Top Ten Tips for Second Photographers at Weddings!
- Be Aware! – If you see the primary photographer in your camera’s viewfinder, move out of the way as quickly as possible. Always be aware of where you are in relation to the primary photographer. If he/she is shooting with a telephoto lens, shoot with a wide angle so that your perspective differs.
- Be Committed! – Create a contractual agreement with the primary to go over the compensation, file handling, rights to the images, etc. If the primary doesn’t have a contract, you should have one to clearly state the expectations of your agreement. THIS IS IMPORTANT.
- Be Communicative! – Throughout the day, check in with the primary photographer to see what he/she/they need. At all weddings, there is a breakdown point where the primary will confide in you about the struggles they are having…listen, be positive, supportive and encouraging. Always speak up and communicate.
- Be Creative! – 2nd shooting is your opportunity to try new gear, angles, perspectives, etc. There is far less pressure on you than on the primary photographer and so you have the opportunity to take a few more chances and experiment with new things.
- Be Helpful! – Oftentimes, wedding photography is much more than taking beautiful photographs. Try to help your primary photographer and the wedding party/family in any way that you can because it will ultimately make your primary photographer look the very best. Put your camera down, and see how you can be helpful by grabbing water for people, help carry things, pick up food, etc.
- Be Inquisitive! – Ask the primary photographer all questions before, during and after the wedding. Clarify expectations as much as possible beforehand so that you know what is expected of you throughout the day. Sample questions to ask: What can I do to make your job easier? While you are doing this, what would you like me to be doing? Are there any specific images that you want that I can try to anticipate/prepare for in advance? If in doubt, ask!
- Be Prepared! – You should prepare for the wedding as if you are the primary photographer. Charge all of your camera and flash batteries, format all of your memory cards, pack all of your light stands, get enough sleep the night before, bring snacks/drinks to get you through the day, etc. In case of an emergency, the bride and groom (and primary photographer) will count on YOU to take over if needed.
- Be Professional! – Dress and act as if your grandmother is with you the entire time. Clarify with the primary photographer how they want you to dress and what they expect from you in terms of behavior on the limo, happy hour, reception, etc.
- Be Respectful! – Do not showcase/solicit your own photography business. On that day, your business no longer exists because you are only representing the primary photographer.
- Most importantly, Be Fun! – If you are having fun, then you instantly put everyone else around you in a much better mood!
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