It's been a few weeks since my first post on second shooting, but this second post is just as helpful if not moreso than the first!
I don’t think a lot of photographers know this, but what you do after second shooting is almost more important than what you do on the wedding day. From personal experience and from speaking with other photographers, this has been the part of second shooting that often gets overlooked. We’re so concerned with how good of a job we do on the wedding day that we kind of forget about what happens after.
I cannot stress enough to any aspiring second shooter out there, second shooting is most beneficial when you build relationships. Photographers who are already booking weddings are invaluable to those first starting out! Sometimes those photographers get inquiries for dates they’ve already booked, for weddings under their price range, or just a couple that wasn’t a good fit. But then that main photographer sends that client somewhere and if you have a good relationship together, it could be you!
I’ve taken lots of images second shooting and yes, they have helped fill my website and marketing materials. But those images would just be images with no one to look at if it wasn’t for the amazing relationships I’ve built through second shooting.
The way I’ve built strong relationships with other photographers is by being a great second shooter on the wedding day, but also knowing what to do after! Here are a few tips for being an awesome second shooter after the wedding day!
#1 : Follow the main photographer’s guidelines for sharing images.
This is the most important point in this whole post. Follow the terms you and the main photographer agreed to! I send my second shooters an email outlining the terms and conditions for second shooting with me. If the photographer doesn’t give you guidelines, ask! You don’t want to do anything that would upset them. And if you receive guidelines that don’t make sense, ask again! I’ve sometimes given instructions that were a little too vague and have always been so happy when seconds ask. It shows you care!
#2 : Again, be respectful.
A big pet peeve for main photographers is having a second shooter claim a wedding they second shot as their own. It feels like an insult! So be completely respectful and explicitly state that you were a second shooter at that wedding. You may think it hurts your portfolio or client perceived experience, but it actually helps you more because you are gaining the respect of the main photographer.
Also remember to be respectful while you are following the main photographer’s guidelines. Over time, my second shooting guidelines email has gotten more technical and what I call “business-y” because I’ve been misunderstood and taken advantage of. Don’t try to find loop holes. That’s not respectful!
For example, I let my second shooters keep their images. I know how hard it is to build a portfolio and I was in their shoes at one point! However, one thing I ask is to not blog the images until 2 weeks after I post the images on my blog. One time, I was prepping my blog and linking my second shooters website in the post when I saw on the very front page of their website one of the photos from the very wedding I was posting. Now, I know I said “do not blog the images until 2 weeks after I post the blog” and putting them on your website isn’t technically breaking those terms, but in my mind, that person had to consciously think “I can’t blog this image, but I can go ahead and put it on my website.” I get that it’s exciting to have new images to add to your portfolio and it’s hard to wait. But the client did not hire you to photograph that wedding and you should be respectful of the main photographer who was. It’s much better to be patient and wait than to upset someone.
#3 : Be kind.
Being respectful of the main photographer goes a long way, but what puts you over the top as a second shooter is being kind! If you’re allowed to share the images, post one on Instagram and not only say that you second shot with XXX photographer, but talk about what you liked about working with them. Did you have fun together? Did you laugh a lot? Just say something kind! It means a lot and builds rapport so that they’re more likely to ask you to join them again or be referred later! Also, just sending a thank you email means SO much! A personalized thank you card via snail mail is even nicer! It’s so sweet and makes this heart happy.
I wish you happy second shooting! Remember, build those relationships by being respectful!
All photos included in this post were taken second shooting with lovely and talented Karen Allen!