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As a working photographer, whether you’re an individual freelancer or running a business, you may not have come across the concept of hiring an associate photographer before but it can really transform your life! There are many ways that working with an associate photographer can help you and your business, your workflow and the quality of the service you offer your clients but before we get into the ins and outs of it you might be wondering exactly what one is?
Who is an Associate Photographer?
An associate photographer is a fellow photographer who can work with you on projects. This can save you time and allow you to expand your services while saving you from working on the parts of your business that are less profitable or important to your future success.
The associate photographer will work with your clients on your behalf but you, as the primary photographer responsible for the process, will still handle the editing and post production aspects of the photoshoot.
There are many experienced and highly qualified photographers who employ associate photographers on a part or full time basis to allow them to reach their own goals and aspirations.
Why Should You Use an Associate Photographer?
As a professional photographer you always need to be looking for ways to streamline your workflow and maximize the possibilities at your disposal. You want to deliver the best possible service to as many clients as you can but there are only so many hours in the day!
To grow your business and client base you can take on the services of an associate photographer to work with you on a full or part time basis. This will free up more time for you to focus on the more important or profitable projects and leave them to handle the more routine aspects of your business.
There are two main ways that you can use an associate photographer. Firstly, you can use their services on a regular, ongoing basis. This could be during the busier times of your working year or simply when you are overwhelmed with contracts to fulfill with tight deadlines to meet. By subcontracting out parts of your work you can increase your profitability and reduce your workload at the same time!
Alternatively, you can employ an associate photographer to cover you in an emergency. If you’ve already arranged a photoshoot and can’t let the clients down but something comes up, such as a medical emergency, then you may need to call an associate photographer to cover the session for you. After the photoshoot you can go over the photos in the post production phase of the process to ensure that the images you deliver are up to your professional standards.
Are Associate Photographers Qualified?
Yes, associate photographers are qualified photographers and often have a great deal of experience. They usually work on a part time basis while pursuing other interests although many work full time too.
Your Complete Guide To Hiring An Associate Photographer.
When you have decided to hire an associate photographer you want to make sure that you find one that is a good fit with your style, work process and scheduling requirements. It’s not always easy to find a good associate photographer but there are several main things that you need to keep in mind before you start your search to help to ensure that you end up with a great result.
Use Your Own Personal Contacts and Network to Find an Associate Photographer.
One the easiest and most practical ways to find an associate photographer is to ask around in your own network and contacts. You can ask your contacts on social media or in your mailing lists whether they know of any that are available and would be a suitable match for your requirements.
A big advantage of asking your own network for help is that they will be fairly familiar with your work and with their insight they’ll be able to give you a better recommendation than most other sources would be able to do.
If you’ve ever hired another photographer to shoot an event with you, for instance a second shooter at a wedding, then you can contact them to ask if they either know anybody or would be willing to work as your associate themselves.
Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms are another good way to get the word out that you are looking to hire an associate photographer. You can also put up notices on job boards, on and offline, or contact photography agencies for help.
Look for an Associate Photographer who Matches Your Shooting Style and Personality.
When you start to hear back from some potential associate photographers it’s vital that you find one that is a good match for your own photography style. Even though you’ll be doing the final edit on the photos you still want to be working with someone who understands what you’re looking for so that you can present a consistent brand to your client base.
Working with an associate photographer that has a similar shooting style to you will speed up your workflow and make your job in the editing suite much easier!
When you communicate with your clients you are expressing your brand’s voice and ideally you want the associate photographer to match this too! Maintaining consistency in details like this will help you to get the most out of your working relationship with your associate photographer and is something you should be thinking about from the outset.
As well as presenting a unified brand working with an associate photographer that fits with your personality will make it easier to train them and work with in the long term.
Hire an Associate Photographer who Works in a Similar Genre to You.
One of the things that you should definitely be doing when you are hiring an associate photographer is working with one who is already familiar with the genre that you work in. If you’re working in the wedding genre then hiring a photographer who already has experience in the field then it will be much easier for you to get them up to speed with your process and trust them to do a good job while they’re out in the field.
Ideally your associate photographer will be passionate about the same things that you are and be able to deliver the same levels of quality that your clients already know you for.
If you’re planning to hire more than one associate photographer then it might be a better plan to hire a team with a diverse set of skills. This way it will give you the most flexibility and options going forward.
Ask a Potential Associate Photographer to Shadow You at Your Next Photoshoot.
Before you sign long term contracts or hire an associate photographer you should always ask them to come with you on a photoshoot and shadow you throughout the event. This will let you see them in action as well as see how they interact with your clients.
Developing Your Working Relationship with an Associate Photographer.
It’s absolutely vital to give your associate photographer feedback, particularly in the early days. If your associate photographer is shadowing you at an event then you should give them thorough and actionable feedback that they can put into effect going forward; and even if they don’t instantly fit 100% with your shooting style you can still help them to develop this with guidance and advice.
You want to find an associate photographer who will both listen to your advice and then put it into action. This will ensure that you can work together smoothly in the long term.
- Non Competition Clauses: When you hire an associate photographer you want to make sure that they won’t either steal your clients from under you or else directly compete with you in their own time! You can sign a contract with them in which they agree not to compete with you or to poach your clients. This is also a good thing to get down on paper in the form of an official agreement so that there won’t be any legal or business problems further down the road.
- Clearly Define their Scope of Work: Once you have found an associate photographer that you feel will be a good fit you should certainly sit down with them and clearly define the scope of work that you expect them to do. This will not only make your life easier but it will ensure that you avoid disagreements or conflicts in the future.
- Be Prepared to Negotiate: Most associate photographers are already established professionals in their own right so you should be prepared to negotiate with them before you come to an agreement. Don’t be too rigid in your expectations and be ready to give a bit so that you are both happy with the situation! Many associate photographers have preset rates of pay and will not work for less than what they have offered you. You’ll have to use your common sense when it comes to setting rates and establishing new business relationships. If the associate photographer is new and just starting out then you should expect to pay much less than if they are already established. Always be ready to accommodate any requirements that they may have including their availability, specific task based requests and scheduling issues.
Some of the concerns that your associate photographer may have might include:
- Maintaining their other primary job or income source.
- Running their own business.
- Fitting their own work or family commitments into your scheduling requirements.
- Meeting your stylistic needs.
- Working alone or in a team.
- Unable to fully manage a project on their own – preferring the artistic and practical aspects of photography.
How you decide to accommodate the requests and needs of your associate photographer will depend on your own circumstances and the type of business or freelancing work that you are doing. Small details can easily be overlooked or worked around however, if there is something that you know will cause constant problems then you may have to find another candidate.
Working with an Associate Photographer.
When you hire an associate photographer it can really open up new doors and opportunities, both for you and your business but also for them. Try to find a candidate that will easily mesh with your photographic style, scheduling needs and practical on the job requirements.
Always sign a written contract with them to ensure that you avoid any legal disputes later on and make sure that they fully understand the scope of their work, the non competition clauses and the length of time you hope to work together.
When you have worked out all the details and found a good match then you should find that your business goes from strength to strength as it grows to meet the needs of more clients while increasing in profitability.
Have you worked with an associate photographer?