So I’m finally getting around to posting some photos from last Saturday’s event (April 16 Phillips wedding). I’ve shot as a venue photographer before and of course have popped my own photos before at weddings of friends and relatives, but have never officially acted as a second photographer until now.
Last Saturday I had the opportunity to work as a second photographer to Lea Wheeler Photography. She was absolutely terrific. I had the opportunity to work independently, take my own photos to build up my portfolio, but also worked with her whenever needed. At times I held the key-light flash for her portrait shots, ran down missing relatives for formal family shots, or captured the guest’s reactions during the ceremony. Most of the ceremony I had my Canon 70-200L IS so I was able to not only focus on guest’s but did also capture the kiss, ring exchange, and bride and groom together at the alter.
I also had the opportunity to chat with Lea during dinner to pick her brain, as she’s been doing this for a few years. This was a terrific opportunity to get insight to the job. She reassured me that I had terrific whereabouts in regards to where to be during the ceremony at the right time. We also talked about the importance of being personable to the clients and having the right mindset throughout the event. You become the bride and groom’s shadow for the entire wedding day, so if they can’t be comfortable around you the pictures will not turn out acceptable. If you take the time to truly get to know your clients before the wedding day, not only will they trust you, but you will know what to expect from them. Either way, everybody wins by being interactive and personable with your clients.
I also showed up early to the wedding and stayed a bit later after the reception for photos of the bride and groom driving away. This showed to both the lead photographer and the client that I was excited about capturing the images. They see this which will make them appreciate the resulting photos that much more. Going the extra mile for the bride and groom will make the experience that much greater. As a second shooter, you also want to make certain the lead photographer is satisfied throughout the day. Standing and holding the flash during portraits, running and getting the uncle that wandered outside for one last family shot, and getting the lead photographer water if they’re getting thirsty. You are there as a professional photographer, but you’re also the assistant to the lead.
I’ve admitted to this point that the one thing I need to continue focusing on with weddings is formal portraits. Candid shots of the event are easy to come by just by keeping a keen eye on the guests. By working alongside the lead photographer, I was able to get terrific ideas on how to pose the bride and groom, how to organize the bridal party, and where to place off-camera lighting. This was my biggest and best takeaway of last Saturday’s event, working as a second shooter.
Overall, the opportunity to second shoot a wedding was terrific as I’ve only shot smaller weddings on my own. This was by far the biggest wedding (a couple hundred guests) I’ve participated in as a photographer. The experience was amazing. Below is a set of the photos I captured as second photographer during the wedding. Congratulations Katie and Ron Phillips on the marriage, and thank you Lea for the photography opportunity!!!