Being a wedding day second shooter is a role that should not be taken lightly. When you are hired to second shoot, a photographer is putting their “stamp of approval” on you. There is a large amount of trust involved because the photographer is welcoming you into their clients once in a lifetime day.
When I second shoot, I like to be as professional as possible. With my clients, I tend to be a bit more casual as I get to know them, however, when you are second shooting you have no relationship with the clients. Your language should be clean and your clothing should reflect a wedding day.
Communicate as much as possible
Before you take a second shooter job, ask the photographer who is hiring you questions! Things that are important to know ahead of time:
- How much is the pay? (sometimes you are able to state your rate, other times the photographer already has a set price)
- Will I get to use my photos for my portfolio?
- Am I allowed to share BTS on Instagram?
- Will I need to shoot on my own cards?
- How will I transfer the images to you?
Once the wedding day gets a little closer, the lead photographer will most likely send you information regarding timeline. It is always nice to ask if they have any preferences in terms of your camera settings, or the way you are taking photos.
Make eye contact during ceremony
Your lead photographer will tell you where they want you during the ceremony depending on their shooting style. Make sure throughout the ceremony, you are checking in with the lead photographer. This is usually done through eye contact and nodding of heads. If you want to move to a different spot or vise versa, you want to make sure you are not in the other persons shot
Seek out candid moments
During certain wedding days, there are moments when you might be waiting around. If there is a long cocktail hour or timelines run late, you may find yourself not sure of what to do. If you are ever in this moment, first check to see if the primary shooter needs you. If they do not, spend time looking for guests interacting with one another. Often the focus of a primary shooter is to be will the couple all day long, which gives you the opportunity to take photos of guests!
Serve the person you are working for
Your job is to take photos, but if you want to go above and beyond at your job, make an effort to be intentional. Anticipate what the lead shooter needs. Carry their equipment for them, run and switch their batteries for them, BRING THEM WATER! Truly the job of a second shooter is to make life easier not harder. Anything you can do to help the day run more smoothly is going to be a win.
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