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Why would a pro wedding photographer want to train an assistant?

mipettin 14 884 2 Scotland
3 Aug 2005 4:07AM
Hi all

Just seen another post on here about an amateur wanting to shoot a wedding and asking for advice on lenses etc.

Often the response (rightly IMO) is you do not sound like your ready and try and find a pro who will let you assist.

I have thought about approaching a local pro - but what is in it for him. I.e. I learn tricks of the trade and could (small risk but still a risk) become a future threat.

The other way I have looked at it is well I could try and do some candids while you get the main shots and I provide these for free in exchange for experience?!

Before I approach my local pro - what else can I offer such that I am not insulting him or wasting his time?



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keithh Plus
14 25.4k 33 Wallis And Futuna
3 Aug 2005 4:17AM
Legs, pair of hands, eyes....ears.
You can change lenses, load CF cards, film. Gather particular guests.

and they'll all come for free.

It's an ever changing market. New people arrive, old Pro's retire, so for someone who can deliver the goods a new face isn't going to be a major threat.
UserRemoved 14 4.2k
3 Aug 2005 4:18AM
It really depends what you have to offer Martin.

People often confuse 2nd shooters and assistants.

Training to be an assistant is worthwhile and as I've posted elsewhere good assistants are hard to find. Assistants generally dont look through a viewfinder. My assistant only shoots on a very rare occasion and its only for one customer in particular.

As for 2nd shooter - well sometimes its worthwhile to employ one, either to shoot candids or other stuff at weddings, or as an additional event photography shooter.

One thing to bear in mind working for a more experienced pro is that in the business you generally dont steal other pros business. This is a definite no-no and will kill your career as soon as its started. I know I've had it happen to me, people take advice then try to invade your market, usually with consequences for them.

Experienced pros generally have a network of other pros - it makes sense to be able to pass on work you cant do to other folk. In my first year on my own most of my work came from referrals from the pros I had worked for.

So its not in your best interests to piss people off (although sometimes unknowingly).

To cover your last question, if you were coming to me as a second shooter I'd want to know how you operate, would you be able/willing to work to my look/feel - i.e. work to my business not your own ideas. Id want to know if you are reliable, flexible and easy to work with. I'd also need to know if you were self motivated and able to work on your own without constant direction and know enough to work on the job without looking over my shoulder (i.e. I concentrate on the people paying me, not in training you).

Pretty much everything you would look for in someone being employed in any job.

You would need to know your stuff though and more importantly what you dont know. I wouldnt employ a trainee or people looking for experience on a wedding shoot - its much too important.
mipettin 14 884 2 Scotland
3 Aug 2005 4:34AM
Keith / Joe

Thanks for the replies. Great response Joe - I wouldn't be looking to take my local photographer's business away. I would be interested in acting as a second shooter and maybe getting a little part time income. In the medium term I may want to try my hand at a wedding but only if the local photographer cannot make it - i.e. double booking - and only if he thinks I have the skills and ability to cover for him. As for an approach - would you recommend I go to his studio in person or send an initial e-mail to make an appointment about discussing the possibility of being a second shooter or back up - he does a lot of overseas work with underwater photography so I wonder who he uses as a back up.


UserRemoved 14 4.2k
3 Aug 2005 4:39AM
I always prefer emails to phone calls to doorstepping but not everyone is the same.
Some find emails a bit cold etc and can be misread.
Generally standard emails with a CV get a standard, thanks but no thanks email back as I know they have been farmed out to many.
Give him a ring maybe to arrange a meeting (over coffee somewhere) and you'll find out right and sharpish but try not to ring at a busy time (whatever that is for him). That way you will know quickly if he is interested or not and not worrying about lost emails etc.
wotashot 14 2.2k
3 Aug 2005 4:41AM
So when I come and work for you Joe will I be Assistant, Second Shooter or Slave?


UserRemoved 14 4.2k
3 Aug 2005 4:45AM
Just remember milk, no sugar Jamie and you will do allright Wink
wotashot 14 2.2k
3 Aug 2005 4:46AM
You have milk in your beer??
UserRemoved 14 4.2k
3 Aug 2005 4:52AM
Depends how many I've had Wink
snapbandit 14 2.3k 3 Northern Ireland
3 Aug 2005 5:16AM
At first I had visions of Obi-Wan & Anakin here, then I shook my head & thought of Blackadder & Baldrick!!..LOL

Closer analogy methinks

Hee Hee...

Joe B
mattw 14 5.2k 10 United Kingdom
3 Aug 2005 5:32AM
Good topic.

Joe/anybody else

If you are taking on a 'helper' or 'second shooter' - what whould you look for when deciding if they are worth taking on?

What level of (photographic) equipment would you look for, and would 'weekend only' avalibility be a problem?

wotashot 14 2.2k
3 Aug 2005 6:12AM
Hey Joe.....Watchit, hehe

Does Obi-Wan look like this?


Sorry Foxy, couldnt help myself, but im sure you'll seek your revenge Wink

AdrianTurner 14 350 Wales
3 Aug 2005 6:19AM
Jamie, that looks more like YODA

infact, it's the spit of him

LOL, sorry Joe
snapbandit 14 2.3k 3 Northern Ireland
3 Aug 2005 6:25AM
Now guys leave Joe alone...

It's obvious .... Palpatine


the force is strong with the grey side!!

wotashot 14 2.2k
3 Aug 2005 6:59AM
Surely not...You mean HIM!

Anyway Joe, what makes you say that


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