From The Studio Floor

This week it’s the assistants’ turn to share their behind the scenes lives with us. Kirk van Rooi and Willem Lourens  give insight into what goes on in their world, speaking up from the studio floor. From touring the camera cabinet to rocking out the Bowens; they are the masters of their storeroom. Knock before you enter…

The storeroom is our kingdom and in order to rule it one has to stay on top of things. Below are a few tips on what to do and how best to do it in order to keep your seat firmly planted on your throne.

Do a census of the gear. Photo: Willem Lourens

1. Do a census of the gear. Know the inhabitants of your kingdom, from those proudly displayed on the top shelf of the cabinet to those residing in the dark corner behind the door. Make sure that whatever went on location comes back from location. An easy way to keep check is to draw up a list of all the gear the studio owns. Before going on location ask the photographer to tick off what they want to use. This also helps you to not forget any inevitable stragglers behind. Repeat check on return.

Service the gear. Photo: Willem Lourens

2. Service gear. A vital part of our daily studio lives is to check that the gear is serviced, happy and ready to be used. This entails cleaning camera sensors (a highly skilled task that will require a minimum of three days to clean just five sensors… or so Kirk tells us), cleaning lenses, seeing that all batteries are charged, lighting gear works and has bulbs in, toolboxes are loaded and ready to fire and tripods work smoothly etc.

3. Get to know the photographers. Every photographer has his/her favourite piece of gear or gadgets they like to use. Establish what they may be (black velvet or special lenses or even just a reflector card holder) and never forget this. Secondly, learn to mediate arguments that may arise between photographers with same preferences.

4. Whenever new gear arrives, it is also a good idea to do research about that piece of equipment so you know the ins and outs. Another good idea is to research new gear available on the market – just to stay ahead of things to come and know what threat may be out there already.

Keep equipment and store room clean, neat and tidy. Photo: Willem Lourens

5. Keep things neat. Whenever you have a free hour it is a great idea to neaten things up and restore order to the kingdom. Time is precious – categorize the gear so you know where to look for what. It’s really not necessary to protect your crown with tripods and sandbags strewn across the floor, ready to trip up intruders.

6. Get a hang of the coffee machine. It is a very important part of an assistant’s day (read previous post “Don’t Touch Me On My Studio” for detailed explanation to full extent of this necessity). This will prove vital not only for the photographer but for the assistant too who will have to match cup for cup just to keep up to speed.

A final thought and tip: never ever forget anything  you were supposed to remember. If you do, graciously relinquish your throne and… run.



About Flat Art Studios

We are a tight-knit group of photographers specializing in food photography in the Cape Town area.
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