What is an Associate Photographer and Why Would You Want to Hire One?

November 24, 2023

Featured image for a blog post about what is an associate photographer showing a newlywed couple sitting closely on a floral carpet, sharing a moment under a neon heart sign, in a cozy, romantic setting.

When it comes to wedding photography, you may hear a lot of terms thrown around that you have never heard of before. I mean, after all, you’ve probably never hired a wedding photographer before!

One of the terms you may come across is “associate photographer,” and you probably look at that and think, what is an associate photographer? Well, you’re in luck. 

As a wedding photographer myself, I have worked with plenty of associate photographers over the years and can help break down everything you need to know about associate photographers and why you may hire one! 

Let’s start with what is an associate photographer in the first place. 

What is an associate photographer?

An associate photographer is a photographer who works on behalf of another one to capture your wedding. This means that while you are hiring a specific photography business, the photographer who will actually be capturing your wedding won’t be the main photographer for the business. 

These photographers are still full-scale photographers and are chosen specifically by the business to cater to their clients. While each individual business’s process may be different when it comes to associate photographers, the one thing you can be certain of is that these photographers were chosen for a reason! 

Now, when you are thinking about what an associate photographer is, the one thing you shouldn’t assume is that they are inexperienced or somehow not as good of a photographer as anyone else. There are a ton of different reasons why someone may choose to be an associate photographer. 

Sometimes, people will work as associate photographers because they love the photography side of the business but don’t love doing all of the other things that come with running their own business. 

Associate photographers may also have multiple passions and do multiple things, so being an associate photographer allows them to still show off their love and talent for photography without having to give up any of their other passions. 

Finally, some people may just love working with a team instead of just working alone. Whether this is for the community or because they just don’t love doing the more management things that come along with a photography business, this desire for a community doesn’t mean they aren’t still an incredible photographer. 

So, regardless of why they decided to become an associate photographer, the one thing you can be confident about is that the photographer who is capturing your wedding is going to be professional and incredibly talented. 

What is the difference between an associate photographer and a second shooter? 

When you are going through your search for a wedding photographer, you may also come across the term second shooter. If you see that, you may be thinking, “Okay, so what is the difference between a second shooter and an associate photographer?” 

Well, in the most basic sense, a second shooter is an addition to a wedding photography package. This is an additional photographer that comes to the wedding so that you can get additional angles, more photos, or be able to capture both sides at the same time. 

If you and your partner are getting ready in different locations, for example, each photographer can capture one side on their own, so you have amazing getting-ready photos for both you and your partner. 

In comparison, an associate photographer is THE photographer at your wedding. This will not be an extra person in addition to the main photographer. Instead, they will be the ones actually photographing your wedding. 

Some associate wedding photographer packages can also come with a second shooter, but it is important to note that these will both be someone other than the main photographer for the business. This is something that you can chat about and work out as you are in the booking process! 

What is included in an associate photographer package? 

What is included in an associate photographer package can vary depending on the business – just like any photography package you are going to see as you are looking for your wedding photographer. 

However, to give you an idea of what could be included in an associate photographer package, here is a look into how my package works. 

An associate photographer package with me still allows you to communicate and be in contact with me throughout the entire planning process. This means you will book with me, pay through me, and plan everything with me, but one of my associate photographers will be the one who is actually going to photograph your wedding. 

These are not just any photographers either. The associate photographers on my team are ones that I have worked very closely with and trust wholeheartedly when it comes to capturing your dream wedding exactly as you imagined it. 

Then, after your amazing dream wedding, the associate photographers will give me all of the photos they took during your wedding, and I will edit them for you. This means that all of the photos that you get will look exactly like the ones that you see on my portfolio and my website. 

Once I have edited them all, you go through my entire offboarding process, so you don’t have to worry about keeping in touch with multiple photographers or contacting different people to get your final photos!

Why would you choose an associate photographer package? 

So, now that you know what an associate photographer is, let’s talk about why you would choose an associate photographer package. There are a few different reasons why you may want to hire an associate photographer, but I’m going to go over the top two that I see most often. 

First, associate photographers tend to be a bit more budget-friendly than hiring the main photographer. For example, my associate photographer packages do have a bit of a discount compared to my main packages. 

If you do love a photographer but don’t have the budget to hire them, you may be able to opt for an associate photographer package instead. That way, you get the benefit of planning and communicating with them as well as their editing expertise without them actually photographing your wedding. 

The other reason I see people hiring an associate photographer most often is due to the main photographer being booked out. If you are set on hiring a specific photographer because you love their process and their editing style, but they are already booked out for your date, this is a great alternative option. 

You won’t have to miss out on getting the amazing photos that you see on their site and in their portfolio, even if you can’t have them at your wedding! 

Final Thoughts on Associate Wedding Photographers

Hopefully, this helps give you a better understanding of what is an associate photographer and why you may want to hire one. The most important thing to remember is that these photographers are not “less” than the main photographer for the business. 

This is just another option and way that you can work with a specific photographer, and regardless of whether you are getting pictures from an associate photographer or the main photographer, your pictures and memories are going to be unforgettable. 

If you are still looking for that perfect photographer or photography team to work with, I’d love to chat! You can click the link here to learn more about my photography packages. Both my Vivid Memories Package and my Keeping it Real Package have options for associate photographers that you can check out. You can also click here to get in touch and chat about what is going to be best for you and your partner for your wedding!

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