Table of Contents

  1. What is an associate photographer?
  2. Who should hire an associate?
  3. When do you hire an associate?
  4. Who is the right associate photographer?
  5. What kind of contract do you need?
  6. Additional questions!

A couple of years ago I met Michael and Anna Costa when they visited our group of photographers in Charleston, SC to discuss how to speed up your work flow and multiply yourself. Though the meeting with them wasn’t nearly long enough, they covered the premis of having associate photographer(s) work with you to book those buget brides or to book the overflow when you get requested for days you are already booked.

What is an associate photographer?

An associate photographer is any photographer who you contract separately to shoot weddings. Second shooters are de facto associates, however true associates are skilled enough to shoot weddings on their own. By contracting a bride with an associate shooting their wedding, your studio can keep the revenue while not discounting your shooting prices.

Who should have an Associate Photographer?

You don’t have to be the biggest studio in town to have associate photographers.  You simply need to have more requests than you can fill or budget wedding requests that you normally would not shoot.  Thus, if you are booking out your September each and every year, then consider seeking some associate photographers to help you take some of those double bookings.  Last year, on the weekend of October 3rd, our studio shot 10 weddings between Kelli, myself and our two associates.  Kelli and I shot three each and our associates shot 2 each.  We brought in a total revenue of over $23,000 in one weekend!  Afterwards, we had to figure out how to edit all of them, but that is a great problem to have.

Get an associate photographer when:

  • You get multiple requests for the same day
  • You want to take budget weddings into your studio, but don’t want to shoot them yourself because you don’t want to discount what you have done in the past
  • You are ranked number 1-3 on Google for the search ” YOUR CITY wedding photographer”  With that ranking, you could make a great deal of additional revenue with an associate.

How to find an associate photographer

There are a few ways to find an associate photographer.  We found ours by being part of a photographers group in Charleston SC.  There were a few qualified shooters and we just asked if anyone would want to fill in some extra dates.  We offer them $100 per hour of shooting and they do NO editing.  We simply want the RAW files from them after the wedding.

Our best associate photographers have their own wedding photography businesses and shoot weddings regularly.  We simply hire them as our associate to fill dates when they don’t want to edit or have not had requests.  One of our associate photographers is one of the best photographers in Charleston, SC.

Sometimes he has a vacation planned the week after a certain weekend.  He doesn’t want to shoot that weekend because he knows that he would not be able to get it edited in a timely manner.  So, he will open up that weekend for us as an “associate” where he shoots and we edit.  He picks up extra money and doesn’t have to worry with the typical customer service that you have when it is a full wedding.

What kind of contract do you need for an associate?

While we use the same contract with our client and simply assign the appropriate associate, we have a separate (2nd) contract with our associate photographer.  Once we receive our deposit from the bride, we pay a deposit with our associate to reserve the date with them.

The best thing to do will be to contact a contract attorney to make sure you get your wording right.  It doesn’t have to be anything more complex than an assignment contract with a deposit, date and times, and signatures.

Other Questions

If you have additional questions, please feel free to contact us and we will be happy to answer them for you.