Last weekend I second shot a wedding for the first time. I've third shot a wedding before, but never second shot. And I'm sorry if you find all the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd terminology annoying and/or confusing. It is what it is. ;) I was so excited to shoot this wedding. Everything about it was beautiful and entertaining - and Indian food?! yes please!
In this post, I'll share some of my favorite shots and a little bit about my experience as a second shooter, because it's helpful for me to process what I learned and it could be helpful for you if you are a second shooter or interested in becoming one.
What I learned about second shooting (that I didn't expect):
At some point, I want to make a comprehensive list of things that are important for second shooters to know and practice. I'll make sure to do that after I have a little bit more experience. For now, I wanted to share some tips and lessons that I didn't expect:
- Second Shooters matter!
- Originally, I thought it's not that big of a deal to have a second shooter along. The bride and groom only care about the main photographer, and I'm not the one getting the "important" shots (necessarily). However, this is not the case. An extra set of eyes and hands is so important. Two is always better than one! And to the rest of the wedding guests, I was a photographer.
- Complement people - a lot!
- Probably 98% of people aren't fans of getting their picture taken. Telling people they look wonderful while they're getting their photo taken (regardless if it's true or not - haha) makes the whole process easier for everyone involved and it gives the main photographer one less thing to think about during those stressful group shots.
- Remembering names is so important
- Names, locations, numbers. Weddings go so fast and there is so much new information that goes around. I definitely want to improve in this area because remembering details is crucial because you will need that information. And no one wants to be called, "Hey You!"
- If you have a camera, you will be stopped!
- At random points during the day, wedding guests will stop you for a picture regardless of the time or if you have other photos to take. Get used to it. Embrace it. It makes wedding guests happy and it makes you look good as a photographer. Don't stress too much about posing people - just snap the picture and remember tip #2. Candids are the best.
- You become a catch-all
- This is another way of saying wear clothes with pockets! Sure, you can carry around 20 pound camera bags all the time, but that's no fun or convenient. There's lens caps, pens, papers, jewelry, and other random things constantly floating around at weddings. It's great to have pockets, so you can use your hands for the camera (DUH!) and not for junk. During the wedding, I wore a black skirt (no pockets) and that was a mistake. Why? At one point, the groom handed me his iPhone. I couldn't hold it in my hands, so I had to put it in my camera bag. Do you think I remembered that there was an iPhone in my bag? no. Do you think he remembered that his iPhone was in my bag? no. The next day my camera bag was singing away and I had to arrange a cell phone pick-up with the groom. I'm confident that I would not forget about an iPhone had I kept it in my pocket.
Finally, I realized that the business of wedding photography can be overwhelming. The pressure is insane, but the results and experience are incredible - and so worth it.
I shot with Angeli, a long-time friend and mentor. She's the best! http://www.lissarragueimages.com/