How Much Do I Charge For A Second Photographer?

Every morning I sit down at my computer and spend the first hour or so out on social sites answering questions and sharing information with my followers.

Today as I was out on one of the many photography forums I visit, I started answering a question:

If I add a wedding package that has a second shooter, how much should I charge the client?

There are actually several issues to this question.

First, there is a big difference between an assistant and a second photographer.  

An assistant is your “gofor” – they go for this and go for that. In other words, they are there to carry your bags, make sure your cameras are ready for you, help set up the family shots, gather groups for photos, etc. They may shoot, but only as an added bonus. And only if things are slow and it’s the best use of their time.

A second photographer should be capable of shooting the entire wedding by him or her self. You should be able to leave them specific duties, knowing full well their images will match your quality.  You can place them in an album next to yours, and the client will never know which photographer took the image.

If you sell a second photographer, they have to be there no matter what. They have to be 100 percent reliable, and its guaranteed they will be there to cover the event. wedding image 1

Once you have a second shooter in mind, then its time to build a package around them. I’m a firm believer in making things simple. Never sell wedding photography like you are a Chinese restaurant. If you have more than 3-5 packages, you have too many. Simplify.

We had two options: one photographer or two.

Our couples paid one price for a photographer to photograph the entire day of the wedding.

If they wanted the second photographer, it was 50 percent more (so if you charge $1000 for one, two would be $1500).

In order to be able to sell the second, have samples of why it’s beneficial to go with two:

  • Capture things from two perspectives
  • Be in two places at once
  • Capture from male and female perspective (providing your second shooter is the opposite sex).

People need to see a distinct benefit to moving to another option. As long as you can show it and believe in your package, you should have no trouble selling it.

4 thoughts on “How Much Do I Charge For A Second Photographer?”

  1. So you chrge the client 50%, what should you pay the photographer? Taking into account all they will do is shoot and hand over the files for you to process?

    • Steven
      That depends on the assistant. If they are student level, learning from you, you can get with an hourly wage or a flat fee for an event – say $100 for a wedding. If they are studying under you and will ultimately be a part of your business, you may again want an hourly wage, showing them how they can make more once they book their own weddings. It’s flexible depending on what your ultimate goal is with your assistant.


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