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The Art of Being a Second Shooter

Lesson 23 of 24

Terms of Agreement

Jasmine Star, JD DelaTorre

The Art of Being a Second Shooter

Jasmine Star, JD DelaTorre

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Lesson Info

23. Terms of Agreement

Lesson Info

Terms of Agreement

Couple weeks ago, I read an article on f stoppers, a great website for photographers. The author, trevor daley, offered tips on how to become the best second shooter, and as I read through these twenty five, twenty six tips, most of what he was saying, I agreed with, I was a great you know, I turn into j d and feeling pretty good about it because I'm like, this is what we're going to talk about the course, so at least there's a few other photographers in the industry who are on our same page because if we were saying stuff that nobody agreed, it would be kind of scary to come onto the stage, and I feel like this is how it's done, so the fact that we're on the same page made me feel pretty good. Um what I discovered, though, was that some of the readers felt that they agree with him, and then some of the readers felt like what his tips were were a bit too extreme. I didn't necessarily think their extreme they were like, don't show clients images on the back of your camera. If you were a...

second shooter, don't engage in too much conversation so that your cause you're a cause of destruction on the wedding day don't friend my clients on facebook after the wedding. Don't tag them in photos on facebook after the wedding if you're second shooting I mean these were like basic principles that I just felt were like yeah sure um a few uh block us getting a few commenters chimed in and I wanted to talk about a few of their reactions one person so all of these names and faces have been obscured this is online but I just want to talk about what they're actually talking about these tips made it sound like you're you have a very hard time distinguishing between a second shooter and an assistant there is a distinct difference second shooters should interact with clients shouldn't show their photos on their camera especially if it's a great show should shot excuse me especially it's a great shot should feel free to accept any social media contact I disagree with the more majority of this post especially the way it sounds like you've you second shooters at your wedding second comment there were a few it's highlighted a few of those gyms second one sounds a lot like it was a list of how to be a perfect tool and make you leave your personality at home more like he wanted to make sure your sidekick is no competition to you but at the same time doesn't sound at all as if you would treat them as partners hope it just sounds like that here's my descent ok what I see are complaints because what they don't show is how trevor works with his second shooters. I happen to know him personally and outside of being ah, good photographer he's a good person. And when people started causing like a ruckus on the webb about what he was writing, his second shooters had his back. They said we agreed to his terms, and we think that he's a really great person, but my response after reading this and I've never worked with the guy is who cares? Who cares if you think he's a tool there, his terms and he's very open about working with his second shooter's if you don't like the terms of his agreement, don't you? Simple as that it's, so easy for you to look at a set and a first photographer and complain about how he's running a business. But guess what? He's running a business, and if you're in the position to try to get to where he wants to be, it's his it's, his prerogative on how he runs, wants to run it on my favorite quotes by bobby brown it's my prerogative, you know, like this is how I'm going to run my business until you don't until you want to run your own business, you could choose the way that you want to do it on the flip side. There was also a commenter and I felt like he attributed his name and his photo which I have scared but I think he brought up a few good points for the past six years I've worked with a few fairly recognized its eight, fans, photographers, different backgrounds I agree with most of the rules because there are common sense courtesy professionalism. However somebody should write a main photographer rules too these come to mind right now as her personal experiences we are assistant slash second shooters but not maids butlers suffers I might be a nice person and see you need water and bring it to you but it's not an obligation therefore don't clap your hands or fingers for it same goes with food blends bag etcetera as you command painted from your bride before the event we would also like to get paid at least of the end of event so don't give us the sorry forgot my wallet my checkbook is with the e p a can I pay you half now and half later or any other b s if you want your image is the same night allow at least thirty minutes for downloads you will not stage you will not shoot slash stay an extra hour for free why expect us to do so on the same token, if you want your image is the same night either have your laptop and hard drive ready take my card and deliver them promptly back to me or wait until I said the images, I will not pay for shipping and handling costs. Sorry, unless you pay me one hundred fifty dollars an hour, I don't make enough to make your life easier. Do not yell at us under any circumstances. They were feel more, but I felt like this gave a pretty good idea. Um, whether or not I agreed with his approach, I really do agree with what he's saying would we would myself in this shooter worked together? Probably not, because he sounds like he prefers to work autonomous. And I probably need somebody who the mix. And so if I asked for water, I might not say please kind sir, I am quite parched. Do you mind if we take a few minutes and get me a glass of water? I'm probably mince words. Jasmine will never expect water added, you know, and I'm a same time that's where I actually I couldn't see and agree with this photographer also ay dio and so what I want for shooters to see as they are going through the course with second shooter's is that the golden rule is be nice that's it if you really want quality second shooter's, you can get a quality sex consider paying, um one hundred fifty dollars and get a quality second shooter being paid five hundred dollars. The fact of the matter is, people will put up with mohr for less if you're nice. And I think that this a general rule of thumb in life so having said that, what I want to do is you guys have any feedback in regards to, um, to that. Agree, disagree, recall any comment? Okay, good. I got a thumbs up, I got comes up. Okay, so we are rounding out, uh, the end of day two, the art of being a second shooter, and I thought it would be a good time to use realize examples of photographers and talk to their experiences. We can all learn from each other's mistakes, and we can all learn from each other's frustrations. So I want to dive into a few sticky situations and they want you to wait in on this because I think that we've been together for so long. We've been together since we're seventeen. So I somehow think that, like, our brainwaves are kind of kind of fused over the years. So if you think that you see from a different perspective, we would love to hear, so this is an open forum for all of us to talk if you want to jump in maybe we should have your microphones out so you guys aren't seeing us all reach down together and everything the clink heads so make sure that those microphones air out we are going to move on to the first sticky situation I shot with the photographer that wanted me to edit all the photos I took because she liked my artistic editing I didn't know any better, so I didn't I didn't get paid for it and those are the only photos I saw posted tough situation right before I weigh into do you guys have anything to say about this? Like, I know that some of you guys have had a recent second shooting um experiences okay, but I want you to know I just don't want to keep online rambling on go ahead hey, shin, you can't steal my word uh, yes, communication. Yes e gets sort of mice, silverman because we've been in it for a few years, but I would never do that because at that point there my pictures, you know, right? So I would have never she says they wanted me to edit all the photos I took because she liked my ass artistic entity, and I wonder if that happened before they even shot the wedding or if it happened after because it would have never agreed to take the job if it was before and I would have said no, what happened after, right? So what I'm thinking based on this is that the first shooter hired the second shooter based on the portfolio that she saw and said, come in second shoot with me and the girl says, great, we don't have agreement we don't not have a formal agreement, so I'm going to agree to go with you, so she goes and then the first shooter says, can you edit your photos? And at that point, I mean, I've been there you're you're new, you're inexperienced, you're like, okay, I'll edit them and so she spends hours anything I don't know, maybe one teo, maybe four hours editing that she's not getting paid and then the first photographer uses them to promote her business. Now I don't that's it, and that is legally not so much of a great area means a great area because they didn't have an agreement, but as an as an independent contractor that first photographer come use them now on like a moral ethical standpoint like you like if your first photographer do not use your port full portfolio of your second shooter it's misleading and just a great way to burn every bridge of every second year you've ever shot with so secondly I didn't check the second shooter's entire portfolio I somehow thought because their outdoor work was great so with their indoor work be wrong, wrong, wrong huge mistake also is it ideal toe? Ask for references or my cuckoo for cocoa puffs paranoid? Do you? My question is, you guys, do you guys ask for references when you second chute? I don't know that I asked for references, but you mentioned the first day about not I'm going after the person who's not going to come back after your comeback, you know, like the the girlfriend and I had an experience where I did that I went after this great shooter and tried tio have coffee with them and be their second shooter, their third shooter just come up, come on with them and they never responded on dh. So I think a big part of kind of what's coming out of knowing a portfolio and knowing that it's getting to know the person, maybe going out to coffee with them if you got the time sitting there flipping through saying, okay, how how did you approach this or going through kind of the whole thing with them and getting to know him before you end up second shooting or or being there with them very true, I think that it's okay to ask for personal references I mean that's why as a second shooter you should be always erring on the side of taking care of that first shooter so no I don't think that you're cuckoo for asking but I do think they you need as a first shooter check out an entire portfolio I would never bring on a first shoot or not saying low light situations yes I think what you said yesterday resonated with me tio about as a second shooter you should have a portfolio with a whole range and you even said like put it on your facebook or something but make like a little folder with everything right low light outdoor to indoor and even just like as business owners I think that's a good idea to just having arranged but I think that would maybe have helped out that situation definitely the hands down heck yes okay so I worked with the second shooter last year who arrived to the wedding wearing something completely inappropriate the wedding was at a formal church and the reception at a fancy restaurant and she arrived in short a skivvy tank top and flip flops the timeline was so tight I couldn't send her home to change and I was so embarrassed I never imagined I would have to specify to dress professionally so okay yes go right ahead with you and your red all stars I want to hear about your fashion opinion I love it well I was going to say first thing like you've said all week these two days communication so and I think I guess I'm like thinking on a broad like deeper level stuff like this is hitting home now with maris and I just because there's a lot you know there's little things that we will do and I'm like I'll want to not blame her but say something but then I'm thinking well that was just me being lazy and not communicating and you know a simple solution but the fear not even the fear but though the worried thoughts that you're having about like what what's she going to think what you know what's gonna happen and it could have been easily solved by just bringing up a conversation about oh let's do that you know let's try this so the communication thing is it's so so I think she's so it's almost too simple it becomes this big detailed thing that gets she's crazy I mean it gets crazy oh yes I know we can all say communication you should talk about this before but say that happens what do you d'oh what would you do with jazz and start what would you do um okay so we're shooting it we're shooting a wedding ee oh ah ok there's a couple things if I packed an extra pair of shoes which I sometimes do care she's a size six you're getting into my size nine you know, flip in those you know you're having a pair of clothes so choose if I was working with the second shooter because no again I'm a safeguard er because we arrived venue early, I would request that my second shooter arrived early and then I see her and I'm like all right, we have an hour here you need to march over to target and you buy yourself a pair ninety nine black pants nine ninety nine shoes if you do not have the money, I will personally cover it from you and deduct it from the cost of it of you working with me here today but as a representation, my variant you need to go into I'm careful walmart but that has to be done I know I mean I think I mean, I think I'm hearing myself but that's exactly what actually, you know what that's what she would say and then she'd say j d go say that e don't only one and that is so mean I would be really nice about it but I say you know what? Let's go to target, you know, get money the way I found the directions I was like, yeah, exactly, okay. If the second shooter has an idea during the wedding, can they ask the main photographer to move out of the way to get the shot they have in mind I'm seeing some people shaking their head, terror d one jump in. Well, I think I've been in a situation where I have had ideas before, and I usually will just kind of quietly offer that as another suggestion for the shooter and say, like, oh, do you think it might be cool if we if they try that, but I wouldn't try to get in that shot? I would try to after that? Is that a suggestion to bond? So when you offered, um, well, usually they they'll say, like, okay, let's, finish this, you know, what I have planned right now and then work them into that? I mean, the person that I was shooting with was really collaborative, and so I really appreciated how they responded to that, and if they had a different plan in mind when I say okay, and I'm getting back in my day, I definitely think that immediately I had the same response that this half of the class had everybody went like, no, I read this last night and I was like, no, but then it changed and more more to terra, depending on the relationship that you have with the first shooter, I wouldn't suggest this on the first wedding you guys shoot together, but the more established relationship you have I would never one ask that first shooter together the way I would offer up that idea and if the photographer says I can't see it the way you say it once you do it, then you know, so it wouldn't be a hard no but I would err on the side of no before I would err on the side of yes okay he's into that, yes, and, you know, once your first shooter starts saying that, oh, this was a time where she kind of I stopped and asked for just a couple of seconds to do something on our own and if she if the first photographer liked what you yielded in the second wedding, you're probably gonna be able to do that again so slowly transitioning into having a little bit more authority that's good, definitely next I just did my first wedding as a first the bride mask the bright asked if her friend from college could be the second shooter I agreed without really thinking about it. The day came and went the second shot pretty much everything I did, and today she texted me, telling me I need to be careful about where I'm steaming because I'm in a lot of her shots I'm an example of why you don't let the bride choose the second I think the bride and her friends also didn't understand what a second shooter is I should have had a contract with the second shooter whether she was paid or not I could be wrong but I made sure I wasn't that I made sure she wasn't in my shots and if she was my second I thought it was her job to do the same right again I'm gonna use the c word communication if I mean clearly what is indicating that she did not talk to this girl before the wedding day so maybe the bride asked her friend to stand in as a photographer without letting her know what the parameters were if you are second if you are a first photographer and you are working with any other photographer at minimum sending email about what your expectations are send an email about what the timeline will be asked for a formal introduction if you do not get a formal introduction of the second shooter and the bright insists on that person being there you I must say that your performance is contingent on least talking or emailing with her in advance that's the only way that you could protect what clearly happened is a big no no we're going on to the next one recently I'm interested to hear you guys have to say about this one recently I second shot a wedding at a hotel and my first shooter abandoned me at the hotel for three hours while she went out into the bridal party and creative porter without me there she said she wanted me to capture the other guests but since they were all staying at the hotel they went back to their private rooms two and a half laters hours later I ended up finding my first in the bar with the bartel party she ended up not paying me for the break definitely should have hashed out the hours beforehand. Okay, can anybody guess the one word I'm going to say? I think this is a general reading theme we could read this and be like what it's so easy to look at other people's miscommunications when we we should be doing is holding a mere into ourselves being like we do run the risk because anybody who does not have a written agreement runs the risk of something obscene he would never imagine that somebody would leave you for three hours and not pay you on top of that right? You're like that's unconscionable and it happens I think that this section is to bring awareness that these things that happened quite often s o just being aware of all the things that do happen that you don't say, oh this would never happen to me and being ready tto have those conversations in advance definitely and you have to know that if the conversation from a first shooter or second shooter's perspective did not happen before the wedding, everything after the wedding is fair game to the rules that the first photographer wants that scary all right here we go one of my photographer friends found himself on the receiving end of a lawsuit on the very first wedding he ever shot as a second shooter when the primary for talk of her skip town without delivering the couple's wedding photographs since they couldn't find the primary photographer who do you think got served with papers you guessed it he weathered the storm and has successively has been successfully shooting weddings for more than five years now but all of this could have been avoided had he insisted on a contract that is so scary and again here we were thinking that would never happen and yet could you imagine any served with papers after your first wedding talk about being intimidating you know talk about like fighting for your life before you took your first breath so okay cool I thought okay cool cannon how are we doing on the internet internets doing great okay, yes, you can and it is very intrigued by all these scenarios let's see if we have any comments or if you guys have maura's well, go ahead guys. I guess I just never thought of having a contract before between the first and second shooter an agreement as being this crucial and important you know it's like you're there helping them you're even if you're good friends little things can happen and it's it's interesting to see all of this thank you before anything bad happens great and that's with the entirety of this section sorry thirty of the section is to really highlight that the things that we don't think it possibly happened happened on a regular basis yeah they're they're discussing all the things that have happened to them okay good okay good so here's the thing like what we're not seeing is that there's a lot of other people coming you know coming out of the proverbial like this is what happened to me closet so no this is good okay we're gonna move on I have had a second shooter that got depressed about her equipment and decided that her shots would be no good and just sat there from the ceremony on you guys I am like I read this last night and then I was like wait what and then I read it again and I started to laugh which makes me an evil person because I'm just like how does somebody just like you know what my camera sucks what so I mean I am so interested to hear if you were so you had a second shooter and this second shooter decides to do this what do you do that's what I want to hear these conversations I wantto have so that we can actually work through what that looks like you picked up your mike and I love it I take this wear saying earlier that in this situation, that person that you're dealing with the second shooter is a human meaning they're going to react teo if that first shooter says don't worry about it like just shoo enjoy it and immediately you're not saying anything like abstract and deep you just saying enjoy practices you have nothingto lou you know you have nothing to lose so it can only benefit that person and you because if she's not shooting there's you know in that case maybe fifteen percent of your photos and you're dealing with a co worker that's depressed guests there seeing that she is doing this it's a reflection of your brand so it's just like this downhill spiral, that girl like making a choice that could be changed if that first photographer just says, don't worry about it you know that is such a sweet and noble answer I didn't even see it from I want two seconds with you you know what I would do? I would have a share from moonstruck moment now you know I mean that that's what I want to hear because it helps me see it differently. You're right, I'm wrong. What this person is feeling is not my camera sucks it's my inability to see past what's in front of me, which is my basic lend and my basic camera but what you're telling me is have fun and by doing so you're protecting your brand which is brilliant so there we go. Yes, I think that kevin would definitely go the tactful route and, you know way did go the tactful around. I mean, they would never hear from us again their direct liability there risk it would just it would never happen signing I don't care how much like you can do it. We poured into them like that would be the end. Absolutely, absolutely. But I see I see both perspectives and I feel like I'm learning myself as the first shooter how I do need thio think beyond what's directly in front of me we're gonna move on to the next one. I think I would just like to see more. I have recently been approached by a bride from a wedding. I was a second shooter on she had requested more images that I shot of the groom stating the main photographer did not turn over with the groom knew I shock I know they were not poorly shot. He just didn't give him over. I felt badly but I advised her to go back to the main and discuss I do not have any ground I found out that the main is not offering an album would it be wrong for me to offer for me to offer to do an album after the fact do you think that's kind of like the business card rule I think like it needs to be the first to toe offer any of the products and so I mean it's nice that she went back and talked to him though to see if that would work so it's unfortunate that the first wasn't able to give him over I guess but yeah that's kind of a sneaky bringing if they were to go and do that publicly so if that second shooter I think go ahead even with the way that is worded I think it it kind of sounds underhanded to the first shooter because same like I don't have any ground to do that you mean you should go back and be like, well, I was working for them so this is I mean, is there their choice on what gets delivered what doesn't get delivered and so yeah, it sounds sneaky and underhanded to even consider doing an album for somebody that you weren't the primary shooter on yeah, you know, I don't think that in this situation I agree I don't think it's good form to send an album and but at the same time I can't help but feel that this person wasn't trying to be sneaky about it I think that this person actually what they should do is go out of their way again, which is kind of they don't have to do and send those those images again to the first shooter and say, here they are again, just in case something happened, maybe they got deleted if if you if you don't want to send him off to the photographer because of time, I mean to the client because of time, would you want me to send these photos that I'm sending you over? I probably wouldn't feel good that I mean, I think that's really nice and he's really noble, but there was a clear distinction as to why that first photographer didn't send them. It could be just one he hit his person, it's hit again, it's his prerogative. And do I think that the second shooter was trying to intentionally be underhanded? No, but do I think it could be perceived as underhanded? Absolutely. And if we were the only vehicles in which brides and grooms could get albums, then this is a different conversation, but a bright can get an album anywhere on the web now, sure, she might not be able to get the types of albums we get, but we have to understand that we can't get in the middle and, like, fight for the noble cause of albums around the world, leave that to the first photographer like hands down, okay, um my here we go yep, this is the last one great my second shooter started to book weddings under my business name using my contract and invoice and pocketing the deposit money she had planned to shoot the wedding on her own with her equipment I can teach you I and a kit lens no backup I make all of my assistants use my equipment to have more control of quality of picture I have discussed this with her that moving forward she has to book her friends for future clients under her own name or business or refer them directly to me. However I'm about ninety eight percent sure a wedding in october is still under my contract that I never received copies of kind of not sure what to do or how to handle that I worry about something going wrong and me being liable for the wedding I had no hand in shooting or booking whoa like this is the last one so I left the doozy go ahead nicole wants to pop it well I'm just wondering can like if I wanted to be like oh I'm going to book something under j star photography because I'm not part of the business like my name's not on the business information is does that still make them liable now this is the world and I have to be I want to clarify on the internet that I didn't pass the bar but I did go to law school a little tiny bit okay so there has to be there has to be some sort of way you're to grab my contract, and my contract has my name on it, and you take the deposit if you got sued and then the clients want to come to meet you. I've never worked with her in her professional capacity. I don't know how she got my contract. She lives in a different state, but if j d and I were working and he booked weddings on his own and we have a history of us working together and we've on a consistent basis, he's been my second shooter, and somebody books him on the pretense because it's could be believable, that he's booking one that weddings as an associate it's my responsibility to ensure that this is never happening. And if she is ninety eight percent sure that there's an october wedding with her name on it, ninety eight percent you need to bring up your harpoon and you need to put an end to all of those contracts, like you need to look her in the face and you need you need to draft up a document saying any weddings that you shoot in october, I have nothing to do with because what I suspect is that you did this, I could be totally wrong and if I am, forgive me. But what I think is that you did this and that's. Okay, I'm gonna support you doing your own business. But I need to do is hold my business not liable because she suspects it. And when you suspect something as a business owner, you need to do everything you can to protect the thing that you have invested in. And I firmly believe that if the second shooter, you know, if the first photographer got sued, I think that she would make it out clear. But there would be some damage done somewhere. If nothing else, this photographer is goingto lose time of arbitration of of law, time of court time of lawyer fees at minimum. So if she suspects this, she needs to get a contract with her second shooter in state that she's an independent contractor independent of the business. And it needs to drop a second agreement stating anything you shoot on your own. I have no responsibility with foreign kind of hardcore. But I think this is what we love, right? This is what we want to protect, so we're the only ones to protect it.

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.