HIRING A WEDDING ASSISTANT/2ND PHOTOGRAPHER
Is by far the best thing I have ever done for myself. For a while, I was tackling weddings alone. It can be done but in my experience, by the end of that wedding, you feel like you have been hit by a truck. You are so tired and worn out, your body is sore, and I would seriously sit in my car in the parking lot for about 10 minutes before leaving just because it felt good to sit down. I don't think people realize how hard being a wedding photographer actually is. We will skip completely over the anxiety of it all and go straight into the physical aspect of it. We carry so much weight (I carry 2 cameras, 3 lenses, a fanny pack full of extra batteries and SD cards, a sling, and sometimes a gimbal) and thats only whats on my person during the wedding. That is not the bag I actually carry into the venue. (That bag is whole other blog in itself.) We are constantly running somewhere, standing for hours, we are on the dance floor, we are squatting, we are climbing, we are walking miles and miles in one day around a venue with weight. It can be hard on your body but also so rewarding.
I came to the realization after reading someones blog, that I needed help. I researched and researched what exactly this person would be doing for me because after all... I put a ton of hard work, blood sweat and tears into this business of mine. I didn't want someone to come in and ruin the reputation that I had built for myself. I was a little worried about hiring someone on and it not being a good fit so I hesitated .....ALOT. Then one day, in walked Leslie. I met her at a wedding I photographed. She was the maid of honor and I recruited her to help me as I usually did for the weddings I photographed alone. She messaged me about a week after the wedding and told me she always had a passion for photography, was thinking of trying to start her own business and asked me if I could teach her. I read that message and something just clicked. If you believe in "meant to be's" then this was it for me. After struggling so much to make a decision on hiring someone, I decided on Leslie. I told her that I was considering hiring a wedding assistant and if she wanted to learn, this would be hands on training. She took the position and we have been double team for over a year now! She has learned so much in the year she has been with me and is now a 2nd photographer for my weddings. Eventually she will start booking her own weddings and I will be right back where I started... looking for an assistant, But thats ok because her success is so rewarding to watch.
BENEFITS OVER CONS
The benefits of having Leslie out weigh the cons (are there even any cons??). First and foremost is
I HATE traveling alone. It is not something I enjoy doing. I want to take someone along for them to experience all the fun things with me. Leslie comes with me to out of town weddings (when she can) and we have a ton of fun together. Our personalities just mesh so it makes life on the road a lot less stressful. The second benefit would be
WEIGHT OF THE LOAD
being lifted off me a little. She helps me anywhere she can. She has the desire and passion to have this same type of business as her own one day so she is driven. If I ask her (which I really really really try not to) to run back to the car that is parked a mile away because I left something in it..she does it for me with no questions asked. She is helping me fluff the dress, fix the vail, straighten the bowtie, round up the wedding party, fix the strands of hair, etc, so I can catch the perfect pictures. The weight of all of that is lifted off of me solely and it really helps. The third benefit of having Leslie is
BREAKING THE ICE
I feel confident having Leslie there because I know that, having a 2nd photographer, the possibility of things going wrong are less likely. If all 3 of my cameras break.. guess what... she still has hers. If I forgot all 15 of my SD cards... guess what.... she has an extra. If all 5 of my lenses mysteriously quit working.... guess what.. yep you guessed it.. Leslie has another lens. And if she doesn't, she has access to a vehicle to run and get whatever it is that we need ASAP! So, because of that .. I beam confidence. Which in turn helps me be more myself and I am able to really show my personality to the bride and groom. Where as before, I noticed, I was a little more reserved because I was so stressed that things could go wrong and I didn't have a back up strategy that would work. (other than my 10,000 cards, and batteries). I also have to come up with ideas for the wedding party to take those amazing candid shots and I get stumped sometimes. I have a plan in my head but not all wedding parties want to execute my plan, so I am left reeling trying to come up with other ideas. Having Leslie there to bounce those ideas off of and hear her feed back is pretty amazing. It helps me so much with coming up with ways to make my clients laugh and feel comfortable in front of the camera.
Another benefit of having Leslie brings me to my fourth AND MOST IMPORTANT reason
ANOTHER ANGLE OF PICTURES
My brides love that they get another view of their wedding pictures besides just mine. And lets face it, I can not catch EVERY SINGLE PICTURE OF THE DAY alone. I have to talk, I have to drink water, I have to get the ring bearer to trust me so I can take his picture with the guys, I have to introduce myself, I have things I HAVE to do during a wedding. And while I am doing those things, Leslie is taking photos. She has been able to catch some of the most intimate moments on camera when no one was looking. I LOVE that and so do my brides. On top of being able to catch the sweetest moments on camera, she also takes photos during the ceremony. So she catches different angles than me. So if I miss something during the ceremony, it is more than likely true that Leslie caught it for me. That is what I call a SUCCESSFUL wedding photography business. When in no doubt, you as the photographer, can leave that wedding knowing most, if not all, of the special and important moments were caught on at least one camera through out the day.
These are just a few of the reasons I am grateful for my assistant/2nd photographer. I am so glad I got past the fear of hiring someone on and just did it. Both of us are succeeding in this business because of each other.
Below are pictures of Leslies "behind the scenes" shots.