Tag Archives: second shooter

8 Tips For Being A Great Second Shooter

Being a second shooter is a great way to start in wedding photography. There are many advantages to being a second shooter – primarily that the success of the assignment is not totally dependent on you. That makes it a lower stress entry point, and gives you the opportunity to learn your craft while assisting the primary photographer. Following posts on 6 Reasons To Work With A Second Shooter, and 7 Qualities To Look For In A Second Shooter, here are 8 Tips For Being A Great Second Shooter.

Tip 1 – Work Well With People. Creating a great client experience is not only about the images. The photographer also has a responsibility to treat the couple and guests with respect, and to make sure they enjoy the day. As a second shooter guests will ask how many weddings you shoot, what equipment you use, and a variety of other questions. It is important to treat them well so that their interaction with you is positive. It ensures everyone enjoys the day, and reflects well on you and the primary photographer.


Consciously creating different images will add variety for the client

Tip 2 – Think Ahead. A very good second shooter can anticipate shots and will prepare equipment in advance. Nothing is more impressive than to turn to call for a reflector, and seeing the second shooter there with one on hand ready to go. This takes time and practice, and requires a strong sense of teamwork with the primary photographer. If you want to be a great second shooter – think ahead.

Tip 3 – Clean Your Equipment. Images from the second shooter are important to the overall package delivered to the client. It is important that the equipment that both photographers are using is clean and will produce high quality images. Nothing will frustrate a primary photographer more than looking at the second shooters images and seeing every image effected by dust spots on the sensor. Take responsibility for making sure your equipment is clean and ready to produce the highest quality images possible.

Tip 4 – Be Predictable. Being predictable is about communicating with the primary photographer. Talk about where you will stand during the ceremony and what type of shots the primary photographer wants from you. Talk through the plan for the day and the role you will play. Talk to the primary photographer if you need to take a toilet break. At a recent wedding where I was a guest, the primary shooter turned to find the second shooter only to later discover he had gone to the car just at the moment he was needed. Don’t be that second shooter. Keep the primary photographer informed.

Tip 5 – Shoot Differently. The second shooter provides value to the primary photographer by providing different images to their own. Different angles, different styles, different images. Make the most of generating ‘different’ images by using different lenses. For example, if the primary shooter is using a 50mm lens, work with a 70-200mm. Consciously create different images by using different equipment than the primary photographer.

Tip 6 – Behave Professionally. As well as shooting images, the second shooter is representing the primary photographers’ business. You are there to get a job done – not to make friends or to join the party.

Tip 7 – Dress Appropriately. At a formal wedding it creates a very poor impression if the photographers are dressed casually. Imagine the bride and groom dressed beautifully, and the second shooter getting around in old jeans and worn shoes. This doesn’t create a good impression and doesn’t add to the clients enjoyment of the day. Make sure you understand the expectation of the bride and groom and dress appropriately.

Tip 8 – Be Reliable. To be a great second shooter you need to form a strong team with the primary photographer. If you want to quickly build trust, be reliable in everything you do. Arrive on time. Do what you say you are going to do. Know where all the equipment is. A second shooter who is reliable is a huge asset to a primary photographer.

Thanks for reading 8 Tips For Being A Great Second Shooter. If you can follow these tips you will have primary shooters regularly asking you to work with them.

7 Qualities To Look For In A Second Shooter

In a recent post on Beyond Here we looked at 6 Reasons To Work With A Second Shooter. A high quality second shooter is a major asset to a wedding photographer and so much more than just another camera. In this post we look at the 7 Qualities To Look For In A Second Shooter. I assume that your second shooter has photographic ability and can produce images which meet your expectations. In addition to that ability, here are 7 qualities to look for in a second shooter.

Quality 1 – Team Player. There will be times where a second shooter needs to do things that are not glamorous – like keeping guests occupied while wedding party formals are completed, or carrying bags to locations. These tasks are key to the smooth running of the wedding photography, and your second shooter needs to do what is required for the team to get a great result. Look for a team player.

Quality 2 – Strengths That Compliment The Primary Shooter.  Ideally your second shooter will have skills which compliment the primary shooter. One of my second shooters has a passion for shooting the macro details of a wedding. This is ideal. When we arrive I would rather speak with the bride and the bridal party and shoot preparation images. At that time my second shooter loves to shoot the details – jewellery, shoes, invitations, the dress etc. It is fantastic that my second shooter has strengths that compliment my own. Together we can deliver a great outcome for the client.

Wedding Rings

Ideally a second shooters strengths will compliment the primary shooter

Quality 3 – Thinking Ahead. A good second shooter will be able to think ahead and anticipate future shots. This can help the primary shooter, as the second shooter can have equipment ready or be in a position which makes the most of the opportunity. The ability to think ahead and anticipate shots is a key quality of a good second shooter.

Quality 4 – Quality Equipment. When the second shooter is using their own equipment it is important that the quality of images they produce are acceptable to the primary photographer. I use Canon full frame camera bodies and L series lenses, and prefer if my second shooter has similar equipment. Check that your second shooter has equipment which will produce quality images.

Quality 5 – Reliable. It almost goes without saying that being reliable is important. In the wedding photography industry it is easy to focus only on the creative and artistic outputs. Doing that overlooks personal qualities that make the job easier. A second shooter needs to be reliable.

Quality 6 – Good Communicator. Along with being reliable and a team player, an effective second shooter is also a good communicator. A strong primary / second shooter combination know what each other are doing and where each other are. It is not ok for the primary shooter to look for the second shooter and not be able to find them. Good communication skills are key.

Quality 7 – Gets on With People. The wedding day is filled with people and high emotions. A second shooter will interact with the wedding party and with guests. In those interactions they are representing the primary shooters business. Being able to get on with people is important to make sure the friends and family of the wedding couple have an enjoyable day. I look for second shooters that I know will represent my business well, and who will ensure that the guests enjoy the wedding day.

Thanks for reading ‘7 Qualities to Look for in a Second Shooter’. I hope it has been useful to you. You may be interested in Preparing for Wedding Photography Success and 7 Tips For Your First Wedding Photography Job.

6 Reasons To Work With A Second Shooter

When photographers start out shooting weddings, we tend to think it is all about our own creative vision. The client has hired us because they like our work, and hope we can produce lovely wedding images for them. Then, because its all about us, our images, and being ‘wedding photographers’, we choose to shoot our first wedding solo. Only after we have shot several weddings do we realize that it’s not about us – it is about meeting the needs of our client. We also realize that a second shooter can be so much more than just another camera capturing different angles. So if you are starting out – here are 6 reasons to work with a second shooter for your wedding photography.

Second Shooter

A second shooter can be much more than just an extra camera

Reason 1 – It Makes Looking After Your Client Easier. On wedding day there are invariably times when it is very handy to have someone to work with as a team. Commonly ‘Auntie’ goes walk-about at the time of the family formals. Your second shooter can find her while you carry on with the bridal party. Or while you are shooting one image, you can see another shot which will need a different lens. Your second shooter can put the lens on your second camera body, enabling you to quickly move on to the next shot. Having someone on hand to assist lets you focus on meeting you clients needs while they act as support.

Reason 2 – Different Photographers, Different Perspectives. A second shooter provides different angles on events of the day. If the primary shooter positions themselves at the front of the ceremony, the second shooter can add to the final images by being positioned at the back of the ceremony. This is just one example of the additional range of images which can be produced by having a second shooter.

Reason 3 – You Can’t Be Everywhere. As the primary photographer, you can’t be everywhere. As the bride walks up the aisle you can’t simultaneously be in front and behind her. Both shots can look great.  Partnering with a second shooter gives you more capability to capture key shots for your client than you can do alone.

Reason 4 – Wedding Photography is Hard Work. For any photographer, weddings are hard work. There is a lot happening and it is a long day. Sharing that workload with a second shooter helps to keep you fresh and ready to shoot another wedding tomorrow and another one next week. Going alone, leads to exhaustion. A second shooter is valuable to keep you fresh.

Reason 5 – Back Up is Important. It is hard to plan for days when we are sick or injured. In reality it doesn’t happen very often and it is easy to think that planning for this is so unlikely that it is not necessary. That sentence should be a warning sign for you. If your client is relying on you, it is important not to let them down. Your reputation depends on it. Not only will a second shooter give you a variety of different images – if you have chosen your second shooter well, they can step up and take the primary position if you are sick or injured.

Reason 6 – Some Shots Need Help. It is reality that some shots need assistance. My clients regularly ask for a shot of all of the guests to be taken after the ceremony. When there are natural points of elevation this is quite straightforward. I can gather the bridal party and guests and use a vantage point to shoot down on the whole group. But when there isn’t a natural point of elevation – like a set of stairs or a second floor window – I use a ladder. This is where a second shooter becomes ladder carrying assistant! My second shooter can walk to the car, grab the ladder, and have it in place for the group shot – all while I am still shooting bridal party formals. Then when we move to the group shot, it can be set up and shot with minimal disruption to the flow of the day.

Thanks for reading 6 reasons to work with a second shooter for your wedding photography. A second shooter can be a key business partner and so much more than just another camera. What is your experience? Did you start shooting solo? Do you work with a second shooter now? What lessons would you like to share?