Shoot 2 Studios' Second Shooter's Guide

You're probably reading this because you either have questions about second shooting or have already talked to us about working for Shoot 2 Studios.   Every photographer does things differently so the goal here is to answer the majority of the basic questions and give you the essential directions for second shooting with us.  If you've got more questions, just ask! Second shooting = Assisting +

You'll be carrying light stands, raising and lowering light stands, being a voice activated human light stand, and so on.  If I'm not shooting it means I'm either chatting briefly with a guest, in the bathroom, or doing something that you can help with.  Being a wedding photographer means running your ass off for ten hours every Saturday and I take that to heart.  I'm normally sweaty with at least one piece of torn clothing by the end of the night... so just run with me.

You're representing Shoot 2 Studios

This should go without saying, but be nice, smile, laugh, cry with them if you must, but keep working.  I'll give you business and event cards to carry and hand out if asked.

This is not for your portfolio

In the past I've hired people in the "I'm just starting/learning" stage and let them use their images for their portfolio with few restrictions.  Unfortunately, that doesn't give me the consistent, high quality images that I aim to deliver to my clients.  That, and a few bad apples would do things like post their pictures on social media before mine, or give their images to other vendors instead of mine as if it's their wedding.  So I don't do that anymore... At the start of the wedding day, I'll give you memory cards to use and you'll return them at the end of the shoot.  You've already got a good portfolio, otherwise I wouldn't hire you.

Eating/Drinking

If the clients have specified a time for us to eat, then great!  We get a break.  If it's a buffet, then grab a plate after all the guests have eaten and have a bite, but keep an eye on the action.  If it's a sit down dinner and we haven't been given a meal, then I hope you brought snacks.  We'll usually get something, but always bring something just in case.  Also, I have a one drink rule.  If offered, we can have one drink with the bride/groom/bridal party (some people get downright offended if you turn down a drink).  After that it's polite jokes about how more alcohol will make you forget to take the lens cap off.

Dress Code

The general rule is dress pants, long sleeved button up dress shirt, and dress shoes for guys.  Ladies can wear either pants or dresses so long as they can comfortably crouch and bend, and whatever shoes you can move around in all day without killing your feet.  Both guys and girls should wear black or dark colors.   If there's something else that would be more appropriate for a particular wedding (a suit, Converse, etc.) I'll let you know in advance.

Communication

If you've got questions during the day, just ask.  There are times when we might be across the room from one another and can't communicate verbally so try to interpret my hand signals as best you can.  They basically include pointing at something (i.e. photograph what I'm pointing at), and the finger across the throat sign (i.e. stop what you're doing because it's ruining my shot or something).

Before we get started on wedding day

We'll either meet before shooting begins the day of, or if you're showing up after the event has started we'll talk at some point before you arrive.  We'll go over the schedule and specific plans for the day.  There are also a few camera setting details to get straight.  Doing this up front makes my life a lot easier when I process your images.

-Synch our camera times

-Shoot large RAW

-No Auto WB.  I don't like getting pictures where every WB is different and none of them are right... it doesn't tend to work well with my post processing workflow.

-Format memory cards

-Check radio trigger channels (if we're using the same type of triggers).

After all that's done, we're ready to go to greet our clients.

What do I want you to shoot?

My focus is about 80% on the bride and groom, 20% on everything else.  Your focus should be more like 50/50.  This obviously isn't an exact science, but I want more crowd reaction shots, detail shots, friends and family pictures, table pictures, etc. from you while I'm working with the B&G.  The overall rule is don't shoot the same thing from the same place at the same time.  Other than that, be creative and have fun.

Where do I want you?  

I'll give specific directions if/when I have them, but the general rules include - (1) stay out of my shots, and (2) don't stand right next to me and shoot the exact same thing.

I'm usually all over the place at weddings, so keep an eye on where I am and move if necessary.  I.e. If I come stand right next to you and start shooting it means I want that spot and you should move.  Sorry. Feel happy that you picked a good vantage point.  :)

Lighting?

I aim to have my second's pictures styled consistently with mine so they blend in and are a seamless part of the final wedding day story.  I use off camera and bounced flashes, so we'll set yours up to be consistent.

Questions and ideas

Definitely feel free to ask any questions you have come  to mind during the wedding, but try to do so when we're not directly working with the clients.  I also like to hear other's ideas about what they would have done differently, but not when I'm actively working on my idea.

After we're done

Hand over the cards, get paid, and that's it!

Questions?  Things I should add?  Let me know; this is a living document that I'll change from time to time.  Hopefully you'll have had a great experience and gotten some fantastic pictures.

As always - Shoot 2 be awesome,

SH