What can you offer as a second shooter (weddings)

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kathyt

kathyt

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I know I was one who mentioned getting second shooting experience is harder than I thought. In all honesty, one reason I shot that wedding was to be able to show something (aside from doing it out of genuine kindness for my friend). I primarily shoot beauty which isn't a big help.

I totally understand Camz's viewpoint and respect it. The few local photographers who called me back told me they do the same thing. It's a great circle of safety. The key is to get in that circle. I'm taking a different viewpoint on the Craigslist photographers. I'm sure some of them are genuinely trying to get experience. I don't think I'll ever post an ad but I have replied to ads requesting photographic services. It's a dog eat dog world out there and I'm wearing Milkbone underwear.

I agree, but if you are persistant it will pay off. It also depends on where you live and how many wedding photographers are in your area. All you need is for one photographer to say yes, at least one that you semi admire and would like to learn from, and that's what gets the ball rolling.
 

Big Mike

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Another point is: Are they capable of handling the wedding (taking it over) if the main photographer can't?
A lot of 2nd shooters are there as assistants or in a learning/mentoring capacity, which is great...but part of the reason for a true '2nd' shooter is redundancy. If something happens and the first shooter can't get the job done, can the second get fill in and do it up to the standards of the main (or close)?

I have a few (really good) photographers around here who hire me as a second shooter from time to time. The main reason being that I could, if called upon, shoot the wedding completely on my own.


Not being a wedding photographer, or a second in that regard, I guess I feel compelled to ask: Would you do the entire gig yourself for second shooter pay?
It's never worked out that I had to completely take over, but I have an agreement with the other photographers that I get paid a lot more in that scenario. It's still not close to what I would make shooting weddings for my own company, but it's only one day's shooting. They still have to book the weddings, meet with the clients, do all the P.P. and finish off the orders etc.
 

camz

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camz said:
I keep it simple. My second shooters have their own photography business and are typically primary shooters for the most part. I also second shoot for them if they need help - friends within the circle.

So, the best second shooters I find actually are primary wedding photographer's themselves IMHO. Make it simple as they'll know where your coming from. Also, they might be cheaper as we often help each other for free.

So the rest of us that are interested in getting into the business are left out in the cold. Thanks for all your help Camz. In case you hadnt noticed most, if not all of the primary shooters suggest second shooting/assisting before hanging out a shingle. If all you do is bring other primaries you're not adding anything to the thread.

LOL was what I said not adding to the thread's substance? I just gave you the ultimate reality check on how the industry works and facts that you probably won't learn in a forum or formal schooling. You, speaking from no industry experience should take that and use it to your advantage. The reality is that without any industry experience, you probably won't land very many second shooting gigs. Do you know how many applications we get without even posting an opening? The circles are tight as Tee mentioned and I guarantee you if you get to that level you will share the same perspective. You can't risk a wedding based on some unknown applicant with a fancy resume - that individual has to be primed and proven and there are no better references than your immediate circle.

Since there's an influx of upcoming wedding photographers, there is waaay more applicants than available positions out there. I don't have the numbers but I'm assuming in multiples.

My advice is to start out as an assistant and move your way up. Second shooting is something you don't undermine, it's a pretty big resonsibility to carry. BTW the op was asking how to hire a second shooter and all I did state what was real in my circle. Having that up and known is actually very valuable.

Tee - I strongly suggest to assist. You have an very good portfolio that would defintely catch my eye. If they turn you down for weddings, take it to another level and be willing to assist in portraits or even during the e-sessions and even grunt work. Penetrate that circle...wish you were here in Cali! lol =)

Edit: Mean to say assisst/third shoot Tee.
 
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jhodges10

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Thanks for the clarification Camz and sorry to have blown you up like that. Your point is well taken and appreciated. I have no doubt that from your perspective you are absolutely correct. I'm one of those people that's willing to do anything asked just to get the experience. Sometimes I have to look from that other perspective and realize that there are a lot of people out there that think they can buy a camera and just jump right in. Too bad you're so far away, I'd be more than happy to lug gear and do the grunt work to get my foot in the door. Thanks for your input.
 

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