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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Weddings & Other Family Events Talk 
Thread started 31 Oct 2014 (Friday) 21:58
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Second Shooter/ Assistant Pay

 
mdripper
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Oct 31, 2014 21:58 |  #1

So ive been working for a successful wedding photographer for three years now and lately ive felt that i might be getting underpaid. Typically working 10-12 hour days usually starting with setting up equipment. Then up until the ceremony im with the groom and groomsmen shooting them getting ready then shooting additional angles of everything the main is getting. Im using all of my own gear minus cards. I'm making $200 a wedding. Is this a pretty standard rate or what? The first year i was fine with making that because i was learning a ton but now im his go to shooter and feel like ive improved.


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mclaren777
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Oct 31, 2014 22:43 |  #2

$200 is a reasonable price, but it probably wouldn't hurt to ask for more of you think you've become a true asset to him.


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Nogo
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Oct 31, 2014 23:11 |  #3

Your pay is in the $16.00 to $20.00 per hour range. Is that a good wage in your geographic area? The other question, are you working as a sub contractor? If you are paying all the Social Security and other employer taxes yourself you should be earning a dollar or two an hour more than a regular part time employee should, just to cover your taxes.

As with any job, do you enjoy it and can you earn more doing something else. If you love it and want to stick with it, consider it an internship leading up to doing the weddings yourself.


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Phil ­ V
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Nov 01, 2014 03:42 as a reply to  @ Nogo's post |  #4

2nd shooter rates vary quite a bit.

How good are you, how much of an asset to the job and more importantly; how much is the pro charging?

If he's charging $8000 a time and using the '2 photographers' as part of his marketing, and his portfolio is full of your shots, then you're really underpaid.

If he's charging $1000, and he doesn't make a song and dance about your 'partnership' and you don't really feature in his portfolio, then you're already overpaid.

As you can see, it's not really something you are in control of, it might be that if you want to make more, you have to work with someone else. Or to be blunt, it might be that $200 is what your skills are worth.

Too many variables to make it a Yes or No answer.


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tim
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Nov 01, 2014 15:48 |  #5

That's around the ballpark I pay my assistants, who also shoot, often with their own equipment. I expect hard diligent work but any photos they take are a bonus.

Are you an assistant or a second photographer? Answering the questions above will also help us tell you if it's fair.

You can always ask for more if you're valuable. Remember if all he needs is a pair of hands you're replaceable, but if he needs a photographer or someone who really understands how he works, you're valuable. An assistant who doesn't need to be told what to do really makes life easier.


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StephenAndrew
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Nov 02, 2014 19:12 |  #6

Depending on where you live, I'd venture to say you're underpaid. A competent second shooter around my area will get $400 for 8 hours - usually more if it's a longer day or they're more skilled. Assistants will get anywhere from $100-$200 depending on the day. Connecticut, which is where I live, has higher rates (for everything it seems) than other areas though, so keep that in mind too.

It sounds to me like you're more of a second shooter than just an assistant, since you're covering the groom solo, and brining all your own gear. If I was working with the same photographer for three years and haven't had a pay increase (and assuming I was doing a good job), I wouldn't be shy about asking for a raise.


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memoriesoftomorrow
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Nov 02, 2014 20:01 |  #7

mdripper wrote in post #17244847 (external link)
So ive been working for a successful wedding photographer for three years now and lately ive felt that i might be getting underpaid. Typically working 10-12 hour days usually starting with setting up equipment. Then up until the ceremony im with the groom and groomsmen shooting them getting ready then shooting additional angles of everything the main is getting. Im using all of my own gear minus cards. I'm making $200 a wedding. Is this a pretty standard rate or what? The first year i was fine with making that because i was learning a ton but now im his go to shooter and feel like ive improved.

Is $16.6 to $20 a good rate of pay for photographers where you are? Do bear in mind though on the whole photography is a low paying industry.

Regardless of the pay rate though unless you are bringing a very distinctive style to the table the photographer you work for should easily be able to replace you should you determine that you are not earning enough. It is a buyers market. By all means ask for more but be prepared for the possibility you are easily replaceable.

For me whether you are using your own equipment (equipment is cheap and it is kind of a basic requirement if you want to be a photographer) or are taking shots of the groom getting ready (straightforward task) is irrelevant to your pay level. The only things I'd consider that were important were the standard / distinctiveness of the shots you take and the going rate in your area for that standard / distinctiveness.

Also, I don't know about where you are but most photographers over here haven't raised there prices much if at all over the last few years. Not only that but most have significantly increased the COGS in the packages they sell having crammed them full of product in an attempt to remain competitive. It could be the case that even if your pay had remained the same that in real terms (with respect to the profit the photographer you work for makes) that it has actually increased.

It is hard for anyone here to say whether you could/should be earning more with knowing much more and seeing your work.


Peter

  
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vanmidd
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Nov 03, 2014 04:02 |  #8

2nd shooter rates vary quite a bit.

How good are you, how much of an asset to the job and more importantly; how much is the pro charging?

If he's charging $8000 a time and using the '2 photographers' as part of his marketing, and his portfolio is full of your shots, then you're really underpaid.

If he's charging $1000, and he doesn't make a song and dance about your 'partnership' and you don't really feature in his portfolio, then you're already overpaid.

As you can see, it's not really something you are in control of, it might be that if you want to make more, you have to work with someone else. Or to be blunt, it might be that $200 is what your skills are worth.

Too many variables to make it a Yes or No answer.

Agreed. Any more info? $20/hr sounds rough.


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helloagain36
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Nov 03, 2014 08:21 as a reply to  @ vanmidd's post |  #9

As others have said, there are a ton of variables in this, some of which would be outside of your control...like location. A 2nd shooter in Idaho is going to make significantly less than a 2nd shooter in NYC.

Though from what you describe, if you are a solid 2nd shooter working hours like that with a successful full time photographer. Then yes, I would say you are underpaid.

For reference, I'm in Philly and pay non-shooting assistants $250 and solid reliable 2nd shooters $400...and I usually cut them loose right after cocktail hour, so they rarely work more than 6ish hours.


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vanmidd
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Nov 04, 2014 23:25 |  #10

^ I'm very similar to the above: 6 hours max, send them home at the start of reception, pay similar.


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nicksan
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Nov 06, 2014 21:33 |  #11

$500-$700 is about what I would pay for an experienced second shooter. That's what I would expect to be paid as well. I used to shoot for $200 when I was starting out but by year three I was making double that for second shooting gigs.




  
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SMP_Homer
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Nov 12, 2014 07:44 |  #12

I pay my assistant $400 CDN per wedding day... he typically also comes to the engagement shoot as well...
mostly has his own gear, sometimes uses some of my stuff... whatever is needed for the job...
I supply him the cards, he hands them over at the end of the night


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HeleneD
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Dec 12, 2014 05:39 |  #13

I'm paid $30/hr as a second shooter. I'm in CT. It sounds like I'm under paid as well for this area if I go by what others have posted. So if anyone needs an experienced second shooter in NY or CT let me know ;-)a


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mcap1972
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Dec 16, 2014 20:19 |  #14

Here is Toronto the going rate is around $35 per hour - shoot and burn only. Expenses are extra.


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pbt1234
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Dec 30, 2014 11:11 |  #15

As a second shooter it depends on how much you are contributing, your material is being used and how much is being charged. I have seen the going rate in SC/NC in the 25-40% of the charges as a base, depending on the above and your experience/capabilitie​s. $200 sounds really cheap considering the going rate for a wedding shoot.




  
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Second Shooter/ Assistant Pay
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