10 Steps to Smashing it as a Second Photographer by Eneka Stewart
The wedding season is here! yay? Yay!! That exciting time of the year, which feels like a rollercoaster of emotions, events, people, work and travel schedules. If you’re new to the photography industry, a great opportunity to get fast on the field is by accepting a second shooter job at weddings. This, not only allows you to learn valuable tricks from the more experienced peer, but also get noticed and recommended for more events – IF you do a good job!
Having worked with around 40 second shooters in the past 5 years, Eneka Stewart shared on her blog 10 steps to becoming the best possible Second Photographer, and smashing it at any wedding or photo session! Here we go:
1. Check Your Camera Clock Time
Try to make it part of your routine when you pack your bags if you are going to shoot a wedding. It’s hugely important to have your image capture times synced with those of the lead photographer so that when they are doing the editing, they can put all the images in chronological order.
2. Set Your WB to Auto
Unless you have been instructed otherwise, leave your white balance on auto so that the lead photographer can more easily use their own editing style on your shots. Your personal style might be different but remember you are second shooting for someone and you want to help things run smoothly.
3. Arrive Early
Allow plenty of time for your travel on the wedding day, especially if you think you might hit some major roads on your route. Send a text or call the lead photographer if you think you may be delayed, in particular if you are due to cover the bride/groom’s getting ready part of the day on your own.
4. Respect the Lead Photographer
Remember that the couple are the clients of the lead photographer, not you. Avoid taking the couple for your own portrait session. If you have any suggestions or ideas for a shot of them, make these to the lead photographer and agree the next step.
5. Shoot from Different Angles
There is no point shooting over the lead photographer’s shoulder. Find a different angle. What’s next to you or behind you? Is there something you can climb on or lie on? Can you shoot through something that may create interesting layers or shades?
6. Avoid Shooting at the Lead Photographer
Keep an eye out for where the lead photographer is. Try to avoid standing directly opposite him or her, because the chances are that you would then be in their shot. Tuck down or hide behind the couple if you think you might be in the lead photographer’s frame.
Avoid setting up your own lighting equipment without the lead photographer’s permission. Always speak and discuss your ideas with the lead photographer. Good communication is the key.
8. Please Ask for Permission Before You Share
Before you share any of your images on your website, blog or social media accounts, please check if you are ok to do so. The lead photographer will be able to confirm if the clients are happy that their images are publicly shared. If you have this permission, then be a good sport and tag in the person you second shot for and make sure that you don’t give the impression that you were the lead photographer yourself.
9. Don’t Give Out Your Business Cards
Again, remember that the couple are the clients of the lead photographer, not you. Perhaps grab a few business cards from the lead photographer or direct the people who ask for contact details towards the lead photographer.
10. Bring a Smile
It’s not going to break the bank but it will send out good vibes and make everyone happy. If you agreed the terms and were accepted to be part of the couple’s special day, then make most of it.
The last one is probably our favorite! The right attitude can take you places you’ve never imagined. So keep hustling, experimenting and enjoying each step of the journey. Get new skills, learn new techniques, improve your portfolio and give your creative business a chance to bloom!
Deciding on how to make your work stand out? Check out our themes, they’ve been optimized to allow your portfolio shine. The hardest part is deciding WHICH ONE?