To be a second shooter for a photographer doesn’t mean that you are a amateur, but you also don’t have to be super experienced either. I know this sounds weird but second shooting weddings is an amazing way to learn and gain experience, but it is also really fun to do even if building your portfolio isn’t you primary goal. I have been shooting weddings since 2009 and have shot over a 100 weddings but this also doesn’t mean I am above second shooting for others. I actually really enjoy working for other photographers when I have the time. Even after shooting weddings for 8 years seeing how others work, shoot, and organize their day, I always pick up little tid bits. It is also a great way to network, and meet others in the industry, which is never a bad thing. Also getting to shoot the side angles, or being able to take a step back from the normal craziness of being the primary photographer is a great change and can really reignite your creativity. By being a second shooter first before you book your own weddings, you will also get huge insight into wether this is something you will enjoy and is a good fit for you. To be a professional photographer you do not HAVE to shoot weddings. So finding out before if you enjoy being apart of weddings is also important. Jason and I have been shooting together from the start but over those years we have had to work together to find a balance of what works and what doesn’t work being a team. Being a second shooter you are there to cover the small in-between moments and the moments that might not be possible for the primary to catch. Today I am giving you five tips to being the best second shooter out there!
- Make Sure You Show Up On Time & Dressed Appropriately – If you aren’t sure what you should be wearing to the wedding ask the primary photographer. We always try to dress to match the guests so we fit in seamlessly. This usually means a dress and comfortable shoes for me and Jason in a suit or dress shirt and tie. This way if one of us gets in each other shots its not noticeable that we are photographers and not just guests. Keep in mind you are representing the primary’s business so look professional. Lastly smile! I am serious, its amazing how a smile can make someone warm up to you and relax so it is easier to capture those images.
- Bring The Appropriate Gear and Make Sure Its Charged – Double, triple check your gear the night prior and make sure you come with all the gear you might need. There is nothing worse then showing up without a lens, or with dead flash batteries. When you arrive (on time) be prepared and ready to shoot. You might also be asked to shoot on the primary’s cards so ask them how they would like them organized and make sure you keep them in a safe spot. The gear you use is jus as important as your creativity so make sure you come prepared.
- Stay Engaged Throughout The Wedding- Nothing looks worse then a photographer sitting at a table alone hunched over playing on their phone during dinner. That doesn’t look professional at all. Take that time that you would be spending on your phone to chat with guests, snap candids, or make sure you have checked in with the lead to make sure there isn’t something you should be doing. Remember you are representing the lead photographers brand, so if they aren’t sitting on their phone neither should you. Interacting with the guests also doesn’t mean you should be handing out your business cards or promoting yourself. This is a big no no. If a wedding guest or vendor asks for a card make sure you are handing out the leads card, because at this time you are working for them not yourself. Just remember they gave you the opportunity to work with them, repay them by staying engaged and excited about the wedding and the events of the day as they unfold.
- Take Initiative and Seek Out Ways To Wow – If you are told to shoot the reception details for the next 20 mins and you feel like you have captured everything in 10, don’t just wander back and stand in the way. Take initiative and snap a few candid moments of guests, shoot some environmental shots to help the lead photographer re tell the story of the day, or different angles of the venue. All of these photos will add diversity to the wedding. Don’t just sit around waiting to be told what to do. Take the time to anticipate the needs of the lead before they have to ask. This could be shooting the speeches from a different angle, shooting the formals with a different lens then the lead to add some diversity. Use your unique perspective to help the lead round out the wedding album by offering shots they likely didn’t catch.
- Have Clear Expectations – Some wedding photographers will allow you to use the images that you shoot for your portfolio and some of them won’t. Be sure you have talked about the photo usage before hand and that there is a clear outline in the second shooting contract. By having clear rules before the big day it will make sure everyone is on the same page and also keeps everyones feeling from getting hurt.
Second shooting weddings can be a really great thing for all levels of photographers. So if your an amateur looking for some experience or a seasoned photographer just wanting to network or shoot for fun, second shooting might be a great option. Not all photographers take or use second shooters either so if this is something you are interested in, reach out to them and see if this is something they are offering.
If your looking for Wedding Photography and are in the Calgary, Cochrane, Canmore or Banff area get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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