Many wedding photographers start out as second shooters at weddings for lead photographers. I was a second shooter at weddings for years. Now, I am the one hiring second shooters for my own weddings! All the experience I gained from working with main photographers and watching them work was incredibly valuable. Being that I have been a second shooter and am now hiring my own, I wanted to share my 6 Tips to Be the Best Second Shooter!
Tip 1: Be Aware of the Main Photographer + the Shots They’re Taking
One of the main reasons lead photographers hire a second shooter is to capture the wedding day from different angles and perspectives. Both of you shouldn’t be taking the same photo, as that isn’t very helpful. There are many ways to add variety to the shots so that they aren’t the same. However, If the main photographer is taking wedding portraits of the bride and groom, for example, and you are moving around them to capture other angels, you want to be aware of your placement and the lead photographer to ensure you don’t appear in their shots!
Tip 2: Do Not Promote Your Own Photography Business
Tip number two on my list of 6 Tips to Be the Best Second Shooter is very important! When working as a second shooter, you are contracted under the main photographer. That means, for that day you are an extension of their business! If people ask for your business name, give out the name of the main photographer. If a second shooter starts promoting themselves, they likely won’t be hired again.
Tip 3: Pay Attention to Details
It is no secret that wedding days are CRAZY! There is so much to do and capture. The main photographer’s mind is focused on what shots they are taking, what they still need to take, and are usually busy setting up and preparing for the next shot. As a result, they may not notice the disheveled train on the Bride’s wedding dress, or that wonky stray hair on a bridesmaid. Try to be helpful by looking out for such details and fixing them. This is incredibly helpful, as it saves the main photographer from setting their camera down to fix it, wasting valuable time. This also shows the lead photographer that you have an eye for details!
Tip 4: Take Behind the Scenes (BTS) Photos With Your Camera + the Main Photographers Phone
BTS shots are hard to come by when the main photographer is running around doing a million things, but they’re so important to share on websites & social media! People love seeing BTS shots, and I have even had clients tell me how seeing these photos and videos helped them trust me more! I LOVE when my second shooters do this task without me even having to ask.
Tip 5. Don’t Just Be a Shooter; Be a Helper!
As we’ve already discussed, wedding days are insanely busy. Photographers have little to no rest in between shots during the day. Having someone there to anticipate my needs ahead of time, whether it is fetching my bag, bringing me a chair to stand on for a big group shot, or handing me a bottle of water, is INVALUABLE. I love second shooters who think ahead, anticipate what needs done, and then does it!
Tip 6. Get Permission Before Sharing on Social Media + Always Credit the Main Photographer Appropriately!
This is very important! Second shooters should always communicate with the main photographer and ask what their rules are on sharing photos, as all photographers have different procedures on sharing photos. A general rule of thumb is to NEVER share photos before the main photographer! Sharing images before the primary photographer can confuse audiences and make the main photographer look bad.
I have also seen second shooters share images without mentioning the main photographer or providing the appropriate credit, implying that it was their own wedding. That is a HUGE no-no, and honestly, a little shady. I can almost guarantee a second shooter won’t be re-hired if they make the main photographer look bad or make it appear like the wedding was their work.
I hope these 6 Tips to Be the Best Second Shooter help all the second shooters out there! Shooting weddings is a whirlwind. The day flies by before you have time to think. Having the right second shooter there by your side makes all the difference!
Are you planning your dream wedding day? If so, Congratulations!! Please Contact Me today to learn more information about my wedding photography offerings! I can’t wait to hear from you!