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How to be the Perfect 2nd Shooter


March 18, 2019


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  1. Be on time (or early: I’m extremely picky with time. I’m always early, or at the very least, on time. I do expect the same from my second shooters. Things like finding the venue, parking, etc, should be thought about before hand.
  2. Sync Cameras: The very first thing I like to do when first meet my second shooter on a wedding day is sync our cameras. That means going into the camera settings and making sure the date and time on both cameras is the same. Since I’ll be the one culling and editing all the images this will ensure all photos will be in chronological order when uploaded.
  3. Shoot at an angle: I just recently worked with a second shooter and there were times when she would stand right behind me, which means I’m either in the photo, or she’s basically taking the same photo with a different lens. The best way is for the second photographer to be at an angle from me, getting a different point of view from mine.
  4. Use opposite lenses: This is key to a diverse gallery. If I’m using a lens like the 50mm, I want my second shooter using a telephoto and getting tight shots for me. I really like the 70-200mm for second shooters, although it’s extremely heavy. The 85mm and 100mm are also great choices.
  5. Get lots of candid/detail shots: As the main photographer it is my responsibility to get the big picture, and all the must have photos. And although I will also get candids and details, I love looking through my second photographer’s photos and seeing more intimate moments and more details. A wedding day goes by fast, and I can’t be everywhere, so it’s nice to have someone else focusing on that. For example, when I’m taking family formal pictures I like my second to zoom in and take tighter shots of dad looking at daughter, or grandma smiling, etc.
  6. Don’t EVER delete a bad picture: Deleting in camera will corrupt cards, so, don’t EVER, ever, ever delete an image from your camera. Even if it’s bad, it’s ok! Thankfully I usually work with Canon shooters with the same camera as mine, which records to two cards, but I do like to eliminate as much risk as possible. The correct way to delete images is AFTER everything is uploaded and backed up, by inserting the card back in the camera and formatting the card.
  7. Help keep things organized: A wedding day can be quite hectic and things move fast. I’m constantly having to quickly change lenses, check timelines, move things around, and I do rely on my second shooter to help me keep things organized. For example, put lenses back in place, keep track of my timeline, etc. And I do make about 3 copies of the timeline and family formals list just in case!
  8. Promote the main photographer: Thank goodness this has not happened to me, but it did happen to one of my friends, so I’ll talk about it. A second photographer should never hand her own business card at a wedding. As a hired contractor for the main photographer the second should only offer information pertaining to the main photographer.
  9. Know your camera: Knowing how to shoot in manual, as well as camera settings is so important. Knowing how to use Kelvin white balance, how to get perfect exposure in camera, etc, all facilitate when I’m editing afterwards.
  10. Have a positive attitude: I’m so happy I found my new second shooter! Her attitude is amazing and that makes a huge difference when spending a whole day working with someone.


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