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Thread: Wedding: Second Shooter Tips

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    Wedding: Second Shooter Tips

    I'm going to be a second shooter for the first time this summer for some weddings and would love to excel at the job at hand.

    What are some different things I should be doing that would really make my work stand out?

    I'm driving an hour so I want to make it worth it and have a lot of fun with the people.

    The thoughts in the back of my head are:

    Stay out of the main photographer's way.
    Get the behind the scenes shots that the main photographer can't get.
    Do some creative work while the main photographer gets the must have shots.

    After the ceremony my plan is to have some fun with the bridesmaids, groomsmen, flower girl, ring bearer, etc... Lots of candids, hopefully the parents, and of course the bride and groom when I can.

    How about before and during the ceremony? What should my focus be? Similar to the main photographer just in case?

    During the ceremony I'm thinking if the main photographer is shooting, say a 70-200, should I duplicate or throw on my 18-50 for a different perspective? Or go up high with the zoom?

    Any and all advice is greatly appreciate and will be used if possible!

    Thanks

    PS
    I got some good information here if anyone is interested as well:
    http://photo.net/wedding-photography-forum/00Uidi
    I am the french fry in a box of onion rings.



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    Having fun with the bridesmaids sounds the best idea

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    I am the french fry in a box of onion rings.

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    Having fun with the Groomsmen, flower girl and ring bearer sound like a considerably worse idea.

    But seriously. I think your focus is a little in the vain of, 'the main shooter will get all the important stuff, and I'll go shoot whatever'. That's not really the case. Or atleast I would think not. The whole point of a second shooter is too double up on the important stuff. It always helps to have two angles on just about any key event. that's the point of two shooters. I can see the way you could think that they've got the must haves on lock down and you can goo get details, and sometimes that is what's needed. But much of the time the main shooter will also want you to help cover the important stuff. And more importantly, even if all they want is for you to go do whatever you want and take whatever shot you want, if the main purpose of you doing this is that you want ot get experience for evertualy shooting weddings yourself, then you should be practicing the important shots most of all.
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    I guess I should add that the main photographer's direction was for me to be creative and get the fun shots. I had already planned on being backup during the ceremony.
    I am the french fry in a box of onion rings.

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    I've done a fair bit of 2nd shooting, so hopefully I can offer some helpful advice.

    I think the most important thing is that you are on the same page as the main photographer. You should be asking them how they work and what they want you to do. Sometimes they need the 2nd shooter to be covering events or angles that they cant'...other times they may just give you free reign to shoot whatever.

    Sometimes it may be important for you to be the safety net and double up on the important events (first kiss etc). But if all you do, is get the same shots as the pro...you aren't adding anything to the coverage. (unless they just want you to be the backup...but that's boring).

    During the ceremony, I try to be on the opposite side of the church, from where the pro is. This way, if they are getting a shot of the bride facing the groom, I can be getting shots of the groom facing the bride. I usually carry two cameras, so I can switch between a telephoto and a wider lens, but ask the Photographer if they have a preference for what they want from you.
    Maybe you could get up to the balcony of a church and get a wide shot of the whole thing, while the other tog stays where the action is.

    I've found that non-verbal communication and being aware of the other tog is important. You obviously can't do much talking during the ceremony, so if they want to switch sides, or they want you to be at the end if the isle, you need to be aware of that.

    When it comes to the formal group shots, a lot of it depends on the situation and how much time/space you have. They might want you to shoot something specific while they are shooting the B&G with their family...but it might also be better & faster if you just help to organize and pose the people. There have been many times when I just put down my camera and concentrate on the shot that the other tog is shooting. Maybe it's fluffing the bride's dress, or fixing a father's pose...or holding a grandmother's purse etc.
    Sometimes I'll get tighter shots while the other tog is shooting wide, sometime it's opposite.

    Another thing is lighting. Many of us are using off camera flash, so it's helpful to position the light stand or even just hold the light. Not to mention carrying the gear to and from the location.

    In other words, it can be part 2nd shooter and part assistant...whatever is needed. It's my philosophy that the quality of the final photos are the primary objective....and anything that I can do to help that, I'll do. I've heard that some 2nd shooters are only interested in shooting for their own portfolio and/or not interested in helping the main Photographer. That' not me.

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    Thanks Mike, that makes a lot of sense.

    So a lot of my gut instinct seemed to be pretty close to what you describe with the addition of doubling as an assistant and making sure to communicate with the photographer before hand and get an idea of what they want me to be doing during key moments while communication may not be possible.

    I appreciate all the input so far!
    I am the french fry in a box of onion rings.

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    Maybe you have more time to observe the poeple --> i can capture more emotions. most poeple prefer pictures from their family that have an emotion than a perfect exposure ... so, i recommend a telephoto lens with real wide aperture, if you have one ...

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    80-200 f/2.8

    I'm hoping to get lots of shots like that, the laughing, the tears, etc.
    I am the french fry in a box of onion rings.

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    Good point.

    During the ceremony, don't forget to turn around and shoot the faces. Obviously concentrate on the main players (mom, dad, grandma etc) but look for good emotion and good light. Most churches are bad for light, but sometimes there is fantastic window lighting in some out of the way spots. If you capture a flower girl playing in that great light, you have a fantastic shot.

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    Good tips, just the kinds of stuff I was hoping for!

    Reminds me of my wedding, our daughter saw a bug on the floor during the ceremony and well, she proceeded to stomp on it not once, not twice, but 5 times. Dead center of the whole ceremony.
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    Talk over with the main shooter what they really want (which you have it sounds like), and if you have questions go to them. Being an assistant and catching the action that's going on while they are busy doing formals is very helpful(i.e. if they are doing just B&G get the bridesmaids and groomsmen relaxing), but keep an eye on the main shooter to make sure they don't need help. Another thing they may want is another perspective on the formals they are taking (make sure the details are right, fluffy dress straight tie, no stray hands showing in weird places like over the shoulder/ around the waist).
    The point I guess is continually communicate (when appropriate) with the main shooter as to what is needed with out getting in the way.(though I'm sure that won't be a problem).

    Good luck!

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    I would shoot it like street photography, look for interaction between guests

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    I've only done like 5 weddings as second shooter but whenever i can i try to get shots of the bride going down the aisle from the back and get the bride and father before they walk down, thus enabling the main photographer to get up close in the pews for the ceremony and them walking down the aisle from the front..

    Before hand double up on what the photographer does + other candids you can spot. Maybe focus more on the groom cause the main photographer goes for the bride, and the groom gets a bit neglected.
    After the cermony its just catch the shots you can. Sometimes i try to plan it out with the photographer, she'd be on one side of the room and i'd be on the other so theoretically we should be able to get shots of everything that happens, but make sure you and the main photographer get shots of all the important peeps.

    A lot of second shooting is being light/equipment mule XD. I'd ask for sure though before hand, you might find they have a specific thing they want you to do.

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    Like it has been said, your main photog should tell you what he wants, and Mike is right on the safety net items through out the day. Apart from that, I would want a balance between back up of shots that the main photog is doing (including diff angles of course) and then just completely creative/behind the scenes/ random stuff the main guy would never have time to get.

    Details in weddings can sometimes tell more than an actual portrait. Put your DOF to work with 1.4-1.8 on some details. Always works.
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