How much to pay a wedding assistant photog?

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by njw1224, Aug 25, 2010.

  1. njw1224

    njw1224 TPF Noob!

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    Hi all. I'm just curious about those of you who use assistants to help you shoot weddings - how much do you pay them (and perhaps, what do you expect out of them)? Do you pay hourly or a flat rate? Do you keep the assistant all day/night, or just up to a certain point? Now, I'm referring to assistants that you hire per event - not a regular employee that helps you all the time. Thanks.
     
  2. Flash Harry

    Flash Harry TPF Noob!

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    Depending on experience, if the so called assistant has the knowledge and actually helps then you pay well so you can call them up again, if its a dummy, getting in the way and causing more problems than they are worth, give em 20 bucks n send them home. H
     
  3. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    There really is no standard here. There are plenty of people that will work for free, just for the experience. But it can be really hit and miss if you are using free assistants....and if you want someone who is good, you will likely have to pay them well, especially if you want to use them again.

    I do a fair bit of contract 2nd shooting and I charge $35-$40 per hour, but sometimes work for an agreed to flat fee.
     
  4. Mustlovedragons

    Mustlovedragons TPF Noob!

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    What to pay? Well what you an afford and what he/she is willing to accept, I guess. I pay mine in alternative methods but I'm married to mine, lol. I would think a flat rate, though. You get paid a flat rate, right?
     
  5. andrew99

    andrew99 TPF Noob!

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    Does that include post work or do you hand over the raw files?
     
  6. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I just hand over the files. I don't even use my own cards...I get them, fill them up and give them back.
     
  7. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I'd been paying $100.

    But now, I have a friend who is usually available and does some nice stuff... uses his own gear too, so I bumped it up to $300.

    -Pete
     
  8. njw1224

    njw1224 TPF Noob!

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    Thanks all. I've been paying wedding assistants in the $200 range for about 6 hours (sometimes more) of help. One of them brings his own equipment. The others I use shoot with my equipment. They don't do any post-production, they just shoot and I take the images.

    From those of you who did quote some prices, it sounds like we're all in the same ballpark. Good. I think a couple hundred bucks is a small price to pay to have someone there covering the important parts of the day from a second angle, just for insurance if nothing else. My assistants aren't super-amazing shooters, but if they were they'd probably have their own business. On a wedding, an assistant might end up shooting 300-400 images. If 50 or so of these end up being good enough make it to the final cut, then I think it's well worth the price.

    And it sure helps to have another pack mule (besides myself) to lug the equipment around all day.
     
  9. DanEitreim

    DanEitreim TPF Noob!

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    You might consider going to the local college, and contacting the professor in charge of the photography program. Tell them you'd like them to refer one of their best students to work as an apprentice for free in exchange for spending some alone time with you answering all their photo business type questions. Explain that if they are good enough, it could lead to paid assignments as well. Ask to see a portfolio and if they are any good, use them.
     
  10. swoop_ds

    swoop_ds TPF Noob!

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    I'd have to agree with Dan. But if you're hiring other photogs I think the prices mentionned here are what you'd be looking to pay. It also pays to make friends with other photogs that can cover you (and you cover them) just in case there is a death in the family or something.

    -Dave
     
  11. David Dvir

    David Dvir TPF Noob!

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    I give between 200-300 depending on experience. That's for 6-8 hours normally. I give them 2 bodies, lens bag and cards and they give me everything afterwards. If they want the shots for their portfolio they can come by after a few days and get all the RAWs they want :). Most of my 2nd photographers are pretty competent though. So worth what I pay I believe. Someone with much less experience would not earn that much.
     
  12. njw1224

    njw1224 TPF Noob!

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    Well, I actually am the guy in charge of photography at a local college (in addition to running my studio), so I have some thoughts on this. I think it would work well for lots of things we do as photographers - like assisting at a portrait shoot, holding lights & reflectors, helping around the studio, etc. But with weddings (at least for me), I really don't want to put a 19 or 20-something out there. We all know how high-pressure wedding shooting can be. Plus you need high-levels of professionalism, social skills, ability to deal with lots of personalities, etc. In my opinion, most newbies aren't ready for this. Sure, if they had good basic skills, I'd love to let them shoot. But what happens when I'm not around and the bride, groom, or a parent grabs them to shoot some important shots and they don't get it right, or aren't as professional as they need to be? I prefer to use assistants who are a bit older, more experienced, and have worked in the real world for a few years (either as a photog or something else). Then I know they have a more mature skill set and I don't feel like I have to have them stick by my side so I can watch them the entire time. I guess for me it's not as much about finding a great bargain price assistant for weddings. But again, I think it's a great suggestion for lots of other types of photo gigs that aren't as high-end. Thanks.
     

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