Tag Archives: wedding photography

5 Tips for Photographing a Wedding

I’ve written several posts covering tips for photographing a wedding. (See the wedding section in the margin). Last weekend I shot another wedding and found myself going through my usual preparation routine. While there’s a lot to plan for, to make this a ‘bite sized’ post, I’ve condensed it to 5 tips for photographing a wedding.

Wedding photography

Visiting this venue before wedding day enabled me to plan how best to use this boardwalk

Tip 1 – Visit All Venues Before the Wedding Day

This is a fairly obvious tip, but I continue to be surprised by the number of wedding photographers who don’t visit all venues in advance. If you want to give yourself maximum chance to produce great images, visit the venues and plan the shots. For the recent wedding I shot I had visited the church, outdoor location, and reception venue. I also attended the wedding rehearsal at the church on the Thursday night before the wedding.


If you need more convincing about visiting venues please read Why Visit Wedding Venues Beforehand.

Tip 2 – Know What’s Important to Your Client

It’s really important to know what your client is looking for. To do this you need to be deliberate in asking questions to see what matters most to the couple.

For some it is a big family occasion and for others it is a very private ceremony for the couple and some key guests. Invest time discussing what you client likes well before the wedding day. Not only will it help you deliver what they want, it will also help you stand out from most other wedding photographers.

To do this I like to go through sample albums from previous weddings with my client. Their reaction to the images helps me to understand what is most important to them in their wedding day and in their wedding photographs.

Tip 3 – Clean Your Equipment, Charge Your Batteries

Having equipment you know and trust helps you focus on the creative task of producing great images. I work through my equipment checklist the day before the wedding, and pack everything the night before.

I sleep well knowing that everything is clean, charged and ready to go. Knowing where all my equipment is, and where the back ups are if anything goes wrong, let’s me focus on enjoying the day and creating strong images.

Tip 4 – Work with a Second Shooter You Know and Trust

I’ve written several posts about the benefits of working with a second shooter. If you have a support person you know and trust, you can generate a larger range of images for your client with no additional stress. I always work with a second shooter.

If you need more convincing about this please read:

Tip 5 – Create Space in Your Calendar for Post Production

The wedding day is the high profile part of the job, but selecting and editing the images is the more time consuming component. Most of the weddings I shoot are still on Saturday’s so I make sure I create space in my calendar in the week after the wedding to make a strong start to selection and editing of images.

Thanks for reading 5 Tips for Photographing a Wedding. Happy shooting.

Shooting Moving Objects

Over the last 2 months I have been working with 5 other photographers to build a new image library. I didn’t know the photographers before we started the project, and it has been fun and challenging to work with them. One area that has become clear is that there is room for improvement in shooting moving objects. I have ‘grown up’ shooting sports and wildlife and selling prints. In that environment the images have to be in sharp focus. The 5 photographers are all younger than me and have ‘grown up’ in the era of Facebook and Instagram where there is less importance on fundamentals like having the image in really sharp focus. So here are a few pointers for shooting moving objects.

Focus Mode and Focus Point

Below is a straightforward lifestyle image of a woman walking across the road. This image can be very boring if she is standing still. Having her moving adds an energy to the image. So how do we maximize the chance of having her in sharp focus? Firstly we shoot in continuous focusing mode. I use Canon equipment, so on my Canon camera bodies that is AI Servo mode.

woman walking

Use continuous focus mode and a single focus point to maximize your chance of a sharply focused image

Choose a single focus point to tell your camera where the focus should be. In this case I pre-selected this point before we walked across the road, and I aimed it at the model’s eye closest to the camera.

Shutter Speed, ISO, and Depth of Field

For the shot above I wanted to blur the people in the background so I shot at f2.8. It was an overcast but bright morning, so I used ISO400. I knew at this ISO and f2.8 it would mean I could keep a fast shutter speed which again helps keep sharp focus in the image. The shutter speed in this image was 1/1600s.

In older DSLR bodies I would be very careful about raising the ISO as it would result in grain in the image. But with modern DSLR’s this is not a concern, and is not a consideration at ISO400.

What Shutter Speeds Should You Work With?

The answer to this question is to practice extensively. I know from taking thousands of images of moving objects what shutter speeds maximize the chance of a sharply focused image.

Of course the speed the object is moving has an impact on what shutter speed you will need. Again, from experience, I know that in the case of the image above any shutter speed at 1/400s or faster will give me a good chance of a sharply focused image.

Woman crossing

An image like this will have greatest chance of being in sharp focus if you shoot at 1/400s or faster

In the case of kids sport – I have shot many basketball games and know that 1/800s might not give me sharply focused images when the kids are running at full speed. At 1/1000s or faster I have a much better chance.

And for fast moving wildlife like the grey headed flying fox below, I’ll be aiming to shoot at 1/1600s or faster.

Shoot A Single Frame or Multiple Frames?

Like everything in photography (!) the answer is up to you. I like to shoot multiple images to give me choice among the images and as ‘insurance’ if one shot is out of focus. I shoot images of fast moving objects in burst mode and shoot 3 or 4 images each time.

Flying fox

This image was shot at 1/2000s to freeze the action of this fast moving flying fox. It was shot in burst mode.

If you are serious about your photography and committed to producing sharply focused images you’ll need to master shooting moving objects. Think for a moment about the possible scenarios – sports, live music, lifestyle portraits, stock, wildlife, wedding, events. The list goes on. If you can’t shoot moving objects well you are going to significantly reduce the options for earning money from your photography work.

I hope these quick pointers will help you with shooting moving objects. Next step – lots of practice! Happy shooting.

Taking Your Photography Business in a New Direction

It’s not uncommon for photographers to come into the industry with a burning passion for an area of the market, only to find that their early enthusiasm and drive gets worn away over time. This month I’ve been working with a photographer to help her move away from weddings and into pet photography. We’ve been talking about how to make that transition, and how to move from a moderately successful wedding photography business into a very successful pet photography business. Based on those discussions here are 5 tips for taking your photography business in a new direction.

Woman and train

When you are taking your photography business in a new direction, focus on the opportunity in front of you and not on any failures behind you

Tip #1 – Don’t Let Past Performance Define your Future Success

My observation is that most photographers who are changing direction in their photography business are not doing that because they’ve had too much success! While that’s possible, I’ve found that most are changing direction because they’ve lost the passion and drive for the area of the market they initially targeted, and that’s also reflected in the performance of their business.

In the case of the photographer I’ve been helping lately, she has grown tired of long days shooting weddings, managing wedding guests, driving to different locations, working with a wide variety of second shooters, and spending hours editing images. As a result her wedding business is not particularly strong. That is impacting her finances and her self-esteem.

So tip number one – don’t let that current circumstance affect your mental health or your confidence. Take it as feedback that you need to refine your business and refocus – not that success is beyond you.

I wrote this post about an important principle – it’s about progress not perfection. I believe that’s the case for every small business, regardless of the industry you are operating in. If you can adopt the outlook that it is about making progress in your business every day, then success will come your way.

Tip #2 – Be Very Clear on Your Target Market and Commit to It

When you are changing direction in your photography business it is very important to be clear on your target market and commit to it. In the case of the photographer I’ve been helping, she should try to avoid shooting any more weddings if she sees her future in shooting family’s pets.

As she moves into the world of pet photography she needs to clearly define who her potential clients will be. The more detailed she can be, the better. Consider these questions about your ideal client:

  • Where do they live?
  • What types of occupations do they have?
  • What family structure do they have?
  • What socio economic profile are they? What income levels?
  • What is important to them?
  • What type of photographic products do you expect to provide them with?
  • How much do you expect them to spend with you?
  • What do they do in their spare time?
focus

Be specific about your target market. It will bring focus to your business and your actions

Tip #3 – Show appropriate work on your Website and Social Media profiles

Now that you are pushing forward and re-energised we need to make sure that the work we are showing to the world reflects the type of work we want to do, and the type of clients we want to attract.

The photographer I have been working with wants to do studio pet photography. So it’s important that she shows studio based pet photography on her marketing materials. The easiest and arguably the most important are your website and your social media profiles. Resist the temptation to share old wedding work if you see your future in pet photography. Share studio pet images if this is the type of image you are going to build your business on.

Tip #4 – Network in Your New Space

If you want to accelerate your move into a new market, network in that new space. The rewards will justify the effort. Get to know people who share your passion.

Start with making a list of possible networking contacts – for the pet photographer this could be pet stores, dog training schools, vets, animal hospitals, or animal care organisations. Then research which ones are local to you. Visit them. Get to know the people. Ask how your business could support their business or organisation. See if you can refer your clients to them, and ask if they will refer clients to you.

Effectively networking in the new area will accelerate the development of your business.

Juggling

While you take your photography business in a new direction you will have a lot to juggle. Network in your new space to accelerate your business.

Tip #5 – Leverage Your Previous Clients

I’m known for preaching that the key to a successful photography business is a growing number of happy clients. Don’t complicate things. Ask yourself – today, do I have more happy clients than I had last month?

When you are looking to move your photography business into a different area, leverage those strong client relationships. Get in touch with the couple whose wedding you shot last September and explain that you are moving into pet photography and ask if they know people who’d appreciate your style of images. People like to make referrals to their friends. Use this to your advantage and ask them to help you establish a new direction for your business. Those strong client relationships you’ve built up are an asset to you and your business. Use them as you move your business in a new direction.

Other resources

I’m a regular reader of Cole’s Classroom. It is an online resource covering a wide variety of photography topics. They recently had an interesting post about when you are trying to grow your photography business in a new geographic location. Check out 5 Tips For Growing Your Photography Business in a New Area.

If you are considering repositioning your photography business I hope that Taking Your Photography Business in a New Direction has been useful for you. Happy shooting!

Why Visit Wedding Venues Beforehand

This week I visited the venue for a function I will be shooting in 2 weeks time. I’m really looking forward to the function. It is for a lovely couple at a beautiful location on the Bellarine Peninsula in Victoria, Australia. The venue is a vineyard which has a well presented functions area, lots of grape vines, a rural outlook, and 4 wheel drive access to a private beach. It was a long drive for me to visit so, why visit wedding venues beforehand? The answer is obvious – to get the best result for my client!

Wedding photography

This venue had a private beach with 4WD only access. It was great to visit and plan shots here.

But when I am visiting, what am I looking for? Here’s the top 5 things I want to achieve:

  1. To know where the best shots will be made. I don’t make it up as I go when shooting weddings or events. I like to visit beforehand to understand what the possibilities at the venue are, and to develop a shot plan. To do this, I walk around the venue, both indoor and outdoor areas, and imagine the possibilities. I also ask the people at the venue where they think the best photo spots are, and then I ask ‘what are the undiscovered photo opportunities here?’. It’s amazing the insight the venue’s staff can give you.
  2. To develop a wet weather plan. Most of the weddings I shoot are in spring, summer and autumn and are likely to have outdoor opportunities for making images. I plan for both good and bad weather. When the weather is bad, you will see how well prepared the photographer is!

    outdoor function area

    All function spaces are different and visiting in advance lets me plan.

  3. To check out the function area. When it comes to functions and speeches I like to know how the room will be laid out and any strengths or limitations of the space. From this I will develop a plan for where I intend to operate from, and where I would like my second shooter positioned.
  4. To best prepare myself for the day. This only comes with experience, but I have learnt that I work best when I am working to a plan. I like to think through the photographic options and plan the timings. Knowing I have that plan in my head let’s me relax and enjoy the time with my clients and their guests. So, one of the key reasons for why visit wedding venues beforehand is actually for me. I know that I will do a better job for my client if I’ve visited and planned.
  5. To meet the venue staff. Staff at venues are a wealth of information. They can make suggestions, tell you about images previously made at their venue, show you shots made there, and add their own suggestions. I take the time to listen to their input as I’m planning the day. In the event of bad weather, having an existing relationship with the staff can be a huge help. They will often go out of their way to help show off their venue in the best possible way even when the weather doesn’t cooperate.
Beach

I take images on my smart phone to help with planning each shot and thinking through the timings.

They are the top 5 reasons for me as to why visit wedding venues beforehand. And so when do I visit? I know lots of photographers who wait until the day before the wedding or event. To me this is a risky option. You never know if you are going to be unwell, have an urgent last minute job to do, or have another emergency come up. I like to visit the venue 2 weeks before the wedding or event. And I try to visit at the same time of day that I’ll be shooting the key images. That gives me a better understanding of exactly where the sun will be, and how I can make best use of the natural light.

I hope Why Visit Wedding Venues Beforehand has been helpful to you. Best wishes with your weddings and events.

Great Location Great Options

If you are shooting weddings, portraits, or stock – the venue you choose will have a significant impact on both the style and variety of images you can produce. Some venues only allow for one style of image, while others will allow for multiple different styles. For maximum variety and impact, I’m looking for the double – Great Location Great Options.

Winter portrait

Take time to research your venue. It will lead to more successful shoots.

For this shoot with Ayona we were shooting with a dual purpose – the images were going to be used on her fashion blog (Her Style Saga) and also in my stock portfolio.

Woman on stairs

Large stairways always provide options and the leaves add to the wintery feel

I had wanted to shoot at this venue for some time, as I love the old architecture and building facades. I visited the venue twice before the shoot to check which locations would be suitable, and to see how the light would fall in the late afternoon when we were shooting.

That research made me realize there were a wealth of different options within short walking distance.

There were areas which showcased archways and classic architecture, others with beautiful building facades, some with park backgrounds, and yet others with fallen leaves which highlighted the late autumn, early winter time of year.

This was a venue with lots and lots of options (I liked it so much, I’ve already done another shoot there!)

So, what should you look for in locations?

Point 1 – Backgrounds which will add impact. I look for buildings or landscapes or architecture which will give a real sense of presence to the image. I want to add to the impact. This set of images was about a young woman and her passion for fashion. It could be shot in the studio, but there was more impact shooting outdoor. And in an outdoor venue, I wanted to be able to create a set of different images in a short space of time. That leads us to point 2.

Woman walking

Arches, classic architecture, fashion, and an overcast day are a great combination

Point 2 – look for venues with variety. I don’t want all my images from a shoot to look the same. This is particularly the case for wedding photography and stock photography where I am expecting to shoot and use a large number of images. So I don’t want all the same backgrounds.

I want to be able to easily move (ideally walk) between different areas which will give me different looking images. In this case, all the venues we used were within 5 minutes walk of each other. For me, that is perfect! The entire shoot lasted for less than 90 minutes and we produced a wide variety of images.

Point 3 – the location needs to be free from over crowding. To be able to shoot in a public space, you need a venue which will not be overcrowded. I didn’t want people wandering through the background of my images, so we chose to shoot on a Sunday afternoon on a fairly cool early winters day.

It was cool, but the wintery conditions meant we didn’t often have to pause for people to walk through the background where we were shooting. All the people were inside keeping warm!

Boots

Fallen leaves and leather boots added to the wintery feel.

Point 4 – choose venues with good accessibility and parking. This venue is about 25 minutes drive from where I live, which I would call fairly close to home. It is in a built up area and parking can be difficult during the week. So we chose to shoot on the weekend when we both had availability, knowing that the location would not be too crowded and we wouldn’t have much trouble finding a car park.

If you haven’t been putting much time and research into choosing locations, perhaps you should take a lesson from the advertising industry. In planning for TV commercials, ad agency staff spend hours and hours researching the perfect venues to support the story they are looking to tell. If you are a photographer shooting weddings, portraits or stock, perhaps you should spend more time researching venues to help you produce really strong images?

Architecture

Architecture can add impact

As well as Great Location Great Options, you need a good model to work with. Thank you to Ayona who was a very easy person to work with, and the shoot was a lot of fun.

If you would like to check out the images Ayona selected for her blog, or if you just love fashion – visit her blog out at Her Style Saga.

Thanks for taking the time to read Great Location Great Options.

5 Tips for a More Effective Workflow

An effective workflow is the difference between efficiently completing one job and moving on to the next, and being tied to your computer seemingly not able to complete the current job. As a Melbourne wedding photographer, I am proud of the efficient work flow that I have built. It is working for me and my business, and also for my clients. As we are in the middle of the summer wedding season here in Australia, I have challenged myself to further improve my workflow. Here are 5 tips for a more effective workflow.

workflow tips

An efficient workflow is particularly important in wedding photography

Tip #1 – Don’t overshoot – too many images can be a killer for your work flow. This does get easier with experience, but once you have the shots you need there is no value in generating 20 more of the same subject. Or 30 more, or 40 more. For example, when shooting a wedding I want a small number of good shots of the wedding rings. I want more than one image of the rings so that I have some options when I am putting together the clients album – but I don’t want lots and lots of them. When I have 4-5 good images, I stop. There is no point in having an additional 25 ring images to work my way through in post production. Get the shots you need and move on. Don’t overshoot. Too many images can be a hindrance to your workflow.

Tip #2 – Delete in camera – one very effective way to make sure the number of files you download to your computer is manageable is to delete images in camera as you go. At a wedding there are times when this is possible. They are normally the less hectic parts of the day like during the preparation. If I know I’ve ‘missed’ a shot I will delete it in camera rather than keep, download, review, and delete. I find this a very effective way to make sure only the best images make it to the post production phase of my workflow.

Tip #3 – Manage your clients expectations – one common ‘mistake’ I see from wedding photographers is not managing their clients expectations for the number of images which will be delivered to them. This is particularly the case if digital images are the only final product being delivered to the client. You don’t want to be in the situation of delivering 200 images when the bride was expecting 500. Have this discussion when you are finalizing the details of the shoot. If the client has unrealistic expectations talk to them about the “quality vs quantity” trade off.

Tip #4 – Be ruthless on the first cull – the big improvement I have made to my own workflow is being ruthless on the first cull. When I first sit down to review images, I now aim to halve the number of images on the first pass. Yes, I aim to delete one in every two images to quickly get to a manageable number of files. It’s possible. Be ruthless on the first cull.

Tip #5 – Keep to Task – The final tip is one which applies to me. It may not apply to you. When I am reviewing and deleting images I find it very easy to get distracted. I want to look at and edit the very best images from the shoot. This is counter productive and means the task of quickly moving to an appropriate number of files to edit gets delayed. Delays are not good for an efficient workflow. Keep to task.

Do you have some key tips to share from your own work flow? What are the improvements you’ve made? Or the pitfalls to avoid? Please add a comment on this post.

Thanks for reading 5 tips for a more effective workflow. I hope they have been useful to you. If you would like to receive regular emails from Beyond Here, add your email address in the sign up box on this page. Thank you.

 

Flash Batteries That Last

Over this weekend I fulfilled my role as a Melbourne wedding photographer, by shooting a wedding in Doncaster. It was a full day shoot, starting at 10.45am with preparation images, continuing through the ceremony, a garden location for couple and family images, and then the reception. My second shooter and I finished up just after 9pm. I carry backups for all key equipment – 2 camera bodies, 4 lenses, multiple memory cards, and lots of batteries. Recently I changed the brand of batteries I use and have found flash batteries that last.

Eneloop batteries

Eneloop batteries managed a 10 hour shoot without needing to be changed

The brand of batteries I use now is Eneloop. Prior to using these, I have used all the major battery brands. I predominantly use rechargeable batteries, but have also used the non rechargeable ones as well. That normally means changing flash batteries several times during the day to make sure I am not let down by the batteries recycling at a critical time and missing a key shot.

That has all changed with Eneloop batteries. I carry 2 flash units with 4 AA Eneloop batteries in each. (Because I use 2 flash units they are only working half as hard as a single unit might). I used the flashes intermittently throughout the 10 hour day, and extensively during the evening reception. I didn’t need to change batteries for that entire time and the flash was recycling just as fast at the end of the day as it was at the beginning. These are flash batteries that last.

Moving to Eneloop batteries has eliminated one additional thing to plan for on wedding days – changing flash batteries. While I will still carry backup batteries, I am not expecting to need them. This allows me to focus on the client, and making great images.
If you are looking for flash batteries that last – I recommend looking into Eneloop. I bought mine online, and have found they are available from all the major online retailers of batteries.

Disclosure – please note, that I recommend Eneloop batteries as I use them myself and have found them to be superior to the previous batteries I had been using. I don’t receive anything from Eneloop for promoting their products.

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8 Tips For Being A Great Second Shooter

Being a second shooter is a great way to start in wedding photography. There are many advantages to being a second shooter – primarily that the success of the assignment is not totally dependent on you. That makes it a lower stress entry point, and gives you the opportunity to learn your craft while assisting the primary photographer. Following posts on 6 Reasons To Work With A Second Shooter, and 7 Qualities To Look For In A Second Shooter, here are 8 Tips For Being A Great Second Shooter.

Tip 1 – Work Well With People. Creating a great client experience is not only about the images. The photographer also has a responsibility to treat the couple and guests with respect, and to make sure they enjoy the day. As a second shooter guests will ask how many weddings you shoot, what equipment you use, and a variety of other questions. It is important to treat them well so that their interaction with you is positive. It ensures everyone enjoys the day, and reflects well on you and the primary photographer.

Variety

Consciously creating different images will add variety for the client

Tip 2 – Think Ahead. A very good second shooter can anticipate shots and will prepare equipment in advance. Nothing is more impressive than to turn to call for a reflector, and seeing the second shooter there with one on hand ready to go. This takes time and practice, and requires a strong sense of teamwork with the primary photographer. If you want to be a great second shooter – think ahead.

Tip 3 – Clean Your Equipment. Images from the second shooter are important to the overall package delivered to the client. It is important that the equipment that both photographers are using is clean and will produce high quality images. Nothing will frustrate a primary photographer more than looking at the second shooters images and seeing every image effected by dust spots on the sensor. Take responsibility for making sure your equipment is clean and ready to produce the highest quality images possible.

Tip 4 – Be Predictable. Being predictable is about communicating with the primary photographer. Talk about where you will stand during the ceremony and what type of shots the primary photographer wants from you. Talk through the plan for the day and the role you will play. Talk to the primary photographer if you need to take a toilet break. At a recent wedding where I was a guest, the primary shooter turned to find the second shooter only to later discover he had gone to the car just at the moment he was needed. Don’t be that second shooter. Keep the primary photographer informed.

Tip 5 – Shoot Differently. The second shooter provides value to the primary photographer by providing different images to their own. Different angles, different styles, different images. Make the most of generating ‘different’ images by using different lenses. For example, if the primary shooter is using a 50mm lens, work with a 70-200mm. Consciously create different images by using different equipment than the primary photographer.

Tip 6 – Behave Professionally. As well as shooting images, the second shooter is representing the primary photographers’ business. You are there to get a job done – not to make friends or to join the party.

Tip 7 – Dress Appropriately. At a formal wedding it creates a very poor impression if the photographers are dressed casually. Imagine the bride and groom dressed beautifully, and the second shooter getting around in old jeans and worn shoes. This doesn’t create a good impression and doesn’t add to the clients enjoyment of the day. Make sure you understand the expectation of the bride and groom and dress appropriately.

Tip 8 – Be Reliable. To be a great second shooter you need to form a strong team with the primary photographer. If you want to quickly build trust, be reliable in everything you do. Arrive on time. Do what you say you are going to do. Know where all the equipment is. A second shooter who is reliable is a huge asset to a primary photographer.

Thanks for reading 8 Tips For Being A Great Second Shooter. If you can follow these tips you will have primary shooters regularly asking you to work with them.

7 Qualities To Look For In A Second Shooter

In a recent post on Beyond Here we looked at 6 Reasons To Work With A Second Shooter. A high quality second shooter is a major asset to a wedding photographer and so much more than just another camera. In this post we look at the 7 Qualities To Look For In A Second Shooter. I assume that your second shooter has photographic ability and can produce images which meet your expectations. In addition to that ability, here are 7 qualities to look for in a second shooter.

Quality 1 – Team Player. There will be times where a second shooter needs to do things that are not glamorous – like keeping guests occupied while wedding party formals are completed, or carrying bags to locations. These tasks are key to the smooth running of the wedding photography, and your second shooter needs to do what is required for the team to get a great result. Look for a team player.

Quality 2 – Strengths That Compliment The Primary Shooter.  Ideally your second shooter will have skills which compliment the primary shooter. One of my second shooters has a passion for shooting the macro details of a wedding. This is ideal. When we arrive I would rather speak with the bride and the bridal party and shoot preparation images. At that time my second shooter loves to shoot the details – jewellery, shoes, invitations, the dress etc. It is fantastic that my second shooter has strengths that compliment my own. Together we can deliver a great outcome for the client.

Wedding Rings

Ideally a second shooters strengths will compliment the primary shooter

Quality 3 – Thinking Ahead. A good second shooter will be able to think ahead and anticipate future shots. This can help the primary shooter, as the second shooter can have equipment ready or be in a position which makes the most of the opportunity. The ability to think ahead and anticipate shots is a key quality of a good second shooter.

Quality 4 – Quality Equipment. When the second shooter is using their own equipment it is important that the quality of images they produce are acceptable to the primary photographer. I use Canon full frame camera bodies and L series lenses, and prefer if my second shooter has similar equipment. Check that your second shooter has equipment which will produce quality images.

Quality 5 – Reliable. It almost goes without saying that being reliable is important. In the wedding photography industry it is easy to focus only on the creative and artistic outputs. Doing that overlooks personal qualities that make the job easier. A second shooter needs to be reliable.

Quality 6 – Good Communicator. Along with being reliable and a team player, an effective second shooter is also a good communicator. A strong primary / second shooter combination know what each other are doing and where each other are. It is not ok for the primary shooter to look for the second shooter and not be able to find them. Good communication skills are key.

Quality 7 – Gets on With People. The wedding day is filled with people and high emotions. A second shooter will interact with the wedding party and with guests. In those interactions they are representing the primary shooters business. Being able to get on with people is important to make sure the friends and family of the wedding couple have an enjoyable day. I look for second shooters that I know will represent my business well, and who will ensure that the guests enjoy the wedding day.

Thanks for reading ‘7 Qualities to Look for in a Second Shooter’. I hope it has been useful to you. You may be interested in Preparing for Wedding Photography Success and 7 Tips For Your First Wedding Photography Job.

6 Reasons To Work With A Second Shooter

When photographers start out shooting weddings, we tend to think it is all about our own creative vision. The client has hired us because they like our work, and hope we can produce lovely wedding images for them. Then, because its all about us, our images, and being ‘wedding photographers’, we choose to shoot our first wedding solo. Only after we have shot several weddings do we realize that it’s not about us – it is about meeting the needs of our client. We also realize that a second shooter can be so much more than just another camera capturing different angles. So if you are starting out – here are 6 reasons to work with a second shooter for your wedding photography.

Second Shooter

A second shooter can be much more than just an extra camera

Reason 1 – It Makes Looking After Your Client Easier. On wedding day there are invariably times when it is very handy to have someone to work with as a team. Commonly ‘Auntie’ goes walk-about at the time of the family formals. Your second shooter can find her while you carry on with the bridal party. Or while you are shooting one image, you can see another shot which will need a different lens. Your second shooter can put the lens on your second camera body, enabling you to quickly move on to the next shot. Having someone on hand to assist lets you focus on meeting you clients needs while they act as support.

Reason 2 – Different Photographers, Different Perspectives. A second shooter provides different angles on events of the day. If the primary shooter positions themselves at the front of the ceremony, the second shooter can add to the final images by being positioned at the back of the ceremony. This is just one example of the additional range of images which can be produced by having a second shooter.

Reason 3 – You Can’t Be Everywhere. As the primary photographer, you can’t be everywhere. As the bride walks up the aisle you can’t simultaneously be in front and behind her. Both shots can look great.  Partnering with a second shooter gives you more capability to capture key shots for your client than you can do alone.

Reason 4 – Wedding Photography is Hard Work. For any photographer, weddings are hard work. There is a lot happening and it is a long day. Sharing that workload with a second shooter helps to keep you fresh and ready to shoot another wedding tomorrow and another one next week. Going alone, leads to exhaustion. A second shooter is valuable to keep you fresh.

Reason 5 – Back Up is Important. It is hard to plan for days when we are sick or injured. In reality it doesn’t happen very often and it is easy to think that planning for this is so unlikely that it is not necessary. That sentence should be a warning sign for you. If your client is relying on you, it is important not to let them down. Your reputation depends on it. Not only will a second shooter give you a variety of different images – if you have chosen your second shooter well, they can step up and take the primary position if you are sick or injured.

Reason 6 – Some Shots Need Help. It is reality that some shots need assistance. My clients regularly ask for a shot of all of the guests to be taken after the ceremony. When there are natural points of elevation this is quite straightforward. I can gather the bridal party and guests and use a vantage point to shoot down on the whole group. But when there isn’t a natural point of elevation – like a set of stairs or a second floor window – I use a ladder. This is where a second shooter becomes ladder carrying assistant! My second shooter can walk to the car, grab the ladder, and have it in place for the group shot – all while I am still shooting bridal party formals. Then when we move to the group shot, it can be set up and shot with minimal disruption to the flow of the day.

Thanks for reading 6 reasons to work with a second shooter for your wedding photography. A second shooter can be a key business partner and so much more than just another camera. What is your experience? Did you start shooting solo? Do you work with a second shooter now? What lessons would you like to share?