Assisting another photographer is a difficult gig. I’m not talking about the minute adjustments, the impossible task of trying to read the photographer’s mind, or the exhaustion from constantly moving. This may be a bit selfish (and very obvious), but the hardest part for me is not being the one behind the camera. It’s tough to see someone else hit their creative stride while I’m hauling bags and holding the reflector, and seeing the excitement of both client and artist when they look at a great shot makes my shutter finger ache, but at the end of the day I think about how much I learned and the awesome people I worked with, and I know the experience was worthwhile.
Over the weekend I was able to assist the fabulous Pixie of Pixie Vision Productions during several family shoots at the Spoutwood Fairie Festival. Pixie’s work explodes with joy and personality, so it should come as no surprise that the woman herself does the same. I first met Pixie a year ago and since then I have helped her with travel + been around while she was shooting, but this was the first time I was properly assisting her (and hopefully not the last).
One thing that’s always drawn me to Pixie’s work (which I’d been seeing for years before we met) is her ability to pull a person out of their shell and show off who they are, not just what they look like. I can find that when it pushes through during a performance or in candid moments, but Pixie knows how to ask for–if not downright demand–that connection. As she said on Saturday between shoots, “I’m going to get the shot. I’m going to reach in and pull out the emotion, and I can do it with scissors or with kindness.”
The last time I saw Pixie I learned a lot about the business side of things as she graciously answered my thousand-and-one questions during our car ride from MD to PA, and while I still need to do a lot more on that front, she gave me some solid advice and direction to build on. I feel like this adventure’s lesson is about connecting with the client and not being afraid to push them a little (and push myself a lot). I can’t wait work with Pixie again and see what I pick up next!