9 Tips For Being the BEST Second Photographer

How to be the best Second Photographer

Phil, I have my first second photographer job at a Santa Barbara Courthouse wedding this Friday! Have any advice on being a top notch 2nd shooter?

second photographer

Phillip Van Nostrand (ANSWER):
Yes I do have some tips:

1) Remind them to sync camera times with you at the beginning.

2) Bring extra waters for both of you, and power bars are a great bonus.

3) Make sure you ask how they want you to dress.

4) Show up 15 minutes early.

5) Ask them how many pictures they want from you.

6) Ask them before using the pictures on your own website/social media.

7) Look for moments they won’t be able to get, like kids playing on the side, audience reactions to the wedding (That means listening to what’s happening up front to anticipate a joke or a moment that will make people laugh), candid moments, etc.

8) If you have different lenses to use, I would usually choose something opposite of your main shooter– for example, if they are shooting with a telephoto lens, I would shoot with a wide angle lens to give a different perspective. If they are shooting wide, I would put on a long lens.

9) I’m always aware of where the main shooter is and I never want to get in their way. I’ve heard people say they always shoot in an X formation with they photographer, not a straight line. Always shooting diagonal from them. If they move, you should move.


$$$ Tip:

I’ve worked with my own second shooters on over 50 weddings, and I’ve had the opportunity to be an assistant only this past year, but I was determined to be the best second shooter ever for those photographers. Anticipating shots before they asked me, offering water, getting food for them, etc. A good second photographer can earn around $50/hr for a standard wedding day- somewhere between $300-500. (rates may vary according to state or city)

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