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Archive 2012 · Second photogs pay scale...?
  
 
D Smith
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Second photogs pay scale...?


I've been pretty much a solo show now for awhile now, and actually liked it that way. But I have more brides asking about multiple photographer options, and quite frankly, I am getting a bit tired of running all positions and setting up remote cameras and such. I would like to get a second in on some lengthier shoots, but haven't quite figured out how to approach pay. The package options where I would consider this are in the $1600-$2000 range, pretty average for my rural area for half to full day coverage.

I specifically would like them to capture small wedding details, maybe the groomsmen as a group or getting ready, a few smiling/hugging crowd interaction shots and then just another angle at the ceremony. I of course would prefer someone with some experience, and if anything, someone who knows how to at least handle a camera out of "P" mode.

My question is: factoring in basic experience, amount of time needed (maybe 4-5 hours), and my package pricing...
What would be a fair starting pay? I would never want to undercut anyone and I understand the importance of their contribution, but I also have to consider my time culling and processing the images and my overall liability.

Any suggestions?



Jul 28, 2012 at 02:27 PM
Ziffl3
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Second photogs pay scale...?


I really do not understand why it is so hard to figure out how much to pay 2nd shooters.

It is part of the business model.

Lets see ...search on the topic here.
Do you know any other shooters you can network with? Talk about the local rate.

just for starters ..... what is a hourly rate you are willing to pay?
what kind of experience do you get for that rate?

by your amount you charge.... looks like it will be low per/hr.
if you network with local shooters you can get a better quality shooter to come in and help you.
Plus you get the experience of working with another shooter.
Then you do the same for them.



Jul 28, 2012 at 03:13 PM
tobicus
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Second photogs pay scale...?


I've got to ask...where are you with an average cost of 2k for full day coverage?


Jul 28, 2012 at 03:16 PM
D Smith
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Second photogs pay scale...?


Ziffl3 wrote:
I really do not understand why it is so hard to figure out how much to pay 2nd shooters.

It is part of the business model.

Lets see ...search on the topic here.
Do you know any other shooters you can network with? Talk about the local rate.

just for starters ..... what is a hourly rate you are willing to pay?
what kind of experience do you get for that rate?

by your amount you charge.... looks like it will be low per/hr.
if you network with local shooters you can get a better quality shooter to come in and help you.
Plus you get the
...Show more


I did a search and found little, and it has never been part of my business model. I have never really wanted, nor felt like I needed a second in the past, starting from my film days. However, it has been brought up in conversation with brides more lately than ever before, and my knees would appreciate it too. I see alot of photogs in the closest metro city (about 45 min. away, with a very young pop. roughly 135k) advertising 2nd photogs as a norm almost. "Get this package and get a 2nd photog!" Doing little research and networking on local photog forums, you quickly discover most of them are very new to the profession (but still charge quite a bit) and have other "day jobs" to supplement. You can also tell many of the relationships were created in the local college photography program. Thus, when you look across 6-8 different websites, you see the same weddings posted on various ones as they build their portfolios and that they themselves aren't incredibly busy, it's just that they "share" shoots. I saw one session where there were something like 5 photogs representing their individual "studios" at it. Great for the brides I guess, however I'm now getting requests for more shooters too. In my small town, there are only 2 other established photogs, and they work solo as well. I want to approach others, but simply wanted advice on how others formulate their decision (package percentage, flat rate, etc.) Obviously skill is a determining factor, and the longer we work together, the better we can share a similar vision. But from what I can tell from many of my "local" colleagues, most are in the practice of 2nd shooting for portfolio and charging ridiculous rates for themselves, which explains the above.

And yes my packages don't compare to what others charge nationwide maybe, I live in rural Minnesota. That is why I was curious if some pay out based on a "percentage" of their packages. Where I live, you can pick up a 3 bedroom 2 bath house on an acre for 100k, give or take.



Jul 28, 2012 at 04:49 PM
ckhagen
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Second photogs pay scale...?


Ask around and see what people on a matched skill level would charge.

I had to jack my rate up higher for local 2nd shooting because I was shooting for people whose skill level wasn't a match for me. Not to sound too proud, but when a $1500 wedding phoographer is paying a $5000 wedding photographer $250 to show up to a wedding, it gets kind of silly. A long time ago I would shoot for $35 an hour (probably about the minimum you should pay for someone capable of working on their own). Then more like $50 an hour. Now, about $70. If its not local, a friend, and a good experience, less or maybe even free



Jul 28, 2012 at 05:41 PM
amonline
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Second photogs pay scale...?


Another topic demanding a sticky. lol


Jul 28, 2012 at 07:42 PM
D. Diggler
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Second photogs pay scale...?


D Smith wrote:
My question is: factoring in basic experience, amount of time needed (maybe 4-5 hours), and my package pricing...
What would be a fair starting pay?


Well, primaries subcontract for studios by me for $600 for a full day for weddings in your price range so seconds would be considerablely less than the primary's figure.



Jul 28, 2012 at 09:09 PM
D. Diggler
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Second photogs pay scale...?


tobicus wrote:
I've got to ask...where are you with an average cost of 2k for full day coverage?


Of course, 2K is the average across the US so the original poster is right in there with most, earning better than 50% in this line of work.



Jul 28, 2012 at 09:12 PM
 

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Ziffl3
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Second photogs pay scale...?


D. Diggler wrote:
Of course, 2K is the average across the US so the original poster is right in there with most, earning better than 50% in this line of work.


and you found this where?

i guess it all depends on your clientele base and cost structure for business.

Don't think i don't see the light because i live in a big metro area.... i have a good shooting friend who is in a very rural area ... literally 2+ hour from 'big' city. he has skills and has trouble going above $3K around him.



Jul 29, 2012 at 02:56 AM
othfilm
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Second photogs pay scale...?


Ziffl3 wrote:
and you found this where?


Well, one stat is here: http://www.weddingstats.org/average-cost-of-a-wedding-photographer.html

That puts it at $2200-2400ish, I've read others that said $1800, others that said $2000. You gotta remember there are a lot of people that get "friends" to do it, there are the $500 CL guys, etc. I'd bet the average price on this forum is a little higher.

As for what to pay a 2nd, if your packages are $1600-2000, then the answer is gonna be pretty straight-forward. You could probably pay them a decent portion of the difference between a $1600 package (w/ no 2nd) and say a $2000 package (w/ 2nd), but even then, you're talking something like $200-300 depending on experience. And you might not get as many brides paying the extra just to get a 2nd shooter.



Jul 30, 2012 at 12:33 AM
D Smith
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Second photogs pay scale...?


Yeah, after some more thought and research, I figured $250 would be where I'm comfortable at for a mid level shooter, and I can loan them some gear to use if need be. I would figure this would be fair for my package pricing for 5 hours of work or so.


Jul 30, 2012 at 04:08 AM
Ian Ivey
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Second photogs pay scale...?


In a rural area for 5 hours of work, $250 will probably get you some reasonable help. That's below what I'd consider second shooting for, but I'm in the DC area. Here, I'd expect to pay $275 - $500, depending on skill, experience, and my relationship with the second (I would limit the bet with someone I've never shot with, but the second or later time shooting with them would result in a higher fee). But I also expect a longer day than 5 hours.

I don't think it's quite as simple as a proportion-of-total-fee, but a good rule of thumb is probably 8%-15% of the total fee, with the percentage a bit higher at lower fees, and a bit lower at higher fees.



Jul 30, 2012 at 05:27 AM
Mike Mahoney
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Second photogs pay scale...?


D Smith wrote:
Any suggestions?


Depends .. I maintain a list of potential shooters and many are willing to shoot for free, just to gain more experience. Also my seconds usually double as an assistant, and many also want experience there as well. Finally I shot for many years without a second and could easily live without one. So for me it's not necessary to pay more than minimum wage for a second or assistant which around here is about $10-12 hourly.

I understand other photographers place a greater importance on second shooters and may feel the need to pay more to get what they want .. I suppose you can pay them whatever you like if your pricing & profit model allows for it. So it depends.

But no way would I consider paying a second $50 an hour as suggested above .. nuts



Jul 30, 2012 at 08:51 AM
NathanHamler
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Second photogs pay scale...?


I'll bite...i usually stay between $200 and $400 for second shooters...depending on the length of the day, travel distance, experience, etc...sometimes my 2nd's arent needed till 3 or 4 hours after i'm there, as they're usually covering the guys while i cover the girls...i average about $300-350...


Jul 30, 2012 at 03:52 PM
Ziffl3
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Second photogs pay scale...?


othfilm wrote:
Well, one stat is here: http://www.weddingstats.org/average-cost-of-a-wedding-photographer.html

That puts it at $2200-2400ish, I've read others that said $1800, others that said $2000. You gotta remember there are a lot of people that get "friends" to do it, there are the $500 CL guys, etc. I'd bet the average price on this forum is a little higher.

As for what to pay a 2nd, if your packages are $1600-2000, then the answer is gonna be pretty straight-forward. You could probably pay them a decent portion of the difference between a $1600 package (w/ no 2nd) and say a $2000 package (w/ 2nd), but even
...Show more

wedding wire doe not state where there information is from.

For reference: I do some shooting for a company here in the Big "D".
Numbers from last year:
154 weddings @ an average of $5,300





Jul 30, 2012 at 04:54 PM





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