Hello and welcome to the KLP blog! My name is Kelsie and I'm a wedding & portrait photographer based in Columbus, Ohio. Grab a cup of coffee (or in my case - a chai latte), a glass of wine or a bottle of coke and enjoy viewing my latest work, browsing resources for brides and photographers, and getting a little peek into my life.
When you are first starting out in the wedding industry, one of the most common ways to gain experience is through second shooting. If you you ever get the opportunity to second shoot, it can be really exciting, but also really intimidating at the same time if you’ve never done it before. If this sounds like you, here are my top 8 tips for you to make a great impression and do an amazing job!
1. Capture angles of images that will complement what the primary photographer is photographing. What exactly does this mean? Well, it means that instead of standing directly behind the main photographer, try taking images at an angle. Instead of using the same lenses as the main photographer, try using a longer lens to capture more of the details. Your job is to capture the way his hands wrap around her waist or the way she looks at him right after a kiss. This also means that you will not be able to get all of the traditional shots for your portfolio. Trust me, I’ve been guilty of taking images that I want to take, but as a second shooter, I never sacrifice something that I should have captured for the primary photographer simply because I wanted an image for my portfolio.
2. Be creative! This one goes along with my first point. As a second shooter, you don’t have to get the traditional shots. You get to be creative in what you capture. I love this part of second shooting because I get to try new angles that I wouldn’t have done on my own, and try new composition or new techniques. Again, this will also provide more variety for the photographer to include in the final gallery.
3. Let the primary photographer lead. As a second shooter, you are an extension of the primary photographer’s business. You are there to support them, not find your own clients. These photographers are taking a huge leap of faith by hiring you because you are an extension of their brand. With this in mind, do not promote your own business or hand out your own business cards. After all, the bride didn’t hire you, she hired the primary photographer!
4. Be positive and outgoing! The attitude that you bring with you speaks volumes. We all know that wedding days are long and exhausting, so it is so important that you have an attitude that is willing to serve, willing to encourage, and willing to learn. Again, I just mentioned this but it is so incredibly important. As a second shooter, you are representing the brand of the primary photographer, regardless of whether or not you have similar styles. It is so important to conduct yourself in a way that is consistent with their brand.
5. Get to know the primary photographer. Throughout the day, there will inevitably be a few breaks here and there. If not, hopefully you get to at least snag a bite to eat during the reception! Either way, take advantage of those moments. Ask them about how they got started, what big plans they have for their business, or even what their dream wedding is. Ask them about what lenses they are using and why, or how they developed their posing style. As much as you are there to photograph the wedding, I’ve found that primary photographers are also willing to share parts of their story and little tid bits of wisdom as well.
6. Be willing to help in any way. This one is HUGE. Sometimes things happen on a wedding day, and someone needs to go back to the bridal sweet to get a bag. Be the first person to volunteer (unless you should be shooting, of course!). Offer to carry the bouquet or help pin up a flyaway hair. We are, in a way, an extension of the bridal party and we are there to serve the couple in every way possible.
Thanks Nicole Callis for capturing this one!!
7. Capture some behind the scenes shots of the primary photographer (this one’s just a bonus!). As a photographer, I love being able to post behind the scenes pictures of me shooting. The problem is, I am usually photographing by myself (except at weddings) so I don’t have anyone to take pictures of me! So, it is such a treat when I’m scrolling through the images that my second shooters have taken and I find one of me. I know I can’t be the only photographer who feels this way!
Thanks Nicole Callis for this AWESOME behind the scenes shot at my last wedding!!
8. Always give credit to the primary photographer. This is something that I feel strongly about as a second shooter. When I post images that I’ve taken at weddings, I ALWAYS give credit back to the primary photographer clearly in the caption. I’m all about community over competition, and that’s one of the best ways to build relationships with others in this industry.
Well that wraps it up! The most important thing to keep in mind is to have fun!! Weddings are so much fun, and you should enjoy photographing them. Don’t take things too seriously, and enjoy the day. Happy snapping!