March 12, 2014

S + D | Second Shooting | Metro Detroit Wedding Photographer

This looming snow strom is beyond depressing. My mind is looking forward to June days where the sun shines and love is in the air. Just like the day of Sarah + Derek’s wedding last June. This was the first wedding in 2013 I second shot for Mishelle Lamarand Photography and it sure didn’t disappoint! Sarah + Derek are so sweet together and holy smokes, isn’t Sarah stunning? Super model status!

Since it’s that time of year again where a lot of wedding photographers are starting to plan their second shooter schedule for the 2014 wedding season I thought I’d post some second shooting tips. Every season I’ll second shoot 5-10 weddings in addition to photographing 20-25 weddings of my own. As you know if you read my blog, I love second shooting. I really feel like those 5-10 weddings make me better for my own weddings. It keeps me working, keeps me busy, and keeps me in the groove.

So after having quite a few second shooting gigs under my belt, I feel like I might have some advice to give. A few things I’ve learned along the way and also what I tell my second shooters is simply, do your thing. I’ve hired you because I like your work. I want your vision, added to my vision to create the ultimate vision! Let me do my thing first and if you see something that I might not have seen, let me know and feel free to shoot for you. Shoot what I’m shooting, but shoot it differently – please don’t stand behind my back shooting the exact same thing. Don’t worry, I got it. 😉

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One of the great things about second shooting is being able to capture the moments that the main shooter can’t get. As the main shooter, I’m focused on the big picture… getting the bride walking down the aisle, the kiss from dad, or mom, or uncle, etc who is giving her away. The look on the groom’s face as he sees his girl as she walks down the aisle. As a second shooter, I like to hang back with the bride before she walks down the aisle. I love to see the emotion and the nerves before she becomes Mrs.

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During the ceremony, the main shooter is likely in the middle of the aisle making sure they get all of the very important moments from center. As a second shooter I love being able to capture those moments from unique spots. If a church has a balcony, I’m planning my way up there and quite often, I’ll spend most of the ceremony up there. At this church in particular, I was really only able to get one or two images from the balcony. It was really small and I needed to stay out of the way of the organist. So after I got my shot, I quietly went back into the church and went to the side where I could be sure to see all of the smiles from the bride as she said her vows.

A very, very, important thing to keep in mind as you are walking around the church, you have to be quiet like a mouse. DON’T be distracting to the guests or the bride and groom. Yes, you have to get your shots but the ceremony is NOT about you. You are still 100% capable of getting the shots you need without moving around like a crazy person, I promise. :o)

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At times there are shots that are hard to shoot much differently than the main shooter. Bridal party pictures can be tricky. I like to check with the main shooter and see what type of lens she is shooting with.  Mishelle was using her 35mm so I went even wider. I was able to get some pretty killer shots of the same thing Mishelle was shooting, but a completely different look. Other times I’ll shoot loner and focus on the bride and groom and the little looks they share with each other.

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Know your main shooters work. The first time I shot for Mishelle I knew her work but I didn’t know how she worked. It was actually the first time I had ever met Mishelle and I quickly caught on. We communicated throughout the day on what types of lenses we were shooting. If Mishelle was shooting wide, I was shooting long and vice versa. We now have a pretty good understanding of how we shoot together and I find my happy place shooting with my 70-200mm f/2.8. It’s the only zoom lens I own {I’m a prime girl!} but I feel like it keeps me the most versatile while I’m second shooting. Plus, the 70-200 is a killer lens and I love the images it produces.

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Within the last year or so I’ve been shooting 100% of my receptions with off camera flash. I was on the fence for a while, afraid to totally change up my routine when Mishelle gave me the little push to really bring myself to the next level. That being said, in 2014 my second shooters have to use OCF at receptions. I’m okay with you still learning – I mean I would be nowhere if it weren’t for a little trial and error while second shooting, but it’s got to be something you are actively working on. There is just such a huge difference from an image shot using OCF and not using it. I’m not saying not using it is bad, it’s just more my style to rock it out and the ultimate goal of having being a good second shooter is to be able to look at the main shooters images and the second’s images and not be able to tell who shot what.

My last thoughts on being a second shooter… You have to have professional gear. I know a lot of times you second shoot a lot while you are starting out but it’s imperative that the quality of year gear is professional. My clients are spending big money on me and the expect the best – as they should – I can’t be giving them poor quality images in their gallery because my second shooter’s gear wasn’t up to par. So what is professional gear? For starters – you have to be shooting full frame. I don’t care if you are Canon, Nikon, Sony, Fiji, whatever, it’s gotta be full frame. Of course if you shoot Nikon like me, you are clearly brilliant and I love you.  As far as lenses go, you should be shooting with lenses with f/2.8 or wider {f/1.8, f/1.4, f/1.2}. I have spent many, many years renting professional lenses and buying them when I could afford to. Renting lenses is actually quite affordable and really worth it when you are working on purchasing lenses that start at $1600! And of course, you gotta be shooting in RAW format but that should be a no brainer.

So with all of that information, if you want to second shoot for me, I’d be happy to have you! Send me an email {info@megdarketphotography.com} and hopefully we can work out our schedules!

 

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