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How to Hire an Associate Photographer

How to Hire an Associate Photographer | Tracy Lynn Coaching | See more at

The Ultimate Guide to Hiring an Associate Photographer

Are you ready to hire an associate photographer but feeling super overwhelmed by the process? Don’t worry — you aren’t alone. 

It took me almost shutting down my business to take the plunge and hire help. I was seriously so stressed and overwhelmed to the point where I didn’t think I could keep this thing up anymore!

But once I found the right person and actually made the hire, everything in my business changed. And while my stress levels went down, revenue was going UP. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t done it sooner!

So, think you’re ready to hire an associate photographer, too finally? I’m dishing everything you need to know about the hiring process and what you can expect to change once you’ve got them on board!

How I Found My Associate Photographer

Obviously, the first step in the hiring process (after you figure out what you want in an associate photographer) is to actually find one. 

We have a few very active Facebook groups in the St. Louis area (where I’m from and have my studio), so I put up a post inside those groups. Here’s what I said: 

“St. Louis photographers, I’m currently on the hunt for an associate photographer. If you’re interested, please DM me!

(Must be female, with a willing attitude, and know how to use a camera in manual — I can teach everything else.)

I’m 100% fine if you have another photography business, and you want to use this as a learning experience.”

Within two hours I had 25 applicants, and within 24 hours, I had sifted through these applicants, viewed their work, and decided who I wanted to hire. Ashley shadowed me a week later and we planned for her to take over sessions with clients the following month!

I highly recommend using a Facebook group that’s local to you and post something like I did here. This will help you make sure you have someone who’s able to physically be there in person to shadow you or take over sessions when need be. 

And don’t forget to include details of exactly who you’re looking for so you can get the best match possible! 

Paperwork Involved in the Hiring Process

When you hire an associate photographer, you have to make it legal. Yes, that means contracts, figuring out payment, and filling out a W9.

I spoke with my CPA and he recommended 1099 due to the way I was actually paying her. 

 As for contracts, I got one from Lawtog that we both had to fill out. 

And that was pretty much it! 

Letting Your Clients and Audience Know About Your Associate Photographer

When I was photographing sessions solo, I only shot one to two days per month. Now that I have an associate photographer, that’s changed a bit. But Ashley has a family, so I wanted to make sure that we were still able to create a schedule that worked for her, too!

After deciding on her schedule, we had to implement it — meaning we needed to change up what was inside my scheduling software (Acuity) and update the website to reflect those changes. 

That meant…

  • Adjusting availability to reflect Ashley’s schedule as well (Acuity)
  • Creating an automated email with new details on how to contact Ashley on the day of the shoot (Acuity)
  • Adding her to the software so she could sync the calendar to her phone (Acuity)
  • Adding Ashley to the About page and Home page on my website
  • Writing a blog to introduce her
  • Adjusting a few email sequences to reflect the new team

I also reached out and let my current clients know I was bringing someone else on board. There was a very high chance they would be working with Ashley and not me in the studio. 

I have several clients who have been repeat customers for years, and thankfully, they all liked Ashley just as much!

It’s taken some adapting on my end, and I have multiple ordering sessions most weeks now. I used to knock everything for the month out in just one week. BUT this adjustment isn’t a bad thing — it’s just different, and SO worth it for the extra help. 

Keep Clients Happy During the Transition

On top of keeping communication clear and prompt, I also wanted to gift a little something extra to my clients. I decided to add an extra 30 minutes to each session to help them feel confident that the session would be great!

When you have an established brand, and you’re the face of said brand, it can be tough to bring new people into the mix. But the extra time has really panned out well and has shown clients that we’re serious about delivering our best work!

This not only gives them more time and more outfits, but also more variety in their images — meaning my sale totals at the ordering session are bigger. Win-win, right?

Is it Time for YOU to Hire an Associate Photographer?

Hiring an associate photographer was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my business. 

My clients love Ashley, my sales average has increased, and my high sales have gone up. That’s right, with an associate photographer, my sales average has increased and I’ve broken my high sales record!

Before, it was $5,400, and after a few months, it increased to $6,500! And my sales average went from $2,300 to $2,800.

I’d say it’s been a GREAT experience!

Thinking of hiring your own associate photographer? It starts with knowing your numbers!

Use the TLC Budget Blueprint to know where your money is going — and where it could go in the future (like outsourcing help). With this template, you get instant access, PLUS a video tutorial to show you how to set everything up. 

Interested? Grab the template here!


Tracy Lynn is a boudoir photogapher for brides-to-be in the St. Louis area, and a mentor + coach for photographers looking to level up their businesses with better systems and processes.

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