If you’re thinking about getting into wedding photography or being an assistant, you might be wondering what a wedding photography assistant does.
Some wedding photographers don’t even use them but they are sort of the unsung heroes of the wedding photography world, people who have a hand in greatly increasing the quality of photography for wedding photographers who employ them.
So what does a wedding photography assistant do?
Wedding photography assistants do a lot of lugging around various photography gear, so it’s not for people who are averse to getting a little sweaty and doing some exercise. It can be hard work.
A wedding photography assistant will likely take gear from a car to the making of’s in the bride/groom’s hotel, taking that gear back to the car, then taking it to the ceremony and to the reception, etc.
A wedding photographer might also need their assistant to hold a gear bag throughout the wedding day and stick near them, especially if the photographer does photojournalistic wedding photography. Wedding photographers may need to change lenses, change batteries, memory cards and flashes at any time during a wedding day and it helps to have an assistant right there to speed things along.
Holding Light Modifiers
This is a big one that can significantly improve a wedding photographer’s lighting.
It’s helpful for a wedding photographer to have an assistant for wedding ring lighting, bride and groom portraits, and receptions.
I usually use a stationary LED light for doing wedding ring photos, but I know of photographers who have a flash with a modifier and have an assistant move it around until they get the right lighting for ring shots.
I myself have been an assistant for a wedding photographer who had me come along to hold flashes and modifiers for pre-wedding portraits and portraits on the wedding day.
What I did most as a wedding photography assistant was to follow the wedding photographer around with a flash on a long light stick to provide off-camera lighting. I would literally position myself at a forty five degree angle from where the photographer was at after the ceremony for the entire rest of the night.
It can be mind numbingly boring and exhausting, but it’s actually an important job. It’s the difference between mediocre light and stunning light that adds an element of drama and fun to dance floor images.
If you were asking “what does a wedding photography assistant do?”, hopefully this has been helpful. Being a wedding photographer’s assistant may not be glamorous, but it can be fun and challenging. Assisting a good wedding photographer is the best way to start getting into wedding photography.
After you’ve got some experience being a wedding photography assistant, be sure to check out our wedding photography guide.