Working as a Digital Operator

22nd November: Working as a digital operator with Jo-Anna Rohmann

So this evening we had Jo-Anna Rohmann come in and talk to us about working as a digital operator, she mentioned the pros and cons of working as one, the difference between working as a Digi Op and working as an assistant, what you’d be expected to do as a Digi op, how to enter the industry, finance, how much you get paid as an assistant and Digi op and more.

Pros and Cons
-best route into the industry
-you’ll be learning whilst doing
-develop loads of contacts
-get to understand the business side of things
-get to know the equipment

-long hours
-can be stressful
-have to sort out archives
-data recovery

Most photographers will not expect you to know everything
As a runner you are making sure everything is tidy, and you’ll mainly be observing the assistants
The job of an assistant is that you are there to help and you are there to make sure things run smoothly. You have to be polite and friendly and have to be accommodating. Must as an assistant is that you always have to be on a job 15 minutes early.

The difference between a lighting assistant and a Digi op
Lighting assistant:
-set up and control
-make notes of all the lighting set ups
-you have to make sure everything is safe on set
-power supply is always working as well as all lighting equipment
-you have to be a general assistant

Digi op:
-working cameras
-backing up files
-exporting files
-creating styles on capture one
-mood boards
-troubleshoot mac and cameras
-star rating photos
-light retouching
It is a must that you know the Capture One software as this is an industry standard.

How to enter the industry
-Intern/runner (these are usually unpaid)
-Studio assistant
-Rental house
-Full time assistant
-Freelance assistant, for this you need to email your CV which includes a good cover letter, talk about shots you like of that specific photographer, keep it sweet and short and address them with their name. You need to be persistent with your emails to photographers but not pushy.

-Late payments usually occur
-It is advisable to have a second job in the beginning when you don’t have much work, probably an evening or weekend job will be best
-Email and network with loads of people
-You will need liability insurance

Lighting assistant:
-£80, short days
-£100-£120, food
-£150, normal jobs
-£200+, on advertising jobs

Digi Op:
-£80-£120, small jobs
-£150-£200, editorial
-£200-£250, advertorial
-£250+, advertising
-£300+, big jobs usually about 4 years+ experience is required for these

Different editing softwares
Capture 1:
-industry standard
-best software
-crashes often, LCC, local adjustments

-used by amateurs
-good features, not many
-not as easy to operate as capture 1

-less features than capture 1


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