As photographers, we all know that wedding days can get crazy! That’s why it’s so wonderful to have someone else there to help. Enter: second shooter!
Here are a few tips on how to be an awesome second shooter:
#1 : Take great photos.
Let’s face it. The biggest reason you are there is to take photos. So, the photos that you take should at the very least be technically competent: meaning well exposed and in focus. Of course, we all have our moments, but the majority of your pictures should be useable!
#2 : Shoot in a similar way to the main photographer.
Whenever I have a new second shooter, I brief them a bit about my style and how I’d like them to shoot. If the main photographer doesn’t voluntarily give you the information, ask! That shows that you care that your images match theirs!
For example, I always tell my seconds that I shoot with a fairly wide aperture. Therefore, I ask that they also shoot in the 2.0-2.5 range too. I’ve had second shooters not do this. They shot most of the day at 3.5/4.0 and I didn’t use the majority of those images because they were too different from mine and I was quite disappointed.
#3 : Don’t stand over the main photographer’s shoulder. Be creative.
This is a big one that can make or break you as a second shooter! You were not hired to stand over the photographer’s shoulder and take the exact same images they are. You were hired to add supplemental images to the overall wedding day! So look for different angles! And if you’re in a small space, use a different lens. I’m always asking the main photographer which lens they are using because I want to add diversity to the product they are delivering to the client.
#4 : Do what the main photographer asks.
Wedding days are crazy and sometimes the main photographer just needs help. Sometimes they will leave a lightstand in the car and ask you to go get it or the exit area is extra dark and you have to hold a flash instead of shooting. It’s different every time and you just need to do what the photographer asks.
When I first started second shooting, I dreaded hearing a main photographer say, “I’m going to send you with the guys while the girls get ready.” It was the worst! I was going to miss the bride getting in her dress and all the pretty details. But you know what? It doesn’t matter. I’m not there to add to my portfolio or to have an additional blog post. I’m there to help the main shooter and if they need me to hang out with the guys, then that’s what I’m going to do and do it well. Main shooters are very appreciative of this and notice your attitude.
# 5 : Be respectful.
This is the biggest point of this post. As a second shooter, you need to be very aware that you are representing another photographer’s business. So everything from what you wear to how to interact with their clients needs to reflect that.
It’s also equally important that you be respectful of the main photographer! They are the one that was hired to photograph the wedding! So, a good second shooter will always acknowledge that they are NOT the main photographer and that decisions should be made by the main photographer. I’ve had coordinators come up to me and ask my opinion about changing the timeline. Instead of giving my opinion, I let them know I’m the second shooter and that the main photographer needs to make that decision. Do hesitate to let vendors know you are not in charge!
So overall, on a wedding day, take good photos, be creative, have a good attitude, listen, and be respectful! These 5 things will go a long way when second shooting!!
Next week, we'll discuss what second shooters should do after the wedding day. This is where you can truly set yourself apart and build not only a good reputation, but a good relationship with the main photographer.