Digi-Tech Q&A with Brooke Vandever

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?

Hi! I am a digi tech based out of LA. I’ve been here for 3 years, took a year break during the pandemic to move across the country from NY, with a long stay in my home state of Kansas. I primarily work on mid-level advertising jobs with a few big ones thrown in here and there. The majority of my jobs are in studio but I have a fair amount of location based work as well. I enjoy having a wide variety of clients and switching between studio/location work.

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

I started a full time combination roll as a studio manager/digital tech in 2016 for a lifestyle photographer based out of Brooklyn, NY. I had some experience with Capture in college but it was pretty much a sink or swim situation because the photographer didn't have much C1 experience and I had zero on-set experience. Luckily, my husband was getting into teching around the same time and we were able to bounce things off of one another.

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

I enjoy color grading and making quick edits in between shots. The digital tech can have a huge impact on what the client is seeing and how they are feeling about the overall shoot. After I feel solid on my gear/camera set up for the day I try and pay attention to the dynamics within a shoot as it can vary quite a bit. I enjoy anticipating different peoples' needs on set.
Loading gear in/out of my car.  I am always trying to find new ways to lighten up my setup/ make it easier to take in/out of my Camry.

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

Always stay up to date with gear, it’s constantly changing/evolving.

Clear communication is vital for a successful shoot. From beginning to end it’s important to get any details that you are unclear about as quickly as possible.

It’s important to agree upon gear/day rate before you confirm with the client. Also, be clear on your pricing and advocate for yourself if someone is trying to lowball.

Communicate with producer/photographer about what you will be bringing.

Try to get file naming/deliverable information before the shoot.

If you feel unsure about a piece of gear, go to a rental house or camera store, handle the gear and ask lots of questions.

Set up your station immediately whether or not someone says you have time.

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

A dongle bag w/ essentials. Adapters, multitool, tetherlock, color card, ssd, short cables, card readers, hex keys etc.

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

USB 3 drives, the Micro-B port

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

Having to track down past-due payments.

Q: What was your best day on set?

I am thrilled about any travel job I get to go on. Iceland, Mexico City, CuraƧao, alll over the US. I love it.

All of us are incredibly lucky to be here and I try to remember that every day I am hired on set.

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

Liaison between photographer and client. In charge of camera/computer/monitors/file management and communicating with photographer/lighting team in real time on large advertising shoots.

Brooke Vandever


You can read others in the Q&A series HERE