Photography Assistants: The Story of Bruce and the Unsung Heroes

June 25, 2015
Bruce hamming it up as a standi-in for a Father & Daughter on the Take Me Fishing Campaign shot for The Richards Group in Galveston Texas

Bruce hamming it up as a stand-in for a father with his daughter on the Take Me Fishing Campaign (Now called Discover Boating) shoot for The Richards Group in Galveston, Texas. 

Over the years, I have worked with some amazing crews, and I have established long term relationships with the best of the bunch. So today I’m featuring Bruce, who worked as my first assistant for a decade back in the late 80’s and 90’s. Bruce has moved on to a different profession, but we are still great friends and enjoy rehashing the crazy escapades we encountered over the years.

For a another Healthcare client, Bruce Stands-In for what will eventually be a little girl playing dress-up

For a Healthcare client, Bruce stands-in for what will eventually be a little girl playing dress-up.

For Harley Davidson shot in Fire Valley Nevada for Carmichael Lynch, Bruce Stands-in is what will soon be a biker after we finish the setup.

For Harley Davidson shot in Fire Valley, Nevada for Carmichael Lynch. Bruce stands in for the real biker.

Other than being the “stunt double” for the real talent while we set up, a first assistant has to be my right hand guy – he has to really know this job, think ahead of me, solve problems before they get to me or the client, and he has to have a great attitude while doing it. For all practical purposes, he needs to be able to orchestrate and shoot the job the way I have envisioned it.

I ended up using this exact photo as on of my promo photos for the studio. But he's actually standing in for a couple who will be canoeing in Twin Lakes Colorado shot as an ad for the Boating and Fishing Foundation fir The Richards Group.

I ended up using this exact photo for one of my studio promos. But Bruce is actually standing in for a couple who will be canoeing in Twin Lakes, Colorado. The ad is for the Boating and Fishing Foundation for The Richards Group.

A great rapport between a photographer and his assistant is essential; it must be almost telepathic. We grow extremely close on these long shoots, working together day in and day out from dawn to dusk, (so you really have to like the guy) honing his ability to understand my non-verbal cues and “read” my intentions. Bruce was instrumental in helping me create some fantastic photos, and he kept the energy level high to insure we had fun along the way. I’m sure you’ll get a sense of his character from the photos I selected from Bruce’s collection of over 1000 “stand-in” Polaroids. (Yeah…remember those?) Sometimes the photos are fabulous portraits, other times they are magnificent images in their own right, but more often, they are amusing or outright hilarious.

For another Healthcare client, we've setup a Senior's Dance night scene. It is critical that I know the lighting on the couple well before they arrive. Bruce adds his own style as the Stand-In

For another Healthcare client, we’ve set up a Senior’s Dance Night scene. It is critical that I know the lighting on the couple well before they arrive. Bruce adds his own style as the stand-in.

Enjoying a little sun at the Baths in the British Virgin Islands, Bruce is taking the role of a young couple and their young son. Shot for BVI Tourism for The Zimmerman Group.

Enjoying a little sun at the Baths in the British Virgin Islands, Bruce is taking the father role of a young couple and their son. Shot for BVI Tourism for The Zimmerman Group.

And finally… On a really cold winter day on the beaches of North Carolina we were shooting Land Rover USA ads for GSD&M.  Nature is always making additional challenges on the crew well beyond the task of just taking the photo.


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