What its takes to be a Second Photographer for weddings {New Zealand wedding photographers} Photography Tips

Few people recently asked me about second photographer-shooter opportunities in my New Zealand wedding photography business. Also they asked about what Im expecting from second shooter, what areas to learn, practice, improve etc. So I decided to put together all thoughts and tips to help others :) Im always happy to help!

I have my husband shooting with me and all what I need from him - keep his eyes open for moments to happen, anything what catching his eyes, what I can't see when Im shooting in different spot, wedding location. I think its not so easy to find right second shooter (for example, some people great with shooting details, another one - moments, someone can be good with posing, capture emotions, be creative, so you really need to have a little bit of everything in your work, not miss any important for bride and groom moments. So you really need to look through second shooter's portfolio and see what his best sides and if its fits your style. You also need the person who can be creative around and capture some stuff with really interesting angle or perspective. Most of my galleries 80-90 % my shots and around 10-20% second shooter ones {time to time its can varies depends on amount of events, light, creativity). Also factor a personality, you need fell comfortable with this person and same bride and groom - its your brand and your face - so its really important your second shooter been a great people person, who make everyone feel relaxed and also watching you and helping you every time when you need even without asking. I even not mentioning the ability not be on the way, not jump in your frame and not shoot over your shoulder, ha-ha!

how to be a good second shooter - photographer {New Zealand wedding photographers}

So we looked to second photographer question from main photographer perspective. If we sum its all up for second shooters, here some tips:

1. Capture moments, emotions, peoples in situation {guests laughing, parents crying, kids playing around, old people talking etc.). You can practice this ability by doing lifestyle photography, shoot on the streets, your kids, events etc. I been practicing constantly with capturing my family everyday moments in 365 Project and its helps a lot as you learn to capture fast changes situation.

2. Try to be creative, shoot from different angles and perspectives, think outside the box. Main shooter busy with organising the process and taking everything under control. You have a chance walk around, se situations, details, things happening.

3. Stay away from main photographer's frame, not shoot over the shoulder :) 

4. Try to help with any duties from holding the light, carry bag, bringing glass of water to anything else what been asked beforehand {I'm not saying you always should do it, but just try to make main photographer life easier :). 

what need to do second photographer {International wedding photographer}

5. You can talk through the timeline and photographer's and couple's expectation beforehand, any important list of shots what they required and other information what you should know to prepare yourself to the wedding.

6. Prepare your equipment (charge the batteries, have plenty of cards, backup camera, different angle lenses). Often you need to shoot with different type on lens in the same spot and also have variety with main shooter (for example main shooter shooting with 85 mm you can use 35 mm or 24 mm; and opposite - main photographer at 200 mm, you will use 35, 50 mm etc for give different look and capture environment).

7. Synchronise the time in cameras before make any shots (its will really help in post processing so pictures will be flawless in the gallery). Of course main photographer can change time capture in all your shots in Lightroom but it will take his time to work out these details and spend more time on editing images.

8. Contract - its really important to understand the conditions of this job and especially moments as how you hang images to main photographer, do you have the rights to use images for your portfolio (and if so can you do it right away or need to wait for 3-6 months as contract conditions). When you going to be paid (beforehand or after pass the images). Its really important as I met a lot of situations when wedding photographers had conflicts between each others about not been paid, or second shooter been using images without the permission and couple etc. Please talk and look through all these details for not be upset after work done.

what its takes to be a second photographer {Auckland wedding photographers}

9. Dress proper (maybe its sounds strange but you represent main photographer brand and style so better to find out what to dress, as you doing a wedding shoot where everyone around will be dress appropriate. I even heard on one of the wedding how groom been joking about photographer that its underdressed person in the room, hope you not will be this person}, but of course clothes need be comfortable so you can lay on the ground, climb up if you need etc. Of course some weddings more casual (as rustic farm, outdoor, beach weddings), but we still need dress smart (black and grey colours always works!).

10. Be a people person - its all about positive experience for couple, not just amazing photographs, and this first point sometimes much more important then second, as its how people remember you. Talk, jock, help peoples, be reasonable and sensitive with empathy and ability to understand situation and emotions.

11. Think ahead, pre-view the moment happening (couple go back to the aisle, entering reception, bride's mum ready to cry etc.) and be ready to find the right spot to capture it without disturbing the moment. Keep your eyes open and learn from your mistake, its a big learning curve and after each wedding we analysing and looking forward what we can improve. You can always check with main shooter if he have any recommendations, but Im sure you know yourself what you can be proud of and what did you missed :)

Good luck with this exciting position! Its great to have fun on second shooting and also take your own main weddings (funny enough I started not traditional way and right jump into shooting my own wedding with right attitude and confidence, but I also did a few weddings as second shooter so know exactly how its feels). Its great to team up with other photographers and be in the great community and be ready to help each other as you never know when you may need some help. There a lot of local Facebook groups for wedding photographers, we also trying to catch up as often as we can. 

Here just one of the pics what I took as second photographer shooting wedding caremony in Ataahua garden venue, Tauranga, New Zealand.

second photographer for weddings - photography tips {New Zealand wedding photographers}

Contact me with any questions!