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  #1  
Old April 5th, 2010, 11:45 AM
Joe Thomas Joe Thomas is offline
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Default Second shooter

What is the best way to find out if photographers need a second shooter for a wedding? I have done some event photography before and I would like to try my hand as a second shooter at a wedding, but I am not sure the best way to advertise myself. Should I find websites of wedding photographers near me and email them and ask them if they need a second shooter? Is there a wedding classified site like craigslist where I can list my services in my location so that someone can find me?

I am just new to this and any help anyone can give me would be appreciated. Thanks.
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  #2  
Old April 5th, 2010, 06:04 PM
Edward Bussa Edward Bussa is offline
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Hi Joe,

I haven't given it any effort, but a fellow photographer in my area said to keep an eye on cragslist. Also, make friends with photographers in your area. Use facebook and twitter and sign up to their mailing lists and go where they are and make yourself known. Ask them about the networking groups they belong to and join them as well. Not that I've done any of this, but I think these are the steps I would take if I wanted to assist for a while.
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  #3  
Old April 6th, 2010, 01:21 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Thomas View Post
What is the best way to find out if photographers need a second shooter for a wedding? I have done some event photography before and I would like to try my hand as a second shooter at a wedding, but I am not sure the best way to advertise myself. Should I find websites of wedding photographers near me and email them and ask them if they need a second shooter? Is there a wedding classified site like craigslist where I can list my services in my location so that someone can find me?

I am just new to this and any help anyone can give me would be appreciated. Thanks.
Hi Joe,

Welcome to OPF! I hope you have a good time here enjoying the company and sharing ideas and images. I have spent some time going through your attractive website and it shows you well. There could be more and it would nice if there were examples of your retouching. From the limited images you show, I have confidence that you are a competent photographer. Weddings have a lot of social pressures very different from cool fashion work and relaxing landscape portraits of nature at it's most beautiful. For all this, you do well.

For Wedding Photography, even as a second shooter, it's a good idea to put together a portfolio of your best regular portraits and group pictures to show you also know the use you of your camera in a fast paced setting where you have no control of posing, lights, clothes and manners and can get through a lot of work. There are times in a wedding where a second shooter is really valuable for example during the reception ant a time when the main photographer might be taking key portraits of the couple and family. Also during the ceremony you would provide extra coverage of the guests and again the main photographer concentrates on the bride and groom money shots and so is not distracted. Weddings are very hard work and one of the most demanding ways of guys earning a living. However, to be at all believably useful, you need to show the photographer you will do what is asked of you, not recruit business for yourself and represent her/him well. So this goes back to your website. That should be simple, have enough pictures to sell you and your craft and then you need to do some promotion. Each of the Churches, Chapels, Synagogues, hindu Temples, mosques have their own caterers, lead people for weddings and lists of trusted photographers that that community tends to use. Give you card around and try to get hooked up with some of these pros.

It may be a challenge at first to suppress your creative spirit to get through the load of picture taking the event requires. This is a social training more than anything. Basically, one needs to know the stages in every kind of wedding and what is forbidden, such as taking pictures with flash in the sanctuary of some crusty prelate where there is not enough light for even mice to mate!

The first few times, it's not important to be paid. Just take notes and you will have an apprenticeship. Pretty soon, once you know it's all about scheduling, spares of everything, not having your gear stolen and getting paid in partly advance, being able to turn on a dime when it rains and you are driven indoors in a cramped ugly room, and expectations to be met, you will be asking how to find an assistant!

Good luck,

Asher
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  #4  
Old April 6th, 2010, 10:27 PM
Joe Thomas Joe Thomas is offline
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@ Edward Bussa. Thanks for your reply. Your advice seems to be pretty solid, not just for weddings, but just for networking in photography in general. I am going to use your advice and see if there is anything that I can drum up for the summer. Thanks again. :)

@Asher Kelman. Thank you too for your reply. I really appreciate your kind words.

My website is pretty new (maybe 6 weeks), so it is just starting out and I am still trying to formulate how I want my site to appear. Especially since I have only been photographing for about a year or so. You are right that I should put up before and afters of my retouching. And I hope to do that in a month or two. I retouch all of my own photos by hand, so I hope that they serve as examples of my retouching capabilities in the meantime.

Thanks for the idea of a wedding portfolio. I will have to put that together. It may not be a direct substitute for shooting a wedding, but since I don't use a studio I hope that the portraits, events, etc. I have photographed will be a decent replacement. Btw. That is a great tip for talking to the various religious establishments for caterers and trying to network with them. I will have to go and get some more cards printed too.

If I can find someone to take me on as a second shooter I hope they can teach me some of the unwritten and written rules of wedding photography, so that I won't have to learn it the hard way of trial and error. Or at least that was part of my hope with my initial post.

I don't know that I want to be the main shooter at a wedding, since photography is not my day job. Right now I would be happy with helping out another photographer with whatever he / she needs and providing my assistance with earning a little extra money on the side. But who knows, I guess anything is possible and I am not going to close any doors.

Thank you both for the indepth responses. You have certainly given me a lot to think about. I appreciate the time and thought.

Joe
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  #5  
Old April 6th, 2010, 10:57 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is online now
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Joe,

The task of getting all the guests n the reception is done with just a 24-70 mm or similar and any digital camera. This is something you could do and June is coming up. Think yellow pages. Print up a one page pamphlet and drop it off personally to all the local wedding pros. The week before send an email saying you will pop by to say hi when you are in the vicinity. I trust and commend your judgement in not planning to move into wedding photography as an independent imminently. some folks do do this and t's foolish as it's better to deliver more than expected for a wedding but so bad when someone takes on a wedding as a "favor" or far a "bargain price" and then cannot handle it.

in the meanwhile, start posting your pictures here and tell us what you like to edit in your post processing.

Asher
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  #6  
Old April 6th, 2010, 11:56 PM
Daisy Rappa Daisy Rappa is offline
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Default Trade off

The trend today is for experienced photographers to hire their unemployed friends so there are two high end shooters for a higher rate of pay.

Very few experienced and well regarded studios will hire an inexperienced 2nd these days. There are too many wedding shooters with down time in this economy. The only way to get hired to 2nd is with people you might already know and have a relationship with and to gain their trust
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Old April 7th, 2010, 12:35 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daisy Rappa View Post
The trend today is for experienced photographers to hire their unemployed friends so there are two high end shooters for a higher rate of pay.

Very few experienced and well regarded studios will hire an inexperienced 2nd these days. There are too many wedding shooters with down time in this economy. The only way to get hired to 2nd is with people you might already know and have a relationship with and to gain their trust
That might be in LA but in other places, especially red states, procreation is an important thing and marriage a must. In small towns in the USA, a lot of banks have prospered and I have no doubt that weddings will do well too. I'd not be discouraged. You just want top be a second shooter not take over the Chamber of Commerce!

After all, there are only 12 weeks or so from May to July and that's just 24 opportunities to assist at a wedding. Likely you can work all of them if you really try hard, have good portfolio to show and are charming.

Asher
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  #8  
Old April 7th, 2010, 12:45 AM
Daisy Rappa Daisy Rappa is offline
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Default WEdding Board

Asher,

Much of my post comes from several years of experience chatting about busies on a wedding forum much like this from people who do nothing but weddings. Your two cents may vary. There are a number of wedding shooters willing to 2nd to put groceries on the table because some one else is willing to shoot for free.
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  #9  
Old April 7th, 2010, 08:45 AM
Joe Thomas Joe Thomas is offline
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@Asher. I have a few lenses in my collection that I think can serve me well for that sort of occasion depending on the circumstances. So I think I will be fine in terms of gear.

I will try to post a shot or two from this weekend in the critique section. I have a test shoot lined up, so it will be interesting to see how it turns out.

@Daisy Rappa
That is an interesting trend. I don't know anything about wedding photography trends. Even if that is so, I don't think it will be hard for me to ask around a little bit, or to keep an eye on craigslist.

And I am not worried about the experience factor. I have done enough events, and location photography I feel that makes up in part my lack of wedding experience.
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  #10  
Old April 7th, 2010, 12:17 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is online now
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Originally Posted by Joe Thomas View Post

And I am not worried about the experience factor. I have done enough events, and location photography I feel that makes up in part my lack of wedding experience.
The great thing for you, having seen your pictures, is the way you react with the photographer and the guests. Dress shirt and pants and nice shoes, hair neat and with your portfolio to show, it's a no brainer. Everything depends on the social factors. If you succeed in demonstrating that you are a solid reliable amiable person, then you will do well. Come on time and have a card and a sheet to give him/her. Offer to have breakfast together. Listen and chat on neutral issues, the camera stuff is not important as listening.

Asher
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  #11  
Old January 22nd, 2011, 08:46 AM
Sydney Rester Sydney Rester is offline
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Originally Posted by Asher Kelman View Post
That might be in LA but in other places, especially red states, procreation is an important thing and marriage a must.

Asher
I'm just coming across this statement, but had to say it's so true! Even at this point in the economy. I'm working as an associate photographer for an established wedding photographer in a smaller Texas town, and her business is booming!

I also wanted to agree with Asher that when you're second shooting, you must be able to get the kind of shots the primary wants and be very clear that's the reason you're there. That sounds so obvious but let me elaborate. The first wedding I did, the primary shooter did very little posing and let the couple wander around the really lovely venue and we captured their interactions. We got some really really beautiful natural loving moments. They are some of the best shots in my portfolio to date.

The primary I'm working with now is more known for having lots of modern, funky, posed shots up on her blog. So that's usually what we're doing in the time we have for photos - posing the couple, bridal party, etc. In a lot of cases I'm grabbing what shots I can from behind her, or off to the side, or sometimes I even put the camera down entirely and help her with posing and fluffing the dress, veil, positioning bouquets, etc. I would rather be getting the candids, but I understand that my job is to support her and make sure that her money shots come through.

As her associate I will be taking on some weddings as the primary this year on dates when she's already booked so I've been doing all I can to learn her style (We actually need to find a second shooter to back me up, and quickly!). It's a good business move for me as this means I'm actually getting paid real money for photography in 2011 :) I have one wedding booked through my own company later this year, and honestly, I'll run it differently, but for now I'm very clear on my "job description" as associate/second shooter.

That's a really long way of saying that you'll need to be able to convince the primary photographer that you can support them, get their money shots, and not shoot for yourself. They'll be much more comfortable that way and likely to take you on.
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  #12  
Old July 12th, 2011, 12:01 PM
Otto Haring Otto Haring is offline
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Originally Posted by Joe Thomas View Post
What is the best way to find out if photographers need a second shooter for a wedding? I have done some event photography before and I would like to try my hand as a second shooter at a wedding, but I am not sure the best way to advertise myself. Should I find websites of wedding photographers near me and email them and ask them if they need a second shooter? Is there a wedding classified site like craigslist where I can list my services in my location so that someone can find me?

I am just new to this and any help anyone can give me would be appreciated. Thanks.
Find the ones whose work you like in your area and call them!!!
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