First + Second Shooter Agreement

S
he was sweeping the floor when he heard us arguing in the next room. My mother rushed into the living room and saw me and my twin pulling a t-shirt between our hands. She stole my shirt and wore it to school (although she insisted it was hers) and next thing we knew, we wrestled on the ground. My mother turned the broom upside down, pointed the bristles toward the ceiling, and used the end to pry us apart. With her broom, she pushed our bodies apart...which later resulted in the three of us laughing so hard we cried.

Looking back, the argument seems so silly (although it was my shirt), but most disagreements start off petty and turn into something larger.

I see this happening in the photo community, too. But before we get there, here's a photo of my second shooter (JD) getting approval of his work from a highly critical wedding guest...


Some of the most heated conversations on photo forums relates to working with a second shooter. Many times I read frustrations between two photographers and it results in awkward conversations, arguments, and/or resentment. However, most miscommunication can be resolved if parameters were established and hard questions answered in advance.

In light of this, I created a Photographer's Agreement between first and second shooters. This fully customizable agreement outlines what is expected from both parties (how are images to be delivered, terms of payment, copyright terms, etc.), as well as opens the door for effective communication before the shoot/event occurs. Many thanks to Katy Carrier of Law for Creatives, who helped me put this together. She's an amazing lawyer who provides a plethora of legal documents for wedding professionals, so I was honored to have her assistance.

If you're interested in downloading this photographer's agreement, you can find it on theSTORE, along with a Second Shooter's Handbook and email correspondence templates to help minimize the time you spend with your computer. These resources are merely meant to help as you navigate growing your wedding photography business...because, really, I'd hate to step between you and another photographer with an upside broom!

Happy Tuesday!

**Edited to Add**
@Fiona: The Agreement doesn't specify laws related to a particular country...it just outlines what's expected and can be interpreted by a country's legal system. It basically states what's expected from both parties. Hope this helps! :)
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Essex Wedding Photographer - Just downloaded the email templates and a number of training videos - can't wait to get stuck in.  09.20.13 - 11:53am
Katie Jackson - I bought the 2nd shooter agreement and used it at my last wedding! It was so nice to have everything written out for me. I added a paragraph about how my second can use the images and when (they can only use images that were delivered to client and it can be no sooner than 6 weeks after wedding date). I also bought the law for creatives wedding contract and just had one of my lawyer clients sign with no objection! He said it was a well written contract:) I feel like it fully covers everything, so I would highly recommend it as well!!!   09.18.13 - 7:14pm
Dan Ward - Love the tips J* - good ideas :)  09.18.13 - 12:42pm
Alice - This is a great idea. Recently I have been involved with assisting some weddings, and I am extremely conscious of the fact that I am assisting and not in charge, waiting at all times for instruction by the official photographer. I can imagine that there are a lot of assisting photographers that want to jump straight in, in order to get their shots for their portfolio but from what I've heard that doesn't result in them being invited back!!  09.18.13 - 5:03am
Linda - This is fantastic! I just shared the link for the agreement on the Canadian women's forum that I am a part of because so many of the women have asked about a 2nd shooter agreement. Thanks for helping us all out in your various ways.  09.17.13 - 9:39am
Fiona - That sounds great. I was just thinking I'd buy it but then I realised I'm in England and the law won't be the same! How about commissioning a lawyer to do a British version for English law?   09.17.13 - 9:26am
Josh D. Smith - Wicked Smart Jasmine! It seems like it is so tough to find a second shooter these days who doesnt have an ego and who is willing to humble themselves enough to assist for a wedding. smart to have a contract though!  09.17.13 - 9:11am
Stephanie Stewart - OMG, cutest wedding guest ever!!! Great tips, J*! Thank you!   09.17.13 - 9:00am
Norma - Stellar idea! (Love your email templates. This should be good too.) I work with my daughter who is a co-equal first shooter.   09.17.13 - 6:55am
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