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Why Hiring an Assistant is Better Than Buying a Camera or Lens


Karl Taylor, a photography educator, has published this 10-minute video that explains why hiring an assistant is one of the best investments of capital any photographer who is serious about growing a business can make.

Taylor mentions a common statement many photographers say to themselves: “I can’t afford an assistant.” But at the same time, Taylor points out, these photographers do not bat an eye at purchasing a new lens, upgrading their cameras, or renting specialized equipment. Taylor argues that using an assistant is actually more valuable to a serious photographer’s work than any piece of equipment.

Taylor gives an example of how hiring an assistant can have huge ramifications for a photographer. If, for example, a photographer working alone could complete a job in a day (which includes the setup, photographing time, and teardown) and spend the next day editing the images, then hiring an assistant could cut that work time in half. Instead of taking a day to do the photoshoot, it would take half that amount of time, which frees the photographer up to use the second half of the day to do the retouching. This clears an entire day from the schedule that could be used on another shoot, or doing marketing or administration for the business.

Taylor takes it a step further, suggesting that if the photographer was smart enough to hire an assistant that could also do administration work, it would further free up the photographer to book more shoots via marketing and relationship building.

But aside from just saving time, Taylor says that an assistant can have a direct effect on how having help improves the work a photographer would produce. When shooting alone, making any adjustments to subjects takes your eye away from the camera and prevents you from being able to see the minute changes that lighting or positioning makes. Using an assistant keeps your eye on the viewfinder and allows you to have better control over what you are shooting and how it is being portrayed.

Taylor’s full video is full of many compelling arguments to consider using an assistant. It’s much harder to rationalize paying for something like an assistant which is far less tangible than a new lens or camera, but Taylor argues that someone who really understands the business of photography will see the value. If you would like to read more about this subject rather than watch the video, Taylor has a full blog posted here worth reading.

What do you think? Do you hire assistants for your work? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments.

(Via ISO 1200)

Image Credits: Cody Lannom via Unsplash