Last Saturday I had the opportunity to second shoot a wedding with a good friend and I'll be blogging the wedding when she has her post published. As I left for the day, JD packed the bags in the car, shut the trunk, and wore a sly smile. Whaaaaat, I asked him. Oh, nothing, he said. And then proceeded to admit he was excited for me to spend a day in his shoes as a second shooter. Don't forget to offer water is what he tells me as I back out from the garage.
I try to assist another photographer at least 1-2 times a year, so when Meg emailed me a couple weeks ago and asked for help, I was more than happy to oblige. Here's a few observations about second shooting that I might have forgotten since my early days of wedding photography...
*It's hard work. I carried a different mindset as an assistant and it forced me not just to think of my shots (which I do as a first photographer), but ensure the first photographer had hers and I wasn't in her way. I felt like my brain worked overtime.
*Finding unique shots is difficult, but not impossible. I think and shoot like a first photographer, but that wasn't my role on Saturday. I needed to create a new photo in the current context of first photographer's pose. Sometimes this required me to run around to a few different angles to find a photo that reflected my style and diversified the portfolio, but hustling is part of a second photographer's game.
*Communication is important. More than anything, the second shooter needs to express where she'll be and when. There were times throughout the day when I split from the first photographer, but texting my whereabouts and what I was photographing ensures assurance. It's the second photographer's job to remind the first photographer, she has her back. Always.
*Be a friend. A first photographer knows she can probably shoot the entire wedding without a second shooter...but having a second shooter totally helps. It's a backup plan and a safety net, but for the majority of the day it's a way to have someone to talk to. Better yet, someone to throw ideas around with or simply converse about the harsh lighting. Being a friend on a wedding day is almost as important as being a solid assistant.
Not too long ago, JD gave his opinion on second shooting (here and here), but I thought I'd add to it since...well...I don't know why I'm adding to it. I guess it's Monday and I felt like talking. WHAT ELSE IS NEW?!