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The Art of Being a Second Shooter

Lesson 2 of 24

Capturing Great Photos

Jasmine Star, JD DelaTorre

The Art of Being a Second Shooter

Jasmine Star, JD DelaTorre

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Lesson Info

2. Capturing Great Photos

Lesson Info

Capturing Great Photos

Now a good photo is going to be defined differently by each photographer so it's we're just gonna be throwing out a few global ideas that second shooter's should be keeping in the back of their mind and most probably as a second shooter you want to do two main things and you want to get more jobs and you want to further your craft regardless of what type one, two or three you are that's going to be two of your main objectives so the more photos that the first shooter king can use in his or her portfolio, the more viable you become as a second shooter. Now one thing that I want to kind of address going into this section is I want photographers to resist the temptation to over shoot because what happens is I and I'm saying this primarily as somebody who used to be a consistent second shooter and that's your kind of worried you want to make sure you get everything for that first shooters you don't let them down so you kind of go into sniper mode teo are like not sniper that's opposite you...

want to go into like a machine gun mode, right? You're just like holding your finger on the shutter and then at the end of the wedding that first photographer has to go through three or four thousand photos in addition to his or her own and that is not help it's more of a hindrance because now you have to go through and look through seven or eight thousand photos for a wedding day. Be thoughtful because what we need to understand his second shooter's is that the first photographer will be getting the shot right. They're going to be confident in their stance, going confident they're lighting and that second shooter needs to be a little bit more thoughtful. Wait for it, wait for I would say that to three to four photos is much better. Three to four good photos is better than twenty. Almost there almost there. Here's a good one. Almost there. Almost there. Almost there almost. Oh here's a good one. It degradation our work as second shooters. So one thing I think people should do is to be thoughtful and that really it takes time and it takes a reprogramming as a first shooter, you're mode is go go, go, go, go! As a second shooter. It it should be I see what that first year I was doing. I see their stress. I see where they're going. I'm going to stand differently and I'm going to be thoughtful about this. Approach ah first you'd appreciate that very much. Ok, cool so sometimes you're nodding and it wasn't sure he wanted to interject no, no, no, no. I like listening to everything I act like I haven't heard any of this before, but I'm a minutes I wasn't sure if that was like husband code to be like you're talking to my tio that definitely happens another piece of advice and what what makes a good photo is to push your creative boundaries. You know, a lot of times we could become so preoccupied and getting the shot when as a first photographer, I really appreciate when my second shooter I have shot probably ninety eight percent of the weddings with jd but there have been a couple weddings here in there that I brought on the second year and what I really appreciate in either of those situations is when somebody gets creative because yes, it's great to have a second angle but to get a second angle in a very creative style it's like, oh my goodness, how did this person c this is brilliant, I'm happy for them because they have a stronger portfolio but I'm also happy for myself because my clients have a stronger day as a result so think about these things as you go into the wedding date now along the same lines as overshooting I want to heavily encourage photographers second shooters to know how many frames are on your camera as you go into, I'm sorry how many forms on your cf card as you go into certain moments? Because there's nothing worse than having a second shooter stop when that first shooters in in a group and there've been times there were ladies like jasmine jasmine, and I look over any points to camera and then I know, ok, he needs he needs a minute, and so I know to kind of slow my roll, shoot a little, give him some time to get caught up. However, we don't have that luxury when it's the first look when it's a ceremony first kiss when it's the recession. So what I need second photographers to always do is change your cards before those big moments on the wedding day and be fully prepared for that. I'll never forget that wedding that jd said that he drove me to sit or we carpooled to san diego for that wedding. What it happened was the first shooter was standing in the center aisle, the second and the third shooter, we're standing in the wings, so there was really no pressure on me, so I kind of stood at the back of the isle offered a slight angle, I was ready for this kiss, I was ready and waiting primed for it and justus, they're about their lips are about to touch. I looked into the camera, ran out of memory and I was like, no, no, no, and so I'm panicked, I can't get my cards and not only do I miss the first kiss, I missed the announcement, I missed them walking down the aisle, so total freak out mode. But what I learned that day was a valuable lesson, you know, I'm glad that I learned it when I was a fourth shooter. Instead of me being a first shooter or even the second shooter, I learned that valuable lesson early on and that's something that I really tried to instill with whoever I'm working with the early make those mistakes, but it but it happens and, you know, it's one of those things where, even if you have this thing with your first shooter, where you like tio, I'd like to remind jasmine before these big events, I like to just go upto you fill your car to good, use your card good, so just making sure that you're always being aware that you don't miss a very important moment that can't be recreated, so, yeah, I'm actually gonna get into the next section we're just moving right along next section is what hold on you guys know the guys that's questions right because we've gone through this before they're like a ton of questions already now what we do have we do have q and a and I want to make sure that ken and susan feel like what I told our amazing students off camera is that I wanted them to interject when you guys had questions I don't want you to feel like we're just talking talking talking if anything pops up I wanted to have a similar story or you know you want to reinforce a point go right ahead we loved in here what's going on well of course we have so many questions already coming in from the internet ah lot of the questions you guys are asking are amazing but they're also a lot of things that we are going to be covering uh later different a lot of the topics are things that were going to be covering later but do you guys have any sort of initial thoughts or questions get the conversation go in I'm just here and I think that we can relate way don't really fit into one of those categories that how we fit is that um we we shoot together all the time every wedding but when we have the opportunity we are more than willing to second chute for photographers that we aspire to be like or that inspire us or whose business model we admire or um so yeah we run our own business we have our own little company um but we're always short of second chute with people that I have been doing it longer than us two men have gone before us in a word to the wise don't too many ties what you do you don't have a little company you haven't you haven't or realisation you haven't enterprise yeah no definitely but I definitely see your point I don't think that's good that's awesome from online we have a question from scott hamel who asked how much experience should I have before I try and get a second shooter job I have tons of passion for photography but I have never shot professionally bef for only friends and family um I think it's very good for he said his name was scott scott I thinkit's gonna be scott I think it'll be great for him to create a portfolio based on the port on the photos that he's photograph so far and in a portfolio making sure that it's diverse you want full sun you want open shade and you want low light to show a perspective photographer to showcase what you can do on a wedding day now when I first started second shooting and when I was working with other very, very new first shooters those first shooters didn't want to take on a second shooter who had a lot of experience because it could be very intimidating right? So you kind of wanted to bring along somebody who was at your level so that you wouldn't feel like overwhelmed with the fact of how far they were in their learning curve if they had a big business and you had a quote unquote little business right you want to bring somebody around your same caliber so that shouldn't be in a pet a bit it should just be really forthcoming this is my divers portfolio I'm gonna reach out to you and for people who want that particular second shooter will be a perfect fit but yeah, I was gonna uh you said be thoughtful and kind of get creative with your shots and first year is gonna have the shot so maybe looking different angles that type of thing we're in a situation where somebody's gotten too creative and is actually pulling away from the situation that you're trying to shoot or I'm speaking I'm sure that's happened before yes absolutely I mean we can think of every horror story between first and second shooter and it likely that we have a way that we're gonna be talking about later we have a lot of those but as a first shooter if jd is not able to go the wedding I do a lot of thorough work you know I mean if I see a portfolio peace I don't invite strangers to shoot with me I shoot I invite people I know on a personal basis who I follow on their blog's social media, so I'm seeing a consistent a body of work so I'm not getting a lot of like tilted images selective color really deep saturated photos so I'm doing a lot of legwork in advance is it a question more of a question that's coming in and we'll get to you awesome um from katherine photos by photos by orion in salem, oregon when you have a husband wife team, is it possible tohave to have either of you as a second shooter or is there always a second shooter? So maybe just talking about the concept in and of itself of first shooter second shooter and what that even means you know yet the great question er you know, for our business I am always the second shooter, but I know a lot of husband and wife teams who uh that role reverses all the time it's always different one at one time, but they will have those discussions in advance. Well, they'll they'll talk to each other and say, I'm going to take the lead on this one and there repose and allow uh the other photographer shoot you and then and then it will completely switch so there isn't one one way to do it way have it settled that we ii always be the second shooter and jasmine always opposes and you know, works with a client. We're going to get into that section tomorrow. We're gonna be kind of cashing that out and what roles look like and tips for how to improve howto work howto work together as a couple and also how to shoot together as a couple because there are people who are watching who's. Their spouse does not want to be a full time member of the business, but they want to shoot with them. So there's kind of two different types of relationships are going to get into that tomorrow, but we're gonna move on to the next section. Oh, no, one more question. Yes. Is there ever a kind of like that? A situation where maybe it's like a time crunch and you're like, jd, can you go get the groom? You're being way, we're gonna get there and, yes, those moments happen all the time where jasmine I'll be. I'll go out and take the responsibility of a certain part of the shoot just when I think I was, uh, I was answering this question. Whenever jasmine and I are actually working together when we're in the same space, then she will take the lead on those things. But yes, there comes there's a lot of times throughout the day where where I'm doing that cool? Well, I'm going out and shooting on my own. Yeah, okay, all right, so I'm gonna get into a question that a lot of second shooter's actually have and that is what do I bring on a wedding day? Would y pac, uh and, you know, this answer is going to be different for a lot of main shooters. Some main photographers prefer that you use all of their own gear because they feel it's more reliable, and they know exactly what it is that you're shooting on. So this means you're going to use their cameras, their lenses, they're cf cards and all those things. And on the other hand, there are second first shooters who want the second shooter to shoot with whatever their most most comfortable with, and that usually means bringing your own gear. So, uh, I remember you tell me that story it was okay, so there's this one actually, last august, you're here in seattle, and I met up with another photographer were walking around green lake, and she had recounted a different story of how she had worked with a second shooter and the second shooter showed up it was a recommendation from a friend, and he brought on a few lenses with him now, she liked the way he worked. And so the falling we can share a wedding. And so she hired him again. And when he showed up to the wedding, he had one lens and she turned and she was just like, so what happened to all of those lenses you had last week and he's like, oh, I didn't have enough money to rent them again this week. She was like, can you believe I was completely shocked, but we have to understand that if nobody's asking the question, you won't get the answer. So you have to never assume that somebody has all the gear that they're showing up with for every single wedding. Now you could alleviate this by saying, do you have all of your gear? What will you be bringing? Or you say I have enough gear for the both of us? I would prefer if you shot with my gear or just if you shot with my memory cards, right? Um, you know, the moral of the story was that making sure that you're always telling, asking first what the photographer would like you to bring? Uh and then also let him know what you're actually bringing so that in case you don't have what they want, you could make preparations for that and you can always make you know, make sure to always be prepared you know, if if the first shooter if you're shooting on all the first shooters gear uh a lot of times they're not used to packing for two people, so if they forget something, then what happens to you if they forget a battery or a couple of extra cf cards, that means you just you don't get to shoot or if you know something goes wrong with the first shooters gear you're usually shooting if you're using their gear, you're using your using their backup equipment, which means that if something does go wrong with their camera again, you're left with nothing to shoot, so always be prepared and the best way to be prepared is tupac backup equipment if no matter what, even if you're using something else is here, bring your own stuff on and just leave it in the car on you know, in case those things happen. Um the best way to stand out as a second shooter I found is to have things uh, prepared and ready for the first shooter that they don't even think they wanted, so I like to just put myself in jasmine shoes anticipate when it is that she needs and then have it ready for her so I'm gonna get into a list of things that I actually bring on the wedding day that aren't here related that help uh help you know I do I think jasmine just appreciates what when I come when I come with those things in that show they think I have to know this I'm actually in a lot my shoots act and I carry a shoot that I love it because it just allows me has so many pockets that actually have all my lenses in here now but what I want most of it yeah, well, the lenses that I usually use but the first thing that I always like to pack in here is I always pack an extra bottle of water for jasmine she you know we should in the summertime and it gets really hot so I always like to make sure that uh my first a photographer is hydrated uh I also also packed in tonight's assault is off it's the next thing I like to pack is a bag of kleenex it comes in handy it might sound a little weird but you know, emotional wedding days are very emotional days and bridesmaids or mother of the bride or the father that bride can always tear up, so if I see that happening I'll first shoot it, capture that moment and then I'll pass off the kleenex to jasmine so she can go hand it off always makes her look good um I also pack that's the next thing you say oh so on the side of my chutes like I always put us I have I have safety pins and bobby pins here you know as a guy I would only know how to use these things but I can't tell you how many times there's been like a little snafu with the dress and jasmine comes up to me and says that you saw that safety pin and I have that ready which is great um I always always carry a bottle of aspirin it's always comes in handy now again these are things you don't need tohave gosh, it makes a big difference you know the other day uh the d j came up to me and we were talking he's like do I have a headache? And I said oh great want some aspirin gave us master and then we just hit it off that day way made sure it felt like we were on the same team so you know, he would always look out for us all right? There was no event that night but he wouldn't do anything that coming to us like hey guys, are you guys ready for this? And I was like aspirin that trig I always put a handful of band aids in here uh and that works because jack jazz was on her feet all day so she might ask me for if she actually requested betty sometimes that she started if we start to get really beat up, but a lot of the bridesmaids they're wearing heels on their own issues of the first time. So it's always good to have those things so that when some, when you see someone in pain, you could just give them a few band aids. Uh, the last thing I actually packed and I put this usually in my in the big bag where I have all our gear, I always like to pack a non plastic hanger, so I'll put a hangar in my bag because this has helped us so much there's been so many times, we walk into the bridal suite and we see that the dress is hanging on a plastic hanger or it's still wrapped in plastic. And so what we need to do is you know it, we're in a pickle if we don't find a hangar at the time were in trouble, so we always just I always make sure that I bring them along so these are the types of these are the little things that you can always just bring to help you stand out and your first shooter will always appreciate these types of, you know, a little extra measures definitely so there might be people online who are just like, are you kidding me? I don't bring that stuff. Well, your first dinner would totally appreciate it, like, take take my word for it, like johnny does, like little small things that I take for granted. So if I ever worked with somebody else, I'm just like, wait, you're telling me you didn't bring band aids. I have to think for myself right now.

Class Description

If you're an established second shooter or looking to become one, this course focuses on ways to strengthen your portfolio, be proactive, improve shooting technique, establish the terms of shooting agreements, become a vital asset to the wedding day, and learn how to book jobs. In addition to lots of content, conversations, and fun, a live shoot will demonstrate the first/second shooter dynamic and a portfolio review.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

2nd Shooter Day 1 Keynote.pdf

2nd Shooter Day 2 Keynote.pdf

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes



Great course!! As a newly emerging photographer, I just got my first second shooting opportunity a few weeks ago. Since I had never photographed a wedding before (even as a second shooter), I searched Creative Live for a second shooting course and was relieved to find this one. After watching some of the free sample portions, I purchased it. I was happy to find that despite the few negative reviews left before mine, the course is an excellent one for those with no second-shooting experience. Here is what I liked most about it: a) It includes several segments where Jasmine and JD demonstrate how they work together at a wedding. I found Jasmine and JD to be very honest in their representation of how things actually occur during a wedding. Since I had not (at the time I purchased the course) ever photographed at a wedding before, I was desperate to get a sense of how things really work. Jasmine and JD delivered in this regard. I was able to see how things really to react and photograph in tight time to stay out of the main photographer's way and still take good images...and what to pack and how to preplan in order to truly support the primary photographer. b) JD and Jasmine were very honest in talking about some of the mistakes they have made in getting to where they are today. I think this must be hard to do - baring your soul and talking about things that have gone wrong. But in doing so, they give something to students like me that some other teachers don't - a truly realistic view (from the perspective of someone who has made them) of the errors newer photographers commonly make, and how to succeed and keep moving forward in spite of them. Jasmine has done this in other courses she teaches on Creative Live as well, and it is very much appreciated. It's such a relief to see that in their early days, seasoned and successful photographers make rookie mistakes too - and to hear how they pushed through them. Everyone makes mistakes. The question is - what can be done to fix them, and how do you avoid making them again in the future. JD and Jasmine address these things in this course. c) JD and Jasmine have different personalities and different approaches to certain aspects of their craft. It was helpful and inspiring to me to see how they work together in spite of the differences. I think their differences actually complement the other. Like JD and Jasmine, my husband and I work together in our newly emerging photography business, and have differences in our personalities and approaches to photography. I really appreciated seeing how Jasmine and JD use these differences to enhance their photography, and how they work through the sometimes tense challenges that can arise in fast-moving wedding photography scenarios. I also liked hearing things from both of their perspectives. d) JD provides lots of solid, tangible, helpful tips in this course, including a list of non-photography-specific items to pack in support of the primary photographer. His advice on second shooter etiquette is solid and includes lots of ideas and concepts that I hadn't thought of prior to watching this course. e) JD provides information about shooting angles and lenses to shoot from/with that help round out the main shooter's wedding portfolio for each client. Again - I learned concepts and ideas that I hadn't thought of prior to taking this course. I watched this course twice prior to my first second-shooting job and it paid off. I felt a lot more prepared, and comfortable, going into the job than I would have without the information presented by JD and Jasmine. I highly recommend this course to other newly emerging photographers who haven't photographed at a wedding before, and who are looking for solid advice for what to expect, how to prepare, how to photograph as a second shooter, and how to support the main photographer at weddings in general. Good stuff!!


Great course. Jasmine and JD did a great job of teaching this course. They were well prepared, entertaining to watch and provided a lot of useful information.