How to be a great second shooter

This is an excellent way of breaking into wedding photography. You get to photograph a wedding without being the lead and you can learn on the job from photographers more knowledgeable than you. If you do a great job, you might earn yourself a mentor.

  1. Be prepared

Make sure you have all the gear needed to shoot and don’t rely on your first shooter for equipment.

  1. Be there, be ready

Be prepared to help the first shooter with anything. From holding the lights and fetching some water. The first shooter focuses on the couple and you focus on helping your first shooter throughout the day with what they need to get the best photos. Help with setup and break down.

  1. Communicate 

Ask your first shooter what they expect of you, what do you need to focus on photographs. Where should you be standing in the chapel to get the best shots and not to be in their way?

  1. Own self-gain

Never advertise yourself at a wedding where you are the 2nd photographer. If a guest asks you for a business card go grab one from the main photographer. It is highly unethical to market your own business while shooting for another photographer.

  1. Professionalism

Be on time. Dress accordingly and professionally. Don’t use foul language. Treat the clients as if they are your own. Be friendly and courteous to everyone at the wedding.

  1. Listen and learn

Take as much information about the experience as you can, this is not just how the photographer shoots but also how the photographer conducts. Be a sponge 

  1. Taking over

Recognize this isn’t your shoot. You are the backup. Especially with the couples’ photos, stand back shoot from different angles. Don’t try to outshine the main photographer.  Don’t post photos of previews on social media before your client has handed in their final product to the client.

  1. Different gear

Where possible try and shoot with different techniques.

If the first is going for wide shots, get close-ups. If the first is going for off-camera photographs go natural. A wide variety of photographs will be much more appreciated than giving your first shooter duplicates of what they photographed.

  1. Delivery

Once again this boils down to communication. How and when will you be handing over your images? Which format do they want the photos in? Do they expect you to edit? CullIng of the images might seem tedious, but do I want to give my first a bunch of unusable photos that might make me look like a bad photographer?   

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