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is John Lacy,
a commercial photographer
based in the
metro Detroit area.
We produce high quality photography
mostly for business to business marketing.
Our principal markets are the construction industry and the automotive
manufacturing industry. A significant portion of our work is also divided
among the hospitality industry (hotels, resorts, casinos & restaurants)
Our specialties include
(interior & exteriors),
(interiors & exteriors,
studio & location),
shooting manufacturing facilities & equipment.
>> Environmental & Studio
for Editorial, Annual Report
glass, plastic, package goods & food.
In addition to photography we also offer
>> Digital Retouching
>> Large Format Printing
>>Graphic Design & Offset Printing for brochures, catalogs and promotional
Website Design & Hosting.
We've been in business since 1987
I know how valuable a good photographer's assistant can be. I
worked for over 100 different photographers as a freelance assistant before
shooting on my own full time over 15 years ago.
A client may ask "why should I pay additional for an assistant? Maybe I can
assist you or maybe I can assign one of my staff to help you"
So why not just use an inexperienced assistant? Or have the client assist
the photographer in moving equipment?
While a client can and sometimes does volunteer to help carry a tripod or a
case it is not their job to do so. The potential savings on the total cost
of a shoot is minimal and the expertise a professional assistant brings
greatly exceeds this cost.
A professional assistant will know that the lighting equipment is delicate
and must be handled with care. They will know how the equipment works and
can not only set it up, but quickly determine that it is working properly.
As electrical equipment the lighting kit is also potentially dangerous or
can produce hazards on location with its extended cables and cords as well
as elevated top heavy lights on lightweight stands. The professional
assistant is instructed by the photographer on the safe and proper setup of
The assistant can move lights while the photographer evaluates changes from
the position of the camera. They also contribute an additional set of
experienced eyes to many times catch a potential problem such as an
unnoticed element in the background or a strobe source reflecting in a
window for example.
The additional cost of a professional assistant is money well spent.
On some shoots the assistant may be included in the photographer's
production fee. On other shoots the 1st assistant is typically $200/day with
the time measured from when they arrive at the studio to when they leave the
studio (differing from photographer's location fees which typically apply
from arrival to leaving the location).
An additional "2nd Assistant" working as an assistant to the 1st assistant
or as an extra hand on more complicated shoots that might benefit from the
additional personnel is typically billed at only $100/day.
A stylist/assistant is a photographer's assistant with the additional skills
of "styling" which may include interior decoration, flower arrangement, hair
and makeup, or food styling skills. This assistant may or may not also
assist in the lighting setup. These specialized assistants may bill out at
$250-750/day depending on the level of skill and their potential
contribution to the shoot.
Some examples of professional assistant's contribution to shoots; On a shoot
of several executive aircraft interiors I brought my best assistant who also
does food styling. While I setup the camera and lighting within the small
space of the aircraft cabin she prepared plates of fruit and cheese, a
dinner entree and fake examples of a glass of Scotch (apple juice) and
poured glasses of wine (sparkling grape juice) for the shots.
In another example I was shooting in an industrial environment. While the
client had cleaned up much of the equipment we were asked to do an
additional shot of the back of the equipment which had not been cleaned. My
assistant was able to clean the equipment in the view while I worked on
anther setup. When I was ready to shoot the back of the equipment it was now
clean and ready.
In another example I was shooting at a location not very far from our
studio. The client asked if I could do a shot which required a piece of
equipment I had not brought with us. My assistant was able to drive back to
the studio while I setup a different shot and retrieved the equipment we
needed to meet the client's needs without stopping the shoot.
On many shoots we setup a shot prior to the subject being available or
necessary. Many times I'll have my assistant stand in for the subject as I
refine the lighting.
As always assistants costs can be included in estimates or quotes for the
full cost of a given production in advance.
Written commentary ©2006
JOHN LACY All rights reserved.