Hellloooooooo! I'm Becca, a traveling wedding and elopement photographer based out of beautiful Napa, California! I've been shooting weddings since 2014 and actually shot a ton of my own weddings before I even knew what a second photographer was. 10/10 don't recommend doing that - it's like jumping into the deep end of a pool and learning everything the hard way. Being a second photograher for other wedding photographers is the best way to dip your toe in the waters of the wedding industry! I've been a second photographer tooooons of times, so I'm here to give you 15 tips on how to be the best second photographer ever!! So let's get into it!
1. First things first, if you don't already do this already then you really should... ALWAYS SHOOT IN RAW. I cannot emphasize this enough. You always want to shoot in RAW so you don't compromise the quality of the photo during the editing process.
2. Communication is keeeyyyyyy! Every photographer is different so ask tons of questions so you have a clear idea of what the expectation is.
3. The groom's details are just as important as the bride's! This often gets overlooked but shoot his details just as you would hers. Lay them out, get them all pretty, you'll get the hang of it :)
4. This may seem weird but... learn how to tie a tie and bow tie. As the second photographer, you'll most likely be taking photos of the groom and groomsmen. As funny as it is to watch the guys struggle and watch youtube videos to learn how to tie them, at some point it gets old and you're going to want to hop in and help out to get the show on the road. Trust me, I've witnessed the struggle at almost every wedding and it's both hilarious and painful to watch.
5. This might seem obvious, but learn how to pose guys. Posing guys seems 100000x harder than posing girls at first but once you get it down, it gets easier and can be sooo fun! Guys aren't usually very serious so don't be afraid to get goofy with them! When I first started I would get to the venue early and scroll through Pinterest looking at poses for the groom and groomsmen so they were fresh in my memory hahaha, we all gotta start somewhere!
6. Always be aware of where you are and where the lead photographer is. In other words, don't be in the background of the lead photographer's shot. If you have a great shot of the bride walking down the aisle as they shoot from the front, that's totally fine but make yourself small and duck behind the bride so the other photographer can't see you. If you can see them, they can see you!
7. When shooting with another photographer, it's important to get different angles! There's two of you and plenty of different angles to take photos from, don't be shooting over their shoulder.
8. Often times the lead photographer will be focused on getting photos of the bride and groom. Look around to see who is watching this moment and capture those reactions of the couples' friends and family.
9. Pay attention to all of the details. You're there to help the lead photographer as a second set of eyes. Is the groom's tie crooked or does the bride have some stray hairs? Don't be afraid to jump in and fix it or point it out - the lead photographer will be so grateful. We like to work smarter, not harder - the less editing we have to do, the better!
10. You get bonus points if you bring the lead photographer appetizers and water during cocktail hour! During this time you'll be shooting reception details and guests while the lead photographer is doing family photos, wedding party photos and couple photos and I promise you they'll appreciate it sooooo much!
11. Overpack and be prepared! Bring extras of everythaaaang - batteries, cards, flashes... because you never know what could happen! Just because you're the "second" photographer, doesn't mean you should take the responsibility any less serious than the lead photographer. If something were to happen to the lead photographer or their equipment, you'll need to step up to the plate and take over. And if your camera stops working in the middle of the wedding, you need to have a back up ready to go!
12. Work your booty off! These are hard, sweaty, LONG days! But it's also so much fun, super rewarding and it's what you signed up for. Try not to find yourself sitting around, checking your phone or resting in front of others. Keep reminding yourself that you're here to support your lead photographer!
13. Check your ego at the door. Have a humble heart and a positive attitude. This is an incredibly important day for the couple and it's such an honor that you get the opportunity to be a part of and capture such a huge milestone for them.
14. Don't get discouraged. We are ALL constantly learning so don't beat yourself up when you feel like you've made a mistake! Just learn from it, move on, and we'll laugh about it later :)
15. Lastly, ask ALLLLLL the questions! I promise no question is a stupid question. Everyone starts somewhere and if you've never shot a wedding before, literally every other photographer has been in your shoes at some point! Ask questions and you'll learn and grow so quickly :)
Annnnnd now you're all ready to go be the best second photographer ever! If you've never shot a wedding before, it can seem hectic but I promise you'll get better over time and before you know it, you'll be more than ready to shoot your own weddings! :)
All of the above photos are from weddings that I second shot for @davidnsachs :)