Any tips for photographing the big day as a second shooter?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Paparoksguitar, Jul 24, 2009.

  1. Paparoksguitar

    Paparoksguitar TPF Noob!

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    OK so my boss recently told me she wants me to be her second shooter at weddings with her now, and tomorrow is my first one. I really really want to impress her.

    So wedding photographers, is there anything you really look for in your second shooter? Are there any MUSTS for them that i should know? Any tips for when to get that great shot? (i've never actually been to a wedding before so should be interesting.)

    I've read a few of the other wedding topics on tpf, but i wanted one that was more focused on second shooting.

    thanks a lot.
     
  2. c.cloudwalker

    c.cloudwalker TPF Noob!

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    "i've never actually been to a wedding before so should be interesting." Yes it should. Never? Really? How old are you?

    You don't have to answer that. I'm just having fun.

    Now, for the serious answer. Don't try to impress anyone! Be yourself.

    As a wedding photographer I only worked alone but I cannot imagine that if I'd had a new second shooter I would have expected anything usable from them. Don't take it badly, it is just business.

    As the contractor, not knowing exactly what it is you can deliver, I would not rely on you delivering some shots I need. So I would make sure I get those and if you get some good stuff, great. But if you don't, no big deal. And that is all I mean.

    You are in a position to not worry about getting "the" shots. So, don't. Be yourself and get the best shots you can. Because of that freedom you could actually get some very interesting stuff that your "boss" will not get because she is too darn busy getting "the" shots.

    Later on, as you get more comfortable shooting weddings, she will get to the point of trusting you more when she asks you to go get a shot she needs. But right now, don't worry about it.

    And if your boss expects any more than that and you don't deliver, I would say that is her problem.
     
  3. JIP

    JIP No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The first thing I can say is DONT SHOOT WHAT THE MAIN PHOTOGRAPHER IS SHOOTING. The last thing the couple is going to want is a million shots of the same poses. That being said you might get some odd angles of some of the formal poses or some casual shots in-between the shots while people Are a little more relaxed. You also might direct your camera to some of the guests especially during the different "events" of the wedding and their reactions to the goings on. Just look at a few albums and you will see the different areas that are well covered especially when they might not normally be if there is not a second shooter.
     
  4. JIP

    JIP No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Oh yeah you might want to consult with the main shooter and find out what they might expect.
     
  5. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Same answer, basically, that I gave in a recent thread, but... if no one is depending on you... go shoot with whatever you have and do what you want, just do not interfere with the main photographer, but if there are expectations of you... the minimums are:

    1. Have a STRONG understanding of the basics of photography. If you cannot talk about aperture, ISO, shutter speeds, the Zone System and have not mastered your own camera at the advanced levels... you should not be considering doing this.

    2. Have a STRONG understanding of the basics of lighting. That means off and on camera lighting!

    3. Equipment can be summarized in 3 points:
    A. Quality FAST glass. If it cannot do constant F/2.8 or wider.. its not wedding ready.

    B. LOW noise at higher ISO settings. If you cannot get clean ISO 800 shots from your camera, its not wedding ready.

    C. Have backups of EVERYTHING, that includes your cameras. I carry a minimum of *3* of everything to each and every wedding I do as a second shooter.

    My cameras are a D700, D200 backup and a Nikon F2a and even an E8800 for really those "just in case" moments.

    My lenses are all pro level glass and go from 15mm to 200mm zooms, and I have 15mm F/2.8 fisheye, 30mm F/1.4, 50mm F/1.4, 85mm F/1.4 and 105mm F/2.8 macro primes as part of my kit. My zooms are 18-50, 24-70, 70-200's all do constant F/2.8 apertures.

    I carry 3 studio heads and 6 speedlights with me, and a minimum of 3 sets of Energizer 2650 NiMH batteries per flash are recharged the night before.

    The only thing that I do not have backups for are my Pocket Wizards, but I do carry a backup wireless triggering solution if needed.

    I would by now consider myself an advanced 2nd shooter, well ready to shoot weddings on my own, but honestly... I loved being a VOL (Voice Operated Light stand) for 3-4 weddings to see how and what the main photographer worked, without having the pressure of needing to put out pictures for the client. Then I became a 2nd without the pressures of needing to "produce". Anything I shot was 100% for me, the client never saw ones... unless the main and I wanted them to. Now, I am a contributing photographer, after about 10 events with my mentor... and loving it.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2009
  6. bitteraspects

    bitteraspects TPF Noob!

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    as a second shooter, your main goal is to capture candids. formals and such will be taken care of by the main photog. generally a second shooter is only incorporated to increase the amount of product given to the client, so as said above, stay away from taking the same shots as the main photog.

    also, check and double check your gear before hand. make sure you have backups of everything. (body, flash, batteries, memory card)
     
  7. Paparoksguitar

    Paparoksguitar TPF Noob!

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    heh, thanks guys these helped a lot. I think tommorow will be a lot of fun and a very good experience for me. What you said seems about right, sounds like she wants me to be shooting some of the stuff that might get normally passed over by. Plus i'll be there to carry all her lights around and stuff.

    I'm driving over and meeting at her house early so we'll have a lot fo time to talk about what she expects and what exactly she wants me to do.

    I'm glad she's letting me borrow one of her lenses cause my glass is awful. lol no cash right now.

    thanks guys :)
     
  8. Paparoksguitar

    Paparoksguitar TPF Noob!

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    Heh okay guys just reporting back from today. Thanks for all your help it really went well. I learned a lot about weddings and the work that goes into those little albums.
    It was a lot of fun, but boy you guys could have told me the actual ceremony was only like 20 minutes haha. I was thinking surely there has to be more of a ceremony. but there wasnt.

    thanks a lot for the help guys :)
     
  9. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Some ceremonies are 10 minutes (like the one I did last night) and others were 2.5 hours of drama. There is no way ANYONE here could have told you how long a wedding ceremony will be. 20-30 minutes sounds about average, though.
     
  10. tsaraleksi

    tsaraleksi TPF Noob!

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    Justice of the Peace and/or Methodist weddings: Do you? Do you? Ok? Kiss. You're done.

    "Full Catholic Mass" on the other hand...
     

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