I’ve just been going over some work I’ve done this year as a second shooter and thought it may be worth it’s own post. Second shooting isn’t something I’ve done much of, but when Christine Meintjes emailed me to see if I was free to help with some weddings I jumped at the chance – Christine, as I am sure you all know, is something of a force in the wedding photography scene of South Africa – a force of creativity, the ideas and cogs behind umpteen business initiatives, mentoring programs and the fantastically useful Kiki – an industry-galvanising website that aims to help and inspire photographers through open forum and available resources to build and promote their own businesses. It also helps that Christine and her husband Iaan are some of the most super and delightful people you’ll ever meet Apparently you can have it all
So with camera in hand I wandered, a little blind, into the world of second shooting – and I’m telling you now that it’s not for the faint hearted! I had wrongly assumed this may be somewhat of a stress-free way to shoot more weddings, but what I hadn’t figured on is that it’s a totally different ballgame to what I’m used to, shootings weddings for myself!
Second shooting is all about trying to find a different approach – sure, a lot of it is carrying bags (which I have done plenty of in my days of assisting!!), cleaning and changing lenses, carrying drinks and keeping out the way while staying in armshot – but more than that it’s about trying to find another angle that the principle photographer isn’t covering, ferreting out details they wouldn’t have time to shoot, catching granny at her best and the kids at their cutest, shooting the bridesmaids while they aren’t looking, capturing the behind-the-scenes action and tears quickly wiped away before anyone’s seen them… And all this while paying 100% attention to what your photographer needs now and what she may need in 5 minutes – which lenses are likely to be needed next, how many memory cards do you have left for her and have you been keeping tabs on how far along she is with the one she’s using? – she can’t miss that vital shot when her card’s run out and you are snoozing!
For anyone looking to second shoot, I think it’s important to make the distinction between being a help for your photographer and creating more work for your own portfolio. This isn’t about your portfolio – sure, you have an invaluable opportunity to work with people that have a wealth and depth of knowledge that far outstrips your own, and will hopefully help to inform your future picture taking – but rather it’s about augmenting their work for the day and just being plain helpful! My advice for you would be to rest up – it’s going to be a busy day! And smile! A lot! You are really going to enjoy it!