Ever wonder what it is like to work as a wedding photographer’s assistant? While Erin and I have a great time at every wedding, a lot of work goes into a photographer’s wedding day.
Let’s start with some background information. I, Amanda, am Erin’s assistant. I am also lucky enough to call her my older sister. Watching Erin grow her business over the years has been one of the most rewarding things to see.
Rewind to maybe almost two years ago… After almost ten years in the restaurant industry it was time to say goodbye to my once a week shift. Erin needed an assistant so it seemed like a no brainer to me. I could work with Erin on the weekends, do some occasional work from home during the week, spend some time with Erin, see her in action, all while having fun documenting the most special day of someone’s life. But let’s be real… this is real life. And don’t get me wrong- I LOVE working for Erin, but it is still work!
What do I do?
Some of you may remember a year ago when I shared this exact photo on my Instagram.
The caption read; “Working with my best friend. I will spend my summer carrying around your stuff and jumping in and out of creeks with you and I will love every minute”. Do we still jump in and out of creeks? Yes? Do I still love every minute? Yes. But most importantly, do I still carry your stuff? YES! You would never know how much stuff a photographer actually has until you spend the day with one! Oftentimes we have the necessities: extra SD cards, flashes, umbrellas for the bride if it’s raining, shot lists, a device that has been nicknamed ‘light saber’, oh and don’t forget the ‘taco’. So an added bonus to working with a photographer? You get a small workout in.
Aside from carrying things, I blog for Erin, I submit photos for publication, sometimes I second shoot, and oftentimes I’m taking the Behind the Scenes shots.
What do wedding days look like?
Wedding days start well before the actual wedding day for the photographer. Throughout the week leading up to a wedding Erin is in touch with me to discuss timelines, who the bride and groom are and will make me aware of any last minute changes.
The day of Erin and I typically share a ride and of course part of the conversation in the car is about the wedding; just some important information that I need to know-The couple’s name, how many people are in the bridal party, what we need to do when we arrive at the location, things we need to look for, and who some of the other vendors are. Another perk to working with Erin? I stack up a mental list of vendors and pass them along to friends of mine for their own weddings.
Upon arriving at the first location, I immediately begin getting Erin’s camera ready to shoot and I begin collecting detail shots and setting up. A little piece of advice? Always have extra floral arrangements! They add some very simple beauty to your detail shots, I promise!
Getting ready shots are done, detail shots are done, and we’re off to traveling alongside the bride to either the first look location or the ceremony/reception location. During the ceremony I will take many candid photos of guests, and keep an eye on Erin for her signal that she needs a new SD card or a change of lenses.
And boom… before we know it, the couple has tied the knot and we’re off to portraits or cocktail hour.
Occasionally you’ll see me walking around cocktail hour taking what may seem like odd pictures- you know, Hors d’oeuvre, drinks, cocktails, bar setups, candid shots, and sometimes you’ll see me grouping people together for group shots. I promise, these are things the bride and groom will want to remember forever!
At portraits I get to use my “teacher voice”. For those of you who don’t know… I am a teacher and it truly is a thing. Teachers do have a “teacher voice”. And as you all are aware I’m sure, sometimes bridal parties like to PARTY! And we can’t blame them! But from a photographer’s and photographer’s assistant’s perspective? We’re here to get a job done so you can get back to partying! You’ll often see me taking ‘roll call’ to get family members ready for portraits and to make sure everyone’s within close proximity. While doing this, I’m still keeping an eye on Erin’s shot ensuring that all hair ties have been removed from bridesmaid’s wrists and that groomsmen’s pockets are empty to avoid those awkward bulges in photos.
Before introductions are done at the reception a lot of light checks need to get done. Some guests may be completely unaware, while others may look at us and question, “What on Earth are they doing”? You’ll most likely find me in the center of the dance floor twirling, smiling, staring at the camera… whatever Erin needs me to do while she snaps photos that will get deleted. Don’t worry- we won’t deliver behind the scene photos to the bride and groom!
For those of you who don’t know… I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE a good entrance to a wedding. I personally feel that it almost sets the vibe for the night and can really get a party going. These are my favorite images to capture, and they’re FUN! And if I’m not needed for taking pictures you can honestly find me hiding off to the sideline enjoying it.
Eventually the party continues and Erin and I get to have fun on the dance floor, snapping some fun photos of guests. By the way, Erin loves a good dance party!
Oh the night is ending, now what? You guessed it… everything I carried in, has to be carried out. I’ll begin packing up and organizing belongings into their proper space in the bags. For those of you who don’t know- I lack organizational skills in some aspects of my life, don’t EVER open my closet doors. But fortunately for me Erin has a photography bag that makes it SO easy to organize! Lol!
Oh and remember to always keep an eye on Erin’s Instagram story even during a wedding. We’ll often share behind the scenes, and/or give shout outs to vendors.
After the wedding both of our minds go into overdrive. Erin gets in ‘edit mode’ and I get into ‘blog mode’. I’m already thinking of a good story to write once Erin is done with editing the photos.
As Erin’s assistant I get the duty of writing Erin’s blogs. This is one of my favorite things to do for Erin. As a teacher, I love when my students have a good anecdotal and can create an image in a reader’s mind. I hope I do the same for Erin’s readers. I often joke with Erin that she can never take this job from me.
And there you have it. I hope I have provided you with some insight into a photographer’s assistant’s job along with a few tips and perks that I can guarantee you. If you ever get an opportunity to work with a photographer, you should take the opportunity. There are many perks, I promise you!