As London Wedding Photographers covering the South-East, we have a lot of experience at a variety of London wedding venues and beyond – but more importantly than this we’ve built up a strong team of second shooters who we can depend upon. This hasn’t been an easy process as finding an amazing wedding photographer isn’t easy, and even more-so trying to find a perfect wedding photographer who can also support effectively in a secondary position. Below we present some tips on the qualities and skills we find indispensable when looking for second shooters…
Second Shooting Weddings With Mykey Day Photography
In all of our wedding collections we include a second shooter as standard, we find that at the level we shoot, and considering the quality we want to consistently produce for our clients, it’s simply obligatory to have two photographers at weddings. Add to this the in-built redundancy of having a second shooter in case of illness or sudden equipment failure on a wedding day, and really it’s a no brainer…
Why Have Two Photographers at a Wedding?
A second photographer allows the primary greater flexibility and artistic license to make wonderful wedding photos for their clients, as they say ‘two hands are better than one’, and this is multiplied on any wedding day when time is at a premium!
A Second shooter can take alternative angles of key wedding moments throughout the wedding day. The most important example of this is the ‘groom’s reaction’to the bride walking down the aisle, which is the secondary photographers main job on the day. These alternative angles don’t just double the number of good photos to be delivered – they multiply the quality by ten – especially in the wedding albums where they can be used as contrasting backdrops in the storyline of the wedding day.
Add to this the in-built redundancy of having two wedding photographers at a wedding – in case of sudden equipment failure or accident, our seconds can jump in (during the ceremony if need be) and take over.
Why Second Shooting is Awesome
Building portfolio and experience are the main reasons many wedding photographers choose to second shoot, as seeing how others work and getting ‘weddings under the belt’ is crucial to any starting photographer.
However for us these are not as important as the other reasons many wedding photographers second shoot, as for us networking and booking more weddings are more important. We like to have a strong network of professional top-quality wedding photographers so if we’re booked for a date when we get an enquiry, we can pass these on to our trusted second shooters.
Second shooting may not seem profitable to many established wedding photographers, until they realise they can book 3-4 extra top weddings per year with no cost-of-acquisition at all! One of our second shooters booked five weddings in 2016 this way, and happily second shoots with a reduced price for us knowing the value of these referrals.
The most important reason? It’s Fun!!!! We love second shooting weddings, as after all it’s the best part of our job with none of the not-so-nice (accounting / paperwork / etc…) bits. You’re being paid to go to a wedding and take lovely pics, interact with wedding guests on a momentous day in their life, yet without the stress of it being ‘your wedding’ and no need to edit pictures, advertise, market, or any of the other less so glamorous parts of a wedding photographer’s job!
How To Apply – What’s Next?
Having looked over your portfolio and rates Mykey will want to meet you for a coffee to get to know you. If you’re not happy spending an hour or two getting to know each other then you really aren’t committed enough for us. We trust our second shooters a lot, from being as good as they say they are (being able to reproduce the photos they show on their websites!), to turning up and being reliable on the day, to ultimately paying you a lot of money. Also, you’ll be our shadow on the day – and it’s important that we get on and that you’ll get on with our clients. For this reason it’s imperative to us that we meet for a relaxed informal coffee and chat.
Also reading this is a big help, it shows you’re committed and genuinely interested in working with us (and Mykey’s favourite colour is blue – he may ask you this when we meet 😉 ).
What We Expect from Photographers Applying as Second Shooters at Weddings
Reliability – should go without saying. We place a lot of trust in our second shooters, and we rely upon them implicitly. For this reason we expect you to be dependable in all aspects of your work: from quality of your imagery to turning up on time.
Your Own Insurance – is vital. You will not be covered by our insurance and in this day-and-age, it’s simply a no-brainer that any working professional has insurance.
Your Own Transport – We’ve had second shooter applicants ask to be picked up from train stations for work in the past, and that’s something we simply don’t expect to have to do. Weddings are fluid environments with possibly multiple locations (often nowhere near public transport), and we do expect our second shooters to have their own transport.
Your Own Equipment – this may seem obvious, but if you plan on borrowing lenses for wedding jobs because you don’t own the basics then we can’t rely on you (or your friends always lending them to you). Add to that we expect you have full-frame professional equipment and lenses covering approximately 20-200mm. Canon equipment is preferred (for compatibility with our lighting systems) as is two memory card slots.
Actually ‘Bringing’ Your Equipment – another obvious one but we’ve had second shooter applicants rattle off their equipment owned only to bring the ‘spare’ camera and inferior quality lenses to work. On other occasions we’ve had second shooters leave important lenses in the car before big moments of the day (like the first dance), and this is not acceptable.
What To Expect Being a Secondary Shooter At One of Our Weddings
- Being Paid – we promptly pay our second shooters within days of receiving an invoice (invoice to be sent after work is completed which includes full bank details and permanent address for tax purposes).
- Being Fed – We always provide food and water/drinks for our second shooters and lighting assistants.
- Your Role – Whilst we expect you to be able to operate independently on your own and be confident enough to run certain aspects of the wedding yourself, it’s more likely we will want you as our ‘permanent shadow’, supporting and assisting the primary photographer. You should be as happy being directed and taking orders as you are being given carte-blanche to shoot on your own… See more on this in the tips and tricks article for second shooting.
- Further to this – we may have you assisting holding lights or arranging subjects within a composition of the primary photographers shot. As such, your camera may be holstered half the time.
- Gaining Experience – is a brilliant reason to second shoot – but we do expect a high level of quality in our second shooters. Often we have people apply who would be better off on one of our wedding photography training courses – and this simply isn’t what we are looking for when working at real weddings with actual wedding clients. Having said that, everyone of an intermediate level and above is more than welcome to learn from us as they work, and Mykey is more than happy to explain his practices and skills with his second shooters.
- Building Portfolio – some photographers allow their second shooters to keep images they shoot on the day for their portfolio, but this is a difficult one as it’s more than a little disingenuous when we booked the client (who booked our style), we have arranged and planned the photos with the client, we have arranged/posed/lit the scene with our equipment. We’ve relaxed the client and used our skill and verbal toolbox to make the expressions that will define the final images. After all this, the second shooter silently stands to one side and goes ‘click’. We don’t mind you taking your images away to use as portfolio but do ask yourself: Could you recreate these images 100% for sure on your own? Do you own all the equipment necessary (strobes/OCF) and know the skills necessary to recreate such imagery? If so then you can proudly reproduce the images, but if not you may want to consider whether such imagery has a place in your portfolio….
Most importantly – if you are only interested in booking a few weddings with us to get some portfolio imagery you wouldn’t be able to make/get on your own to kickstart your business – then second shooting with us isn’t right for you… Simply put – if being paid, building connections, and gaining experience are not primary reasons for you wanting to second shoot then we know you won’t be around with us very long and we won’t be using you I’m afraid…
More Work – Being Hired Again (By Us & Our Friends)
If you enjoy what you do and do a great job for us, we’re going to hire you again and again and again. Also we’ll let our colleagues know about you. We consistently hand 10+ weddings per year to our second shooters, who also second shoot for our friends as well – which is a healthy (and easy) boon to any professionals annual finances.
As a source of extra income with no real outlay in marketing, advertising or print costs – second shooting simply can’t be beat!
Wedding Photographer in Kent| Kent Wedding Photos
Kent Wedding Photographer Mykey Day
Your Wedding Day will never be as important to anyone else as it is to you, but trust us when we say – your wedding will be crucially important to us as well! Please browse our website for examples of our work, and we look forward to making your wedding photographs special too.
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