Hi hi!! One of the most common question themes I hear from growing photographers is about second shooting. As nerve wracking as it can be starting out and shooting something as big as a wedding day, just remember we all started somewhere, and there’s no time like the present! Whether you’re new to this role or seasoned in the field, these practical tips will help you navigate the wedding day with finesse. Let’s delve into the details and make your second shooter journey a success.
1. Collaborate Effectively
As a second shooter, your role is pivotal in enhancing the wedding photography experience. Collaborate closely with the lead photographer prior to the event. Discuss their style, preferences, and the essential shots they aim to capture (every photographer has different expectations, so this step is super important!). This teamwork ensures a seamless coverage that resonates with the couple’s vision.
2. Pack Intentionally
Your camera gear is your toolkit, and preparation is key! Pack a secondary camera body, an assortment of lenses catering to different focal lengths, ample memory cards, backup batteries, and lighting equipment. Comfortable footwear is crucial for the long hours ahead. Being well-equipped allows you to focus on capturing moments without any disruptions.
3. Pre-Wedding Communication
Connect with the lead photographer ahead of time to clarify expectations and specifics. Ask about preferred shooting styles, noteworthy details, and any dynamics within the family or bridal party that require attention. This proactive communication ensures that you are in sync and informed, ready to capture the essence of the day!
4. Familiarize with the Venue
While it’s not always possible to visit the wedding venue(s) beforehand, at least scope it out online to familiarize yourself with the lighting, layout, and potential shooting angles. This preparation allows you to move confidently on the day of the event, ensuring you capture the finest moments in a variety of settings.
5. Be Confident in Your Use of Light
This is quite possibly what makes wedding photography more challenging than other niches- throughout an entire day, you’ll most likely encounter harsh sunlight, poorly lit rooms, and everything in between! Be ready for anything, and know how to adjust your settings and lighting to counteract any less than ideal conditions.
6. Unobtrusive Candid Photography
Candid shots are the heartbeat of wedding storytelling, and as the second shooter, you have a unique ability to get extra creative while your lead is shooting the go-to shots!. Don’t be afraid to move through a crowd on the dance floor, capturing authentic emotions, unguarded laughter, and candid interactions. Find unique angles that give your lead photographer lots of variety when they’re culling later (and make sure you aren’t just shooting over their shoulder- there’s no need for double the photos from nearly the same angle)!
7. Be Adaptable and Resourceful
Weddings can be unpredictable. Be prepared to lend a helping hand, whether it’s fixing a wardrobe malfunction or assisting with group arrangements. Your resourcefulness and adaptability will contribute to the overall success of the event. And, please remember- while some photographers do allow you to use the photos you take for your own portfolio (be sure to check on this, not all are okay with it) your ultimate role is to support the lead, NOT to take over or overstep. When in doubt, follow the lead or ask how you can best assist!
8. Embrace Learning and Enjoyment
Approach each wedding as a learning experience. Take note of what works well and what you can improve on next time (and even though it’s scary, ask the lead photographer for feedback too!). This mindset fosters growth in your craft! Above all, have fun and enjoy the day. Make vendor friends, build connections, and always remember to grab yourself a slice of cake- you’ve earned it 😉
If you’re on the fence about adding a second shooter to your wedding day, here’s your sign to DO IT! As you can see, it adds creative freedom and different angles from your most special day ever. For more inspiration, check out these Pinterest boards and follow me on Instagram!
Dessert: Consentino’s | Caterer: Torchy’s Tacos | Venue: Fire House KC | Dress: True Society | Florist: Wild Hill Florals | Hair: Amanda Miles | Makeup: Haven Salon | DJ: Mega DJ Company | Rentals: Brancato’s | Photo: Photo KC Team (associates Carlie + Cassie) | Videographer: Logan Barger | Planning: Opal Collective | Dog Pickup: Katie’s Kennel