WHY DO YOU HAVE TO SECOND SHOOT
Looking back at my second shooter days, I have realised what a privilege it was to be guided by industry leading wedding photographers. If you're dreaming of becoming a professional wedding photographer, you will most likely be second shooting a few weddings before embarking onto your solo journey. Second shooting is the perfect way to gain experience and hopefully add a few incredible "real wedding" photos to your portfolio.
We all have to start somewhere and even though it is a little bit daunting at first, it can also be fun and insightful to see fellow professionals in action. So go ahead, put yourself out there and most importantly make friends. It is a close knit industry so a good reputation goes a long way.
HOW TO GET STARTED
Time to get your socials, website and portfolio act together! Before reaching out to professional photographers or applying for second shooting opportunities, you have to take a step back and make sure your own socials/website/portfolio truly showcases your style, work and personality.
It is important that your photographs are of people, couples, families, life events etc. Perhaps consider doing a styled bridal shoot or stage a few bridal flat-lays to buff up your portfolio to look more weddingy. If you are serious about getting into the wedding industry, chances are your portfolio already includes wedding content.
DO NOT attempt to reach out if your instagram is only filled with animal or garden flower shots. Wedding photographers looking for second shooters need to see that you have experience photographing people. First impressions last, so ensure that you stand out from other second shooter applicants.
HOW TO REACH OUT
Now that your portfolio/socials/website is in order you are ready to write a killer email! We all love to just pop a Instagram DM, but in reality if that photographer is not following you it will most probably just get lost in the message requests.
A professionally written email shows that you're serious and that you also take the other photographer seriously. Be sure to include the following:
- A massive enthusiastic HELLO!
- Tell them why you are reaching out to THEM. Perhaps you are inspired by their style, or perhaps you were inspired by their online personality - keep it short and simple.
- Tell them a bit more about yourself i.e.how long you've been in the industry, what you hope you will learn, what makes you different etc.
- Share the platform that shows your work best (Website/Instagram/Facebook).
- Remember to hyperlink your links - nothing worse than an unclickable link.
- List the equipment that you are using. Most photographers will require full frame gear, but don't let it derail your mission. A lot of photographers will still pay you to assist and hopefully take a few pictures for your own use. I love it when my second shooters have different lenses from my own, it adds a different and exciting element to the shoot.
- Show your enthusiasm and willingness to learn.
- Follow up. Photographers are busy and with multiple weddings a month, non-client emails might not be a priority, or they might not have an opening for another second shooter, but it won't hurt to follow up with a polite email.
PREPPING FOR A WEDDING
Before you leave for the wedding, you need to make sure you’re physically and mentally prepared. Preparation is incredibly important and anticipating what could go wrong will help you manage any problem with ease.
- Get your gear ready the night before - Batteries charged, flash working, lenses cleaned, memory cards formatted, timeline and family shot list saved on your phone.
- Know how to use your gear - Watch a few youtube tutorials if you don't know how to use your off camera flash or specific camera settings. Asking for advice on the day is okay but your lead photographer won't necessarily have the time to fine tune settings with you.
- Research your lead photographers' instagram and website to get an idea of their style and how they shoot. As much as I love adding interesting, different angles, It's very important to still deliver a cohesive gallery.
- Be on time- The first rule in every single industry.
- Dress professionally - Smart casual or business attire all the way. Ask your lead photographer what they will be wearing and try to coordinate with that.
- Pack lots of snacks. You'll most likely only eat at dinner. As the lead photographer I usually forget to eat, and will probably forget about you eating as well.
- My MOTTO as a seconds shooter was to capture a wedding day as if it was my own. Focus on the important moments and try to take several pictures of that moment. There is nothing more frustrating than finding a stunning image but the groom's eyes are closed or the first kiss is not proper. When I photograph people, I try to take at least 3 pictures to guarantee a perfect shot. Remember if anything should happen to the lead photographer's photos or camera, yours should be good enough to use as backup.
- Try to capture opposite angles. (See below image examples)
- Phone etiquette - Limit your phone usage. We all have professional and personal things going on, but be subtle about your phone usage, especially in the middle of the ceremony.
- Be polite to EVERYONE. Family and guests are just as important as the couple.
- Suggestions are always welcome but be aware not to take over the show.
- Most important - First and foremost you are there to help your lead photographer and to serve the couple. You are NOT there to boost your portfolio, that is just a bonus.
THE DAY AFTER
- Tagging & sharing etiquette - Respect the lead photographer's sharing and crediting terms and conditions. Don't out post the lead photographer and always mention your lead photographer (second shot for @leadphotographer) in the caption. DO NOT TAG the photographer or the couple unless it was requested by them.
- If a couple reaches out to you, ALWAYS refer them back to the lead photographer.
Second shooting is the perfect opportunity to get a foot in the door, gain experience and hopefully book your first wedding through an industry referral - all while getting paid.
If you think you have what it takes to be part of the Krust Second Shooter team send your application to firstname.lastname@example.org