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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Weddings & Other Family Events Talk 
Thread started 17 Jul 2013 (Wednesday) 15:57
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Second Shooting

 
truephotoga
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Jul 17, 2013 15:57 |  #1

Hello all,
Is second shooting weddings a good way to gain experience before going solo? Is that how alot of people start out? How else do you gain the experience? Thanks.




  
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Christopher ­ Steven ­ b
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Jul 17, 2013 16:16 |  #2

It's a good way to gain experience, but if you haven't already proven yourself as a decent 'people' photographer, it's unlikely any photographer actually established in their field would hire you.

How good at portraiture are you ? To me there's no good reason not to be a great portrait (candid and formal) photographer before even thinking about doing weddings. So I'd recommend starting there.



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picturecrazy
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Jul 17, 2013 19:22 |  #3

Most definitely, being a second is a great way to get used to the pace and flow of a wedding, so your first solo effort will be much less stressful. I'd suggest at least a full year of second shooting before tackling your own.


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nicksan
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Jul 17, 2013 19:44 |  #4

Yes. It's a great way to learn the ropes.




  
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longspur
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Jul 18, 2013 14:56 |  #5

I'll go a step further and say, it should almost be a prerequisite. You'll gain tons of experience, especially with a good primary shooter willing to help you.


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memoriesoftomorrow
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Jul 18, 2013 20:08 |  #6

I've never done it myself, I just jumped in at the deep end. It actually turned out to be very beneficial for me doing so as it meant I had no one to copy. It meant that I adopted an approach that best suited me and how I worked rather than conforming to the way others did things.


Peter

  
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Christopher ­ Steven ­ b
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Jul 18, 2013 22:02 |  #7

^ Your initiation sounds much like my own. I sort of second shot my first wedding (not affiliated with the other main photographer) but then shot the next 59ish solo.



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memoriesoftomorrow
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Jul 18, 2013 22:15 |  #8

Christopher Steven b wrote in post #16133328 (external link)
^ Your initiation sounds much like my own. I sort of second shot my first wedding (not affiliated with the other main photographer) but then shot the next 59ish solo.

I solo shot my first 100+. In fact to date I've only hired a second shooter twice. Once as I was producing two albums and needed the extra coverage and the second time as I was part of the wedding as it was my sister's wedding.

If you are organised and well prepared there is no requirement in my opinion to have to earn your stripes second shooting for someone else. A lot depends on the type of person you are though, how well you handle stress and how quickly you can adapt to situations.

I've come across quite a few people now who have second shot a lot and they have been clones of who they shoot for. Not just that but when they set out on their own it can take them a couple of years to then find and develop their own style.

Personally I'd only see value in second shooting to gain experience if you were to second shoot for several different photographers. No more than a few weddings with each.


Peter

  
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Jimconnerphoto
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Jul 20, 2013 12:57 |  #9

I suggest assisting a photographer before you bring equipment. It will allow you to more fully pay attention to the event and give you a better idea of the flow. For the first few leave your equipment at home.


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longspur
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Jul 21, 2013 22:10 |  #10

I totally agree, Jim.

Peter, you're work is incredible. But, if you nailed your first wedding with no prior wedding experience, you're the exception, not the rule. I don't think many photographers should try a wedding without shadowing an experienced photographer for a while and then second shooting, as well. Just my .02


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memoriesoftomorrow
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Jul 21, 2013 22:19 |  #11

longspur wrote in post #16141754 (external link)
Peter, you're work is incredible. But, if you nailed your first wedding with no prior wedding experience, you're the exception, not the rule. I don't think many photographers should try a wedding without shadowing an experienced photographer for a while and then second shooting, as well. Just my .02

I didn't nail my first wedding. My work has improved over time. What I nailed early on though was being very organised. I'm OCD on that front.

Wedding photography a lot of the time has very little to do with photography itself. It is how you handle people, how you react to unexpected changes etc. Shadowing teaches you to more how to copy not so much to think for yourself.

The basics photography wise for shooting a wedding are being decent at a few genres in particular... sports, portrait and products. After that macro, fashion, event and landscape are also good to add to the mix. My point being that you can have the the requisite shooting skills from other work.

What really matters is knowing how a wedding unfolds, what happens on the day itself and so on. I'd personally recommend shadowing wedding co-ordinators ahead of a photographer as that would give you a much better overall view of what happens on the day and how the different suppliers all fit together.

All I'm saying is that it isn't the pre-requisite people make it out to be.


Peter

  
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tim
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Jul 21, 2013 23:11 |  #12

Before you can second shoot you may have to assist - you'd learn HEAPS just carrying bags, setting up light stands and lights, etc.


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georgebowman
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Jul 21, 2013 23:34 |  #13

Jim is right. Try shadowing a photographer. Offer to haul equipment for them at and just observe. Most photographers would love free help. After a a while the photographer will likely allow you to do some shooting to gain some experience. A family friend's daughter helped my out for a summer. She helped me out a ton and she gained some great experience. Peter is also right about the wedding business. It's all about working with people. I've known some terrific photographers but many were terrible wedding photographers because they weren't organized, had poor time management skills and didn't work well with crowds. Shadow a good photographer and watch and learn how they work with their clients. Good luck!


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nicksan
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Jul 22, 2013 07:42 |  #14

memoriesoftomorrow wrote in post #16141773 (external link)
I didn't nail my first wedding. My work has improved over time. What I nailed early on though was being very organised. I'm OCD on that front.

Wedding photography a lot of the time has very little to do with photography itself. It is how you handle people, how you react to unexpected changes etc. Shadowing teaches you to more how to copy not so much to think for yourself.

Agreed to a certain extent. My first wedding was actually a solo gig but the next few years I was mostly a second shooter.

What I learned most was:

  • The business side of it.
  • Typical Wedding Day Timeline and the Rules of the game.
  • How to interact with the clients/guests/etc.
  • How to work well with others, especially Video/Cinema folks.
  • Lighting, lighting, lighting.
I didn't necessarily copy the primary shooter. I've mostly shot for the same primary shooter for those few years. (Still do actually...) Obviously, when you shoot side by side with someone for a few years, that influences you a little bit, but since from the get-go, I was given complete freedom to shoot however I pleased, a luxury you get when you are a second shooter, I was just doing my own thing, figuring things out for myself. That's not to say I didn't learn from the primary. I learned tons. It was tremendously helpful for me.

memoriesoftomorrow wrote in post #16141773 (external link)
The basics photography wise for shooting a wedding are being decent at a few genres in particular... sports, portrait and products. After that macro, fashion, event and landscape are also good to add to the mix. My point being that you can have the the requisite shooting skills from other work.

Agreed. Before weddings, I used to shoot music recitals for a music school, some amateur level sports, events, etc. When I shot my first wedding, the act of shooting wasn't the challenge. It was the other stuff, like time management, people management, etc...

memoriesoftomorrow wrote in post #16141773 (external link)
What really matters is knowing how a wedding unfolds, what happens on the day itself and so on. I'd personally recommend shadowing wedding co-ordinators ahead of a photographer as that would give you a much better overall view of what happens on the day and how the different suppliers all fit together.

Yeah, I think being there not as a shooter but more as an observer helps to get the feel of it. Honestly though, there's really not much happening beyond the typical stuff and it doesn't take long to get the hang of it. A good percentage of weddings follow the same template.

memoriesoftomorrow wrote in post #16141773 (external link)
All I'm saying is that it isn't the pre-requisite people make it out to be.

Agreed again, but I also agree that this is probably an exception rather than the rule. Some people are obviously able to dive right in. Others need a little guidance. I second shot maybe 50-60 weddings with a few solo gigs sprinkled in there. Not to say it took 50-60 weddings to build up the comfort level. I could have shot solo the first year I took on weddings. It's just the way things turned out. Plus, I get paid well to second shoot, so that helps. :)




  
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