We’re Hunter and Sarah Photography, a full-time, husband and wife, wedding and portrait photography team based in Charlottesville, Virginia. As we grow our own business, we have a desire to come alongside newer and less experienced photographers in an apprenticeship model, just like more experienced photographers have done for us! If you’d like to learn more about us, head over to the About Us section of our website.
Who We Are
We have close to decade of experience in professional photography, run a $200k+ full-time wedding and portrait photography business, and have shot more than 100 weddings and hundreds of portrait sessions. We’re currently booking weddings in the $8,000-$12,000 range, and portraits at $1,000.
We know that if you have a new photography business and desire to grow, learning from others who are ahead of you is the #1 way to fast-track your success! We began this program in the summer of 2019, and have had more than a dozen Apprentices through the program since then.
While we offer paid coaching calls and have students who pay us monthly for coaching, we make that coaching (plus the workshops) available for free ONLY through the Apprentice Program.
Why Did We Start This Program?
We’re mainly looking for applicants of any age/life status who are local to the central Virginia area. However, we do have Apprentices who live outside Central Virginia who are able to travel. Although we love teaching photography, our Apprentices must also desire to grow in the business of photography. We’re looking for applicants who are willing to work — at least at first — in exchange for experience and mentorship. However, this will NOT be a “go get me a coffee” type of work, but active and personalized mentorship and coaching in photography and business.
Who Are We Looking For?
Apprentices will come along on wedding days as our third shooter/assistant, then help us remotely with post-production of that same wedding. In exchange for their help with one or more weddings each season, we host a photography/business workshop 4 times each year, where all the Apprentices get together to learn from us in an active, hands-on gathering. We also meet with our Apprentices individually in a 2-on-1 mentorship meeting as often as each month for personalized coaching in business and photography. (Read more about these aspects of the program, here).
As we gain confidence in our Apprentices’ ability to photograph, communicate with our clients, and prove themselves dependable, we look forward to giving them paid opportunities. In the long-term, there may also be opportunities for our Apprentices to grow into Associates, and shoot weddings as the lead photographer under our brand (if they desire). The program is not like an internship as it has no specific length or end date; our goal is that Apprentices will join and commit to the program long-term, then “graduate” when their business has “left the nest” and is flying on its own! We care deeply for our Apprentices, and those who commit to us and the program become like our photography “children”, with direct access to us. That’s why there’s never more than 4-6 Apprentices in the program at a time!
What Do Apprentices Do?
Although we currently have a small team of Apprentices, we’re always interested in adding new people who are passionate about starting a successful wedding photography business. Applications are “rolling”, and you’ll hear back within a few days after you submit your application about scheduling an interview.
If you’re interested, fill out the form below! If you have any questions about the application/process, please email us.
How Does The Application Process Work?
“Applying to the HSP Apprenticeship quite literally changed my life. I know that sounds cliche, but it’s so true. I’ve learned from Hunter and Sarah not only how to physically photograph a portrait session or wedding — which is an art in itself — but also how to run a business in a healthy and fulfilling way. Hunter and Sarah consistently teach (and put into practice) deep caring for their clients, their Apprentices, and themselves. The time they have put into mentoring me (and the other Apprentices) has been invaluable. They took me step-by-step from being a person with a camera to a professional portrait photographer, booking and shooting multiple sessions per week. They pushed me to bet on myself and my abilities, and really put my all into my photography business. My business would not be where it is now without the HSP Apprenticeship, and neither would I. They believed in me before I believed in myself, and with their guidance and encouragement, I have grown immensely as a photographer, as a businesswoman, and as a person.”
– Kelly, Kelly Spaine Photography
Apprentice, June 2019 – July 2021
Quit her job; shooting 20+ weddings per year
“As a photographer just starting out, it can be daunting to imagine taking on clients or even tackling a wedding by yourself. Hunter and Sarah’s Apprentice program has really showed me how to become a better photographer, as well as efficiently run my own photography business. From shooting/assisting on wedding days, meetups with the other Apprentices, and 1:1 coaching sessions, Hunter and Sarah truly create a real community and an environment to improve your photography. Hunter and Sarah are such a pleasure to work with and have been great mentors. If you are seeking to learn from a great team and have a lot of fun while doing it, this is the program for you! I would absolutely recommend this program to anyone seeking to step into wedding photography or just to improve their photography skills.”
– Wes, Wes Dawson Photography
Apprentice, January 2020 – January 2022
Doubled his portrait prices and booked his first solo weddings
“I truly can’t say enough good things about the HSP Apprenticeship. My business has grown in ways I never could have imagined in just a few months. Hunter and Sarah provide you with support, hands on experience, and knowledge that you aren’t able to find anywhere else. Not only was I immediately connected to an incredible community of photographers, but I was also given the opportunity to get hands on experience at weddings that I could have only dreamt of shooting when I first started photography. Since joining the program I have transitioned to running my photography business full-time, have the opportunity for continuing education on how to better serve my clients, as well as gained a wonderful group of friends and mentors.”
– Eilish Bailey, Eilish Bailey Photography
Apprentice, June 2020 – July 2022
Took her photography business full-time, paid off her student debt
“I have learned so much from Hunter and Sarah's Apprenticeship program that it's hard to know where to start! From the business side of things, I learned how to set myself up as an LLC, track income and expenses, write contracts, and manage taxes. From a photography perspective, through assisting Hunter and Sarah on wedding days and by participating in apprentice workshops, I learned more ways to pose clients, how to run a wedding day sales call, best practices for storing and delivering images, and so much more more. Hunter and Sarah's Apprenticeship Program has not only has also increased my photography knowledge base and skill sets, but it has also given me the confidence to go out and lead-shoot a wedding day. I love the community that I've built around my photography and the opportunities for creativity that it affords!”
– HAYLEY, HAYLEY SARAH PHOTOGRAPHY