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The Art of Being a Second Shooter

Lesson 5 of 24

Compensation and Agreements

Jasmine Star, JD DelaTorre

The Art of Being a Second Shooter

Jasmine Star, JD DelaTorre

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Lesson Info

5. Compensation and Agreements

Lesson Info

Compensation and Agreements

I think this section is important because I want people to know a second shooter's it's totally okay for you to put a value on the time that you spend second shooting another person's wedding in fact, I will say that I've openly said that we have never taken alone on our business that we could only were only buying things that we could pay for in cash and parlay how I financed the first part of my business was by second shooting with other photographers so I would second shoot three or four other weddings and by that time I would save enough to invest in the lens and I was also doing side photography gigs but I want people to know that it's okay, now we're just going to talk about numbers because sometimes it's a little faux pas you know to get into the specifics so there are different types of compensation for second shooters and the key to remember is that there isn't a set standard. I don't want you, you know, going to the first photographer and be like, what one hundred dollars? Ja...

smine said no the first photographer gets to create the terms in which they will pay their second shooters and the second shooter's secretaries have the choice to agree to that term or not agree to that term so everybody knows what they're getting into now if you would ask ten different photographers how they paid their second shooter's you'd probably get ten different answers but we're gonna try to cover it in a global perspective and then deal with independent questions as they as they come um now there are because in light of all of these different models were going to break people in order to break second shooter's into two groups and then we'll be able to talk about the mitigating factors within these each two groups and the sliding scale in which they get paid so the first type of second shooter payment um will be a paid second shooter now the going rate for a second shooter it varies widely but it varies primarily on three main factors and those three main factors are one experience as a second shooter second shooters who have more experience have a tendency to be getting paid a little bit more to geography based on our research larger cities and met clinton areas traditionally paid their second shooter's more so new york los angeles miami san francisco dallas they had it we've thought we saw a trend with people getting paid more there now it could be simply based on geography people photographers in larger cities do get paid a little bit more so maybe they're paying their second shooter's more or it could be in part teo factor three it's service price when these photographers are getting paid more, they're more likely expecting a higher caliber of work profession like professionalism with their workplace and also they're probably depending on a diverse portfolio in a clutch situation. So these air things to think about as you're negotiating with the terms of your payment now what we discovered was that an average price for a second shooter was anywhere from two to three hundred dollars and that seemed to like the national average, but in larger cities people were getting paid as much as four hundred and fifty dollars, and if you are, if you're getting paid for hundred fifty dollars to five hundred dollars to second shooter wedding, my hat is off to you. That is a great a day of work. This is america. You could get paid that much money. That is amazing goodness gracious now, as ah hired second shooter what you need to understand is that you are an independent contractor to the main photographer that's what we need to clarify from the outset and if your main if the first photographer has not clarified those terms you have, you have to understand that this is an implicit understanding. Now the key to understanding this type of second shooter arrangement is you have to have open communication because you're getting paid outright for your services you may or may not be able to use your images as the second shooter that is the that is the prerogative of the first shooter now some photographers will allow their m photographers to use them in different capacities. Let's, talk about this capacities. Some photographers will not allow their second shooters to use their images at all. Some require that all of the images are turned over that evening and you cannot use them. Some photographers required that you shoot on their cf cards. He turned those cards over at the end of the night. And that is what you got paid for now. Some photographers will allow you to use images in your portfolio, but they do not allow you to use them online. So if a client were to come in and meet with you and you had a wedding album or fear to canvass print, they understand that for studio use, you can use them now. The last type of way that a second shooter could possible. Use them if they're getting paid is you can use the images online, but you cannot use them in your portfolio on your website. In a wedding album, no, some photographers will allow second photographers, too. Use this because they can say, oh, hey, I shot with terror in seattle last weekend, but I was the second shooter, so it's a win win and all of that has been clarified out on the web. Now the key is to know in advance what you can do with your images if you are being compensated now most of the issues arise between a first and second shooter because the terms of the agreement we're not solidified in advance now if each party knows how to proceed, the nobody is let down and if you don't like the terms to either one of those agreements, you guys can amicably partner ways and it's all good now the second type of second shooter compensation isn't unpaid second shooter now, as an unpaid second shooter, you haven't understanding that not all compensation comes in the form of money right compensation khun come in different terms different ways now generally speaking, what I want people to do is get the chance to shoot, but what I need you to do is to weigh your options carefully if somebody says they're not gonna pay you when you want and you have to drive two hours and then you shoot for ten hours and then they require you to call your own images, which is probably going to take you another three or four hours. You have to start thinking this is gonna be a lot of work, but I know what you want then weigh your options carefully now if you're shooting as a second photographer generally speaking, loosely speaking, you will be able to use your image is in some sort of pass see? Because they understand they're not paying you for your services their pit you're coming on your own time so you will be able to use them but the key is to understand how you can use them know how you can use them in advance have it in writing have it somewhere now I've heard that most of the like debacles between first and second shooter's happens because there was miscommunication again this is we're gonna beat you to be so tired of this communication word at the end of the second day I am not even lying now nothing is wrong for shooting on an experience basis only I had mentioned this before. First I second shot probably seven to eight weddings before I even got paid and even once I started getting paid and I had provided a service and portfolio pieces that I felt warranted to get paid if there was an opportunity to set to second shoot for a photographer who I respected or I felt was really inspiring and they weren't willing to pay me I agreed, but again I knew the terms of that relationship. I knew what I was getting into and that was fine. We were both okay with that now what I want people to do is tow ask uncomfortable questions that's going to be the main thing um what should have happened now, regardless who is presenting the terms of agreement? You have to understand that the on ly person who has your back is yourself if I'm a first shooter, I'm going to care about my business and if you're a second shooter the on ly person caring about your business is you so take the time to ask those really uncomfortable questions on what I want people to do is to ensure that you have some sort of documentation getting a contract setting up an agreement we're gonna get more into that in a second but here are some basic things that you should be asking before you get into a nagre mint with photographer now I'm a huge proponent of writing everything out I went to law school I don't know if we mentioned it already, but I like gold stars I like stickers and I love writing everything out I have to do list for my to do lists so creating open communication is great and this is usually achieved by actually sending something that two people can read and be on the same page now couple questions that you should ask before taking on a second shooting job is this a paid gig then you just know automatically great once you once you find out if it's paid I wanted to know how much you're getting paid right? It's no, I'm gonna be like don't worry, I'll hook you up well your hook up in my hookup might come a different terms so know what isthe secondly um in what capacity can the second shooter used the images and have them be specific if somebody says yes you can you use images and then you come to find out well, wait a minute what do you mean? And he was like I didn't mean that you could use them online okay just know the term because now we know the terms could be thirdly, how many hours am I working because if you have established it you would be working for six hours and then he asks you to stay on for an extra three that might change the terms of your compensation right? These are the conversations pretty uncomfortable? What do you say? Well, are you gonna pay me for that extra hour? But yes, I mean that uncomfortable conversation doesn't have to happen absolutely I mean, unless you just don't mind being walked over cause that happens a lot in the industry now if you're okay staying an extra three hours because you want to build a relationship on trust that's great, but I understand that you need to vocalize I'm going to stay an extra three hours but don't worry you don't have to pay me more like it's uncomfortable to say those things but the only person that will say them on behalf of your company's yourself lastly, what type of gear is expected or whatever gear is needed? We already went through those types of conversations earlier today but it's really important if they say, you know, you get to the wedding there like you don't have a macro lens, right? Well, if you didn't ask, I didn't tell you, you know, getting clarification in advance is going to be key, which leave me teo my last point because these questions these four questions were the most basic terms that you can get teo when discussing the terms of relationship with the first photographer. But if you would like help drafting a comprehensive agreement, I have drafted a very comprehensive legal agreement that's provided on jasmine star store dot com it is a pdf for first photographers and second photographers to come to an agreement it's fully customizable, you get a pick and choose what you would like now if you're a second photographer and you're working with the first photographer who does not have an agreement in place, feel free to send that photographer that contract or this agreement because the older son they're going to come to terms with what am I willing to pay and my live giving the second shooter ah flat rate am I giving this second photographer and hourly rate it's, forcing you to have these types of conversations and outlined everything in advance it also outlines. Do you bring your own gear? Do not bring your own gear so all the things that we've been speaking about up until this point, the best part is that these are it's, a pre emptively awkward question getting it out all open the open and it'll help avoid really bad disagreements and it's nine ninety nine so that would be beheaded. And also, if you're a first shooter who wants an agreement, uh and who wants to start having an agreement with second shooter's, this is this is what you could use for everyone that's, all that's here, all you guys, I want to be sending you guys all a free agreement so that you guys could use it because we believe in them. Weigh exactly. See, I start using it with, uh, actually, just you husband and wife, team or couples teams e che ti contract. You guys can use it if your life, but you don't make me sign the agreement. Actually, well, if that's the case, I need a raise. I know, right? I don't even know, I know. How much stuff you have paid an hour by the way have to stay later. There have been times where we negotiate the terms of contract the client our average collection is eight hours and you say eight hours of wedding but sometimes the day gets delayed or the party's going on and they ask us to stay an hour now jay is very cerebral, so if you tell him eight hours it I'm here for eight hours so sometimes the coordinator will come up to me like a king. We keep you guys an extra hour and like absolutely no problem I'll send you an invoice yada yada yada and then I'm like jake, you have to stay an extra hour and he's like what a national totally ok, I just know that jasmine has to have that conversation of because it's it's really awkward usually like appetizers so we will go out after for dinner it was such a diva I sell now I feel like I'm like this no one's gonna want to hire me now but again goes back to mark's allusion allusion to awkward questions. Yes that's fine, but yes track talking any about insurance for a second shooter versus it doesn't itemizes it's going it's an agreement I do feel like we consulted with a lawyer for it, but I I would prefer to send our terms to use it as an agreement if you want a customized contract drafted up for yourself I encourage you to find a lawyer to do it this is just a really detailed with legalese agreement between two people but yes, it does say that as a second shooter you're not you're not covered by my insurance the only people covered by my insurance or the people a listed on that agreement and within the agreement it says we highly encourage you to find insurance on your own so yeah, we covered our bases mark okay last thing that we wanted to say, which is what we would say again and again and again is that communication is key and on that note speaking communication we're going to move into questions and answers the difference between getting paid or getting to use images if you're first starting out, you don't have a big portfolio or the right gear which would you take the paid to buy the right gear or more portfolio work? Is there a preference or is it all just personal preference? I believe it's all personal okay, I'm gonna answer two ways I believe it's all personal preference and in the beginning, if anybody gave me this second shooting opportunity out there, wait drove two hours there's this story that jd thought we'd actually spoke about last night I wasn't limited teo I didn't want to limit myself to second shooting opportunities within california because it was so competitive. I met a girl online and she was a photographer in atlanta, and she said, hey, can anybody second shoot? And I threw my name in the hat and I said, I'm from california, but I'll find a way to get there so she said, I'd love to have you come from california, so then all of a sudden it came down to paying for the trip because I wasn't getting paid to second chute, right? And I had to pay for my way to get there, and so I turned didi and we were poor and broke, but we were really happy, but I didn't have money, I don't know, like cracking, driving north teo like that's kind of a drive, so yeah, that wasn't happening, it wasn't gonna happen. I was so determined, and so I just had a real honest conversation, and I reached out to my dad and I said, you know, I'm really struggling, like, pay our bills, but I really believe that these opportunities could really push me forward. Should I? Should I charge it on my credit card? And my dad had said that he was saving airline miles for him and my mom to go on a trip. But he would you know, push back that trip to get me a ticket on his airline miles to fly to atlanta and I believe that it was at that moment because just goodness, like eight months earlier I was sitting across from him at a table and was crying and I was like, I don't want to go back to law school and I'm so unhappy with my life to my father sitting across me in his desk and he said I believe in you and I feel like that was like a really big turning point so when it comes to personal preference is not only was I not getting paid to second shoot I was pain two seconds shoot so again, you know, it helped me build a portfolio in a new portion of the united states and when I was meeting with other photographers I said yeah, well I shot within the photographer in atlanta it just it made me sound like I had more swag that I really did little did they know I was just like flying standby and delta you know, but either way usually what you do is you start doing the unpaid gigs and they'll lead you to the paid gigs so that's usually that that progression and now we just over jasmine's dad a roundtrip ticket around the world already pretty much pretty much cool that was a good question thank you jasmine j d we have questions about the agreement that you discussed adrian far who's from england asked if we were to approach photographers for second shooting work and and went with the contract or the agreement to detail exactly what is expected would this not put photographers potentially off like they say, wow, that's too much, you know, as a second to a first yeah, with the first potential would the first photographer potentially say, wow, you're you're way too high maintenance with that contract could definitely see how somebody might feel that way, but it's all about the pitch if I was a second shooter wanting to first wanting to shoot with somebody, I wouldn't say signed my contract, I would say, you know what? I downloaded this agreement? Can you review it? You set the terms to our agreement remember, the second shooter doesn't set the terms, so it shouldn't be off putting it should say, I'm giving you all the power to establish how you would like our relationship to work so that we're on the same page, so then both people sign it and there's no questions asked it's about it's about the approach, not about that the actual idea we have so many questions, good questions coming in let's take another one about compensation from crystal clear how many times do you shoot as this second shooter for a first professional before you ask them to start paying for your work. So how do you make that transition? And can you with that same person that's a that's? A really, really good question now I would love if other people hear could speak into this. I can only speak into it how it happened for me. I was second shooting with the photographer and I shot with him about four times before he offered to pay me and the first thing he paid me, it was in a fifty dollar gift card to chili's so and that's a true story. And guess what? Guess what? When I got that chili's gift card, I was like on cloud nine I went home, I was like baby mama's taking you teo I e you know it was it was not what we had eggs spect it the second time he gave me a seventy five dollars a gift card to chili's and you know, so that was already, like the six time so obviously my chili's equity vegetarian. But I was down, I d'oh, but after I had shot with him roughly about six weddings, I think it was at that time that he offered to pay me now during the course of their six weddings, I would probably give myself about a b you know, for what I was doing because I was assisting and second shooting, but there was one wedding in particular that I really bought I didn't know that I had overexposed I had put my exposure compensation up and all of my photos were really, really, really like hi key and I didn't know how to fix it and he actually took the time at one of the weddings were driving back and he's like, hey, you know that last wedding we shot I was like, um, no, you mean the one I kind of, like, sort of ruined and it was really uncomfortable, but he had a really great conversation he said this is what you did, and that was the day that he gives me a chili's gift card, which I thought was so generous of him because that wedding before I was learning on his time, but I had already proven myself of the two other weddings that I'd shot with him, so I think he was like, okay, I'm gonna still gonna kind of work with you and around the sixth wedding he offered to pay me, and he gave me a flat rate of one hundred twenty five dollars, which at the time I was just like, this is so killer, um but you know, it really depends if somebody is hiring you on a continual basis and they don't offer to pay you chances are they're not going to pay you so I if you that was in your situation I thought was me I probably wouldn't ask like, hey, can I get paid on ly? Because that's not what I do I would try to diversify me getting out and shooting with other people to show that first photographer you know, it's like your girl and you're dating if you want a boy to put a ring on it, go out to the club have all the boys like me oh no kids, my mom is watching this she's like what? No, but really you have to understand that you are a very sought after second shooter if you can shoot with other people, you're no longer dedicated and keeping your calendar open for somebody who may or may not call for somebody who may or may not pay. All right, great, we have quite a few questions coming in about the do's and don'ts and the second shooter etiquette do want to take a couple questions, all right? And I just want to say watching you guys do the five day live wedding that we had first workshop that you did watching j d and watching the dance that you two do together and how you're constantly looking towards her to see what you can do for her it was incredible to watch I was like that you enjoy doing that a lot you know, a lot of times I didn't know I was on camera, which is great because if I had known I would have probably been a whole different person but it was neat I haven't I haven't watched them having like that we can't is this credible? I look back I'm like, oh my god, but people would email me like so when jamie was cocktail hour and he was really talking with the mother of the bride and I was like what I was like that happened so but you know, it was good it was a really good course well, I will say that I have watched it it wasn't incredible s o that was before jamie knew how creative life works he didn't realize he was on camera all the time. All right, well, let's see um basically the question was when your when your second shooting with the do's and don'ts how do you know? A couple people had asked, how do you know if you know you've done something wrong? How do you approach the photographer? How do you apologize when you realise is it as soon as you realize that you've done something wrong and wait until the person is calm? Yeah, this answer could be answered very differently, but the way I do when I make a mistake on a wedding day, I confess to it like five, three minutes after I do it, I think it's just a lot easier and, you know, sometimes I don't know if this is the best advice because I don't know allfirst photographers want to hear that you made a mistake on the wedding day maybe, uh, first photographer prefer that you tell them later, but our relationship I actually just the way that we work together, I tell jasmine as it happened or right when it happened, I'll just say I did not get a single photo in that moment, I just for some reason I was overexposed and I didn't make my proper adjustments because that music really here's a real example he's with the groom and the groomsmen and they're in a really, really, really small hotel room and there's like eighty five guys and everybody's moving around like penguins and he's just like I did the best I could in that small room, but we did not get the types of shots that you need, but I would prefer if it was him or any other second shooter to be real with me in that moment because what I can do is go back okay, okay, okay let's try to reset up some shots outside just so that I can complete the portfolio. I don't want to hear you didn't get the shot after I've already called your images, and I do that all the time for that reason, I think that way we can have a plan b throughout the day, teo answer the questions separately, though there was a photographer in the second shooter group where we had were going through the list of do's and don'ts, and somebody had said, you know, you're not supposed to hand up your personal business cards like I did it, but only because they had asked me for it and everyone's like, no, don't you ever do that? And so then she realized that she had made a mistake in a transgression and she's she emailed that photographer that day, we and we don't know if it was months later or years later, but either way for her to actually come out and ask for forgiveness. I think it says a lot about, like, who she is, so I don't think that there's a time to it, but if there's something that a photographer can fix day of admit to it right then and then I started that whole entire thing with saying that I make mistakes still, to this day, I don't want anyone to be out there thinking that I'm like, you know, I do everything right all the time. There are moments where, you know, I have I make mistakes, and I always make sure just let jasmine know as we all do, way like each other. We really do know we're working together. I actually really enjoy working with jasmine. I think that it's fun, it's, it's, it's I the other day we were at a wedding, uh, in in colorado, and I remember thinking to myself, you know, I don't know if we'll be doing this when we're fifty, but I could do this for the rest of my life with you, like, you know, that was one thing like our biggest concern is doing this course is that it's always been so much about, like, the singular jasmine star brand, so to bring him on in a really personal capacity always made me a little bit worried because I was like, oh, like, I wonder what people like think we like each other, you know, because we joke around, I actually enjoy doing what we do

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

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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.