Do you photograph your weddings and/or special events as a lone photographer? How much more could you do with an assistant?
As wedding photographers, Andrew and I offered our clients two packages: one photographer or two.
But even if they chose one photographer, or if we photographed together, it was still nice to have an assistant along that could handle, well, more of the assistant type work. An assistant typically:
- Tracks your equipment, making sure you don’t leave anything behind.
- Sets up tripods and light stands.
- Has cameras and lenses ready when shooting begins.
- Organizes groups of people, and heads out to find missing people.
- Loads and unloads car.
- Manages flash cards and computer equipment.
- And yes, occasionally shoots too.
Typically we found our photographer assistants in one of two ways:
1. We attended a lot of photography associations and groups. You can almost always find newbies at these events that will be willing to assist you to learn more about the business.
2. Ask around at the local high school, college, or art institute. One of our best assistants had no desire to become a full time photographer – she ended up graduating with a degree in special education – but she loved photography. She worked for us her senior year of high school and all through college.
What should you look for in an assistant?
Someone who can take direction. In a stressful situation, they have to be able to take direct orders and work quickly.
Someone who isn’t afraid of working hard. Weddings aren’t easy – they are long and strenuous. It’s not uncommon to work 10 hours or more at a wedding, so they have to be up for that level of work ethic.
Someone who is trainable. Much of the training is done on the fly as things happen. They must be flexible, and quick to respond to different situations.
Someone who is social. They will have to interact with a variety of people, and in some cases direct people.