The Second Shooter
Photographing weddings are both stimulating and exasperating as a photographer. Stimulating because giving the atmosphere, clients, and ambiance, the shot opportunities are amazing. Starting with the bride (generally reserved by the lead) and groom preparations, to the ceremony, the reception and finally the grand exit.
As a “Second Shooter”, the photographer gets to basically tag along and or follow the instructions of the lead photographer. This is where the exasperating part comes in. Don’t get me wrong you can get some great shots as a second shooter, but you have to work just a little harder at it. For instance, most of the money shots are almost exclusively in the control of the lead.
Being a second shooter, your job is to capture that alternative perspective, if the client just happens to look at your camera (which infuriates the lead) and you can get the shot, money! Your main job is not to be in the leads line of fire or to distract from his/her shot.
Your job is NOT however and assistant.
1) The difference between a second shooter and an assistant
Let’s clarify the difference between a second shooter and an assistant. A second shooter is a photographer that is hired to work alongside the lead photographer. An assistant, is not necessarily a photographer – it could be anyone that is hired to assist the lead photographer in carrying the gear and specific duties like holding reflectors, light, etc.
Being a second shooter is a great way to get started in the wedding photographer business and also a way to build your portfolio. Learning the ins and outs of shooting a wedding, shooting in various lighting condition, can only add to the future success as a lead, without the nerve wrecking responsibilities of the lead. Your work should be every bit as good as the lead, however. all too often, you review your work and see that shot that would have been perfect, only if the client was looking in your lens.
Awe the agony of it all.
Get creative, work with the lead, and if you’re lucky, maybe they’ll remember being in that position and allow you to get the “Money Shot”.
Good Luck and keep shooting.
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