June 9, 2021

If you’re a photographer looking to start shooting more weddings, one of the best places to start is by second shooting. Being an assistant photographer has so many priceless benefits and is perfect for anyone from a new photographer to a photographer switching fields within the industry to a photographer that doesn’t want all of the business-related responsibilities to fall to them.

So, what do you need to know about being an assistant photographer? There is so much valuable information that it seems impossible to cram it all into a single blog post but I want to give you the basics on how to get hired as an assistant photographer and how to be the best assistant photographer you can be. I already know you’re talented and skilled, so I want you to be the first pick for the job and to get hired over and over again.


The first thing you should know is that there is so much to gain from being an assistant photographer. If you’re newer to photographing weddings, being a second shooter means that you get to work with and learn from the best of the best right from the very beginning. And there is so much to learn from seasoned photogs. If you’re transitioning and looking for slightly less responsibility, you’ll probably be excited to know that assistant wedding photographers are some of the highest-paid photographers in the industry.


An assistant photographer is such an important role and should be taken just as seriously as applying for any other job. The best way to get the job is to share your value and skill sets in ways that will help a lead photographer elevate their brand. Make sure you professionally communicate how your strengths and skills could be a valuable service rather than asking what you can get from the job. 


It’s not hard to find information about best practices when it comes to being an assistant photographer. Things like showing up on time, how to dress, how to represent their brand and not promote your own. But there is so much more to it than the do’s and don’ts. You want to make yourself stand out as an assistant photographer so much that your lead photographer will want you working for them again on the next job… and the one after that too.

Find the best ways to be proactive and take charge in order to help lighten your lead shooter’s workload. At the same time, be aware of when it’s best to follow their lead so that you don’t accidentally overstep. These are the types of things that will help you stand out as a top notch second shooter and become top of mind the next time your lead photographer needs an assistant.


Some of the things that assistant photographers don’t always think about before starting out are important legal and contractual considerations. Make sure you know what to look for in a contract and why a contract is so important for you – not just the photographer that hired you.

Being contracted as an assistant photographer is different than having a traditional employer. Which means taxes are going to be a lot different than you may be used to. It’s important to know what types of tax forms you need and what they mean. You’ll also want an easy and efficient way to track your hours and income as a contractor so that you have everything you need in one easy place when it’s time to file taxes. These are definitely the not-so-fun parts of being an assistant photographer, but no less important.


I know what you’re probably thinking: “That’s great and all, but how the heck do I figure all of this stuff out?” Don’t worry. I’ve got you! Like I said, there is just way too much valuable information for you to digest in one blog post. These are all of the key points that you should know about, but I’ve created a full downloadable workbook going over every single detail that you could possibly need to know about being an assistant photographer. And I do mean every. single. detail.

We talked about the benefits of being an assistant photographer. In the workbook, I go over all of the specific things you can (and should) learn from working as a second shooter. I’ll also give you a look at those delicious pay rates I mentioned. We also talked about how to get the job and this is probably the most valuable part of the workbook. I tell you all of the things you’ll want to say and the things you’ll want to avoid saying. I even give you a full blown email template to use when you’re applying or pitching yourself for an assistant photographer position. All you have to do is plug & chug and hit send.

I touch on all of the dos and don’ts in the workbook because they’re super important fundamentals. But I also go into detail about the best ways to be proactive and take charge when you’re on the job so that your lead photographer can’t not notice how smooth the day went with YOU on board. And last, I go over legal and contractual considerations that you should keep an eye out for. We’ll cover everything from copyrights to who is responsible for what when it comes to taxes. I also give you an example of what an Hours & Income Tracking Sheet could look like. 


“How to Become a First Pick Assistant Photographer” is a 36 page downloadable workbook that includes 5 chapters (Benefits, Communication, Professionalism, Take Action and Legal) and includes interactive worksheets, an email template, and an example of an hours and income spreadsheet. There’s also a Cheat Sheet at the end of the guide that gives a bullet point list of all the key takeaways from each chapter so that you can easily refer back to the main points without having to dig through the entire guide again.

I know you have all of the talents, skills, and drive you need to be successful. This guide is the last tool you need for your tool belt in order to take that next step. I’m so excited for you to get started on your journey as an assistant photographer or to level up your assistant photog game. And to thank you for taking the time to read this post and support my educational business, I want to offer you a special discount for this workbook! All you have to do is enter the code THANKYOU15 at checkout for 15% off your purchase (that makes the workbook less than $30!). I hope you’ll love this guide as much as I loved making it for you!