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The Art of Being a Second Shooter

Lesson 4 of 24

Second Shooter Etiquette

Jasmine Star, JD DelaTorre

The Art of Being a Second Shooter

Jasmine Star, JD DelaTorre

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Lesson Info

4. Second Shooter Etiquette

Lesson Info

Second Shooter Etiquette

When I was building out the section, I wanted to make sure I gave a huge disclaimer before I even started because I'm not going to sit up here and act like I am the world's best second shooter or that I even think that I'm this perfect second shooter because I'm not actually when I was creating this section, it kept me accountable on my most recent weddings, I was doing it, um, gosh, we were building out this section just a couple of months ago, and we had a few wedding since then, and I remember I was looking jasmine say, well, I'm going to be such a good second shooter today because I'm gonna try to hit all these points, and at the end of the day, I realize that after seven years of second shooting, I'm still trying to get better and improve as a second shooter, and I hope that a lot of you still have that same idea in mind when you go into a wedding that there's still a lot that you can still improve on. So I'm gonna actually, uh, get into a list of do's and don'ts. Er, I created th...

is list us from some of my past experience as a second shooter. But I actually gathered a lot of this from the facebook groups that are the restart and the, uh, second shooter's group. Um, so thanks for helping helping compiled this list. I'm going to start with the dues, and, uh, the first do is arrive on time. Now you can do so many things that are right on and to be awesome as a second shooter, but if you just do one thing wrong, like, arrive liana wedding day, it kind of just leaves that bad taste in that first photographers melon with jasmine and I do we live in southern california where traffic can be a nightmare, so we always pad our travel time by an hour minimum, and that usually means that we're showing up to the venue pretty early, which is nice, though jasmine and I we'll do is we'll grab a bite to eat, and then we'll talk about the logistics of what's going on that day, which is always a great refresher. Um, the next thing you want to do as a second shooter is you want to make sure you sink your cameras with the first photographer and what I mean by that is our cameras all have internal clock in them. And what you want to do is you want to make sure that you guys are both shooting the wedding at the same time with the same time stamp because when it comes to post processing and getting all the files categorized it's gonna help you have all that in order, so that doesn't have, you know, different file names for different times and it's the same shit, same type of shot. So the next thing is make sure to offer and set up light stands, umbrella soft boxes so that the first photographer can go to the next spot for me. Jasmine I know that jasmine wants her off camera flash set up before the reception site before she gets the reception side, so I always leave a couple of minutes in advance to get that prepared for her. So making sure that you do those things for your first photographer is great one thing to you, if I could step in that there was one more do that did he might have overlooked because I'm the one controlling the kino and was like, oh, you missed a spot b plus, eh? So what you might want to offer, you might want to offer to do it's carry the gear now we understand, I understand as a first photographer, I don't expect a second shooter to carry my gear I don't, but jd has has kindly offered to do it on a regular basis, and I think that he would not just do it for me. He would do it for any other photographer and there've been times where I have second shot for photographers and I'll just offered to carry whatever looks to be too cumbersome and those small things what these do's and don'ts are are not contingent on becoming a second shooter, but I think that it defines a good and a great second shooter very true. The next one is, uh, make sure you run ahead and do what you can to prep the next area if you're shooting in different locations when the first photographer air for is finishing up the last in the last spot. Now what this means is, uh, usually, jasmine will always shoot bridal portrait before our ceremony, and so I'll actually be with her and I'll be shooting the bridal portrait. I'll be getting candidates a lot candids of all that stuff, but about two minutes before she's done, I'll let her know that I'm gonna run over to the ceremony site because jasmine loves to get she always gets a pullback wide shot of the entire ceremony site, but a lot of times the guests start arriving before she even gets there. Well before we get there, so what I like to do is I like to stand there, and if in case some guests are arriving, I'll ask them if they could just wait just a second or two is that we could get on overall photo and that really helps with that portfolio and making sure that someone is there to do that. We're also going to find yourself getting purses and bags and sweaters and picking things up and cleaning up, and it takes a lot more time. Next thing you want to do is offer clear and solid advice when asked now if jasmine ever asked for my opinion during a wedding day, I know that it's because she's in a pinch and so I want to make sure that I'm clear or that I've done things in advance to make sure that I have the answers for her. Well, the last thing as a first photographer, any first photographer wants to hear from a second photographers. I don't know if I'm asking you I need an answer from you, I need a yes, I need to know and if you don't know, you say I will find out because I'm probably under a lot of stress at that moment some, like this spot just got crowded it just got so hot can issue behind the barn, and instead of saying I don't know you just said you go look behind the bar, hold on, wait, come back and say, yes, you can shoot behind the barn, and if the answer is no, you can't shoot behind the barn I passed by the corral and their shade there, so we'll head there and that's what I need to hear that is so helpful. Yes, the next do is make sure to, um, notice. Yeah, notice the things the first photographer doesn't seem excited to do and take over. This is kind of a big one because, uh, I know that if we're shooting a wedding with over two hundred guests and the bride and groom have requested that we shoot every single table individually, I know jasmine is not gonna be pumped and super just to go get those table shots like, I don't know, do you people like people? Am I the only person who likes table shot? I know you're not because, you know, it's, I always put myself I wouldn't want to do that either. I may be the only one doing that, but what I'll do is I'll say jasmine during this time take a break, get yourself together or work on the slide show, and I'll go and start with the majority of those table shots, but he just likes to party he just loves the party aspect like people are toasting here at the stable hey guys how's it going like that's his strength that is fun it's not I don't think that's pretty uh another thing is I know that when uh we're shooting family formals and if there's a lot of kids around I know that working with kids isn't jasmine strength for some reason I remember watching her in the past and she speaks to kids the way that she speaks to her dog I don't know what it is and it just you know, I always make sure that if I see kids around I'll make sure to get their attention make sure you you know, get my camera and show them behind you know, behind the screen or do something to get their attention and then kind of get their attention behind jasmine so that jasmine can shoot I mean I think he implicitly understands is probably not the best reflection for me like hey there little baby look here you want to treat you wanted your I was like, oh my god, this is not there I'll take care of that for so make sure you do that for your first photographer also uh next thing is test your equipment the night before now I'm going to get into this in detail with a pre wedding day check list a little bit later but you want to make sure that even if you've been doing it for a while this is one of the things you don't usually do because you always think that it's gonna work everything is gonna work but making sure you test things that you don't show up on the day of with something not going I'm not working on the wedding day will always be good the next thing you want to do is give credit to the main photographer and list that you were the second shooter um if you're gonna be posting anything online the last thing you want is not to give credit to the photographer and someone think that you are the first shooter and getting back to that first photographer because that will definitely burn some bridges so make sure to always give credit to the first shooter next thing you want to do is take test shots before the first look ceremony first dance any big key event uh tell your mark oh and so you can know your settings and your mark um you know the way that justin and I do it we usually I'll use jasmine as in my test subjects and she'll use me but if she's not around what I do during a ceremony when people are coming getting to their seats I'll stand where I'm gonna be shooting and I'll start you know shooting just guess come in so that I can get my mic settings right on now doing this for every main event is big because you know that pressure of of shooting and then trying to figure out your settings well, that things are actually happening are just it's not advised, yeah, definitely. So do that. The next thing you know, we'll have to left the next day you want to do is make eye contact with your first issue first photographer often, uh, now, you know, jasmine handles stress differently than I do. I know that during these big moments when during the first kiss or, you know, when the bride is coming in for the first time that, uh, jasmine wants to make sure that I have her back, that I'm there, so always make sure you look at her and give you a thumbs up or just, like, smile at her, and she knows that I'm here, I don't everything's good to go, so do that, you know, keep them keep them at ease. I know first shooters khun kind of just be a little bit, you know, a little bit nervous during these moments, so as a second shooter, you know, sometimes making contact goes both ways because things change right before ceremony, and if you come to find out, like if he doesn't check in with me right before the guys walk in and he's assuming the guy's a walking in the aisle when somebody has told me the guards are walking from the front left door I need him to look at me and I need to be like you're gonna get exactly we know move up here, homie the door's over here almost a here like those little things need to happen quickly and I'm not gonna call him we don't have walkie talkies it's just that I contact is a third language a second language having those signs of great the last thing you want to do and this is kind of just the icing on the cake grabbed the valet ticket just before the first shooters get is packing up their gear I always do this always make sure that I run over at the end when the night's over I'll grab our tickets and if there's any other vendors that are leaving at the same time, I'll gather take a sentence and in the place that we all walk out of, our cars were there and you know, first, you know, we always appreciate getting home just a couple of minutes uh earlier because winning they could be so long so these are just little things that you could do to definitely have help you stand out now I'm gonna get into the list of don't's now I have to say like I think I'm going to feel bad because we were gonna watch and then they're going to like know how spoiled I am to work with the second shooter it's like literally I'm just like, oh cars of the late uh, you know, that's not what everybody does, you know, not everybody will help me get attention of children during the reception our during family formal so the more that you do to help other people, the higher the quantity higher your value becomes yes, and you know what you got? I know there's a lot of second shooters that might start thinking like, you know, I'm the second shooter, I'm not an assistant uh and, you know, getting the valet ticket is more of a assistant role, I would say, but, you know, all the other ones were a lot of second shooter rolls um but it never hurts to go out of your way and do and do these types of things that are assistant type roles because as a second shooter all you want to do is you want to make sure you're putting your best foot forward so that you could continue shooting I mean, I would love teo get recurring business from the same person like jasmine jasmine fired me, I would be pretty much having toe who knows teo a second shooting job but yeah, I would actually get into the list of don'ts now uh the first don't is don't get in the first shooters line of sight now remember your photo second shooter's photos are important, but first shooters shot is even more important, so making sure that you're not in the way his key and this came up first in our list because this is the number one thing that photographer's complained about when it came to that interaction not necessarily for the quality of work quality work was a different plane, but in the interaction between first and second shooter's everybody was like, tell them to stay out of our way tell him to stay out of our shot and don't as the second shooter, don't post the images before the first shooter has had a chance to do them. The great thing that just avoid this is asking the first shooter when they're gonna be posting so that you can manage your expectations and knowing when you could post the images because if the first shooter doesn't poster images three months, four months if they choose to just wait really long to post them online and us the second shooter are gonna have to do that also we have to wait, so knowing in advance will help you just manage those expectations because a lot of times you wantto post him as soon as possible, the next thing is don't stand right behind the main photographer now again, this is different uh if you're standing right behind them a photographer while they're shooting most likely you're getting shots that are very similar and that's not going to help push the portfolio forward even if you have a different lens, you'll still get a very similar shot, so making sure that you find different angles um is always better. The next thing is don't use flash unless it's absolutely necessary if your first shooter isn't using flash and you have a mounted flash, don't turn it on because what you're doing is you're going to change the environment and also uh it could actually be a distraction. So if your first shooter shooting with flash that's cool totally go ahead, but if you know that your first shooter like jasmine, she actually prefers shooting a natural light so I will be interrupting with flash at any time. Uh, the next thing is offering don't as a second shooter, don't offer your services to the main photographers clients on a wedding day. I know this sounds kind of like who does that, but we've heard it before and it actually can be very easy if some guest comes up to you during the wedding day and says, I love the way that you're interacting with, uh, with everyone on the wedding day and I really love just your personality what's your you know how can I get a hold of you that's very tempting to say oh well you know I do run my own business but you always want to say I'm here on behalf of the first shooters uh uh business and if you have any questions to please contact them you know making sure that that proper etiquette is always enforced is a big thing next thing yep the next thing is make sure to not to take the bride and groom off to take a formal photos on your own okay this is another one er if you find a spot that's really nice most likely the first shooter will want to shoot there also so don't ever take them off on your own make sure to get from here under the auspice of being like I mean this is so great these air for your portfolio right no no no no do not take my clients on your own will not happen right the next one is uh don't check your phone in front of guests again I check my phone to check what time it is usually but what I'll do is if I'm gonna do that I'll step away from the line of sight of guests and then check my phone so very simple the next thing is you don't want to do is don't get drunk don't pick up on wedding guests and don't eat cocktail hour food I am a huge foodie, and when the orders come out, those are like the first things I want to eat. But we have a thing just no one wants to see a photographer eating all the food. What were there were there were really there as contractors of that wedding were not there to eat the client's food, and they paid for it, and I don't think it's a good reflection, at least this is my personal opinion, and I'm the first photographer. So is the first photographer I get to make decisions within my business? I don't think it's a good reflection of our business to be eating along with the guest during cocktail hour. Other photographers might vote differently. I think this might rub a few people the wrong way, but at the same time, if your first shooter who encourages eating cocktail hour food, I might sign up with you at one time in my career for sure. No, please just stay away from that. Uh, the next thing you don't want to do is you don't want a wind to guess you don't want to look bored or are you one stop taking photos because you're uninspired. Um, the best way to er to not look bored, I don't think that I do is I like to just pace if I'm feeling like a little, I'll just pace around the room, especially if it's at the reception site I walk around just to kind of get me out, and if I'm feeling uninspired or in a rut when I'm shooting the on ly way to get out, my way to get out of the rut is to continue shooting. Um, you know, there's moments where I'm not I just don't feel like it's clicking, but don't stop then just keep shooting and you'll find yourself your creative juices coming back. Next thing is don't ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever hand out your own personal business card? Um, the best thing to do is leave your business cards at home and ask the first photographer if it's okay, if you can have some of their business cards and if it's okay, if you hand him out. So if someone does come up to you and says, do you have a busy and ask for a business card, you can always hand over the main photographers cards? Oh, yes, if vendors if you're interested in networking with vendors. You know the florist the people who do linens whatever um is that also frowned upon if you want to exchange information with them or at least take their card I mean would that be okay with the second shooter jasmine what use would you be offended by that? You know, I feel like there's terms like the industry is really small, but if you're at a wedding that I brought you on and that you just happened to click with the make up artist and you just happen to click the florist, I don't want you conducting personal business at my wedding on ly because I think it I think it's unfair advantage because as the first shooter you're thinking about doing six things when the second shooter is just like I got the shot help are you? These floors are so nice are these meanies penis are my favorite flowers and I'm just like, oh my god, I'm stressed out and I'm working and you're having a conversation and you guys were gonna be buddy buddy it's you can say at a later point time we happened to meet a john and jennifer's wedding I wanted to follow up you know, peonies in my favorite flowers that's fine, but on my time when I'm paying you for you to be there, I need you to be one hundred percent committed to my clients that's just my personal things but you could get their info like if you wanted to be able to recognize them in your block post after you posted your photos first you know that kind of thing like so you just have their information yeah, absolutely. If that was the case I would still but here's again I always always erred on the side of caution if I was going to block towards somebody I would email the first photographer and be like hey, is it okay? Um who is a florist or sometimes photographers like I would prefer if you didn't and then you have to respect that cool thanks. Yes, but that's a great question mark you mentioned a family portrait ce and being a second shooter can you talk more about, um some of the dues of that? How sure like my role when we're doing family portrait so we're gonna get to that tomorrow? Tomorrow? Yes, tomorrow. Oh, darn it. I was like, I have something to say e oh, well, you know, honestly during family portrait uh, family foremost, I'll always make sure to get the shot list from the first shooter and start corralling all the guest in certain set in certain and grouping them and then putting them on deck so that when jasmine is done with one family the other families already on deck and they just transition and seamlessly now we only have a well that you don't want to spend too much time on family formal. So you want to make sure that it's, pretty organized and as a second shooter, that's pretty much what I considered my job duties to be. But we're going to go into actually the specifics, the logistics and the types of photos he's taking, oh, yes, no that's. Okay, they write exactly that. Hasn't. I didn't talk about what I'm doing, as we have to save the good stuff, but now can see, oh, I'm shooting them, and actually, during our our shoot today, I'm actually gonna show show, actually show what I'm doing when jasmine's doing family bridal party for fortune.

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.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

2nd Shooter Day 1 Keynote.pdf

2nd Shooter Day 2 Keynote.pdf

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes



Great course!! As a newly emerging photographer, I just got my first second shooting opportunity a few weeks ago. Since I had never photographed a wedding before (even as a second shooter), I searched Creative Live for a second shooting course and was relieved to find this one. After watching some of the free sample portions, I purchased it. I was happy to find that despite the few negative reviews left before mine, the course is an excellent one for those with no second-shooting experience. Here is what I liked most about it: a) It includes several segments where Jasmine and JD demonstrate how they work together at a wedding. I found Jasmine and JD to be very honest in their representation of how things actually occur during a wedding. Since I had not (at the time I purchased the course) ever photographed at a wedding before, I was desperate to get a sense of how things really work. Jasmine and JD delivered in this regard. I was able to see how things really to react and photograph in tight time to stay out of the main photographer's way and still take good images...and what to pack and how to preplan in order to truly support the primary photographer. b) JD and Jasmine were very honest in talking about some of the mistakes they have made in getting to where they are today. I think this must be hard to do - baring your soul and talking about things that have gone wrong. But in doing so, they give something to students like me that some other teachers don't - a truly realistic view (from the perspective of someone who has made them) of the errors newer photographers commonly make, and how to succeed and keep moving forward in spite of them. Jasmine has done this in other courses she teaches on Creative Live as well, and it is very much appreciated. It's such a relief to see that in their early days, seasoned and successful photographers make rookie mistakes too - and to hear how they pushed through them. Everyone makes mistakes. The question is - what can be done to fix them, and how do you avoid making them again in the future. JD and Jasmine address these things in this course. c) JD and Jasmine have different personalities and different approaches to certain aspects of their craft. It was helpful and inspiring to me to see how they work together in spite of the differences. I think their differences actually complement the other. Like JD and Jasmine, my husband and I work together in our newly emerging photography business, and have differences in our personalities and approaches to photography. I really appreciated seeing how Jasmine and JD use these differences to enhance their photography, and how they work through the sometimes tense challenges that can arise in fast-moving wedding photography scenarios. I also liked hearing things from both of their perspectives. d) JD provides lots of solid, tangible, helpful tips in this course, including a list of non-photography-specific items to pack in support of the primary photographer. His advice on second shooter etiquette is solid and includes lots of ideas and concepts that I hadn't thought of prior to watching this course. e) JD provides information about shooting angles and lenses to shoot from/with that help round out the main shooter's wedding portfolio for each client. Again - I learned concepts and ideas that I hadn't thought of prior to taking this course. I watched this course twice prior to my first second-shooting job and it paid off. I felt a lot more prepared, and comfortable, going into the job than I would have without the information presented by JD and Jasmine. I highly recommend this course to other newly emerging photographers who haven't photographed at a wedding before, and who are looking for solid advice for what to expect, how to prepare, how to photograph as a second shooter, and how to support the main photographer at weddings in general. Good stuff!!


Great course. Jasmine and JD did a great job of teaching this course. They were well prepared, entertaining to watch and provided a lot of useful information.