Preheat the oven before baking. Study before finals. Wait 30 mins to swim after eating.
Is it me, or do some steps in life feel more like an extra hurdle before the big track race that you shouldn’t have to jump over, in order to conserve energy for the main event? I’m no hurdler (that’s a word, I promise) so my initial thought is to walk around said hurdles…. or hey, maybe even limbo under them if I’m in a happy mood Much to my dismay though, most of these “pre” steps are necessary. So fine! No limboing (again, totally a word)
Being a 2nd shooter (assistant) to the main photographer at a wedding seemed very much like an unwanted hurdle to me. Not because I felt like I didn’t need the practice & experience – I’ll be the first to admit that I was a hot mess when it came to using my camera and needed all the help I could get – but because I was completely intimidated by experienced photographers. It’s like typing an email with someone standing over your shoulder….. usually I type fast & can actually spell, but having someone watch me? Typos galore! So the thought of photographing next to someone who knew what they were doing (and knew what I was doing wrong) made me nauseous. And light-head. Soooo not cute!
If I could have a conversation with myself a year ago I would tell that girl to pull it together Lasey! 2nd shooting a wedding is pretty darn fun and the experience you gain is out of this world…… but most importantly, you’ll build a PORTFOLIO! Without which, booking weddings of your own probably wouldn’t happen.
So here are 5 personal tips for anyone interested in 2nd shooting:
1. Be A Good Student- Fact; once a 2nd shooting opportunity comes along there is a line out the door of new photographers that want the opportunity. If a photographer reaches out to you to be their 2nd shooter, really bring your A game! Pay attention, listen to their advice and direction. Trust me, there will be at least one occasion that you’ll use something you learned from 2nd shooting during a wedding of your own. You’ll want to hug the photographer that taught you…. not weird at all
2. Be Proactive- You’ll never know the pressure of being the main photographer until you’ve done it yourself so having someone on your team that you can rely on and acts without being told is like scoring a sale at a shoe store aaannnnddd getting an extra discount for being on the store’s mailing list! Truly a gift from above. Review the itinerary, keep your eye out for moments that the main photographer may have missed, etc. Your effort goes a very long way.
3. Don’t Be Invisible- The Bride and Groom are aware that their photographer is bringing a 2nd shooter (maybe even a team) so don’t be afraid to say hello and introduce yourself. There may be times throughout the day when you have to personally interact with them so the more comfortable they feel with you, the better. While 2nd shooting, my job is usually to photograph the groom & groomsmen. If the couple chooses to have a “First Look” then my job is to guard the Groom and make sure he doesn’t get a peek at the Bride beforehand. The first time I waited with a groom I was beyond nervous and completely silent. Kind of awkward. It took me a minute to realize the Groom wasn’t talking because he was nervous…. so I shook my nervous to get over my own insecurity and gushed over how beautiful his Bride looked and of how excited she was to see him. A little comfort was all it took to ease the nerves.
4. Keep Your Eye On The Main Event- Whether you are 2nd shooting for the experience, or to build a portfolio, or simply because you like it…. none of these are the main (and most important) reason for being there. The wedding is the main reason and is and should be the most important thing. This is a real-life couple who is taking a major step in life and entering a new chapter in their love story. A day they have been planning for months and have invested money in. Whatever comes up during the day, move past it! Keep shooting. Not only does the couple mean the world to the main photographer, but they should have the best on their big day. If you can help make it better, do it.
5. Build A Bond- As much as I treasure the Portfolio building part (as it has helped me launch a business) 2nd shooting has led to life-long friendships with photographers who care about me & want me to succeed just as much as I do for them. Any field of business can be rough, whether it’s corporate or creative, so having a great group of friends in the same field makes all the difference. Besides, you spend a whole day together while 2nd shooting…. so have fun! Bring snacks, have a sing along to Taylor Swift and record it, enjoy the reception food! I’ve done them all…. and there’s proof on Facebook
See?! 2nd shooting isn’t that scary. Now if you’re worried about it being tiring then that’s a whole other story. I wont say that it is…. just don’t expect for your legs to be fully functional the next day
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