Second shooting or assisting anyone in the same creative field can be one of the most magical and beneficial learning experiences!
I shot my first wedding independently, then shot four more weddings with an assistant. Crazy to think about now that I look back at it! When I was first welcomed into the wedding photography world, I didn’t understand second shooting or why you would want another photographer to help with the beautiful love story you are supposed to be creating for your clients. OH how naive I was!! A second shooter can be so much more than someone who captures alternative angles for you!
Being a second shooter was one of the best decisions I ever made. I’m not going to lie–I was terrified. I was worried I wouldn’t meet the expectations of the primary, or I just simply wouldn’t fit into the style they contained for their weddings.
Below are FOUR things you should keep in mind when second shooting:
#1 What to bring:
This may range from photographer to photographer, but the things I always bring are:
- My Canon 6D (I even bring my backup camera and leave it in the car)
- Battery Packs (at least 2 or more fully charged the night before)
- Battery Chargers (you never know)
- External Flash + Batteries
- SD Cards
- Variety of focal length of lenses- 50mm, 70-200mm, 24-70mm, and 100mm macro
- Wedding styling kit- stamps, lace fabric, string, tape, command hook, pearls
- Reflector Discs- I always bring these just in case but usually only use them for ring shots if the diamonds aren’t evenly lit
- A smile and a positive attitude! Being the primary at a wedding can get a little stressful if the timeline is running together. Bringing a positive attitude and a willingness to help in any way will relieve some of the pressure she is feeling.
#2 What to wear:
- Business professional/business casual clothing
- Comfy shoes–your feet will thank you later.
What to wear depends on the photographer’s personal preference and how they want their business to be represented. Some photographers prefer to dress in all black so you do not stand out amongst the guests. Personally, I dress like I am just a guest at the wedding. I just happen to be the guest documenting their day 😉
Steer away from neon colors as these can reflect onto your subjects and add unnecessary bright hues to your photos. Just as long as you are dressed professionally, as if the event is a job interview, you should be fine.
#3- Things to ask:
Making sure you are meeting expectations of the person who hired you can leave you feeling a little pressured. THIS IS NORMAL.
The best way to feel secure with yourself and your ability to contribute to this creative day is to COMMUNICATE.
It’s as simple as asking, “Are there certain shots you would like to see captured?” or “Where do you want me to stand during the ceremony?” and even “Did you want me to sync my camera with the time on my phone?”
(This will make culling and editing for the photographer SO much easier. The photos will run seamlessly from when they were captured)
#4 How to help:
There are many actions you could take that would be beneficial to the primary. Just being there and assisting them throughout the day is enough!
Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Fluff the bride’s dress out around her feet while the photographer gets the best angle
- Hold the veil up in the air to get the glorious veil blowing in the wind photo
- Gather the members from the family formal list
- Grab extra batteries
- Go fetch an empty SD card
- Grab water for the primary to ensure she stays hydrated
- Interact with guests
- Take initiative and photograph candid moments (Even behind the scenes- we all love those!)
- Be supportive and be excited to capture this day!
Here are FOUR reasons you should include a second shooter with your wedding photography:
#1 Never miss a moment:
You could be across the room photographing the bride and groom sweetly whispering to one another while your second is capturing their grandparents dancing the night away.
You could be photographing the first dance and your flash begins to stop firing with a bunch of error messages, your second will be there to capture the images you might have missed.
That security blanket is worth every penny. Equipment fails happen.
#2 Less stress, more creativity:
Being able to step back and breath while your second is grabbing shots of the groomsmen getting ready or the detail shots leaves time for your creative mind to soar.
Most large events come with strict timelines and sometimes they don’t run on time. Most photographers have a laundry list of the type of shots they take at weddings.
When you have a second shooter able to capture a fraction of these photos, you both are given a little more time to analyze the environment you are in and capture an image that is truly special to that moment in time.
#3 Help gathering family members for family formals:
Those who have photographed weddings know that photographing family formals can be the most challenging part of the day. Especially for those larger families, your second can ensure that everyone is looking at the camera at the same time or adjusted properly for the shot.
Having two voices grabbing the attention of the oh-so-excited family makes family formals run so much faster and smoother!
#4 Creating waves with COMMUNITY OVER COMPETITION by helping a growing photographer learn from shooting with you:
This is the most important fact of them all!
Being lifted up by a photographer with more experience than you is one of the most uplifting and encouraging experiences. Being able to gift someone with acceptance and wisdom of a passion you both share is rewarding on it’s own. You won’t want to stop sharing experiences, tips, and suggestions. Uplifting others becomes addicting!
Being exposed to different timelines, shooting tactics and other photographer allows second shooting to open a number of doors! If I had known what I know now, I would have began second shooting LONG ago, and I would have been more confident with myself as a second shooter the first time around. The creative field is constantly changing and there is always room to grow!