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Thread: Assistant's Hourly Rate

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    Assistant's Hourly Rate

    Hi All

    I just need some help working out an hourly rate to charge as an Assistant for Weddings. I need to work out an assistant rate and also a second shooter rate..... Does any one have any advice on what I should charge.

    Thanks in advance

    Jess

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    Jess - have a look at this thread. This should give you an idea of what to factor in to the equation.
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    Member James T's Avatar
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    Upto you, but I don't think I would assist for less than $50 an hour, and it'd have to be with someone good who I could learn from. I wouldn't 2nd shoot for less than $150 an hour.

    Partly as a result, I don't assist or 2nd shoot.

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    Getting paid to assist/2nd shoot is sometimes a rarity in this industry, especially when you're starting out. There are reasons for this...

    Using James' example rates for a full day wedding. $150/hr * 8 hrs = $1200...that's a lot of money that will ultimately be passed onto a client. Take a $3000 package, do you think a pro photographer is going to part with $1200? Are you pictures going to bring in $1200 of value for the pro??

    Simple economics say that the pro photographer is going to want something in return for that $1200 that isn't you getting in the way, being distracting, asking lots of questions, being unprofessional etc...

    As for expecting a pro to teach you too, how much does a photography course cost? do you get paid to attend courses? If a wedding workshop costs $500 and you reckon you'll learn as much from the photographer, then the photographer is giving you $500+ of knowledge...asking them to pay you on top that is...i don't need to go there...

    Many pros are willing to give a hand to people starting off in the business but that said, the adage of "you scratch my back and i'll scratch yours" is one to consider when trying to work out rates etc.

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    Member James T's Avatar
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    A mate of mine spends a fair bit of time assisting a well known architectural / commercial photographer here in Melbourne. I think he generally invoices for around $800 a day depending on the ratio of how much he does to how much he basically just watches what's going on, and passes equipment, etc.

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    From what I have gleaned top wedding pros are inundated with people wanting to be their assistant or second for free just to learn and get experience
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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwi View Post
    From what I have gleaned top wedding pros are inundated with people wanting to be their assistant or second for free just to learn and get experience

    thats right. My usual rate for 2nd shooter is 200 flat fee, I provide free transport and meals if required. Have a whole line of ppl wanting to jump in and do it for free, at all levels of photography.

    to charge 150 AN HOUR, might as well be the main photographer.

    the thing I have learnt over the course of doing weddings is that most of the time, the work and standard level of the 2nd shooter generally doesnt equate to the price they really want me to pay them.

    Ive said this and I'll say it again - its all too easy to ask and charge for money, but will your work equate to the value being spent though?

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    Member James T's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JM Tran View Post
    thats right. My usual rate for 2nd shooter is 200 flat fee, I provide free transport and meals if required. Have a whole line of ppl wanting to jump in and do it for free, at all levels of photography.

    to charge 150 AN HOUR, might as well be the main photographer.

    the thing I have learnt over the course of doing weddings is that most of the time, the work and standard level of the 2nd shooter generally doesnt equate to the price they really want me to pay them.

    Ive said this and I'll say it again - its all too easy to ask and charge for money, but will your work equate to the value being spent though?
    Exactly, it varies from person to person depending on what's on offer from each party involved.

    I say I probably wouldn't 2nd shoot for less than $150 p/h because the minimum I charge when I'm using my camera. Wouldn't matter if I was 1st, 2nd, or 12th photographer, if you wanted my photos you'd have to pay me at least that rate to get them.

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    A mate and I do second shooting/ assisting for each other, we pay each other about $250 -300 depending on the job. I try and be the assistant more than 2nd shooter and he tries to be the main shooter when i would rather he just put the light where i tell him.
    I wouldnt get out of bed for that much for anyone else.
    My film lighting assistants are charging 400-450/8hrs then O/t.
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    Quote Originally Posted by James T View Post
    I say I probably wouldn't 2nd shoot for less than $150 p/h because the minimum I charge when I'm using my camera. Wouldn't matter if I was 1st, 2nd, or 12th photographer, if you wanted my photos you'd have to pay me at least that rate to get them.
    After looking at your website you're obviously an accomplished photographer and you have some lovely images. Asking rates like this is probably justified for you but unfortunately most people knocking on the doors of pros do not come with such experience, have professional websites, exhibit work etc etc...

    For a new starter in the industry $150/hr is way out of the ball park.

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    Quote Originally Posted by campo View Post
    After looking at your website you're obviously an accomplished photographer and you have some lovely images. Asking rates like this is probably justified for you but unfortunately most people knocking on the doors of pros do not come with such experience, have professional websites, exhibit work etc etc...

    For a new starter in the industry $150/hr is way out of the ball park.
    I know. Hence me saying it varies from person to person. FWIW though I was charging around $100 p/h pretty much right off the bat. Never done much assisting though, not really my thing.

    It doesn't matter how new or not you are though. You have to look at what you can offer. If you can offer someone a useful service, then charge for it. Without knowing the OP's work / skillset, it's hard to say wether they should offer to work for free, or be charging 2 grand a day.

    A lot of people make very successful, high paying careers out of assisting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by James T View Post

    A lot of people make very successful, high paying careers out of assisting.
    Indeed, but the catch is, they know what they are doing and often know before hand what is needed when a photographer asks for them. These people become and indispensable 'tool' for the photographer. Handing them the second camera with the right lens before they even ask etc.

    Artists often (not always) need these people to help them be more proficient and/or business like, keep the flow etc. A good secretary is an irreplaceable part of the team with their boss.

    This whole thread and the initial question would boil down to "how much can the assistant and 2nd provide?"


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    i've been doing a fair bit of second shooting for weddings.. and i usually charge between $250-$300 for the day.

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    I did my first paid job as 2nd shooter for the local races on Saturday. I was paid $150 flat rate plus commissions from the finished product (framed race finishes that are normally brought by the winning owner & their connections, trainers, jockeys, sponsors etc). Also a number of my images will be added to the website. As a result, I have more work coming my way including PP. I thought this was fair for me, I have been shooting for only around 6 months and this was my first attempt at recording the official thoroughbred racing wins.

    I received a lovely email the next day the next day which included the terms "I love your pictures, simply wonderful and VERY impressed and sincerely thankful for your endeavours on the day" It might sound like I am tickling my own ego but this was so nice to hear - sometimes I can be so hard on myself that by the end of the day I wondered if I hadn't wasted both our time

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    Have done a few 2nd shooter gigs. Generally its about 30 an hour, but not doing it for the money. More improving my skills, getting to see such beautiful weddings, and meeting new people.

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    Anywhere from $20 - $100 per hour I'd think... depending on the shooters experience and what the firm is charging the client. To get the top rate you'd need to be good enough to be the first shooter, have a similar / complimentary style to your employer and a boss with clients happy to pay $10,000...

    Then again at that level you may be better going into partnership.

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    Are we talking about a second shooter, assistant to hold a reflector and carry gear around, or both?? If I were paying somebody, there's no way I'd pay $50 per hr for someone to hold a reflector/scrim and carry gear....
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