and advertising photographer based in Chicago. Dave has been taking photographs most of his life, having gotten his start on a Polaroid at age nine. In the years since, he has evolved into a commercial and creative photographer of note. Dave’s photographs give equal treatment to subject, color and texture. Any casual viewer of his portraits is likely to recognize the care of composition that attends to every image. Whether his subjects are everyday people or celebrities, Dave always manages to maintain a balance of dignity and purity. And his eye for people having fun is undeniable.
  2. Kirsten Martinez, Photographer. Kirsten Martinez began her career in commercial photography in Cleveland, Ohio, and has since worked in Milwaukee, Los Angeles, and Chicago. She has photographed, retouched, and assisted on high-production photo shoots for countless nationwide brands, including Papyrus Greeting Cards, Kohl’s, Arhaus Furniture, and Harley-Davidson.
  3. Lucy Hewett, Photographer. Lucy Hewett's images reflect a clear vision rooted in design, color, storytelling and a deep value of good food and real connection. She and her team find solutions for productions big and small. Drawing on experience from advertising campaigns for major agencies, work with institutions like The Field Museum and Northwestern University, and regular contributions to The New York Times and Wall Street Journal, Lucy can flexibly plan an approach that best serves the creative requirements of each project.
  4. Flynn, Photographer. Flynn's artfully produced fashion and portrait imagery is influenced by a love of light, movement and minimalism. Her unique vision and deliberate approach, along with her acute technical talents, create edgy imagery that is purposefully composed, while adding interest with the effects of lighting, movement, clean lines and texture. Her deliberate, sometimes graphic, compositions and neutral environments allow for her subjects to be the clear focus within the frame. Flynn’s work is applicable for both editorial and advertising alike.
  5. Jack Goodwin, Assistant. Jack Goodwin has been working as a full-time freelance photo assistant since 2015. Working alongside award-winning photographers, he has learned a variety of perspectives and techniques for lighting varied scenes. He is well-versed in lighting people, food, products, and architectural scenes, all of which demand a distinct look and feel. Jack's extensive understanding of how light works in diverse settings has enabled him to proactively provide creative lighting solutions for unique setups.
  6. Gadi Solis, Assistant. Gadi Solis has been working in the commercial world since 2013. He now works as a Gaffer, Key Grip, and photo assistant in Chicago. He specializes in lighting food, products, and commercial lifestyle scenes. Commercial work allows him to work with a wide range of talented artists and learn different lighting approaches. Some of Gadi’s clients are Whirlpool, Crate and Barrel, Verizon, HP, and Jim Beam.


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