What are typical photo assistant salaries?

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Do some companies pay a lot more for this position than others? What does a top earner make in this field?

What skills should you learn to increase your salary?

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tglodt in Los Angeles, California

129 months ago

"Salary" for the most part . . . and as far as I am concerned is an incorrect term for this market. Assisting is generally a freelance position. When you get on under a photographer full time . . . I suppose you could be a full timer . . . but generally your title is "Studio Manager."

Photography and the production business . . . in most instances . . . and often unfortunately is a heavy barter and negotiation market. There is no end to it. You negotiate a day rate almost every job unless you are with a regular client. And how well you negotiate and know your market is basically what you will take home.

Some people see dollar figures and think . . . Wow . . . ! Because there are assistants that make $6-800 a day. But . . . they have a decade of experience at least and a rolodex of the top shooters in the world. You may get an asking day rate of that much if you decide to make it your career . . . but take into consideration that a photographers day rate for a decent shooter is anywhere from $2-25,000 . . . the assistant is peanuts in comparison to the production.

If you can carry sandbags . . . you have a good working knowledge of photography. You have a good attitude and work ethic. I would say start your day rate no lower than $150 in a small market such as Dallas. And no lower than $250 in a larger market such as LA, NY and Miami. And up it fifty bucks after about 2 months of steady experience.

If you really need work and are starting out . . . working cheap can get your feet wet. But you may have to cut those clients loose if they are unwilling to negotiate.

Know what your worth and ask people what is reasonable. Most are tired of being undercut and having the market price being driven down by yahoos who think they are doing themselves a service for working for nothing . . . you cannot build a portfolio working for free. Do it for people who you can get something from in return . . . equipment or contacts. Otherwise don't.

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JAIPHOTO in New York, New York

71 months ago

But what if you assist a photog regularly who is not shooting everyday,... and when they do,.. It is not a payimg job for them they are just for their portfolios? In other words,.. No income is coming in for them for the test shoots .) You are mostly doing easy computer work for them. How much should you expect for an 8 hr. day?

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Amit Sharma in Ludhiana, India

71 months ago

What are typical photo assistant salaries ? question is that so i repling to u its depends upon country living standers in india salry can be 8K to 10k per month in ur USA can be 15$ per hrs so its depends upon country

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David in New York, New York

61 months ago

As a point of reference: the day rate for a 1st assistant in 1976 was $175.00
So if your ALLOWING yourself to be paid that little today then you are being taken advantage of big time.
Day rates start at $300.00 and go up from there. And ALL payment is end of day.
If your waiting to get paid:"Your getting screwed"
This is a business, not a charity.
YOU the assistant need to learn to: "JUST SAY NO" to crappy day rates and photographers that do not treat you with respect.
And a better place to find answers to questions about photo assisting is www.1prophoto.com since it's run by photo assistants, digital techs, lighting techs and photo producers. And adding yourself to the photo production database www.1procrew.com is a great way of insuring that your getting calls from a better class of photographer.

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