How to Hire an Assistant: A Wedding Photographer’s Guide
As you start the process of hiring an assistant, you may find yourself perplexed with questions – where to find them, how to hire them, and how to conduct the training process? To begin with, it is important to draw a clear differentiating line among assistants, assistant photographers, and second shooters. They can all play a crucial role in making your job more manageable as a wedding photographer, but they all have very different roles and responsibilities. Where a second shooter and assistant photographer may help you manage your timeline by covering parts of the photography bit, an assistant can help you take care of what happens behind the scenes. So if you are looking for more information on how to hire an assistant – read along!

The Need for an Assistant

Infographic stating before hiring an assistant, understand what you need one for

First things first. Before starting with the hiring process, understand what you need an assistant for. Understanding why you need an assistant will help simplify the answer to whether you even need an assistant. Once you have these two things figured out, you need to think about whether you need them for a full-time or part-time position. Most wedding photographers start their journey solo and gradually expand their team as their business grows.

There can be many answers to why you may need an assistant. Below, we have listed some typical roles:

  • Organize and carry the gear bag during the wedding day shoot.
  • Help hand out or hold lighting equipment, documents, checklists, contact cards whenever needed.
  • Help with props or attire during bride and groom portraits.
  • Help manage things and people as per the shot list during family formals.
  • Drive you to different locations in between different shoots.
  • Be on the lookout for moments to capture when you are preoccupied.

The Process of Hiring an Assistant

1. Set Clear Expectations & Qualification Requirements

Infographic stating a coherent job description helps candidates understand whether they are suited for the job

To find the perfect fit for the job, it is essential to have a clear understanding of what you are looking for in an assistant. And this starts with setting very clear qualification requirements and expectations. What do you want in an assistant, what are your non-negotiables, what can you be flexible with? Answering these questions could help make the evaluation process easier. Moreover, a comprehensible job description also allows candidates to understand whether or not the job is apt for them. Some of the things that you can let your applicants know about are that weddings often take place at weekends, thus, requiring strict commitment during weekends.

Suggested Read: Hiring A Second Shooter For Weddings: Tips & Tricks

2. Finding Candidates

Now that you have your job description ready, the next step of hiring an assistant is to create a vacancy post to find candidates. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other online job portals can be a great place to get leads. If you are using social media, you can share your post in various wedding photographers’ groups as well. Another way to go about it is to ask other photographers for referrals for candidates. You could also roll out advertisements on local advertising platforms.

3. How to Hire

Infographic stating streamline a process for application, assessment, and evaluation

To hire an assistant, it is crucial to streamline a process for application, assessment, and evaluation. You can divide the hiring process into two different phases – the assessment phase and the interview phase. For the assessment phase, prepare a set of questions that you want to ask the candidate. Reading or listening to their answers can provide you with some understanding of their perspective.

If things go well in the first round, you can proceed with the next stage of the hiring process – the interview. In the interview, you can ask any further questions that you have in mind and, at the same time, hear them out on their expectations. Interpersonal communication can help you understand the candidate better with respect to whether or not they are a good fit for the job role.  

4. Talking Numbers

Talking numbers is an integral part of your hiring process. There is no set rule to how and when you want to pay your assistant – but whatever it is – it is better to specify that to the candidate before taking them on board. In addition to that, also discuss how you will handle travel and accommodation expenses whenever traveling and stay are required to cover a wedding. Now, you will have to set your own ground rules depending on the duration and nature of travel.

5. Training Your Assistant

Infographic stating training is an essential part of the hiring process

Once you have hired someone you think might be a good fit for the role, it is time to train them for your specific requirements. Training is an essential part of the hiring process. There is a learning curve, and how you conduct the training can help you get everything running soon. Brief your assistant on all the basics, such as organizing the gear, the dress code for different sessions, all the things they need to bring to the location, how to communicate with you, how to talk to the wedding guests, etc. 

Further Read: Training Your Second Shooter: How To Make Them An Essential Member Of Your Team

The answer to whether or not you need to hire an assistant is entirely subjective. However, if you often find yourself in need of a helping hand to better manage your wedding day timelines, a qualified assistant who you can trust and rely on can come in handy. Just remember, setting qualification requirements, an application and evaluation process, and training – all these factors weigh in the hiring process. 

At ShootDotEdit, we want to see you succeed and take your wedding photography business to the next level! Besides wedding photography tips, we also offer professional photo editing services. To learn more about how we can help your business, check out our price plans.

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