As you embark on your journey to become a skilled wedding photographer, one invaluable opportunity to consider is second shooting with established photographers you admire. Second shooting, or assisting, provides an immersive and hands-on learning experience that can accelerate your growth and deepen your understanding of the craft. Here are some compelling reasons why second shooting at weddings with admired photographers can be a game-changer for your career.
Why Should I Be Second Shooting At Weddings?
There are several reasons why any new or aspiring wedding photographer should consider second shooting at weddings to further their expertise and their career.
- Real-World Exposure to Wedding Photography: Second shooting places you right in the heart of a wedding day, allowing you to witness and capture the beautiful chaos that unfolds. Working alongside experienced professionals provides unique insights into how they handle different lighting conditions, navigate challenging scenarios, and anticipate candid moments. This is going to help you make a decision on whether wedding photography is the correct path for you.
- Learning from Diverse Styles and Techniques: Each photographer has their distinct style and approach to shooting weddings. By second shooting with multiple photographers, especially those you admire, you gain exposure to diverse techniques, editing styles, and storytelling methods. This exposure enables you to refine your own vision and find your unique voice in wedding photography.
- Hands-On Skill Development: Second shooting lets you practice various aspects of wedding photography, from candid shots and portraits to capturing details and handling fast-paced events. You can experiment with new equipment and gain confidence in your technical skills, all while receiving valuable feedback from seasoned professionals.
- Understanding Client Interaction: Successful wedding photography involves more than just taking stunning photos; it’s about building rapport with clients and creating a comfortable environment for them. By observing how admired photographers communicate with their clients, you can learn valuable client-interaction techniques that contribute to a positive photography experience.
- Networking and Future Collaborations: Second shooting can lead to building strong connections within the wedding photography community. When working with admired photographers, you have the chance to impress them with your skills and professionalism, potentially opening doors for future collaborations, referrals, or even mentorship opportunities.
- Boosting Your Portfolio: Second shooting allows you to diversify your portfolio with images from different weddings and venues. This variety enhances your marketability and showcases your versatility to potential clients.
How to Approach Second Shooting Opportunities
- Research and Reach Out: Identify wedding photographers whose work resonates with you and aligns with your style. Reach out to them professionally, expressing your admiration for their work and your interest in second-shooting opportunities. Do not just cut and paste a generic message and send them a DM. Take time to express what it is in their work that you admire and what’s in it for them to have you assist them.
- Be Professional and Prepared: When you secure a second shooting opportunity, treat it as a job assignment. Arrive punctually, dress appropriately, and be prepared with your gear. Show respect for the lead photographer’s vision and follow their instructions whilst ensuring that you are not in any of their frames.
- Be Creative: Think of less obvious angles or approaches. As the secondary photographer, there’s no pressure on your to direct anything so you have ample time to think. Consider yourself as there to cover the B Roll plus any specific instructions from the Primary Photographer. Second shooting at weddings gives you the opportunity it be creative. Don’t be afraid to be experimental.
- Hand Over Everything: If you want feedback on your work then let them see everything. If you cull in camera and only present your best work there’s not so much teaching. However, be prepared that your main photographer might prefer that you cull your pictures so their workload isn’t excessively increased.
- Stay Humble and Learn: As a second shooter, your primary goal is to support the lead photographer. Stay humble, be observant, and seek to learn from the experience. Ask questions when appropriate and be receptive to constructive feedback.
Second shooting with wedding photographers you admire can be an enriching and transformative experience in your journey as a wedding photographer. Embrace these opportunities to learn, grow, and forge meaningful connections within the industry. By absorbing insights from admired professionals, you’ll accelerate your progress, refine your craft, and draw closer to becoming the skilled and admired photographer you aspire to be.