Photo assistant basic training workshop

Sat 19th May, 2018 – 9:30am–4:00pm

Posted by Steve Brooks Posted in Career Development, Workshop


Sat 19th May, 2018


$25: APA/ASMP members
$50: General Public

Dave Rentauskas studio biopic

Professional photographer Dave Rentauskas and long-ago first call assistant leads our workshop.


Professional photographer, Dave Rentauskas leads APA Chicago's photo assistant basic training workshop on Saturday, May 19. 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 covers in detail 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.


  • 09:30A: Doors open / Check-in
  • 10:00A: Panel Discussion
  • 11:30A: Lunch
  • 12:30P: Gear demonstration
  • 01:30P: White seamless set-up / hands on training
  • 04:00P: 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 an assistant should charge
  • What is the difference between a tech and an assistant?
  • How long should I wait to get paid?
  • Who besides a photographer who 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 and should an assistant be picking up gear and equipment before & after shoot?
  • Interns? Are they paid?
  • How much of your own work do you shoot while being a busy assistant?

Afternoon session: gear demonstration and lighting set-up

The afternoon session begins with a hands-on workshop with much of the gear an assistant will most likely encounter on the majority of 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. Then we will move into learning the basic principles of a white seamless set-up. Includes working with a pro photographer on working with grip and lighting equipment for proper set-up.

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. Tyllie Barbosa, photographer (Panelist). Tyllie Barbosa is a Chicago based food and home goods photographer. Her beautifully crafted images have been published for well known clients such as the Food Network, McDonald’s, Karo, and Ziploc. Her work is best described as spontaneous yet composed with elements of surprise and allure to create emotion. Always polished, Tyllie's work spans from sophistication to playfulness and back again.
  3. Dub Swinehart, photographer (Panelist). Dub Swinehart is a full time photographer at Crate & Barrel. He earned an MFA in photography from the Savannah College of Art & Design, lived and worked in NYC for over a decade, gaining broad experience both on location and in the studio. Dub recently relocated to Chicago and opened up studio specializing in still life and architecture.
  4. Audra Zaba, first-call assistant (Panelist).


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