It’s strange to think I’ve been doing wedding photography for about 8 years now. In those 8 years things have changed quite a bit. I’ve gotten new gear, new ways of lighting, different editing styles, and started shooting video. One big change has been having a wedding photography assistant.
Having a Wedding Photography Assistant
When I first started off, I half-way forced my wife to come to shoots with me and the weddings. At that point in my career, I was still new to the wedding game and having someone else with me made things easier. It was also nice because I didn’t really have to pay someone else; we kept the money in the family. Then, we had Holden, and Ashley was no longer interested in spending her Saturdays with me at weddings. She was much more interested in staying home with our son. For around the past four years I’ve been going at in mainly by myself. I will have a second shooter here and there or a videographer, but most of the time it’s just me. Just recently, I’m started to bring an assistant back into the game.
I’ve actually done pretty well going solo and if it weren’t for a few things, I would probably just stay that way. One of the big reasons I’ve started bringing back an assistant is to help with lighting. If you’ve read any of my blogs or looked at my photos, you know I love doing off camera flash and creative lighting. Well, this can be tough to do by yourself. When I put up an umbrella or a softbox on a lightstand, it basically becomes a sail. I’ve had my lightstands fall over so many times, and that’s not a good idea when you have hundreds of dollars connected to it. Now I don’t have to worry because I can have my assistant stand there and protect it. Yes, I could bring sandbags, but I don’t really want to carry around an extra 20 lbs of stuff. The other main reason I need an assistant is to save time. I bring a ton of equipment to a wedding. By myself it might take me three trips to get everything inside. With an assistant, I will only have to make one trip. I also find myself needing something during the day, but I can’t go get it or set it up because of lack of time. With an assistant, I can tell them what to do and keep doing something else.
There will be a learning curve with an assistant. Most assistants probably don’t have much experience with wedding photography or photography in general, and each photographer does things differently. You have to teach them your system and how you want things done. I’m not sure how long this process takes, but the good news is eventually they will know your system and even be able to anticipate your next move. At that point, life gets really sweet.
Now where can you find this magical person? There really are quite a few ways. One would be to look for a young person interested in learning photography. Interns are great. They want to learn and in most cases are willing to work for free or very little. I would suggest asking at colleges or maybe even a local school with a photography program. The next option would be to find someone interested in a job. Truthfully an assistant doesn’t have to know anything about photography at first. You can teach them all they need to know. As far as finding this type of person, you could post something on the internet like Facebook or another social media outlet. Someone you know will probably know someone interested.
Thanks to my second shooter Lauren and my assistant Kelton for capturing me in action will all my stuff on me.
Wedding season is upon us, and this year I’m really looking forward to having a wedding photography assistant. I think it will make my life much easier and give me an opportunity to do more for my clients and be more creative. In the end, that’s all that really matters.