During my first year of wedding photography, I didn't know a whole lot...I mean I did...but also did not.. (if that makes sense). I made it my mission to learn as much as possible and the way I knew I needed to do this was by working for another photographer as a second shooter. This industry is so competitive but thank God most people believe in community over competition (woot woot). So if in the beginning you get turned down a lot, no worries just keep finding ways to build your portfolio (they’ll come around). When you finally do find that photographer who says “yes, second shoot for me!” Here are 5 tips for leaving a great impression (which will in turn open more second shooting opportunities).
Ask for the run down: everyone has their own way of doing things and no two photographers are entirely alike. I like to make sure the primary and I are on the same page. I let them know what kind of cards I shoot on and my camera brand (Nikon). For now I only use prime lenses so I tell them that so they don't expect me to whip out a 70-200. I also ask for expectations of the day as far as how they would like me to dress and where they would like me to be throughout the day. Never assume that you are allowed to use the images for your portfolio, always ask first!
Be clear on the timeline: A few days leading up to the event. Be sure that you’ve received a wedding day timeline. I like to print everything out and highlight the important parts like: Bride & groom names, getting ready address, ceremony & reception address etc. Just like I would on a wedding day where I am a primary, I always arrive on time! Highlighting the location on the timeline allows you to quickly add it to your gps.
Be yourself...but don't represent yourself: I am very outgoing and will enjoy a good laugh with the wedding party. Throughout the day, it is important to remember that you are representing someone's business, their livelihood. When asked about my business or if I have any cards, I always direct them to the primary. As a matter a fact, I never tell people I own a business because it does not matter. Today, you work for “Timmy Turner Photography LLC” or whoever your primary shooter is.
Ask for Feedback: In my opinion, constructive criticism is so important for growth. After handing over my SD cards, I always tell the primary photographer that I am open to hearing their thoughts on my RAW files. Am I telling a story? Are my images over or underexposed..blurry? How did I do today? Always be open to feedback!
Know your stuff! You should be a walking manual for your camera. Know how to manually set the camera, learn off camera flash and how to tackle different lighting situations and if you don't know, always be honest.
I really hope this helps and if you have any questions about second shooting, I would love to answer them!
*Images were shot for Heather Littlefield of 617 Weddings.