A few years ago, I wrote Praise for Photo Assistants, lauding the accomplishments of Niccole, Dawn, Aaron and others who make a shoot go better -- smoother, faster and generally more efficient. Working solo's often the only option, but I avoid it when possible. So, you'll appreciate that I've brought another assistant onto my team. This is he, and his name is Headly. It only took him one shoot to earn his place as my head assistant.
Headly came on board at the suggestion of noted portrait and lighting master Tony Corbell in one of his YouTube presentations, even though in practice, Headly doesn't actually do much. He never whispers cool ideas to me, and so far, he refuses to set up gear. His people skills are a mixed bag: he's a great listener, but he doesn't say much. And, if a client wants coffee or a soft drink, forget asking Headly -- he won't budge.
But, that's also what makes Headly my head assistant. He's the perfect stand-in for lighting. He stays exactly where I put him, and nothing distracts him from the position I need to get the hairlight just right or whatever. He may not set stuff up, fetch or talk, but he frees the rest of the team from stand-in duty, never complaining, even when he has to stand like a statue for hours. Apart from actual shoots, I can always count on Headly to be available when I want to try out new kit or lighting ideas. And, it's no accident that I chose him over other prospective assistants of his type for his gray skin –- again recommended by Corbell. Gray, as opposed to a normal skin color, lets me objectively assess the tonal values I'm getting as I light.
Best of all, if Headly wants a raise, I just adjust his lightstand higher.
Okay, by now you get the point, so enough tongue-in-cheek and I'll quit while I'm ahead. Well, while he's a head.