February 9, 2023

How & When to Hire a Photo Assistant

Nathan Hilgartner
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You’re a successful freelance photo producer. You make good money taking professional photographs. Do you need a photo assistant?

Well, maybe.

Hiring an assistant photographer may seem like a needless expense and hassle. But for photographers looking to expand their businesses , an assistant may be just what’s called for. 

In this post, we’ll discuss why, when, and how you should hire a photo assistant.

Why should I hire a photo assistant?

What does a photo assistant do? The answer really depends on what you need done.

An assistant, for photographers used to doing everything themselves, is really just an extra set of hands. Ideally, a trained assistant photographer can do everything you can do – increasing your efficiency as a freelance photo producer. 

Working a major event like a large wedding is stressful for a single photographer: you can’t be everywhere at once, documenting all the goings-on. But with an assistant, you can cover twice as much ground in the same amount of time. They can cover multiple angles at the ceremony, or catch the guests at cocktail hour while you’re taking photos of the happy couple and their families.

Studio shoots run much more smoothly with an extra set of hands, too. Think of all the time you waste swapping out equipment and moving lights. All the paperwork you need people to sign and process.

Think of what an extra set of eyes can lend to the creative process.  

An assistant, fundamentally, is an empowering addition to your workflow. 

Determine whether it’s time to hire a photo assistant

Maybe your workload has become too much to handle on your own. Maybe you want to expand your photography business and take on more clients. Maybe you’re looking to focus on specific aspects of your business, such as shooting or editing, and need someone to handle the rest. 

In any of these cases, it may be a good idea to hire an assistant photographer.

After all, we’re talking about a photographer assistant – that is, someone who is also a trained freelance photo producer. A trusted photographer assistant can take over whatever part of your photography business is swamping you, giving you more time to focus on the challenges of growing your business. 

So, how do you know when you’re ready? Can you afford an assistant? Do you feel like you're either doing too much, or missing out on jobs without one? If so, it’s probably time to give it serious consideration. 

How to hire a photo assistant

Start by figuring out what tasks you need an assistant for. Do you need someone to take care of the lights? Paperwork? Do you want someone you can leave alone without direction?

Different assistants will have different skillsets. However, that also means they might be looking for different salaries.

Photographers’ incomes tend to fluctuate, so think hard about your budget. Are you getting regular enough work that you can promise a regular salary? Remember that part of what you’ll be paying your assistant for is being available whenever you need them.

 It may seem costly to pay a photographer assistant for the high-quality work they’re trained to do, but the increase in efficiency and expansion of your business can pay off. 

Post jobs on trusted sites

Create a job posting advertising the position “assistant for photographer.” There are lots of online photography forums where would-be photographer assistants congregate. Be specific about the skills you’re looking for.

Organizations like American Photographic Artists, the American Society of Media Photographers, and Professional Photographers of America, all include community benefits where you can link up with fellow photographers. 

Make rehiring them easy

Once you have some applicants, review their resumes and portfolios. To handle a large volume of possible photographer assistants, check out Wrapbook’s Crew Database feature, which enables you to rehire past crew-member profiles easily and efficiently.

How & When to Hire a Photo Assistant - Wrapbook - Crew Database
Our All-Crew-Database keeps track of anyone you've ever hired. Re-hiring and re-onboarding is a breeze with Wrapbook.

Having reviewed the work and experience of your photographer assistant candidates, conduct interviews and choose the best one. Hopefully, it’s just as good a fit as an assistant photographer and they accept your offer!

Best practices and tips for showing your new assistant the ropes

Now you have a photo assistant. Time to teach them. 

Your assistant photographer will be wondering, “what does a photo assistant do?” Delegate tasks and set expectations. Discuss and settle on a photo assistant day rate. 

Providing ongoing training and support. Your photographer assistant will only produce work as good as you enable them to do. 

Communicate clearly and frequently. Most likely, your photo assistant wants to do good and valuable work. Establish a positive and productive working relationship. Be positive!

Check in as you watch your business grow. Assess what’s going well and what needs improvement. Before long you’ll have a good sense of how your photo assistant is affecting your workflow. 

Wrapping Up

We hope this post has been helpful for getting you started on hiring an assistant photographer. 

If you’re thinking about payroll, there’s no better time to learn how to set up a payroll platform for your photo business. 

Just getting started in the magical world of taking pictures? Then start at the beginning and learn how to start your freelance photography career.

Good luck!

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Level-Up Your Photo Business

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Last Updated 
February 9, 2023


At Wrapbook, we pride ourselves on providing outstanding free resources to producers and their crews, but this post is for informational purposes only as of the date above. The content on our website is not intended to provide and should not be relied on for legal, accounting, or tax advice.  You should consult with your own legal, accounting, or tax advisors to determine how this general information may apply to your specific circumstances.

About the author
Nathan Hilgartner

Nathan Hilgartner is a writer living in Brooklyn.

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