I wrote about second shooting in the past but after the last few months of craziness and second shooting/assisting galore and working with a second photographer myself, I thought it’s time to share my thoughts on working with other photographers again.
First of all, my advice to all photographers just starting out is to start networking, networking, networking….. there must be several photographers in your area whose work you admire and there is no better way of learning than second shooting/assisting them! One wedding as a second shooter equals many workshops all put together and it’s free, if you’re lucky you even get paid a small amount of money. I know it can be intimidating to reach out and seek help, but honestly… what do you have to loose?
I’ve worked with several photographers in several countries and every single one of them taught me something, made me question things and reevaluate myself as a photographer. The goal is never to start copying how they work, rather see other methods, see what could work for you too, shape them to fit you and then implement them in your way of shooting. In fact, I often work with photographers whose style is completely different from mine. I truly believe that I learn more from these people (especially about myself!), because they see things totally differently and shoot in places, circumstances I’d never think of. The experience is priceless! I don’t think that their style would work for me, but I’m there to learn and improve myself and my way of seeing things, not to look for ways to start copying them!
As a second shooter you have different goals and aims than the the main shooter and that gives you a wonderful opportunity to improve. For example… on my weddings as the primary photographer I tend to overshoot. I take many pictures as I wanna make sure that everything is captured throughout the day, I talk to my clients, be by their side and take care that everything flows smoothly. As a second shooter however, I get the chance to take a more relaxed approach and see the day with my eyes and not with my viewfinder. I look for genuine emotions, different angles and I get to experiment with things I wouldn’t have the time to do as the main photographer. It’s not easy to recalibrate my brain to be a second shooter, but the experience is worth every second of it!
It’s very important as a second photographer to also take care of the first photographer and not just seek your own gain! You are their to make their job easier, so I like to be not just shooting next to them, but look for other ways to help them, may it be taking behind the scenes pictures, carrying their bags, holding the lightstand/reflector or getting a sandwich or something to drink. Is it a glamorous job?… no not always… but again… when you let go of your camera, you start seeing things differently, which will make you a better photographer without a doubt. (even if it’s hard sometimes not to be able to be in the middle of the action when you’re dying to take a gorgeous photograph :)).
Overall I really cannot stress enough, that whether you are just starting out or even if you’ve been shooting for years, THERE IS NO BETTER WAY TO PUSH YOURSELF AND IMPROVE THAN SECOND SHOOTING!
I want to take a moment to thank Jeremy Standley, Ines from Happines, Rares from Rares Pulbere Photography and Syl from Syluette for letting me tag along to their weddings/shoots. I’ve loved every minute of the experience and I hope I could repay them for their kindness with some nice photographs! 😉
Thank you Syl for taking the above pictures of me! Yeah second shooting sometimes also means being a standin to check the light while the model gets ready… 😉
Below are a few behind the scene shots I took for her the same day for one of her commercial jobs in Hungary. The location, the model, the dresses…. everything was to die for on this shoot and I can hardly wait to share the pictures I took. Coming soon! 😉