George McKenzie right here once more for PhotoShelter (try my evaluation of the Pentax Ok-1 a number of months again). Currently, I’ve been serving to manage our Third Thursday photograph enterprise chats right here within the workplace — and a current panel piqued my curiosity. The subject: photograph helping. I knew fairly a bit about helping as I’d carried out it earlier than, however there’s all the time one thing extra to be taught. And, this month, I discovered a ton about being a Digital Tech. With a day charge ($350-$450) that’s typically greater than even a 1st assistant, this job spoke to me. Who doesn’t wish to work smarter, not more durable??

So, as one does, I discovered a good friend of a good friend who’s labored as a Digital Tech fairly a bit. Boyz Bieber, aka Boyz, has his MFA from UCLA and in addition has studied at a number of technical colleges. Which implies he’s bought each the attitude of the artist and in addition an actual understanding of the most recent tools and tech points of taking pictures. And he’s carried out his share of Digital Tech’ing. Right here’s his rundown of the job:

The Tech Abilities

Not surprisingly, Boyz cited Seize One because the singular most vital piece of expertise in his arsenal. It’s designed particularly for tethered taking pictures and file group, but it surely additionally has a tremendous RAW file processor. Whereas Photoshop operates on the identical algorithms, Seize One incorporates related instruments with these of Lightroom — actually filling in the place the opposite two fall brief for stay shoots. To seek out coaching lessons on Seize One, head over to Section One’s web site right here.

Then there’s a complete host of different instruments you should know, together with Lightroom and PhotoShop as some photographers work with these packages on-site. And, it’s useful to additionally know the most important digicam programs: Canon, Nikon, Sony, and so on.

Boyzz’s recommendation: Don’t pretend it. In case you don’t know the tech, don’t take a job doing it. It’ll present actually shortly.

Capture One for Digital Techs

Seize One enhancing software program.

The Digital Tech’s Job: Earlier than, Throughout and After the Shoot

In a super world, the Tech’s job truly begins previous to the shoot. The photographer or artwork director ought to share the temper board so you will get a way for the color and style look they wish to obtain. You’ll additionally weigh in on gear leases, providing up a listing of issues like laptops, software program and onerous drives which might be wanted. Boyz prefers to make use of his personal tools the place doable as he trusts it and might deal with any particular setup previous to the shoot itself.

The day of the shoot the Digital Tech ought to present up with loads of time so he/she will be able to arrange their workstation which may range in dimension relying on the dimensions finances of the shoot. Smaller extra cell shoots require a laptop computer with it’s personal tripod stand, whereas bigger productions name for a whole rolling cart full with a desktop and high-res monitor that’s in space that’s simple to entry however out of the best way.

After the Tech has the pc station setup, he/she’s going to run by issues with the photographer to ensure they’re on the identical web page so far as software program for use and the way they wish to shoot (i.e. tethered to the pc or working reminiscence playing cards backwards and forwards, which software program they like for group – Seize One, Lightroom, and so on.), and so on.  

As soon as that’s established the tech ought to check the digicam and all file switch workflows to ensure every thing is working – shoot a pair check pictures, import the recordsdata, run a fast course of on the recordsdata for coloration and distinction, and insure the pictures are being saved to the right location. The Digital Tech usually shops every thing to a foremost onerous drive, in addition to his/her personal again up. Most photographers have a drive of their very own which they’ll additionally copy to all through the shoot.

Pattern workstation setup. Picture courtesy of Michel Leroy.

The primary concern of a Digital Tech is sustaining the pictures that get shot, so the extra redundant backup the higher. Because the tech, you might be chargeable for the images being saved and accessible. So the stress may be intense at occasions. If recordsdata go lacking or a chunk of drugs goes down, folks normally look to you as a result of you’re the “tech” skilled. Boyyz’s greatest recommendation is to check and be ready for issues to interrupt. Analysis the gear you might be renting if you happen to can, have further batteries for every thing, convey each connection wire you possibly can consider (as a result of it’s all the time the one you don’t have that you simply want on set). Mainly prepare for one thing to go fallacious as a result of one thing all the time will. Having WiFi on set can be a life saver — i.e. being able to google solutions on the fly and covertly repair the issue with the photographer earlier than the shopper notices.

The quantity two concern is just not holding up the shoot, so it’s a must to be taught to work shortly to realize the feel and appear the photographer desires. That is the place doing all your homework and following the temper board actually helps. You also needs to keep watch over the pictures themselves, serving to catch something that is perhaps a mistake (mild stands within the shot, reducing off palms/ft, or focus points). Consider your self as a second or third pair of eyes to ensure the pictures are the perfect they will probably be.

Because the shoot goes on, the tech will manage the recordsdata for fast and easy accessibility – separate folders for various outfits or make-up modifications, or particular angles or cameras used relying on the kind of shoot. That method anybody on the crew can come over to the workstation and shortly see what has been shot thus far, and what nonetheless must get carried out.

As soon as the shoot is wrapped (and even throughout lunch breaks), the photographer and artwork director will sometimes take over the workstation to allow them to make selects. Today folks want their pictures ASAP so that they’ll normally get every thing trimmed down earlier than leaving set.

On the finish of the shoot, the digi-tech will make certain all belongings have been saved, copy over the entire shoot – RAW recordsdata, processed TIFF/JPEG recordsdata, and any software program presets — to the each the photographer’s and shopper’s onerous drives. Boyzz’s private follow is to additionally make a copy of the shoot on his drive for two weeks following the shoot, ought to something occur to both of their onerous drives.

It’s undoubtedly not a small quantity of labor. And it requires a ton of tech information in addition to a knack for course of and group. However, if you happen to’ve bought these abilities, it actually may be profitable. And, if you happen to’re good, photographers are prone to rent you over and over, identical to a 1st assistant.

Not unhealthy. Not unhealthy in any respect.