|Tips and tricks to help you second shoot like a pro|
So how exactly are you going to be the best second shooter you can be? Read below for my 8 tips for being the best second shooter and the insights I’ve gained from being one myself!
Back when I first started photographing weddings, I was completely confused as to how I would even start. I also didn’t really have much of a wedding gallery portfolio either. The only real experience I had with weddings was what I had gained from being a wedding coordinator.
So my first step was to gain portfolio content- cue the styled shoots.
Next, I needed to gain the experience- which is where offering up myself as a second shooter came into play.
I want to start this off by expressing how EXTREMELY GRATEFUL I am to the photographers who let me tag along and gave me a chance to learn from them.
A lot of who I am as a wedding photographer is due to them and I’m five-ever grateful. I’ll also add in that there are MANY ways to become someone’s second photographer- some paid and some unpaid. Now if you don’t have any (or very little) wedding experience, you should expect to be doing it unpaid [sorry but it’s true]. And a lot of times, you can start out by offering to hold gear for other photographers or even offering to be a 3rd shooter [basically just shooting for your own content and experience]. Additionally, there are facebook groups dedicated to this type of thing! You can join them and offer yourself up as a second shooter to photographers in your area. Sometimes you can even answer a ISO [in search of] post on instagram!
Now this year, I’m VERY fortunate to be able to hire MY OWN second shooters [WOO HOO!] and this is actually where I got the idea to write up this blog post with tips and tricks!
These are just a collection of helpful tips that I’ve either implemented myself or heard from other photographers who have been second shooting for a bit. Are there any ideas I may have missed? Leave them in the comments or send me a message. I always love learning how I can better serve the photographers that I shoot for!
My 8 Tips For Being The Best Second Shooter…
1. BE THE BACKUP, PACK LIKE A BACKUP:
Whether it’s extra batteries, chargers, lenses, water, or even snacks [more likely than not, your main photographer is running on empty halfway through the day], you should pack just as much if not more than if you were the main photographer for the day- better safe [and well stocked] than sorry!
2. BE THEIR EYES:
Double check everyone during portraits [especially those group family shots!] for things like untucked shirts, stray hairs, babies who aren’t looking, or those notorious hair bands- be on the lookout for it all! You’ll save your main photographer a ton of time and editing work.
3. CHECK THE LIST TWICE:
Make sure to grab a copy of the day-of timeline or family shot list from your main photographer! Help them stay on track and organized throughout the day!
4. QUALITY OVER QUANTITY:
I guarantee that your main photographer would much rather go through 500 pretty good shots of yours than 1,000s of “I don’t really know what I caught” shots. Be more intentional than normal about what you photograph. And remember that you’re like the pinch hitter and just there to get what they might miss.
5. GET N*SYNC WITH YOUR MAIN:
Double check that your SD cards are clear, your camera date/times are the same between yours and your main photographer’s cameras, and that you know how they like their photos composed [i.e. if they prefer under or over exposed photos, etc.].
6. ALL IN THE DETAILS:
Instead of getting tons of the “other angles” while your main photographer is posing people, try taking a few and then move on to getting details around you- like the family watching, the flower girl playing, or any of the actual wedding details that may be around you.
7. GET SHOTS OF THEM IN ACTION:
Either while they are posing a couple or coordinating group shots, you never know what a few candid clicks might mean to your main photographer. Also, it’s always a great idea to get some behind the scenes from throughout the day on your phone so they can use them for their social media [and yours! Make sure to tag them!]
8. HAVE A SERVANT’S HEART:
Remember that you are there to serve your main photographer and their clients. You should consider it a privilege to be able to shadow them and learn from their expertise throughout the day. Are they fed or hydrated? Can you help them set anything up? Is there anything you can carry for them? Make sure you stay in communication with your main photographer- communication is key and they will thank you for it!
A little added note to all couples hiring wedding photographers in the future and considering adding 2nd shooters- DO IT. Second shooters help your day run so much smoother, help make sure that the special details are fully noted, and ensure that the candids are plentiful. Having another photographer there to add a different perspective ensures that nothing gets missed during your big day.
Did you find any of these tips helpful? Let me know! Are you a future bride or groom who are now settled on having a second shooter at your wedding? Let’s chat! (and p.s. all of my full service wedding photo packages come with one already included!)
Scroll through this beautiful wedding that I second shot for the amazingly talented – and well traveled – The Big Day Photography. She is SO incredibly kind and helpful and I wish I could follow her around at EVERY wedding. PLUS, she attracts the most beautiful and kind couples – like these two here who said “I Do” at The Orchard in Hood River– a gorgeous fruit orchard with a perfect view of Mt. Hood.
Being a great second shooter is: being there to make sure you capture the getting ready if your main photographer is unable to…
Making sure you help capture all the details….
Making sure to snap some photos of your main photographer in their element and with their couple!
And most importantly working those angles, but shooting differently than your main photographer. Add some personality and variety!
Wedding and elopement photographer in Portland, Oregon. Specializing in true to color edits and natural light photography. Servicing the local area of Portland and the surrounding areas. Providing photography services for weddings across the U.S. and worldwide. Based in the Pacific Northwest but available for travel worldwide.