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Archive 2013 · How much do you pay your second? What do they do?
  
 
StowePhoto
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · How much do you pay your second? What do they do?


Hi guys,

I have a meeting tonight with a prospective second shooter and I wanted to hear some feedback on how you handle yours.

This is my first full season of including a second shooter/assistant in every wedding package I offer. So far I have 9 contracted weddings that include a second.

My packages start at $2750 and move up to just under 4K with albums, etc. included. So you can see I am not yet charging the amounts as some of you here.

Tonights meeting is with a guy who is an accomplished photographer with a few of his own weddings under his belt, but as a whole has far less experience shooting weddings as I do. I trust he can do what I need him to do.

He will not be able to shoot all of my weddings so I will be working with another photographer who is less experienced, not as polished but who I also trust can do a fine job and represent me well.

Each guy is about 33-34 years old.

Duties I plan to have them do is shoot in alternative positions as I am. Hold a softbox on a pole at times. Run for gear as it is needed. General assistance throughout the night. But mostly to shoot and cover angels and areas that one person cannot do alone.

What do you pay your seconds and what do they do for you?

Thanks!

Jesse



Apr 25, 2013 at 10:54 AM
Scott Mosher
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · How much do you pay your second? What do they do?


I'm in CA and the going rate is normally $300-500, and I normally get around $350-$450, depending on how long the wedding is.

In my packages that include a 2nd shooter I include that in the package price. I have them shoot the guys getting ready while I shoot the girls. During the ceremony I'll alternate with them on who is getting the ceremony shots or candids of guests.

Formals I'll have them either at cocktail hour, or setting up lights for the reception and getting detail shots,then cocktail hour. During the reception I like to have them get crowd reactions and alternate angles.



Apr 25, 2013 at 02:12 PM
NYstyles
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · How much do you pay your second? What do they do?


Where I am $50 per hour is the going rate to hand over files, no post work, just shoot/assist. Im upstate in central NY.


Apr 25, 2013 at 02:28 PM
StowePhoto
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · How much do you pay your second? What do they do?


Hi Scott,

Thanks very much for your response. I think I will offer $275 as a starting point. That's in handing over the files, no post work.

How do others use a second/assistant during a wedding?



Apr 25, 2013 at 02:51 PM
swoop
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · How much do you pay your second? What do they do?


When it comes to weddings I only 2nd shoot. Though I did some 2nd shooting early in my career, it wasn't a regular thing for me until last year. I quickly realized that the offered rate of around $200-$300 wasn't enough for me for an 8-10 hour day so I started naming my price for 2nd shooting at $50 per hour. It's a rate I feel comfortable with and I think it's affordable for most wedding photographers who's rate fall into the $2500-$3500 range.

The reason why I charge that rate is
1) I think it's just about the most I can get away with. I would ideally like to charge about $75-$100 an hour. But I'm sure a lot wedding photographers would probably balk at that rate. And the only ones who would be willing to pay it are high end photographers. There are a lot more mid range photographers willing to pay that rate. I've also shot for a few inexperienced photographers where my rate was about 1/3rd of what they were charging but I think they were glad just to know there was someone with experience there so they were comfortable paying it.
2)It's the cost of doing business. I figured out once that it costs me about $130 just to show up to a wedding up to 150 miles away between dry cleaning, fuel and tolls. I also don't ask to be reimbursed for that. Only a few photographers I've worked with have added expenses without me asking. I think it's easier to add expenses to your rate than charging them separately.
3) It's psychological. If I'm only getting like $30 an hour I start to feel like I'm being taken advantage of. For some reason at $50 an hour I actually do work really hard like I'm trying to justify that value. At that rate I also don't mind hauling luggage, holding lights, parking the car or running for coffee. If they want to utilize my skill that's great, if they want me to run errands I'm fine with that too, I'm getting paid the same either way.
4) I think my experience requires that rate. Weddings are not my full time job. I've only done a little over two dozen of them. Which I think is enough to know how a wedding day goes. But I am a full time photojournalist and I've photographed hundreds of assignments. I like to market myself as a "professional 2nd shooter." When someone hires me they get someone who knows what they're doing. The benefits of "experience and portfolio images" mean nothing to me. I have experience and wedding pictures have no value to photo editors when I apply for assignments. I have no aspiration to photograph weddings so they aren't training competition and If they need I could very well shoot the whole wedding on my own. It's that piece of mind that I think justifies my rate as well.
5) Competition. For every wedding I've 2nd shot there are two dozen others willing to do it cheaper, and three dozen willing to do it for free. It doesn't matter how skilled and experienced I am, for some people it just comes down to numbers and that's a factor too.



Edited on Apr 25, 2013 at 03:39 PM · View previous versions



Apr 25, 2013 at 03:26 PM
maxwell1295
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · How much do you pay your second? What do they do?


$500.00 minimum

I don't use 2nd shooters very often....maybe twice over the course of 3.5 years. If and when I do hire a second, it will most likely be someone I know fairly well and in all likelihood it's going to be someone I consider a friend. That person will also own his/her own business. I know I won't work for less than $500, so I can't imagine paying someone less than that...



Apr 25, 2013 at 03:34 PM
SGallant
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · How much do you pay your second? What do they do?


swoop wrote:
When it comes to weddings I only 2nd shoot. Though I did some 2nd shooting early in my career, it wasn't a regular thing for me until last year. I quickly realized that the offered rate of around $200-$300 wasn't enough for me for an 8-10 hour day so I started naming my price for 2nd shooting at $50 per hour. It's a rate I feel comfortable with and I think it's affordable for most wedding photographers who's rate fall into the $2500-$3500 range.

The reason why I charge that rate is
1) I think it's just about the most I can
...Show more

I believe your rates are expensive in the price range you list. Higher end, perhaps.

I find most offers tend to go with what Scott mentioned. I typically get $350-$450.


Edited on Apr 25, 2013 at 03:55 PM · View previous versions



Apr 25, 2013 at 03:36 PM
morby
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · How much do you pay your second? What do they do?


My rate for second shooters has always been dependent on what I charge the client. A while back I was charging the client $300 to add a second shooter, so I was paying my second $20 an hour for around a 10 hour day. My rate for 2013 weddings has been $500 to the client, so I've been paying around $300 to the co-shooter. For 2014 I've moved to an hourly rate of $100 an hour to the client so that I can get the highest quality co-shooters and pay their rate.

Having a second does increase my workload, so it's important to get paid for the extra time I'll be putting in post wedding. I've also realized that I only want top quality second shooters from here on out, so that's the main reason I'm charging the client more. Having an inexperienced second can be a hindrance on the day, it can hurt your brand if they do stupid stuff and you'll end up tossing most of the images.



Apr 25, 2013 at 03:53 PM
Prettym1k3
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · How much do you pay your second? What do they do?


I pay my second shooters $300. Most of my weddings are 6-8 hours. They shoot and burn. No post processing. I expect them to have adequate gear, but if they shoot Nikon, any I have if there's to use.

My 2nd shooter gets paid more if the wedding goes beyond 8 hours. It's just right.

He usually shoots the guys. He does a few formal portrait shots of each guy individually, and then some group ones. I handle ALL of the family portraits, I handle ALL of the bridal party and the couples portraits, unless he speaks up and wants to jump in.

I should note that I also pick him up, drop him off, and pay him the day of.



Apr 25, 2013 at 04:44 PM
ckhagen
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · How much do you pay your second? What do they do?


I pay my local 2nds $50 an hour.
I second shoot... a lot. If it's someone local who I work with regularly, who I share the market and referrals with, I shoot for about $50 an hour. If it's someone coming from out of town, poaching weddings from our local market and asking me to show them where to shoot, it's $75+.



Apr 25, 2013 at 04:59 PM
 

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CMB Photo
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · How much do you pay your second? What do they do?


Good info above. I started as a second and love to shoot a second even today! My wife is pregnant and I'm looking for a second for this year and potentially into future. How do I find someone? Lately, it seems to be that I became a loner and don't meet with that many photogs in my area...



Apr 25, 2013 at 05:53 PM
g-money
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · How much do you pay your second? What do they do?


I pay mine in beer and frito pies. If they won't accept that I usually find $300 for 6-8 hrs work keeps them from hating me!

Greg



Apr 25, 2013 at 07:25 PM
Scott Mosher
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · How much do you pay your second? What do they do?


Prettym1k3 wrote:
I pay my second shooters $300. Most of my weddings are 6-8 hours. They shoot and burn. No post processing. I expect them to have adequate gear, but if they shoot Nikon, any I have if there's to use.

My 2nd shooter gets paid more if the wedding goes beyond 8 hours. It's just right.

He usually shoots the guys. He does a few formal portrait shots of each guy individually, and then some group ones. I handle ALL of the family portraits, I handle ALL of the bridal party and the couples portraits, unless he speaks up and wants to jump
...Show more

Dang, I should come 2nd shoot for you. Do you also pull them around in a bike trailer so they don't have to exercise also?



Apr 25, 2013 at 07:58 PM
abadass
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · How much do you pay your second? What do they do?


Scott Mosher wrote:
Dang, I should come 2nd shoot for you. Do you also pull them around in a bike trailer so they don't have to exercise also?


If I ever relocate to the Bay Area or SJ, I would love to second shoot with you guys :P



Apr 25, 2013 at 08:17 PM
amonline
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · How much do you pay your second? What do they do?


For 6-8 hours...

$150-200 for aspiring students. Usually people with good eyes, but lack gear.
$200-250 weekend warriors with experienced eyes and adequate gear.
$250-300 for seasoned wedding shooters who could shoot in my place.

All shoot and hand over files at the night's end. No processing. They usually shoot the guys, details, cocktail hours, reception and candids. In some cases, I'll have them do individual formals.



Apr 25, 2013 at 08:23 PM
Prettym1k3
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · How much do you pay your second? What do they do?


abadass wrote:
If I ever relocate to the Bay Area or SJ, I would love to second shoot with you guys :P


Scott Mosher wrote:
Dang, I should come 2nd shoot for you. Do you also pull them around in a bike trailer so they don't have to exercise also?


My 2nd shooter is young and doesn't always have a car, but he's worth every penny. I figure by picking him up I'm saving him time and gas, so that's worth an extra $40-50 - plus parking.

abadass - I could always use a trip to Hawaii to shoot a wedding or ten. ! D



Apr 25, 2013 at 11:54 PM
lilyphoto
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · How much do you pay your second? What do they do?


I pay her 300 for anything 4-8 hours. Over 8 hours I pay 400. I use the same person everytime.


Apr 26, 2013 at 12:02 AM
ktan7
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · How much do you pay your second? What do they do?


$300 would be a good rate for 8 hour wedding day.


Apr 26, 2013 at 01:57 AM
jprezant
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · How much do you pay your second? What do they do?


400-500 for full 8-12 hour days.


Apr 26, 2013 at 02:18 AM
sboerup
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · How much do you pay your second? What do they do?


$300-400 depending on skill.


Apr 26, 2013 at 06:46 AM
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