Why You Should be a Second Shooter First
If you are a photographer and are considering venturing into the world of wedding photography, regardless of how much practice you have had with your camera, there is one very important thing you need to do prior to taking on a wedding on your own.
Weddings are not for the faint of heart. They can be very hectic, stressful, time consuming, and just plain out exhausting! After all, this is a BIG day for couples and the photos will be the one thing they will depend on to have to look back on to relive all of the sweet memories and details that made the day so special. Taking on a job as a wedding photographer is a huge responsibility.
You obviously need to have a lot of photography practice in general before taking on such a task. You need to know your camera and gear inside and out. Out of focus or poor quality images just won’t cut it for a job like this. When a couple hires a wedding photographer, they expect professional work. If you just dive into the photography industry head first, a wedding is NOT the first job you want to take on.
One of the most critical things you can do for yourself as a photographer to prepare yourself for the wonderful world of weddings, is to be a second shooter.
A second shooter is someone who assists actual professionals at a wedding. Not only will you be assisting, helping coordinate everything, helping set up equipment, etc. But, you will also get the opportunity to get some hands on photography practice.
Many professional wedding photographers will hire a second shooter to help take some of the load off of them. Having two sets of hands, eyes, and ears can really make things go a lot smoother. This is a great opportunity for wedding photographer beginners to really learn a lot!
When you decide you are ready to explore this genre of photography, networking with other photographers is a great idea. Who knows? You may end up with a solid mentor. And having a seasoned pro teach you the ropes when it comes to shooting weddings can greatly benefit you as a photographer. Don’t be afraid to learn from the best.
There are both online and hands on workshops you can attend, videos and tutorials you can watch, and a plethora of information on the internet for researching the ins and outs of the industry. Investing the time into learning as much as you can will turn into an investment for you as a photographer in the long run. And most importantly, it will help you gain confidence! Being a nervous wreck and clueless as to what you are doing when shooting a wedding will reflect in your work.
Social media, online community forums, and meet-ups are great ways to interact with others and make some great connections in the industry. Photographers tend to be a bit competitive because it seems there are new photographers popping up daily. Everyone wants a piece of the pie! However, don’t let this deter you from making a few trusted friends who can help you become the best you can be.
Check out ads, make your own ads, and reach out and find photographers who will allow you to be a second shooter. Don’t be afraid to admit that you are a rookie and want to learn from the best! After all, you want to labeled as one of the best eventually, right? Who doesn’t!?
Being a second shooter will allow you to get in on the action, see the pros do their thing firsthand, and find out if it is something you want to pursue more of to begin with. Countless photographers simply refuse to do weddings. They are intimidated by the huge responsibilities it requires and simply want no part of it. They realize what a big and special day it is for couples and they don’t want to risk ruining the photos that those couples will be depending on. You may second shoot and realize it’s just not for you and that’s okay too! You should never go into a genre of photography that you are not comfortable with.
Many steer clear of photographing newborns, others steer clear of weddings. It’s either for you or it isn’t.
If you really have a passion for learning everything you can about wedding photography, then go above and beyond to absorb as much information as you can. Before you can work “like a boss” you need to work like an intern!
Second shooting is a great way to learn how to interact with the wedding party, bride and groom, and guests. You will learn how to take charge and give good direction when doing group and family shots. You will learn how to work with a timeline and others in charge of the wedding to keep everything coordinated and going smoothly. You will learn some of tricks of the trade when it comes to posing. You will learn what type of gear you need to have on hand and how to work with different lighting situations. You will learn where you should stand during the ceremony. Basically, you will LEARN, LEARN, LEARN! And hey, that’s what it’s all about!
Invest time into learning from the best so that YOU can become the best!