Whether you’re an established photographer, just starting your photography business, or somewhere in between, second shooting is a valuable experience of growth, learning, and building relationships with other photographers + vendors, too. I think second shooting is most times a win, win experience!
Back in in 2013, 2014, and 2015, I second shot for several photographers, and “clicked” with all of them. From our initial conversations via text to our first face-to-face meetings, we understood each other, had similar personalities and interests, and were excited to work together. Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t go to say that the photographer you second shoot with must share the same interests and personalities with you, but it does help!
After second shooting all of these weddings and growing a wedding photography business myself, I want to offer three tips for second shooters whether you’re a first time second shooter or a seasoned second shooter!
1 // Always maintain open communication.
For me, open communication is huge. It is a vital key to being a second shooter.
Open communication comes in many forms, but the best way to start this flow of communication is to ask questions! Never feel afraid to ask questions because it will only make the relationship stronger and the process run more smoothly.
It is important to ask questions in order to maintain expectations… How will you satisfy the main photographer’s expectations if you do not ask questions?
Communicating details like timelines, shot lists, and special requests from the couple between the main photog and second shooter further connect the bride and groom to the main photographer and their trusted second shooter. When a bride and groom see a second shooter working amazingly with the main photographer, their trust for the work being done grows even stronger and goes through the roof!
All of these parts truly wrap up into one key… Open communication!
2 // Assist first, shoot second.
I know this may sound funny since you’re the “second shooter”, but trust me, it is the best route to follow!
As a second shooter, you are not only responsible for photographing details, moments, and different angles, but you are responsible for making sure the main photographer is equipped to do his or her job.
Yes, you need to shoot as directed and still take lots of photos, but realize that you may need to carry the bride’s flowers from point A to point B or run back to the car for an extra set of batteries. Just always know that your work and help (assisting and shooting) is invaluable to the creative process.
3 // Use different angles.
In my honest opinion, the last thing I want to give the main photographer after second shooting alongside him or her all day is the same angles of images they already took.
With this, you are limiting your creative abilities and not kicking booty as a second shooter like you can! Offer suggestions to the main photographer in terms of locations and posing (if you feel comfortable), but try not to shoot directly behind the main photographer.
Be creative and find fresh, new angles for photographs that the bride and groom will be happy to have, too!
There are so many more tips that I could share, but I hope that these tips are helpful to you!