I started my journey as a second unit photographer with my dad, and from there I proceeded to shoot for some amazing photographers. This helped me build my portfolio and set me up for my own brand which has been a success.
This article is for those of you who enjoy shooting as a team, or who wish they could at least have the opportunity to shoot as a team.
A second shooter, which I call a second unit photographer or a second wedding photographer, works alongside the main photographer to photograph different angles and situations and assist the photographer throughout a wedding event.
Most photographers are looking to do second-shooting work in order to boost their portfolio or gain more experience. I must say it’s a great way to do that.
But do not forget who you are shooting for, it is their business and you should know that you are there to support them.
Based on my perspective, this article is about how to be a second shooter. Let’s dive in!
Plan and Prepare
Get all your gadgets ready, and do a little research about the main photographer, how he loves his images to be, and his style of shooting. collect details about the event and the venue, and dress smart and nice. Don’t forget to help the main shooter double-check his gadgets and keep things in order.
Take a second shooter as a Personal assistant job and you were asked to represent your CEO, you will present yourself well for your boss to be proud of you. Do the same with you being a second shooter. Introduce yourself nicely and tell them you’re from the main shooter, dress smart, don’t slack, and do not feel any less. It is at this moment they will be free with you so you can get a seamless moment. you have to make the main shooter proud to call you for gigs again.
Pocket your brand
When you’re coming to second shoot, drop everything about your brand in your house, and don’t walk up to anyone in the event to market yourself, if they ask about inquiries, tell them about the main shooter, you want the person you’re shooting for to be able to trust you. Take the business as if it’s yours, prioritize the main shooter’s brand over everything
Focus on the Lead
Know that we all have priorities and it’s always good to get information from the photographer you’re going to work with, to make sure you’re on the same page. so, always make sure you are always in sync with the main shooter, look at the main shooter from time to time so when he sends a signal you will be able to get it on time. He/ she might want you to focus on just the groom's family alone or the crowd, always be expectant and watch the lead.
The common mistake most second shooters make is focusing on the bride or the groom, most main photographers want to handle both the groom and bride except otherwise. Your job is to get alternate angles, shoot moments, and shoot from the guest's point of view. Take turns if he/she is about to miss any moment and always follow the direction.
A team of photographers working at a wedding can be so much fun but don’t lose sight of your primary job. Be cheerful and put on a smiling face, so the main shooter and people at the event will know you enjoy what you’re doing and this can set you up for another gig from the photographer.
As much as you enjoy shooting, do not overshoot or overdo yourself, because you don’t want to give your main shooter the headache of having to select images.
Take BTS (behind the scene) of the main shooter. He is definitely going to love it, trust me
Although this might be funny, don’t go around looking for food when he is working or even when your main shooter isn’t looking for food. Don’t embarrass yourself at any event
In conclusion, being a second shooter can be a great way to gain experience, develop your skills, and build relationships in the photography industry. Whether you are just starting out or looking to expand your portfolio, there are many benefits to working as a second shooter at weddings. From learning from experienced photographers to getting to know potential clients, this role can be both rewarding and challenging.
If you are interested in pursuing a career in wedding photography, consider reaching out to local photographers and offering your services as an assistant. You can also join photography communities online and network with other professionals in the industry. With dedication, hard work, and a willingness to learn, you can build a successful career as a wedding photographer. So take the first step today and start exploring the opportunities available to you!
You can admire Tobiloba Sofolabo's work on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/folakayweddings/ and also check out our previous post on how to grow your photography business -https://element.photo/blog/7-Tips-to-Grow-Your-Photography-Business-in-2023.