How dreamy is this blurred, movement photo captured by Louise May at one of my summer weddings? Second photographers at weddings – do you bring them along or prefer to work solo? I like to have someone with me for several reasons, it’s nice to have company, there’s safety in numbers and it’s great for the clients to have multiple angles on certain parts of the day.
I also love to second shoot for other photographers if I ever get a chance. I think it is a great exercise for improving your creative thinking. When you are a primary photographer there is pressure on you to be always doing something, always directing but some of your best ideas can appear when you have headspace. This is why you think of your best ideas in the bath or out on a walk.
If another photographer comes out with me on the couple portraits, I like them to use this time to be experimental. I don’t need slightly different versions of my images, so it’s an opportunity for them to try out more creative techniques and to be open-minded about what might work. It is always incredibly interesting to see their images from this time.
How To Achieve A Blurred, Movement Photo
Louise did an excellent job at this wedding. Her coverage of the groomsmen in the morning was exceptional, getting a really strong mixture of documentary images and creative portraits. It is a stunning venue and we were aware that after 5 pm the part of the beach with the tidal pool is closed to the public. The couple had requested a golden hour session, to make the most of the location and to also give themselves a small break from being the centre of attention at the wedding.
However, like many weddings events ran over, and as the sun was close to setting they were a few minutes into the first dance of their ceilidh. I checked in with them to see if they wanted to prioritise the photos and they made the decision that they would. The bride said that she’s been to hundreds of ceilidhs but would only have one sun setting on her wedding day.
I confess that I would have been gutted if we hadn’t gone out in the beautiful warm light but it did mean that Louise and I had to work very quickly before it was dark. It is often tempting when you are under pressure to play it safe so I love that she still found the capacity to play with her settings and what was possible within the restrictions at the time. Thank you to the Farmer who nominated this for Image Of The Week as it’s always lovely to be able to celebrate pictures from second photographers. This has been a good reminder for me to also try to make time to try different techniques even when time is tight.
What Louise said…
“I’ve always been a bit shy about second shooting, The imposter syndrome really sets in and I’m afraid I’ll be discovered as a fraud who just takes photos of her feet and a zillion shots of the same thing trying to work the best angle, but I decided at the start of this year that it would be really good for me to challenge myself, put myself out of my comfort zone and do more of it. That’s where we grow right?
I wanted it to make me think more about what I was shooting and why I was taking that shot whilst also giving me the opportunity to meet and work with others, learn from watching how they work, and experiment a little with being creative without all of the pressure and responsibility of being the lead photographer – whilst also working my butt off to be where the lead can’t be and to add different perspectives to the gallery for their couples too.
When our fabulous Lisa was looking for a second at Tunnels Beaches, which is close to where I live, my imposter syndrome nearly got the better of me, but I made myself go for it and was super excited and equally nervous to get the opportunity to work with Lisa. I really wanted to do a good job for her and her lovely couple.
Tunnels is such a beautiful venue too, so I was excited to shoot there as well, if the tides are right and the weather gods align, the sunsets over the tidal pool are epic – and boy, were we blessed that day! When I took this shot, Lisa was directing the couple and I wanted to think outside the box a bit and as well as get some different angles to Lisa, to also take the opportunity to be creative and play around and maybe get something just a little different, the couple were moving and interacting in a really lovely way and I wanted to try and incorporate that feeling into the shot with the sun sinking quickly behind them and the soft spread of light around them, what could I do to try and capture that feeling…
After avoiding it for so long, I’ve second shot several times now this year and I have taken something away from every single opportunity that I’ve had to meet and work with another photographer – there is something to learn from everyone. I’m so glad that I put myself out of my comfort zone. It’s massively valuable and I would absolutely recommend that everyone gives it a go!
The Tech Talk
“So I wanted to try and record all the feels of the soft movement of the couple and the quickly setting sun, so I went for a slow shutter speed and with some gentle movement of the camera (try sideways, up and down, maybe a slight twist). I like to use high f stop when I slow the shutter, to retain some detail in the shot, but this is all about experimenting. If the couple are moving a lot, say dancing or walking/running, I often keep the camera still and let them move in the frame, but their movement here was gentle and so this time I chose to move the camera with them as they pulled apart slightly.”