Why Second Shooting Makes You a Better Photographer
When I thought about starting my own photography business, I looked every where and any where for advice, and one thing that I constantly read about was second shooting for other photographers. Doing this would not only give you the experience and chance to learn from someone in the industry, but also expand your own portfolio! Luckily, I had brides that hired me right off the bat to photograph their weddings, but this past year, I really wanted to invest and grow my business, and one of the ways that I did that was second shooting for Audrey Rose Photography.
Second Shooting for Audrey Rose Photography
Audrey is an incredible photographer based out of Norfolk, Virginia. I had met her through a workshop we did together, and I had been following her work even before that, so when she posted about needing second shooters, I didn’t hesitate for one moment and applied. Before this year, I had photographed 10 weddings and was going to be photographing 15 more that year for my own business. I was pretty confident in my ability to photograph weddings and photograph them well, but, like I was saying before, I really wanted to grow my business and improve my skills… And now, a year later, I can say that I did that and then some!
Today I am going to share my most valuable lessons and tips to being an amazing second photographer.
How to be the Perfect Second Shooter
And if you take anything away from this post, this is it…
- You cannot be selfish and be a second shooter at the same time.
- I am going to be completely honest with you, I struggled with this point. My first few weddings with Audrey, I didn’t fully understand the sole purpose of what a second photographer was supposed to do. I understood how to be the lead photographer, and took shots that a lead photographer would take.
- I was selfish in the sense that I was taking photos that I knew would look good in my portfolio, and I figured they would look good for Audrey to use as well… But, you know what, Audrey couldn’t use my images because they looked exactly like the ones that she took. Which brings me to my next point!
- Always look for the different angle.
- If you see the lead photographer grabbing one angle, don’t photograph over their shoulder, go find an angle that is completely new! This way the main photographer will have many DIFFERENT images to give to her bride and groom!
- Use a different lens!
- Another way to capture a totally different image from the main photographer is using a different lens. For example, Audrey generally used her 50 mm lens, and I would use my 70-200 mm lens!
- Ask for advice! (But remember timing is key!)
- You are going to have questions, it’s inevitable. You are learning so much, SO fast, but definitely wait until after the wedding to ask them! The lead photographer is so incredibly busy, and she or he wants to answer those questions, but not at that moment!
- BUT, if you are confused or don’t feel like you are getting the shot, ask what you can do to change that!
- Be open to criticism!
- Oh this point, it’s not easy to be told what you are doing wrong, but in order to grow as a photographer, listen to what the main photographer has to say! You’ll benefit in so many ways!
- Focus on what kind of words the main photographer is saying!
- This point is hard to describe, but I wish I had done this sooner. I was so focused on getting the shot that I completely forgot to focus on what Audrey was telling the couple to do, so that I could work on saying those things when I am photographing a wedding!
- Posing is one of the most difficult aspects of wedding photography, and when you are second shooting you get SO much valuable information and tips to how YOU can pose better! Take the time to listen!
- Dress Appropriately
- Every wedding photographer dresses differently on a wedding day. Some go for the all black look, some dress up to a “T”, and so you want to make sure you dress similarly to how the lead photographer does so that you don’t stick out!
- Give Credit Where Credit is Due
- The images that you take are your images, but credit is most definitely due to the head photographer because without him or her you would not have that image to begin with! It’s a simple thing to do, but it is really hard to remember. It means a lot to the lead photographer though, so definitely stay on their good side!
- Don’t get trigger happy.
- When photographing weddings, sometimes photographers feel like they need to be pressing their camera trigger every second… Wrong, especially for the second shooter. Your job is to help and make the wedding day a lot easier for the main photographer.
- Just remember to be thoughtful with each shot your are taking, and the main photographer will be very grateful for that.
- Last, but not least! Remember, you are there to help the lead photographer, and even more importantly, you are there to provide images for the bride and groom and help give them an amazing wedding experience.
- You are the lead photographers 3rd and 4th arm.
- You are there to be inconspicuous and to be a helping hand whenever someone needs it!
- The images that you are taking are for a bride and groom on the best day of your life; when in doubt remember that.
I am so excited that I will be second shooting for Audrey again this year! She has become such a dear friend of mine in this industry, and I cannot wait to implement everything that I learned from her lat year to her weddings this year!
If you have any questions, please leave a comment and I would love to answer any and all questions you might have about second shooting!
Here are some of my favorite images that I took while second shooting with Audrey!