Hi friends! One of the best ways to break into the wedding photography industry is seconding shooting with established photographers. Before I show you this stunning Swan House wedding, here are few tips for what most photographers look for when hiring a second shooter. 

IT’S IMPORTANT YOU ARE CONFIDENT AND CAPABLE OF SHOOTING EVERY PART OF THE WEDDING DAY ON YOUR OWN!

This is a key factor for most established photographers. Wedding days can be unpredictable with shifting schedules, so knowing important moments can be covered by your second is a must. It also relieves a lot of stress having confidence in their abilities given any situation. I personally try to shoot the majority of the day. However, you never know when you might fall behind on the timeline and need to send your second. A great way to gain experience before reaching out to photographers is to shoot as much as possible in many different environments. This includes inside, outside, bright sun, shade, overcast, and so on. The more you are comfortable with your camera on manual in any situation, the better prepared you’ll be. 

FIND PHOTOGRAPHERS WITH A SIMILAR AESTHETIC TO YOURS.

If your styles align, you’re more likely to receive images useful for your portfolio which in turn attracts the kind of client you want. An extra tip, ask the photographer if they prefer you shoot a certain way to make RAW images easier to edit. For example, a bit underexposed, manual white balance, less whitespace, etc. Similarly, a lot of photographers prefer you shoot with the same brand of equipment and have a variety of gear. This ensures color consistency and makes editing a whole lot easier. A great equipment line up for weddings regardless of the brand is:

  • Camera Body
  • 35mm or 50mm
  • Wide Angle (24mm or 24-70mm)
  • Telephoto (100mm+)
  • Off camera flash with manual capabilities

At Dash, we try to make the entire gallery as consistent as possible so no one can tell any difference in each photographer’s images.

ALL THE CANDIDS!

The lead photographer makes sure the shot list is taken care of and all major portraits and details are getting captured. For us, candid moments are HUGE, so it doesn’t do any good to have two different versions of the same photo. The second shooters we have back time and time again shoot important moments happening behind the scenes. These would otherwise go unnoticed–reactions, hugs, laughter, tears, etc. Each wedding day is filled with sweet moments happening behind the lead that are really the essence of the day, so your job is CRUCIAL to telling the story! 

DON’T BE AFRAID TO REACH OUT, AND KEEPING BUILDING YOUR CRAFT IN THE MEAN TIME.

When I was first interested in photographing weddings, I was so eager to build my portfolio and work with photographers I admired. I emailed Amanda to tell her about myself and what my goals were. Shortly after, she had me over for donuts and coffee to see if I’d be a good fit (personality compatibility is key as well). Before I knew it, I second shot a whole season for her. I was able to build an incredible portfolio to start booking my own weddings! Don’t be afraid to ask, but be sure you have something to show for it. 

The wedding below is actually a wedding I shot entirely as a second shooter for my girl Jessica Gold Photo last fall! One of the most beautiful weddings I’ve shot to date at The Swan House (a bucket list venue of mine). Even after five years of shooting my own weddings full time, I still love to work with photographers I admire. It also never hurts to snag some eye-candy for the portfolio at the same time! 😉

FINALLY, BE SURE YOUR TOP PRIORITY IS TO SERVE THE LEAD PHOTOGRAPHER WELL.

Everyone has to start somewhere, we all know that. However, if you are hired by a photographer to shoot a wedding with them, you are there to serve their photography needs. The most unattractive second shooters are ones simply there to build a portfolio without much regard to what the lead photographer needs from them. When you have a beautiful couple at golden hour, it’s really tempting to grab shots for your portfolio when you would serve the lead best catching candids at cocktail hour. You will give yourself more opportunities for those amazing shots if you are at more weddings because you are a great second. Give it time. It’s a process. 

Swan House Wedding Shot for: Jessica Gold Photography

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Eve + Austin | Atlanta History Center

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