Digi-Tech Q&A with Nicholas Caiazza

This Q&A series is all about shining a spotlight on people in the industry. The goal is to learn about them and share their insights with you. There are many talented people in various markets around the world, and hopefully this series will help you get to know them better.

Q: Who are you, where are you based and what type of jobs do you work?

I’m Nicholas Caiazza, a freelance Digital Tech and Photographer based in Los Angeles, CA. The majority of my digital work consists of ad campaigns, magazine editorials, and e-commerce productions for clothing brands. For many years, I’ve worked closely with still life photographer Gregory Reid in Brooklyn, NY and also enjoy regularly helping up-and-coming talent on their personal projects. Recently, I started a small camera and digital equipment rental business specializing in Contax cameras in Hollywood called Rochester Ave. LLC (located at 1800 Vine St.)

Q: How did you become a Digital-Tech and how long have you done it?

In the beginning of my photo career, I got a job (thanks to Po Ewing and Lesha Patterson) in the EQ room at what used to be Dune Studios in the 55 Water building of NY’s financial district. In the EQ room I learned about photography lighting equipment and the business of photography. Shortly thereafter I began photo assisting photographers all over the city. A good friend and fellow photographer, Manolo Campion, gave me an opportunity to assist/tech for his shoots with MCM in Brooklyn and that was my first opportunity working as a Digi Tech on a commercial production. I became a full time Digi Tech when I moved from Brooklyn to LA during the pandemic. Pamela Grant and George Brooks in LA and Edward Pages in NY are my biggest influences as a Digi Tech.

Q: What do you like most about your work; what do you like least?

What I love most about what I do is working with so many talented people and the pursuit of information. As a Digi, like most professions, your training and education never stops.
It’s important to always look on the brighter side of life and not dwell on the negatives. When the hardest days wrap up I always try and remember that I’m in the process of pursuing my dreams. Some people only dream about doing what we do.

I always try to keep in the back of my mind that I’ve started working on set as a PA and throughout the years I’ve moved my way up through almost every department.

Photography has always been my calling but it took me truly listening to my heart to fully comprehend what I was destined to do. Before photo, I was working in art departments for several movies and tv shows, sometimes working 20+ hours in a single day. Like most of us I was always taking pictures but it wasn’t until my first day on a proper photo set (thanks to Mark Vale) when I met Photographer Marion Grand that I realized I wanted to be a photographer.

Q: What do you feel is important to learn for anyone starting out or what do you wish you knew when starting?

One of my favorite parts of what I do is encouraging young people I meet on set, who are just beginning their careers in the industry, to keep chasing their dreams relentlessly. In the beginning, I didn’t have many people educating me so I had to learn some tough lessons the hard way. When I meet people just starting out, hungry to learn more, I always make an effort to show them I’m happy to be a resource for them.

I think the most important part of what we do is showing up every single day early and ready to work hard all day long with a positive outlook. The second most important part is showing the next generation the ropes and encouraging their growth. The more you teach the more you understand and vice versa. I firmly believe in this symbiotic relationship between teacher and student.

Q: What’s one item in your kit you can recommend to everyone?

One of my favorite new pieces of my kit is the Faini Made Camera Holster (this is not an ad). It’s such a game changer to have a safe place to secure the camera that’s easy to access and flexible to move around with. I also love that you can buy them unfinished. For mine, I found a colorful bicycle grip to make my finish one of a kind.

Q: What piece of equipment would you like to never see on set again?

Outdated hard drives..but my biggest pet peeve when I arrive on set on a studio day is walking onto an unpainted cyc. To me that’s a sign of a poorly managed studio and it feels like a disservice to the entire industry here in LA.

Q: If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be?

I think what bothers me most about the industry is the uncertainty of everything, never knowing what your week or month is really going to look like. Several of my clients do a great job confirming days but recently I’ve noticed too many projects where everything is handled so last minute. Flexibility is a huge part of how you find success in this business. Unfortunately, for those who choose to have a family, this uncertainty adds additional pressure to an already challenging job.

Q: What was your best day on set?

I don’t know if I have a specific best day on set but I do have favorite people I work with like DP/Photographer Russell Tandy and others. Working with these people always makes each shoot day feel like you’re creating and spending time with family. I think it’s really important as a freelancer to have people you truly love collaborating with, who encourage your growth and creative input. Your creative pursuits are so much fuller when you’re sharing them with people you love to work with.

Q: How do you explain what you do for work to family/strangers?

When I talk about my work I often talk about my connection between my personal and commercial projects and how they intersect. So much of my personal work is made possible by the work I do for other companies. Being a successful Artist is one part creativity but it’s also about creating a revenue stream to fund these creative pursuits. If you can learn to enjoy the entire process you will find purpose in your life.

In the very near future I’ll be releasing my first photography book. To me this is a milestone in my journey as a Photographer. My work as a Digi Tech allows me to pursue these passion projects and continue to sharpen my skillset. I think being a successful Artist is about doing what you have to do to learn, earn and develop a balance between what you love to do and what you have to do to make a living.

Nicholas Caiazza



You can read others in the Q&A series HERE