Hey, awesome Bay Area togs!
Let me introduce myself if we haven’t already met. I’m Zoe and you’ve landed on my little business’ website! I’m looking for associate wedding photographers based in the San Francisco Bay Area.
An associate photographer is a professional photographer that shoots weddings instead of the business owner. Not to be confused with a second photographer. If you apply to be an associate (aka lead) photographer, you’ll need an outgoing personality and lots of initiative!
The vast majority of my couples don’t require a second photographer – so you’ll be flyin’ solo!
OK, so I’m going to break down for you exactly what I’m looking for when it comes to hiring associates. Brace yourself – this is going to be long! Hint: this is part of the test 😉
- Are you excited about shooting weddings, but hate the business side of things?
- Are you a new graduate or student that wants to be paid to train as a wedding photographer before launching your own biz?
- Are you a new parent or do you have a part-time job, but want to make a little cash on the side without it eating into your schedule?
Table of Contents
Your personality traits (the stuff I can’t teach)
🙏🏾 Honesty is key. Integrity is one of the foundational values of my brand.
😎 Extroverted & confident, very comfortable taking the lead.
📢 Great communication, both verbal and written. Emails must be answered within 24 hours (48 on the weekend). I cannot stress this enough – if you aren’t responsive when we’re getting to know each other, it will be a pretty clear red flag for me not to want to take things further.
✔️ Responsible, mature, flexible, reliable
💼 Disciplined and hard-working
🦜 Common sense! Weddings are unpredictable you’ll figure it out as you go and improvise.
🧠 Smart and a fast learner, comfortable taking the initiative
🧩 Problem-solving skills – and doing so with a smile and friendly demeanor
✊🏾 Able to follow instructions and take direction & constructive feedback
This position would suit you if you fit into one of these categories
- You’ve just graduated from college or maybe are still a student.
- You have a flexible full-time/ part time job. Even better if you can choose your own hours in your work because my clients’ weddings are not only on weekends.
- You’re a new parent, or have had other life changes that make it tough to devote time to your own photography business.
- You’ve given the whole ‘being a photography business owner’ thing a go, but ultimately decided it wasn’t for you. Your passion for taking wedding photos remains, but you’d rather someone else handle the business, editing and admin tasks – you want to turn up and shoot!
- You aren’t quite ready to go ‘all in’ with your own business – maybe things have been slow or you realize you need a bit more training before you’re ready to stand on your own.
- You have a different type of photography business (boudoir, portraits, families, pets – whatever), and have no interest in booking weddings under your existing business.
- You’re new to the area and still finding your feet here. Of course, we prioritize shooters who want to be in this for the long haul, not just a few months while they get their own marketing up to scratch. But if you’re good then absolutely I would not say no, even if you’re not looking to stay on the team for long potentially.
- This is not an opportunity for an absolute beginner photographer, but if your work’s promising and or you’re willing to learn then who knows?! You would really have to go the extra mile to impress me though!
The essentials – what you need to have
- Your own professional photography equipment – prime lenses only (or predominantly primes). I shoot with an all-prime setup – it’s the house style. So this is what I expect eventually of anyone shooting as lead under my brand. (At least 24mm, 35mm, 50mm, 85mm required; F1.2 gets you a gold star; ) )
- Two camera bodies (minimum): essential! Canon 5D Mark IVs are what I have, and love. Yep, still rocking DSLRs here because of those amazing prime lenses. We’re definitely team Canon here – but any camera brand is fine!
- Time to devote to my extensive training materials as well as connect for prep & debriefing calls. Training time (when you’re talking to me) isn’t paid, but client calls (and obviously, weddings) are.
- Shooting in manual, using back-button focus & movable focus points al-servo greatly preferred – if not, be open to learn how to do this!
- Your own reliable car
- Time available to devote to weddings with ZLP. I require a certain amount of availability and advance commitment to clients’ wedding dates on some occasions, which can be up to 12 months in advance.
- Live in the San Francisco Bay Area. I’m currently in San Leandro, CA. Where my East Bay peeps at?!
- Legal right to work in the United States
- I proactively encourage applications from women, people of color and LGBTQ+ applicants. This business is proudly minority-owned & woman-owned. I’d love to continue flying the flag for diversity and representation, especially as this is why so many couples reach out to me.
What do you get in return?
📷 Learn how to become a wedding photographer! You can’t buy a course that’ll teach you this
📣 On-the-job photography training and feedback
🧑🤝🧑 Build experience working with a team led by an experienced professional
💼 Business as well as photography knowledge
💲 Competitive percentage-based compensation that you can expect to rise over time. No working for bargain-basement rates! Client calls are always paid, too.
🎨 No culling or editing!! Just turn up, shoot and upload your RAWs.
Stuff it’s good for you to know
🏩 SF City Hall
I do a lot of San Francisco City Hall weddings so that could end up being a nice gig for you! This would require in-depth training around the intricacies of how it all works. If you want a quick intro, check out my guide linked below:
This is a major reason people hire us (about 85% of our bookings are at SF City Hall!) so I’m looking primarily for shooters who can handle this incredibly specific venue with its own process and quirks – or are open to learning (took me many years to get comfortable with it).
🏳️🌈 LGBTQ+ couples
My familiarity with posing and working with LGBTQ+ couples is why many hire me. You must not only be cool with shooting all love, but proactively seek to further your education in working with and photographing couples who are not cis/het.
I sometimes write about how I serve LGBTQ+ couples specifically.
Someone whose style is a close match to mine is preferred. Please check out the portfolio here. You’ll be trained in the house style. It’ll work better if you like the photography style and want to emulate it.
Preference will also be given to those who don’t have their own active, competing wedding photography businesses at the current time.
No culling or editing is required, ever.
🔢 How many weddings?
Real talk: I’m going to level with you here. I can’t guarantee a certain number of bookings a year – my business is growing but it’s not booked out solidly! I’m looking for someone that can fill in on the dates where I’m double-booked, or where I’m out of a client’s budget.
Hopefully, if you have an interest in booking more weddings with me, I can look at expanding our reach and thinking up ways to get more gigs for you. A pet peeve is when a team member is never available, so think about whether you could reasonably be available for a bunch of weddings with me, and would be comfortable blocking out time in your calendar for our gigs.
💁🏾 Scope of the position
As an associate, you will not be performing any editing or culling. Simply turn up and shoot!
This is a contractor position, you will not be an employee of the business.
The position is pretty fluid, if you decide you want to step into more of a marketing role (and help us get more clients), I will be ready to help and cheer you on! The position is flexible and can be expanded potentially for you to steer according to your own unique talents and interests.
Second photographer work is also available, but due to having a large, rad team already, these opportunities tend to come up less frequently for someone that’s a new associate shooter.
If this has you nodding your head while shouting ‘hell, yassss’, please fill out the form below.
Just to reiterate: the most important things when you work for me are honesty, reliability, confidence, communication and showing initiative.
And you MUST be prompt when it comes to replying to emails / texts.
If that sounds like you, this could be the start of something beautiful! 🙌
Still interested, still ticking all the boxes? Fill out the form below (long answers encouraged) and I’ll get back to you to arrange a call if you seem like a good fit!