How to Be a Great Second Shooter
1. Shoot 50/50 – 50% of your shoots should be in the style of classic, traditional photography. Capture all the key moments of the day. Remember to shoot safe and smart. Pick a safe ISO and F/stop to get that shot. You are not going for art here, you are going for documentation of the day. The photos you take may never see the light of day but they have to be there in case of an emergency. If the main photographer happens to lose images due to a failed card, theft or computer problems, your shots are now playing 1st swing.
2. Shoot the other 50% in the mode that you’re going to compose the best photographs ever. Go for the shots, be creative, change yourself, push the limits of your abilities. Create photographs that will get you remembered.
3. Do your homework. Know the equipment that you will be working with that day. Understand the camera, lens, lighting, flashes, reflector, computers and software that you will be working. Be remarkable with your knowledge of gear. You want to be able to counsel the main photographer on exposure and equipment as needed.
4. Be proactive: the 2nd shooter’s job is to know the outline of the day and to be prepared for every situation. Set up lights, have lenses and flashes ready to go when needed. Ask the main photographer where s/he is at on card count. Have back-up batteries ready to go when asked.
5. Yes you carry the equipment. You open the doors. You get the drinks. You pack the car. You do what is asked, with a smile.
6. Ask up front about image rights and be respectful of whatever (if anything) is offered to you.
7. Second shooting is a business relationship at work. Show up on time. Be consistent in your work. Advise on the subtleties of the day.
8. Competitiveness; do not even go there. You were just given the greatest photo opportunity you could ever ask for. Be respectful.
9. Ultimately the main photographer makes all the final decisions and they get all the reward (& risk) for the outcome of the day. Your part is to enhance and aid the experience for both the photographer and the subject.
In return you get…
1. The opportunity to shoot in a live fast-paced environment- the one thing books and classes cannot teach you.
2. A behind the scenes look at what makes a great wedding photographer, and what your life as a wedding photographer will entail.
3. Realization of your confidence and talent, so that you can either do it alone as a professional or continue to pursue education and experience.
More Second Shooting Posts…
How NOT to Get a Second Shooting Job by Jared Bauman
Tips for a Second Shooter by Jeff Youngren
Written by John Craig
John is a father, husband, photographer, teacher, writer and blogger. His two favorite philosophies for photography are: “Create something new, daily” and “The light is never the same twice.” John and Elizabeth Craig are the leaders of the Pittsburgh Photographer User Group. Learn more about their PUG and their upcoming meetings here.