Wedding Wednesdays Q&A: Associate Photographers

Wedding Wednesdays Q&A by Jamie Chang Destination Wedding Planner of Mango Muse Events

Excited for a new Wedding Wednesdays Q&A?  We can’t blame you because we’re excited too!  So, let’s kick this party off with this week’s question about associate photographers:  I’ve been looking for a photographer for my wedding and I was having a hard time finding someone I like.  I finally came across a photographer that I totally dig, but they aren’t available on my wedding day.  They did mention that they have an associate photographer who is available.  I’m a bit torn because I’m not sure how I feel about hiring an associate, but I also don’t know if I can find someone else.  Are associate photographers just as good?  How do I make this decision?

This is such a great question and one that doesn’t get discussed all that much, so I’m so glad you asked.  First off, I empathize with you and having difficulty finding the right photographer.  It can be a hard thing to find that right balance of style and personality all within the budget you are working with.  On the upside, there are so many great wedding photographers out there, that I think everyone can find someone they like.   Unfortunately, in your case you found someone, but they were booked.

I know you wanted the main photographer, but the opportunity of working with an associate photographer instead is not a bad thing.  The term associate does imply that they aren’t the chief photographer (because they aren’t), but that doesn’t mean they aren’t good.  Professional photographers who have associate photographers won’t officially bring them on board to do a wedding on their own unless they feel that they are capable.  The associate is representing the company, so a photographer wouldn’t use someone who would make them look bad.  More importantly, a photographer wants their overall look to be consistent across their body of work which means that their associate photographers will shoot in the same style and manner as the main photographer.  So, rest assured that the associate will be trained not only on how to shoot a wedding, but how to do it so that it looks similar to everything you fell in love with in the first place.

With that being said, there are a couple of steps I’d suggest taking before you make a decision to use an associate photographer.  The first is to see if their specific body of work is something you like.  You’ll want to take a look at the weddings they have shot (full real weddings) and make sure you are still digging the photos you see.  Sometimes there can be a more sizable difference in the quality of work between the main photographer and the associate and other times the quality is just as good.  While the style should be similar, it is still a different person and a different eye so it will never be exactly the same, which is why you’ll want to look at their work to make sure.

The second is to meet with them and see if your personalities mesh.  As with any photographer, it is important that you feel comfortable with them as they will be with you all day.  If you feel good on both fronts, then I think it’s a safe bet that you’ll be happy with the associate photographer.  If you aren’t sure, then you might want to consider someone else.  In the end, you want to be happy with your decision even if that means doing more research into other photographers.

One last thing I want to mention is that one of the biggest perks of working with associate photographers is that they are more affordable.  Since they aren’t the main photographer, they are at a lower price point which always helps with the budget.

Wedding couple on a carousel shot by associate photographers for a Sonoma destination wedding by Destination wedding planner Mango Muse Events

(Photo credit: Chrisman Studios)

Was this helpful?  We hope so!  Please share with us any wedding planning questions you are struggling with and we’ll answer your question in an upcoming Q&A.

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