I recently began second shooting for weddings to build my portfolio. There have been a number of things I’ve observed about the interactions and work that I wanted to share with the rest of you. I think it’s so important these days to do a really great job second shooting, as it can propel you into further opportunities. So without further ado, please read on for my tips on how to be the best second shooter ever.
1. Be Professional.
This seems like a given, but you’d be amazed how many times people have mentioned just how happy they were that I was professional. Now this could have a lot to do with the community that tends to frequent places like Craigslist, which is a primary resource for finding or getting second shooters. Being professional means showing up looking like you’re going to a wedding. It means being nice and cordial to all guests, workers, and the photographer.
2. This isn’t your show.
The photographer who hired you is calling the shots. This is his/her show. There is no need for you to be the point man. You aren’t there to pose people, unless the photographer has explicitly asked you to help out. Also, this is not the place to be handing out your business card. If someone asks for it, you need to point out that this is the other photographer’s gig and send them that way to get a card. This shows integrity. The main reason you are there is for experience and portfolio.
It’s amazing how many people will go to a wedding and just stand around. Take initiative. Get the shots. Don’t stay in one place. Work! Being lazy is not going to get you what you need, and you certainly don’t need to do weddings as a photographer if you’re going to be lazy. This side of photography is not for the faint of heart. Work hard and it will show.
4. Keep opinions to yourself
There’s no need to criticize another person’s gear, how they shoot, or the wedding itself. You are there to observe and help out. Imagine if you were on a shoot and someone you know was talking about how your flash is sub par to what they have, right in front of your client. It’s petty and ridiculous. I honestly believe photographers should work together and act as a community. However, I am aware of how competitive our field can get. But as a second shooter, you don’t need to tarnish the main photographer’s name just to get more for yourself. It’s only going to show how black your personality is, and eventually you’ll see that no one wants to work with that.
5. Be Creative
This is for your portfolio too! Try new angles that the photographer isn’t taking. Look for moments that they might miss while focusing elsewhere. I captured some really cute moments of the flower girl and ring bearer while the photographer was focused on the Bride and Groom. This will distinguish the shots you take from what the other photographer is doing. You don’t want to stand directly behind them and get the same shot. Then your portfolio is going to look just like theirs. Stand out and distinguish yourself by trying new and exciting shots!
I hope that helps give you some ideas about how to be a great second shooter. It’s important to show up and do the work in a professional manner while building your portfolio. Get it done, and one day you’ll be the one calling the shots!