So how do you become a wedding photographers assistant?

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by BuZzZeRkEr, Mar 31, 2008.

  1. BuZzZeRkEr

    BuZzZeRkEr TPF Noob!

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    Ok, so I've been asked to do some weddings, but have never taken one before. I have going blind reasearching techniques, views, opnions, etc. on this forum and anywhere else I can find information.

    I especially found N'kolor thread about his first wedding and how he has evolved since then, very informative....great job!

    So heres where I'm at. I've always had a knack for computers, photo editing software, art, and creativity in general. I've been asked to edit countless photos/graphics etc regularly as a part of my career and for friends/family. In my experience I have found that post production almost plays an equal role in photography as the act of taking the pictures. I then decided instead of just editing photos I'll go ahead and jump into the DSLR world.

    I was thinking I was going to go ahead and jump into wedding photography without ever prior taking a wedding shoot, but after reading N'Kolors thread about being a photographers assistant and taking photos of a wedding himself I thought this might be a great idea!

    How would I go about becoming a photographers assistant on short notice? Just camp outside a wedding and wait for the photographer to show up and ask...whats up man need some help?

    I already have all of my own equipment
    Nikon D200
    Nikon D40x BU
    17-55mm 2.8
    18-55mm 3.5
    55-200mm
    50mm 1.4
    SB - 800
    Sb - 400
    Gary Phong inverted dome LD (SB 800)

    I basically just want to shoot along side someone that has done a wedding before.....what should I do? My first wedding is first weekend in May.
     
  2. notelliot

    notelliot TPF Noob!

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    i wouldn't go to a wedding and solicit yourself. that may come off strong.

    try emailing photographers in your area asking them if they need any assistants. explain yourself and your terms.

    that's how i've done it.
     
  3. JIP

    JIP No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    First off put together a portfolio with as many relavent images as you can. You don't necesarily have to have wedding images just some shots that show you know how to use a camera and of course editing software. Then go around to as many photographers in your area (dressed like you are going to an actual wedding of course) with you portfolio and ask ask ask. I did not want to come off as rude mentioning the clothes but where I work I get to e tons of people coming in for job interviews or to fill out applications dressed in rags and it is really necesarry to make an excellentfirst impression when you are going to do something like this.
     
  4. Big Mike

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

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    I agree. You should find some local photographers (who's work you admire) and contact them. It could be a phone call, an E-mail or drop by their studio/business if they have one. Look and act as professional as you can.

    Expect to get some rejections and be prepared to start from the bottom...which might mean being a non-shooting assistant or even a coffee gofer.

    Remember, that what you are after is experience. Any pay or renumeration should be 2nd to that.

    That being said, you might find a photographer who will allow you to shoot and pay you. Another thing to consider is the ownership of you images. If you are shooting for a photographer, they will probably want to use those images for their client. They may allow you to use your own shots for your portfolio...but maybe not. Just make sure that you are clear on that beforehand.
     
  5. BuZzZeRkEr

    BuZzZeRkEr TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the replies guys!

    JIP,
    I'm already a step ahead. I set up a portfolio page and trying to add to it every chance I get. I've only got a couple dozen photos on there, but I'm adding to it every chance I get. I've created business cards and the only thing I need now is the oppertunity. If you wanna take a peak its
    www.shstudios.smugmug.com

    Mike,
    Thanks again for the advice. Yeah I think I'm just going to nag at a few photographers untill they finally give in. I'll keep you guys posted on how it goes.
     
  6. JIP

    JIP No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I see you have done your page but if you plan to approach people face to face you really shoould have something with prints to actually show people. Also while you pictures of what I am assuming is you wife and kids are nice try to have more than just them in there as they are easy subjects for you to direct.
     
  7. Big Mike

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

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    Sometimes, less is more. We always want to be judged by our best images...but sometimes we are judged by the worst images...so only use the best of the best in a portfolio. If that's only 10 images, then so be it.
     
  8. butterflygirl

    butterflygirl TPF Noob!

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    I agree with all the PP's. That's how I did it! I've worked for two wedding photography studios (one medium format film when I was in college five years ago and currently with a husband/wife team who shoot digital Nikon) It's been the best experiences of my life! I have learned SO much. I wouldn't suggest walking into any wedding without prior experience, there's just too much to know! But since your first wedding is in May - you really have no choice.

    What I did was e-mail several photographers and told them what I was interested in and that I wanted to get experience for little or no pay. I showed them some of my work and several actually wanted to take me on as an assistance WITH pay. Mind you, it's not much - $8 an hour - but it's better than nothing. I've been working with the current team now for over a year and plan to work this wedding season before truly setting out on my own for weddings. It's been amazing the things I've learned and I don't have to deal with the pressure. Plus I get to use my photos for my portfolio and Web site. They've been VERY gracious.

    You'll find that most photog's are willing to help - you just have to ask :)

    Good luck! :)
     

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