One of the biggest complaints I hear from my photographer friends is how difficult it is to find consistent second shooters who match their style! They often find themselves scrambling on wedding days to answer questions OR frustrated by the out of focus images or angles that their assistant missed. Most often, this comes from a lack of communication and the rush of the day! This extra set of hands AND EYES are an essential part of making these once in a lifetime wedding days possible. With a little preparation you can have amazing, quality second shooters, who professionally represent your business EVERY TIME!
Assisting as a second shooter is an amazing way to gain hands on experience, build your portfolio and contribute as a valuable vendor asset! But, your second shooters aren’t mind readers, and even experienced photographers will often have different ways to handle location choices, angles, and style preferences. Creating a second shooter guide is an amazing way to prep your assistance for the best ways of working together!
I’m super proud to share the images in this post, and highlight some of the work of my second shooters! Plus below I’m sharing the TOP 5 essentials to prep your photographer assistants before working together!
1. Setting Expectations:
One of the biggest breakdowns I see comes from miscommunication of goals for the day. Starting out most second shooters are looking to gain valuable wedding day experience and build their portfolio. While the lead photographer might need an extra set of hands to jump in and help with non photo tasks like grabbing water for the couple, pinning boutonnieres, fluffing veils, wrangling family or anything that makes your lead photographers life easier!
2. Camera Settings & Equipment:
These are the most valuable details and may seem self explanatory, but when it comes to sharing camera settings don’t be afraid to be too specific. Make sure you are sharing things about lenses that they use, and type of aperture/shutter speeds/ white balance, you prefer. Will you be providing equipment, and memory cards or are your clients responsible for these? Plus, be sure to share how they need to format these cards when shooter, Raw vs. Jpd, and how to post process of handing off final images will be handled!
3. Etiquette | Dress Code & Guest Interactions:
These often overlooked details are an important key to making sure your second shooter professionally represents your business! Be sure to share specifics on any dress code requirements, for example if you prefer they wear all black or neutral patterns. I always make sure to express that on weddings days, my second shooters are not promoting their own businesses, and any potentially troublesome guest issues are brought up with me!
As always you should have a contract in place with your second shooters, If you want to grab the exact templates I use for my business check out The Legal Paige HERE.
4. Posing & Angles:
There is so much that goes on in the rush of a 10 hour wedding day, it can be impossible to give your second shooter directions on the fly. I found the creating a breakdown of a typical wedding day timeline, I could easily share what types of photos, angles, and the role my assistant will play during that portion. For example during wedding party pics, we will divide and conquer to photograph group shots, and individuals at the same time. However during family photos, I typically have my second shooter help with organizing family, holding drinks or purses out of the main shot so we can quickly tackle our to-do list! I love to reiterate that I will be focused on the couples interaction most of the day, so anytime my second shooter can prioritize other guests or family members in their photos is great!
5. Post Process | Sharing Guidelines:
One of the most important parts of your wedding day process is post production. You’ll want to communicate how you will be handing off memory cards, and what guidelines you have for your second shooters images. Be sure to share specific requirements for how they are allowed to post images, tagging restrictions, and timeline for posting. I generally tell my couples they have to wait until after I’ve delivered the final gallery, and they
For years, I’ve sent a simple email with a few style preference bullet points to my new second shooters. However I’m realizing that left a lot of questions and inconsistencies for getting the type of images I needed, to deliver an amazing experience for my clients. With a few of my long time second shooters, now fully booked for weddings on their own. Its time to start building a new roster of assistants to work together seamlessly! I’m a HUGE advocate for using your website beyond the booking process, and adding in hidden pages to help with automating those tedious back end tasks. It felt like the perfect place to start building my second shooter prep-guide into its own page!
Check out a DEMO of my second shooter guide HERE!
If you are a Showit Website user and want this guide for yourself, and the EXACT COPY I use to prep my second shooters for wedding days:
The Top 5 Tips to Prep your Second Shooters OR Associate Team before Wedding Days
May 4, 2022