I jumped into the wedding photography world about 10 years ago now. Like many photographers, I got my start by second shooting for other photographers. Back then I had no idea what the expectations were. I was happy that these photographers trusted me enough to help them for the day but it was nerve-racking!
Over the years I’ve been able to shoot dozens of weddings a second photographer and I thought I’d compile my thoughts through those experiences. I’ve learned a lot from my own mistakes and successes and I want to help you stand out from all the rest so that you can do amazing job as a second photographer!
To Serve or Not to Serve
This mindset shift happened a number of years ago for me and it changed my attitude about the job. As a second photographer, you are there to serve. You aren’t representing your brand or photography business, you are representing the person who hired you for the day. More than that, you are assisting the main photographer. It isn’t about competing for shots and angles, its about complementing the main photographer. You are hired as a ‘second’ photographer, be sure to keep that in mind throughout the day.
Weddings are formal affairs. This applies to guests AND wedding vendors. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen other wedding vendors, who are present for the entire day, show up wearing jeans or baseball caps. The general rule of professional dress for wedding photographers is black. Summertime can be hot and black can be stifling, then opt for lighter weight clothing or even a loose fitting black dress.
Reach out beforehand to the main photographer and ask what their expectations of you are. If you are responsible for groom coverage, what does that look like? What are some must have shots that the main photographer would like? Ask what your role is during family photos? Are you there to help wrangle family members, organize people, and read off the shot list? What style does the main photographer take towards the day?
Touch base throughout the day as well. I always ask my main photographer just before the ceremony where they will be standing so I don’t get in the way of their important shots. I also am aware of where they are throughout the ceremony so I can get different angles and perspectives. Asking questions and doing your homework will better prepare you for the wedding day.
On a shooting assignment a number of years ago, I was tired and to be honest I wanted the long day to be done. This came off in how I approached the remainder of the wedding and it was felt by the main photographer. I will never forget that experience and that’s what helped me to transform my attitude of what it means to be a second photographer.
Keeping these tips in mind will set you apart from the rest. It will make your days enjoyable but more importantly, the main photographer will take note and want to hire you back for other second shooting assignments.
For more helpful Photographer Tips – check out these blog posts – Education Blog Posts