As a photographer who often hires second shooters and has also been a second shooter, I’ve been on both sides. Here are my best tips for being the best second shooter you can be and getting hired again!
One of your main goals should be to make the lead photographer’s job easier. Do they need help carrying bags? Carry them. Go grab a bottle of water for them! During family formals, take initiative and read aloud the family member’s names to be photographed so the lead photographer can focus on capturing the grouping and move to the next.
Always, always, always make sure you have signed a contract so you both are protected. Make sure you have talked with the lead photographer prior to the wedding to discuss the flow of the day, their expectations, dress code, etc. This is also a great time to ask them how you can best serve them on the wedding day!
Dress + act professionally!
This seems like it should go without saying, but it’s worth noting. Don’t pull out your phone to scroll on Instagram or make a phone call (of course, unless it’s an emergency!) Don’t show up in blue jeans and a t-shirt. Never take a drink from the bar. You are representing the lead photographer’s brand- be professional, pleasant, friendly, kind, and helpful.
Capture a different shot than the lead photographer!
If they’re capturing a tight crop of the first dance, you should use a wide-angle lens and capture a different viewpoint. Communicate with the lead photographer, and be mindful of the lens you’re using in order to provide variety to the portraits. Stand in a different location than the lead photographer to capture a second angle and provide variety to the gallery.
Though it’s sometimes difficult, try to avoid being in the shot of the lead photographer.
Don’t overstep your boundaries.
This is a BIG one! You are hired by the lead photographer and you are a representation of their business and brand as a contracted employee. I don’t ever think it’s okay to self-promote during a wedding you’re second shooting. This is the lead photographer’s event and they were booked by the couple for a reason. If a guest acknowledges your hard work and asks for a business card, kindly tell them the name of the photographer you’re working for and give them one of their business cards. Remember, you were hired to assist the lead photographer!
This will be unique to every photographer, but I like my second shooters to use my CF/SD cards to make it easier for me when culling and so I don’t have to worry about returning their cards after I’ve culled and backed them up. I just collect them from the second shooter at the end of the evening! I also require my second shooter to shoot in RAW and be comfortable with shooting in manual mode on a full-frame DSLR. Bonus points when my second shooter captures some behind the scenes shots of me working! 😉
Remember these tips on your next second shooting gig and you’ll be sure to be hired again!
Brides and Second Shooters, check out my Bridal Guide Blog for all your wedding day prep tips!