Wedding photographer 2nd shooter continued

Halfway through another absolutely amazing wedding season, I thought it was a good time to collect my thoughts and write them down.  


First let me say I feel very lucky.  Very randomly I met Calvin, and since then I keep finding things that have made working together a blast.  We both drive a stick, stupid and not photo related, but it has proven very helpful.  We both shoot Nikon, making using the others cameras seamless and easy, as well as the ability to swap glass if desired. We both have similar, however different takes on the same situation. Many times its crazy to see a picture of the same thing, shot separately and without knowing and how alike they are. Conversely seeing how the exact same thing can be shot so drastically different from one an other.   And we both of us have a crazy drive to do things differently and have fun doing it. 

Follow the man with the plan, if the lead has an idea, its your job to help, or shoot differently.

Follow the man with the plan, if the lead has an idea, its your job to help, or shoot differently.

We as photographers are creative beings, weddings offer so many great opportunities to be creative. And by all means you will have the chances to think outside the box and play.  One thing that was great to realize as a 2nd shooter was this.  Two photographers never think the same, maybe you think you are better, maybe you are soaking up all the knowledge and experience you can. You might have an idea that you think is great, or that the primary photographer is missing out.  But remember this.  Its not your decision!  so stop.   Sure you can toss out an idea, or point out a cool location. But in the end its their call not yours.   at no time do I find this more true than portraits of the bride and groom. Most of the time its just the photo team, and the happy couple, (sometimes an escort if the venue is a little high strung).  When we head out to shoot, normally when the guests are distracted with food, or cocktails.  Despite what ideas i might have.  I grab anything that the lead photographer isn't bringing.   For example if they take an 85mm and 35mm, I grab a 20mm and 70-200, if they want a light, I will hold it if needed and shoot ambient when I can. (Also this can be good moment to bring along a stashed snack or coffee/water for both of you)   Not only can we switch out lenses if we need, but it does no good to have similar images from similar lenses.  Another thing which is greatly appreciated and fun, is to shoot the lead photographer shooting.   Not only does it tell a story, but it can help for marketing, or their Facebook, instagram, blog, etc.  


Another thing to discuss with the lead photographer, or talk to your 2nd shooter before embarking on the wedding day is delivery, or card transfers.


 Myself and most of the people I work with shoot dual cards, Card 1 and an immediate back up on card 2. Can't ever be too redundant and careful.  However during a 8-14 hour day the cards can rapidly fill up.  Storage is cheap (in the grand scheme of things).  A wedding can easily generate 128gb or 256gb.  if everything is backed up properly thats nearly a half Terabyte of memory.  While it really depends on how selective you shoot, the length of the day, and camera file sizes.   Do you have enough memory. and if you do.  Do you have enough to shoot the next day if you hand over a complete set of cards to the primary photographer?   Best advice, pick up some more cards!   32's and 64's are fairly cheap these days.  Its always better to have a surplus of cards, then trying to delete images on the camera in desperate need for space at a wedding.  Besides if the lead needs an extra or you forgot one in a card reader that morning you will still be covered.   But make sure to chat before, will they give you cards to use? do they want you to cull the images then deliver?  Do they want everything? etc.   


Lastly find things that the lead shooter likes.  i.e. comfy places, puppies, getting creative, and taking risks.