What to Expect
For the first 3 years in business, I worked alone and didn’t have a second shooter with me. It was always possible to capture everything in its entirety and although some parts of the day were often rushed and you didn’t get quite as many naturals as you may have wanted, inevitably there would have always been time later in the day. However for the last 3 seasons, I made the switch and started to include a second shooter in my wedding collections. More and more couples were asking for them on account for wanting to capture the guys getting ready and hanging out in the morning and the option to capture 2 perspectives during the day.
I have second shot a handful of times over the years for others as it is always good to take the pressure off and use the opportunity to look for new perspectives, try something for creativity purposes because you have the time (sometimes they work sometimes they don’t) and you never stop learning. Recently I second shot for Boo Marshall Photography and it got me thinking about sharing what to expect from a Second Shooter. As a second shooter myself, it is rare I get any wow shots, key shots or what you call money shots but I find that I have been there to supplement and compliment what the main shooter offers. It is not about my agenda, or my portfolio opportunities but about being able to capture ‘the background’ so to speak of the wedding. I find that people don’t really take any notice of me as a second shooter so I am able to capture those more natural responses.
As a result, this is what I have come to expect from my second shooters. As soon as they start to shoot from the same spot as me or over my shoulder, I know they have moved in to the realms of thinking like a main shooter and their agenda and I would gently ask if they could shoot from another view point, or another part of the wedding – after all I never need 2 images from the same spot. In addition, every photographer has a slightly different way of shooting and it is the role of the second photographer to adapt their own personal way slightly to compliment and blend in with the main photographer whilst not loosing their own creativity. For example I ask not to crop off feet, not to crop off the bottom of the dress if you are going full length, to do something pretty with the rings that is away from the hands, pull out a little so you get the action and story as opposed to zoomed right in for individual portraits – as just a few – it doesn’t mean that this way is right, it is just something I like.
Therefore when you know you have a second shooter coming along, there is always the option of them capturing the guys getting ready. This is really informal and relaxed and although there is gentle guidance as they are getting ready, the rest really is as it happens (xbox, pants, beer and all!). Often the second shooter will arrive at the venue before me as I am still with the bride so they will capture your guests arriving naturally along with all the hugs and shaking of hands. If the ceremony officiant permits photography, they would take the view from the back of the ceremony. Other than asking parents if they would like a picture together, thats it, the second shooter will be in the background capturing the in-between natural moments of your guests. No formal posed family groups unless individuals ask to have a picture together (which is always welcome) and capturing the day in a natural way. I love this opportunity which is why I love to second shoot as you get much longer at it rather than stolen sections of the day in-between groups, couple pictures, speeches and first dances. (As an aside, if you love the natural pictures – keep 2 hours between the end of the ceremony and start of the wedding breakfast as a minimum).
Here are a few from my own second shooting perspective at a recent wedding ….