Basic Photography Overview


The Art of Being a Second Shooter


Lesson Info

Basic Photography Overview

The number one pressure point that we would hear from photographer from first shooters was that they would say that they just cannot believe the images they got from their second shooter they just felt like they couldn't use the amount of photos that they wanted teo and sometimes they even expressed that they paid the second shooter money that they should not have because they didn't yield us the amount that they would find or demon right in the situation so in light of that I'm going to be referring to this as a basic photography overview but and why they have like ten or fifteen minutes in the section so I mean it's like we're going to cruise through this and the thing that we're going to focus on primarily is exposure because people are having a very hard time controlling exposure in a what on a wedding day because it changes so dramatically from one minute to the next so the first step to managing exposure is to say goodbye to comfort modes auto mode p mode shutter speed priority a...

perture priority what we really want to focus on today is shooting manually now I nothing is wrong with shooting in those modes I shot an aperture priority for the first six months of my business so I'm not going to hate but what was happening was that there was a lot of varying degrees I would take the same photo and ever so slightly a couple of second later take the same photo and I'm standing in the same position, and yet the shutter speed changed in such a dramatic way that there wasn't consistency in my work. So when I started making consistency a priority, I knew that I needed to move to shoot manually. So what I started noticing was that there should be a difference between correct exposure and exposing for your personal preference or for your first photographer, his personal preference, you know, some people look at my work and they just like I can't stand her style, she blows out her skies, she should be using fill light, okay, whatever. But here's, the fact of the matter is that I exposed for skin exposed to the dress I exposed for hair. If I don't have every dark cloud in the sky, I'm not going to cry. I just don't like bill flash, but this is my cup of tea. All of this to say is if you decided to take a road trip from seattle down to our home in southern california, there are a myriad of ways to get down there, right? You just have to choose it, so this is what I'm talking about for exposure today, there's gonna be a lot of different ways for you to find proper exposure, you just have to find your personal style now I'm going to be referring to something called the exposure triangle. Now exposure triangle is made up of three sides aperture, shutter speed and s so so when you hear me saying that that's what I'm actually referring to, so we're gonna start with the first component and that is aperture. Now aperture controls the rate at which light passes through the sensor. Um, the size of the aperture is called the f stop. I wish somebody would have told me this a long time ago, you know, like when I first started and somebody had said jasmine aperture and f stop are the same thing, I was like, what? You know, I mean, clearly I was reading manual clearly enough, but this number is usually displayed on the top of your camera or on the back screen, depending on what model you have. But you should always know or be able to find what aperture you're shooting it. And when. Now, if you're shooting in full auto mode or in pee mode, this will kind of defers to a middle of the road approach. So a middle of the road approach for aperture is usually five point six, so this is what we discovered, but j d a couple days ago said, you know, if you take a middle of the road approached aperture you're going to get middle of the road photos and I was like, I like it I'm going to steal that um when you're shooting manually and you're shooting with the types of lenses that jd showed he showed a fifty millimeter one point for I shoot with the fifty millimeter one point two if we have those now those capabilities, I'm really going to push my lenses because we're shooting with good class, so why would I take a five point six when I could if I'm just shooting the bride, I'm gonna shoot her out of one point two so, um, a point of clarification that a lot of photographers will follow up with me there when you're choosing your aperture we know what are you shooting for landscape? And I'm thinking, I need to clarify if I'm shooting a landscape. We shot a wedding in north carolina a couple weeks ago from the bride's house I was able to get a cliff and trees and a log cabin in the distance I'm not shooting that at one point two was probably if memory serves me correctly somewhere in the ballpark of twenty two because I wanted everything to be in focus it maximize my depth of field so that the trees in the house and everything looked the way that it was supposed to. Now if I am shooting one person in the photo I can shoot it at anything wider than an f two point oh that's what I love you know you get that beautiful broke up okay light reflecting off certain portions in the distance and it really blurs that background um when shooting ah person you can shoot as a general rule of thumb if you're shooting more than one person, make sure that your aperture is at least the same number of people in that photo. So somebody had told me this and they said, you know, if you're shooting two people f two point eight is a great place to start and I remember the two lenses that I started with was a seventy, two hundred and the I'm sorry and the twenty four to seventy both of those lenses aperture goes the whitest at a two point eight so I didn't have a choice I was like, okay, I'm going to shoot at a two point eight and that's the aperture that I shot at day in day out when it came to shooting a couple now if you know you're shooting more than one person like if you're shooting a family photo, it doesn't have you want teo you know, obviously not be shooting at an f two point eight. What I liked, though, was that I was able to get blurry backgrounds and a two point eight and the more that you practice, the more often your photos of becoming and focused. Now, the thing to remember is the wider the aperture, the more blurry the background will be and there's gonna be more light in the photo. Now you're going to see today that we are indoors and we do have pretty nice light it's not the best light and somebody who really depends on artificial light will walk in book. I know exactly what flash I would use. I know what flashing one minute set up mike off camera flash because you can in this type of situation, but we're going to show how we just leverage natural light and we really push our lenses to the best capabilities we can. Now the second part of the exposure triangle is shutter speed shutter speed determines how long a camera's shutter stays open to admit light to the digital sensor. So for shooting an autumn oat or mp mode, it really also takes a middle of the road approach the middle with approach a middle of the road approach for shutter speed will range from one one twenty fifth of a second toe one five hundredth of a second and that's fine having a shutter speed that is around one twenty five one one twenty fifth of a second, it will kind of guarantee a non blurry photo. We're gonna get a little bit more about that. I blogged about shooting in dark churches and I included the ex if data or the meta data and I said that I shouldn't one fortieth of a second and people are like, wait, what about camera shake? What about blurry appendages? And I should have clarified that I can shoot at a fortieth of a second and not get blurred because if a bride and groom traditionally the darker the church's used like a catholic church, the priest is standing up and they're they're just standing still the bridegroom to stay, so they're holding hands, right? I'm not worried the bride's gonna run away? I'm not worried that doesn't start waving to anybody. This is pretty serious, right? So as long as they have my feet planted or sometimes I can lean against a portico, take a deep breath and just hold my breath at a forty of a second I could really push my lens now what I just volition and issued at a forty two the second just because I could not really but the church was so dark I was shooting at a high s o and the and the white is aperture, so ended it allow flash, right? You usually don't allow flash in certain churches like that. So thank you for clarifying. Yes, I'm not like I would rather that rather put it out for the second, then use my flash if we could use our flash would have used absolutely, but they weren't allowing us at this moment. Thank you for the clarification. Now, general rule of thumb would be to keep your shutter speed faster than one twenty fifth of a second. Um unless you feel really confident to go beyond that now is kind of freaking out right now, isn't it? I know, I know, but I always say like, there are other if you want to really learn, like technical aspects of photography, there are other creative life courses and and teachers who do such a great job. We're just going over the mere basics so that when we start talking about the exposure triangle what's your shutter speed, why should speed? Why is he changing? Eso, you guys know how we're compensating and why we're compensating and as a second shooter on wedding day, you need to know your compensation like backwards and forwards lastly, in bright light, choose a faster shutter speed. So somebody once told me you guys this is how I learned manual okay somebody said, oh shoot it f two point eight for two people to be in focus I was like okay somebody told me to shoot at one two, two twenty five hundredth of a second in bright light to freeze my subject and I was like okay, like I just started using these basic principles so I'm passing them along because generally safe thing right now is bright light outside I would immediately go to one twenty twenty five hundredth of a second and then adjust from there it's a starting point all I'm giving you a starting point so that you're not like flailing like I don't know where to go I don't know what to do I don't know to dio a general rule of thumb um would be that the should just lower the shutter speed the more light you will get what your subject might be blurry if they move too fast okay this is the last component of the exposure triangle and this is s o j last night I was like the pronoun right pronunciation of this word is esso and j d's like now it's not a word and I was like it's a word trust me and of course he gets on google and I'm proven wrong it's like somebody three words yes like international standards organization something like that okay, this is why I had him on my team. I'm like okay usually doing me I'm not a stickler for stuff like that s so everyone knows or yes, but okay, so the right pronunciation of this acronym is s o I will sometimes refer to it as so just because it's two syllables instead of three and I'm all about saving time so you guys hear me say that today that's what I'm referring to sew this setting determines how responsive light how responsive digital, how responsive the digital sensor is it's light so at s o two hundred it's twice as responsive toe light as s o one hundred and at s o four hundred it is twice as responsive. It is twice as light sensitive than s o two hundred so I prefer to shoot with the lowest so I prefer to shoot with the lowest so because the higher the iso, the more greeny the picture will become. So if people are watching online and they're not quite sure what I'm referring to grain, it looks as if the photo was robbed along the sand you're seeing specks in the photo now when I first started photography, I shot with the cannon twenty and you could start seeing green on that camera above eight hundred but now that I'm shooting with cannon five demark three this is so amazing with their high iso capabilities that I could shoot it sixteen hundred two thousand I s o and I'm not getting grain so I really really love that camera for it for that in and of itself so one thing that I had learned early on again I'm passing on these like awful not awful he's amazing like just tip somebody had said think of s o as lightning bugs so the darker your area is the more lightning bugs you need to illuminate your photo so if you have it set at a hundred there's like a hundred lightning bugs in the room with you or outside with you now if it's really dark and you said it at sixteen hundred there are sixteen hundred lightning bugs helping you illuminate that room it's very simple but it's cheesy but now you're not gonna forget it the higher the number the more like you're going to get in a general rule of thumb can be if you are shooting outdoors right you don't need that many lightning bugs so you need a hunch about one hundred s o is gonna do you well now if you are shooting in a heavily shaded area or in a hotel room with maybe just one or two windows in it you're gonna be shooting roughly at s o four hundred and if you are in a dark ballroom you're probably gonna be shooting at s o eight hundred or sixteen hundred if you are on ly using natural light so I want you to remember that the lower the I s o the less let you're going to get last and final section before moving to the shoot is adjusting your exposure now people ask, is there searching way that you should do it and no it's not it's your personal choice but I will tell you how we do it. So when you hear us walk through the shoot, we actually do follow a very systematic thing. So firstly, I will set my aperture I take into consideration how many people I want to shoot. So for example, if I was shooting a bride getting ready and her mom was in the photo, I would set my aperture at about a two point five, because I want that bride to attack sharp and her mom will still be, you know, very, very sharp, but has like nice shell out of the field, and if there are bridesmaids in the background there nice and blurry, so that's what I would do. Secondly, I will set my s o now given the same example, I'm probably going to be setting my I s o at four hundred because if I'm on a hotel room and her mom's helping you in the dress, this would be my first guess lastly, I will then adjust my shutter speed and I do this last I adjust my shutter speed last because I like to control and manipulate ambient or available light now there are other photographers instructors I've seen uncreative life you do amazing work and their style is very different and they prefer to crank their eyes so they don't mind the grain they think it gives a little bit of attitude to their photos and that's fine teo each their own but today you're going to see us shooting with wide apertures you know she is cia shooting with low isos and slow shutter speeds now given that example that I just gave right now the mom helping the bride into her dress I probably wouldn't shoot it any slower than one twenty five why? Because hands are moving right versus I could shoot a fortieth in a dark church with people just standing still but hurt brian might move her hair, her mom's zipping up her dress if I'm shooting it slower than one twenty fifth they might, you know, move have moving hands lost appendages they look like amputees and that photo is not going anywhere, so think about what you're doing and why you're doing it you'll see us shoot searching portions of the wedding today and if it does just a singular cake, the cake ain't running anywhere like studio deported if I so choose we're gonna play around with that today, you guys will see how we are going to work and having said that, we are going to move into we are running right on time. All right, good. Q. Nate, you and I must do some q and a, right? Well, you know that we're photographers, so the gear questions? Yes, they tech questions we love. I'm just gonna ask a question from sam cox he's from colorado, um, and asking about custom mode dial settings like c one c to c three on the cannon. Do you recommend pre programming the modes that you talked about so that as a second shooter, if you aren't maybe up to par with your photography, you know that you could just use those settings automatically? What do you think about that? Um, I think that's a great question to post into this second shooter facebook group because you I've been working with the same second shooter now for a very long time and the second shooters that they bring on because of the caliber of weddings that I'm getting paid in, to be quite honest, the amount of money that we do get paid, I'm not bringing on photographer who it's, not one hundred percent confident shooting manual and even the harshest of situations. And I think that yeah, exactly. Uh, that's actually a good thing to have as a backup. I was never trained that way as a second shooter. Uh, when jasmine had said you need to start shooting manual, it was about a good I asked. I didn't command. I said it would be so lovely. E I remember that being a big moment for because I just started stressing out and it's a big deal when you when you no longer relying on the camera to figure out settings for yourself. So, um, yeah, I just remember that when that transition happens, it's always may be good. Uh, well, you're learning how to shoot manual toe, have a nice little backup or safe, you know, you can get out of a pinch of something happens to have any questions in the studio. Everyone's really excited to get shooting. All right, so what, you get shooting? Okay, so a question from beata, as well as maui photo gave it a plus. It's one. How do you shoot manual and not miss moments that happened so fast? So, what advice do you have for people who are still in that scenario? Okay, cool, yeah, I'll start, um, the device that would give way mentioned earlier, uh, definitely during these big moments, they don't happen out of the blue, you know, these big moments are happening, so you have to do is anticipate that those moments are coming gets that spot goto wherever it's happening and then test your, uh, test your camp, making sure that your settings are right so that when you get there, you're you're you're already ready for the shot. You don't want to try to accept an exposure when something big moment is happening because most likely they'll take you two to three to maybe okay one, two, maybe three frames to get your proper exposure um and a legitimate terrible to get to you in a second. So when johnny was first starting, I would suggest going through for lack of better words, like a map of walking into a room because he would say, jasmine the lighting when the guys are getting ready, it's usually unit directional it's coming from one big window in the side of the room because he would shoot and if he was shooting backlit, they would become really underexposed and I said, okay, immediately when you first get into the room there's, no pressure. What I want you to do is I want you to get your settings three ways, one with the light shine with the window light shining directly on their faces walk to the other side of the room, get your settings for when the light is behind them, so now they're beside backlit, and then I want you to get, if possible of view of the side room. So then they would be side lit, those air three different settings, but guess what? The light won't change within that hotel room, given that forty five minute our time from that you're in. So if you keep your aperture the same and if you keep your eyes so the same, what you kind of short sort of showed in these situations, the on ly thing you need to navigate is your shutter speed on his second go see, hear him, jd sleep warm and fuzzy, and I'm like, well, gonna whip you all into shape, okay, very true now, sometimes second shooters will kind of freak out a little bit when they're shooting a ceremony, and they have to leverage natural light and then shining on with flash because you can use flash on certain points of that ceremony, and sometimes not now, just because I'm not a stressful enough, I want to get the safe shot, so the safe shot for me and my mind is to shoot with flash, right, the bride and her father coming down with flash it is not my personal style, but as a professional I need to know that she has a traditional shot of her father fully illuminated given that situation as people are walking in down the ceremony down down the processional just guessed at the beginning of the ceremony I'm getting my settings so with flash I'm shooting at two point eight sixty eighth of a second six forty s o okay, this is what I'm going to my mind then I turn off my flash and then I say to myself I'm shooting at two point five I s o a thousand and probably somewhere in the ballpark one twenty fifth shutter speed so the only thing I'm ever thinking about is as they're walking down I need to drop my shutter speed from this point to this point change my ass so it gets really fast but you could do it so I got the same shot and then the creative even if you're not using flash sometimes the sun could you so you could be shooting a soon as the bright passes you shooting you now you're shooting backlit s oh right, yeah, yeah so what I usually during that time is when you're testing when you when you know that's, what happened when you know there's gonna be a severe changing light for your perspective in the shoe perspective right from the shooter's perspective and you're shooting manual on manual mode, what you want to do is I actually like to memorize, so I'll do you know, if if I'm working with just changing my shutter speed, I'll memorize how many clicks I actually need so it's his five klicks, six klicks I'll just you know, make sure you don't have to look at your camera to look at the camera and you could just, you know, I need to go six klicks up or six picks down, and then, you know, you'll be good, so it does take some time, it's not like, you know, you do have to adjust to that teo to those settings in manual mode when those fast moments are happening. But if you could just, you know, just two simple things like that don't come along in it. Wass all right, question about gear back to here. So I remember when I first started shooting weddings or being a second shooter, everyone said you need a second body, you need a second body that was like a big deal of it really intimidated me. Um, carl g photo would like to know how many bodies do carry on people asking what bodies to use and what do you guys think about having four cameras at a wedding or four camera bodies between the two of you at a wedding? That's great. The more the merrier. Um, you don't weigh, so we shoot. I should have said this earlier. I shoot on the cannon mark too. Five, five, five d mark two and jasmine shoots on the mark three on the five d mark five d mark three. And our backup is the canteen five d mark too, right. So we have a backup? Uh, always with us. Uh, we have a third body with us, but we are single camera shooters, so a lot of times, photographers will carry two bodies on them with lenses prep so they can bring them up. We've developed our photo style, and it works well for post processing and a workflow for that. Each of us are just shooting with one body and we swap out lenses. And thankfully, we've never had to use that emergency body, but we have it just in case. No, not we've never once had to use it, but, gosh, I've never leave without it because I always always have that fear that one day one of our cameras might go out and we'll have a spare. So thank you. Anyone in here, terry? Yes, kind of piggybacking on the talk about the shutter speed, but I've had a few weddings where the bride and groom are under a tree so there's leaf shadows or one of them is in the sun one of the shade or like there in the shade and then suddenly there in the sun so how how do you guys trouble shoot those situations? Well when my clients looked like leopards I feel him around okay? So can you like excuse me like go stand in a different spot you mean during the during the ceremony after this there's nothing you could do okay, she did okay, well then you're just quick on the shutter is they're coming out and leaving way kind of take a little bit middle of the road because if you're exposing for the skin, what do you say closing for the illuminated skin or the dark you know and kind of try to you know in post will try to like, bring up the you know, the low lights and then manage those those highlights but there's nothing we have to understand there's nothing that we could do in those situations you just wonder family all tricks so thanks it's usually imposed yeah if it's really bad? Well, what I do is I usually really focusing on a really tight photos so I'll get like but even then if it's on that one person's face and you're still going to see it okay um if you're in that situation really crap I need to use the flash and like you said the bride's coming down maybe you just know you need to get it will you? This could be a long answer but do you will you use the bounds card or you do um we just turn the flash and try to get a bounce flash yep uh yet what I do is if they're if it's low ceilings which is this usually not, but if there's a low ceiling that I'll try to bounce bounce from if there's a pillar behind me sometimes there's pillars of thes churches and I'll bounce off the killer but if not just as an explanation for people who might not be familiar when jd says he'll bounce off a pillar or bounce off the ceiling and when referring to bouncing you're using it as a a reflection from where you're pointing your camera so if he's bouncing off the ceiling his flash pointed pointed out that that larger surface then starts pushing light onto his subjects if he's a killer diller direct the flash to flash at the pillar so it bounces off the pillar yes, but either the situations and we showed the same way we don't have those will put the bounce karna and we ii do rely on the bounce card there's nothing there so I'm not I'm not that doesn't skip freak us out we actually wait all right, guys, I would love to do a little rapid fire round of questions. Okay? Okay waiting shut up, guys. We're go wake like these. Okay, this one is from rachel lindsay photography. How do you determine if your exposure is correct in the moment you were I rely on the light meter and the camera lcd screen how do you review that? You're exposures we might do differently. I do lcd screen one hundred percent I need to, uh, lcd screen and I'll usually look at the history ma'am and jasmine had always let me know, like making sure that it's in some way shape or form until like a bell curve. So, uh, making sure that that's always happening and also making I actually used to, like when if there was ever any anything over exposed where it kind of blinks the overexposed spot so you can see if you're overexposing the dress, especially during the ceremony when they're walking down. This is the best sex that that that that started sorry you're right join john hod would like it like snow could keep your white balance on auto both of you all the time that was that was way you make it into a competition like yes, all right, all right, get the buzzer from the u k do you ever use a tripod no wow you guys are gonna get this artwork bill would like to know sent to use prime lenses uh do you find that you're swapping lenses constantly? Yes, yes you're getting so good at this which is you know honestly we're used to swapping lenses so it actually uh it doesn't again it doesn't take up too much time you'll see us do it today and it happens really, really quickly that would be that would be great. I would love to see an action because I remember seeing in action because you guys don't keep the land lens caps ons and you've got it down so that you can be quick yes that you had a question uh yeah no lens caps we would take him off in the beginning and we also don't have straps so we don't we carry our cameras uh way do using uv filters I know that they could get upwards of one twenty five we spent somewhere in the ballpark of thirty five forty five on it on a filter right one another one from fab michelle what metering load do you use most of the time? I know spot metering is best for backlighting. How do you feel about matrix a valued of mita ring? Yeah, these are pretty deep, so I when we first bought our cameras they were set to evaluate if and because I'm not using a traditional form of reading I like history graham or a traditional meter. I'm looking my lcd screen, so I'm in control of it if I'm shooting manually, so I shoot in value tive, but I'm not really using it for what it's intended for. The lcd screen does a great job for me. Yes, you guys exposed to the right of the left, primarily on your instagram trying get more highlights or more shadows in your pictures? Um, you know, I think we try to be as close to the centre as possible, but if we were gonna aaron aside, I usually here in the sight of highlights, but again, that's just that's just my personal style. I've always been partial to like a filmic quality, and you get that by hearing on the side of highlights, another that's so you're overexposed you? Yes, you lightly if I do, but we try not to intend to seo we over, we intentionally expose if we're going to air that were kind of questioning will definitely here to this item when I was shooting address, I always used to overexpose address low too much so when I'm shooting like a dress or something like that, or I need to get the detail undressed, I'll usually underexposed a little but that again I'm not but I try not to do that talk to but yes write another one is from ducky do you keep flashes on the top of your camera during the ceremony just in case given the ceremony depends if if it's a low light situation yes we'll always will put him on and we might not even use them but we'll have it there if it's outdoors never all right anyone else we do have another one is your flash manual or do like tio tio I'm very sexy I don't know like wow right thing on it. Okay all right you guys were so good at the rapid fire that way should keep all of our questions about the fire so that people are now we can't keep up with you two okay? One more saying they keep coming in andy wheeler I need to know why you don't shoot with hammer straps. Stresses me out have you ever have you ever dropped your camera's? Okay, so this is what we get into if you want to know a full detailed answer I actually blogged about this very thing within the past week so you can go in my block and you khun search for straps or strapless because we've reversed traveling so the three main reasons are um one just workflow um or the first one was vanity like, I don't really need a strap because I like the way that it looks when I just shoot with my camera, one of the reasons that I kind of felt this weighs, like when jd bought me my first film camera, when I was in college, I immediately put the strap on, but when I became a professional, I felt like I wanted there to be a disc feel like a distinct difference. So when I was using the strap, I depended on the strap, I would just let it rest either here on my chest or on my shoulder, and I wasn't ready, like, in a constant shoot mode now that we don't have straps, we must carry our cameras all day long, so I know that my I know my tools, right? I know where I am, I know what lens I have on I know what my son might, my settings are because I've only using one body, and we're only using one lens at any given point in time, and if I had a strap, you know, I probably I see I see for talking her shooting with straps, and they have them just dangling like that would be a hot mess for me, I would step into it, I would trip into it, I would, you know, I so if you're gonna use the strap and you say, oh, it makes me feel better. Yes, but if you're not using this drop for the way that it's intended, we're really shooting in the same way. You know, I think I don't know, it's called, but I think it's like a wrist strap. Uh, I actually want to start incorporating that the pretty soon in our in our future, because I think that, uh, actually, it is starting to wear on jasmine's hands. You know, carrying a ten pound camera all day does weigh on your hands, so I think we might incorporate that, but again, no strap that's. Just making sure now, now that that camera's just gonna be stuck on your hand the whole day. Yeah, but no, we've never dropped. You haven't dropped anything.

Class Description

If you're an established second shooter or looking to become one, this course focuses on ways to strengthen your portfolio, be proactive, improve shooting technique, establish the terms of shooting agreements, become a vital asset to the wedding day, and learn how to book jobs. In addition to lots of content, conversations, and fun, a live shoot will demonstrate the first/second shooter dynamic and a portfolio review.


Barbara Wenz

I bought this course because I had to set things in place for next season and needed to train my second shooter(s). It was really helpful because it takes you to everything you possibly have to think of, when instructing and training with them. I was personally kind of shocked about some (others were superb) the images JD is delivering. I'm much more content with my second shooters, seeing what others deliver after 7 years of experience ;-) But this doesn't make the course any worse. I love it because it's really honest and they share a ton of experience.