This past weekend was my first time working as a second shooter. I worked alongside my friend and mentor Mark Spooner, an award-winning wedding photographer based out of Beverly, MA. I've worked with him for a couple of years on editorial shoots, but I finally got to accompany him during a full wedding in Lenox, MA. The experience was incredible and I wanted to share some thoughts and lessons learned from my first time second shooting!
1. Say Yes
It goes without saying that weddings are stressful events to shoot. Countless moving parts, delicate wardrobe, a crowd of friends and family, and an ever-changing schedule - all on the biggest day of two people's lives - can leave a photographer feeling anxious! As a second shooter, it is imperative to look for moments to alleviate stress from your photographer. Change a lens, carry a bag, move a step ladder, hold a purse, find a water bottle - whatever it is, say yes. And, when you can, try to anticipate changes and offer help without being asked.
2. Have Fun
It surprised me just how fun it was to work as a second shooter. Sure, some parts of the day are stressful, but when all is said and done, I found a lot of freedom to be creative with the photos I was taking. I had the time to lock shots and do long exposures, spray some atmosphere aerosol here and there, wander around the property to take establishing shots, and even pull out a prism for a couple photos. It was the most fun I've had as a wedding photographer and I'm really grateful for that.
Stonover Farm / Lenox, MA
3. Ask Questions
It's a pretty cool opportunity to work with a professional in a career that you love - make the most of it! You get anywhere from 6-10 hours observing someone who does this for a living, and that's really cool. In all fairness, being friends with Mark gave me a unique comfort in talking shop with him, but the principle still applies even if you don't know your photographer that well. Step out, be bold, and ask questions! We're all in this together and it's important to keep learning as photographers. Don't grow stagnant.
4. Be Thankful
This one might sound obvious, but take the time to thank the photographer who brought you. You're getting valuable experience and (hopefully) great photos to add to your portfolio! That's a pretty cool thing, and an opportunity you otherwise wouldn't have had. So, Mark, if you're reading this - thanks a ton dude, I'm so grateful I got to be here. This was one for the books.
Any questions? Feel free to comment below - I'd love to talk!