Be a Proactive Shooter


The Art of Being a Second Shooter


Lesson Info

Be a Proactive Shooter

Time has definitely flown by since we since we stopped first started shooting weddings were now in our seventh year, and we've shot just over two hundred weddings, so it gosh, I don't even know how time flies so fast, I can't even remember it just feels like we just started a couple years ago, but the biggest thing that actually one of the big light ball moments for me when I was shooting, when I was first starting off, I was always a reactive uh, second shooter, it just you know, that was just my thing. When jasmine would ask me to go shoot cocktail hour, I would do that, I would go and just shoot cocktail hour, and if she'd say, can you go shoot the groom and groomsmen? I would, you know, it was weird in my mind, I just thought, okay, go get some grew in the shots and that's that's what she asked for it wasn't until I started evolving just how I would take my my my time, uh how how I started changing how what I was doing as a second shooter, I started actually becoming more of a pro ...

active shooter by just doing small little things that really, really changed my perspective as a second shooter. Um so the things that I was I was doing I could actually list them down uh these are the top three things that was doing as a second shooter to become a more pro active shooter. The first thing I was doing is I was making you a good use of my down time, so whenever there was downtime that would I will consider that like my friend so every time I would be done this let's just say I was shooting cocktail hour I would shoot cocktail hour and once I was done with that that's my I would consider that my down time so I would go and see what else I could shoot if there were straws at the bar that we're you know specific to the wedding day or if there was drink menus so yeah, exactly because before I would just be focused on just I thought cocktail hour meant shooting people on lee um and so during that downtime I would start going and getting details of drinks that bartender's pouring drinks just so many more things that I was thinking about that I could dive first by the portfolio also getting things like when I started I saw the shift between me asking him can you should cocktail hour and him taking it edit it at its exact word cocktail hour to all the setting a fundamental shift teo I'm now getting sunset photos I'm now getting silhouettes of people with their drinks from behind their drinks just holding I'm now getting these long pano shots of using the twenty four I saw a distinct shift in what he was doing with his time after being like I got I got a little ten minute break right about now you know it and you know, a lot of it came I guess from experience but the same time if you're watching this you know, why not shoot your learning curve by a couple of years if you know, because it took me a little a little while to get this idea and so I just thought that after that happened that light bulb moment where I was using my downtime that really did change the amount of responsibility that I was starting to take on a wedding that was getting more and more responsibility as a second shooter the other thing that I start doing is assessing lighting situations in advance for the first shooter this was big because before I was always just thinking about what I could do to shoot uh where is this thing? It was that what I do now is when I go into any room uh, I actually bring I'm actually gonna bring them up now um I have we have pin lights and video lights and we also have a diffuser and a reflector so as a second shooter if if your first photographer has a diffuser or a um uh a diffuser you could actually always say I like to carry that throughout the day so that any time he or she needs it you can just bring it out for them and we've actually I've actually started you know I used if we're should especially for photographers that shoot a lot of outdoor weddings the diffuser is gonna come in handy because there's always gonna be some harsh sunlight and some of your photos or some table scapes where you can actually block that sun also I always carry about around these lights video lights if a room is super dark or if it's harshly lit from one side I just bring these video like caesar the dot line um video lights what I do is I put him on pretty much full power and this is how bright you usually get them I don't know I don't want to blind you guys but what is what it does and I like having to so that I could actually how out there so this is I won't be shooting at all jasmine gives me direction of a table or anything or something like that and I'll kind of out of this arm's too so now if there is pin lighting that's really harsh he's now filling in from a lower angle from a mid angle and now we have just become a human tripod so jasmine pretty much just places my hands wherever and usually I'm studying out of this is these are really, really bright, but the great thing is you can actually with these there's actually there's a dial of how bright you want them silly connection a dimmer so you can, uh dim the lights but we're usually at the highest we put about the brightest and we actually just either I stand back or stand even closer to whatever we're shooting so that actually has helped a ton and another thing, the last thing that I'm going talk about is just creating a mental checklist of all the details, photos and going over that with the first shooter I thought that you know, that was one thing that as a proactive photographer, what you're doing is whenever there's downtime where if you're having dinner uh or if there's some downtime just before the reception what you want to do is you want to go with your first photographer and, uh ask all the things that you saw was a second shooter while you were observing the day ask you if the first photographer has gotten all these photos so you just say they just get a photo of all the rings are the bride and groom's rings have you got a photo of all the place cards? Did you get a photo? You know I saw specific like I said earlier at cocktail hour, there was a special drink that you get. Did you get a photo of that? If I don't get these things are sometimes what happens is what during this time, like we re calibrate he's not going through? Did you get this as much as it is if, for instance, they said we're adding something onto the rain? Can you shoot it later? Or, you know, all of my girlfriends from college are coming and eight o'clock, we're gonna meet on the dance floor. Can you remind me more? My grandmother requested that you take a picture of me standing next to her wedding dress, so she says it to me in the morning, so I turned to my second, like, remind me to get that shot when we re calibrate its not necessary. The shot list is not exactly I'm not asking jasmine, and she got all the shot like, did you get the first kiss? Not nothing like that. I'm asking her on ly the things that we could have missed and usually, you know, a lot of the times we don't get the rings because sometimes it's like the bride, will see the ring for the first time we cheese for their split the guys will have she'll have her engagement ring and in the band and the groom's wearing or in another room so we have to shoot them at a later point in time and that everyone forgets sometimes those things you just music miss sometimes and the day it goes you lose a day s o making sure that you ask the first shooter just those certain type of questions that's always been great and you know honestly that has helped me a ton so if I can share any anything new second shooter's is definitely jump on the pro active track and not be such a reactive photographer the way that you know a lot about the way I was when I first started shooting so now we're gonna get into, uh, knowing what the main photographers shooting preferences are lens preference this is just something that it's gonna be a really short sex section but I really want to encourage people to think about in the back of their minds. Is it's important to understand two things about your first photographer especially if you're shooting with lots of different photographers? One understand the photographer style? We alluded to this early this morning and I'm not saying to change yourself as a photographer but to shoot for yourself but also shoot for that first photographer when you see possible and tio no the photographer's lens preference if you see that a photographer is shooting a lot with zoom lenses and they like really tight shots what I would encourage you to do is shoot completely something opposite the fifteen, eighty five are rather similar but if you're shooting with thirty five and somebody shooting with the seventy two hundred if that was me in that situation I would appreciate it greatly because it's so different and also it would encourage me not to use the same lenses that that photographer is using so understand their style I also understand the lens preference go and find ways to blend your portfolio's the thing that I started noticing that first photographers were complaining about was that they felt that the gallery looked like two different photographers were shooting the wedding and well yes, theoretically it should it also should not it should feel very seamless on dh what we're going to try to do hopefully in our small abbreviated gallery later today is to show how seamless it appears between j d and myself. No yes, we've had time to build on that but it's also because I've invested in teaching him what I want so if you are constantly in a state of complaining about your second shooter, maybe you should look in short like inwardly and try to see how you could invest in somebody else to better your business as well as theirs and lastly don't be afraid to ask don't be afraid to ask what do you want me to shoot with? Is there anything you don't want me to shoot with? Quick question slightly uncomfortable but you get it cleared out of the way and then you guys are on the same page and we're gonna actually now move on to the post wedding day I want to check in with students with kenna um are we cool since we have kind of a compressed time we could get through the content and then go back to cuba as time allows good and justice clarification we have slated to end the course at three fifteen formally but if we want to just take random q and a just whenever we have time buffered until four so don't hesitate to feel like oh well jackson's going going going no, not at all like this is your course as much as it is okay great all right, so the post wedding day check list now I a second shooter I don't have that many post wedding day responsibilities, but I know as second shooter's especially when they're having to turn over their images to the first shooter there are there is a lot of responsibilities with that that come with that uh when we're done with our wedding right actually on a drive home we actually packed way have jasmine's computer and also hard drive so she actually jasmine already starts to back up all the photos from the wedding the night of so as when we're driving home so on the drive home by the time we get home usually that takes about an hour uh hour and a half from defense depends I'm sorry but the downloading time takes about an hour to an hour and a half so by the time usually when we win that we get home all that all of the cards have already been backed up if you're a second shooter that's not driving obviously what their first shooter you guys take separate cards what cars what you want to do as a second shooter is the first thing you want to do when you get home that night you know don't wait for days ago by you want to start backing up those images because that's kind of the most important thing that you have that's your number one responsibility is more important than having your pre wedding day checklist it's actually that that post and then also knowing when the timeline are what the what the time that the first the first shooter would like those images delivered so we're going to get into the next life we did some of this yesterday so the key is to know what the first shooter wants to do the images we went over how to deliver images yesterday but as a brief overview some photographers want the images at the end of the night some photographers want the images sent to them later on a hard drive. Some photographers want you to make the initial cole and then send them your favorites and other photographers just want you to send a small selection of your favorites cool okay, now a cz faras deadlines go make sure that you are adhering to their deadline, but the thing that we wanted to highlight in this section are a couple things which is oh ask for the deadline that was what I just said, and if you are going to use their year, treat their gear just a cz well, as you would treat your own, we hear this quite often, but I'm actually speaking to first and second shooters, I have heard actually a lot of like murdering in the second shooter group that they're like, why should I let my first for talking for use my gear? They're paying me okay, I understand that, but if that first photographer is treating your gear really well and respectful and you're creating a relationship, if both parties treat their gear the same way, they might have a lens that you might want to use if you have, like they have a tilt shift and you've never used a tilt shift, maybe if you're sharing your here you confined away the key is wipe it down at the end of the night place all the caps on, place him in the bag and organize your cards separate from their cards if I were to get that open that say, well, somebody just took care of my bag bonus points as the second shooter you should also be late making sure this product good point make sure to label your cards because it's so easy to get them mixed up throughout the day if yeah, if you're shooting on your own cards, ok, if you use their gear, clean it this is something that I kind of like a lost art I love when people say thank you on email is always nice and it takes a few minutes but there's nothing like snail mail like sending a card by just saying thank you for the opportunity, especially if that photographer is paying you they chose you out of all the other people that they could have chosen a small thing like that goes a very long way. And lastly, if you are looking to grow your business as a second shooter, don't be afraid to ask for feedback yesterday, one of the things that we kept on honing was open communication and we also kept on talking about asking uncomfortable questions asking for feedback can be very uncomfortable, but giving feedback is more uncomfortable, so if I am as a first shooter and not given permission to actually speak into how you work. I'm probably won't do that. And that's, where I feel a lot of first photographers are sometimes for thes second shooters on the second shooter group on facebook says, I shot a wedding and I was better than the first photographer, and I don't like, whoa! Oh, we need to be very careful about how we approach things, because photography is a matter of taste and skill and overall package that somebody is hiring. So take time to say thank you, and asked for feedback, because somebody can then say, you know what? You did kind of talk to my clients a little too much when I just wanted their attention to be on me. You did kind of where flip flops at a wedding, when you should not have worn flip flops at a wedding. Those things like that can actually go a very long way.

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.