Interview with Aaron Taylor – Second Shooting with Erica(PS EP-80)

In Portrait Session Podcast by Jesse ParkLeave a Comment

Specific Advice Learned from Erica

  1. When shooting detail shots, look for a light or something to blur in background
  2. During reception, when using off-camera flash, watch for shadows on faces
  3. Small bungee cords are a great way to secure light stands to something else, like the pole from a speaker or the tent
  4. Don’t do candids of people talking, eating, at tables, etc., unless there’s a person or moment that the bridge requests.
  5. Followed your article advice: prepped the night before, brought snacks with me.

 What Aaron Thought Afterwards 

  1. Second shooter could set an alarm for every hour to make sure to check the list
  2. Renting the 70-200mm f/2.8 was worth it–fast focus, allows you to be out of the way when necessary, great image quality. When I switched to my Nifty Fifty for the reception, I immediately noticed the trouble it had focusing, especially in low light.
  3. Off-camera flash skill is required, especially for the reception. Don’t forget to put flashes on different channels.
  4. The second shooter needs to be careful not to get too caught up in the moment; you don’t want to get in the shot of the primary photographer, and you want to be ready to help if need be. This was especially true when holding light stands. Don’t watch the subject, watch the primary shooter.
  1. Anticipate how you can help. The day isn’t about the second shooter’s photography. It’s about helping the primary photographer get the job done. That might mean shooting, that might mean holding an umbrella (which I did and got soaked but so what!), that might mean carrying gear or helping to switch lenses. Don’t wait to be asked for help. Anticipate the primary photographer’s needs or be ready to do something at a moment’s notice.
  2. I should have dressed more casually. I wanted to look nice, but I ended up being too hot and sweaty.
  3. Since much of the stress falls on the primary photographer, try to keep things light during that stress. Don’t be nonchalant, but find a way to keep things calmer and fun.
  4. Eight hours is so nice compared to 1 or 2. There’s time to breathe.
  5. The schedule and must-have’s might be thrown away–delays, rain, etc.
  6. Second shooter should work hard to balance suggestions with staying in the background. Help to work out problems, suggest poses, but don’t do too much. It’s the primary photographer’s show, not yours. One difficult thing I had to balance was using the wedding as an opportunity to build my portfolio. Since you allow me to use the photos as long as I credit you and your company for the experience, I was also thinking about what I could get. I got great stuff, but never got eye contact for posed photos–oh well!
  7. The magmod was great for the sake of ease. I’m jealous.
  8. If you can, ride with the primary shooter. The ride was a great time to get to know each other and discuss whatever we needed to.
  9. If the bride hugs you at the end, you’ve done a good job.

Listener Questions

 Erika Sneeringer Is there a contract between head photography and second shooter?

Gary Ledgerwood What percentage does a second shooter usually get paid? Or is it an add on services above and beyond the usual rate? Does the second shoot post process their photos or is the primary shooter responsible for all processing for consistency?

Erika Sneeringer I have a question for Erica Coffman. I've seen on your blog that some weddings you shoot solo with no second shooter. What factors do you consider for which weddings need a second shooter? or do you try to always have one and only go solo if you are not able to find a second shooter.

Erika Sneeringer another one….. do you have a second shooter AND an assistant or is a second shooter job doubled with being an assistant? how much of the second shooter's time is spent second shooting vs. assistant (ie, holding flash, etc.).

Erika Sneeringer and finally…. last question (for now) but since no one else is asking questions, I will….. Do you meet your second shooter in person prior to wedding to go over timeline and assign tasks for the day? Can you walk us through the steps on how this meeting goes? (assuming this is a new second shooter that you have not worked with)

Erika Sneeringer Ok I lied about last question. I have another one…. this one about dinner time. I know Erica makes it a point to be provided with a meal during a wedding. Do you sit down and eat with your second shooter or do you eat in shifts, so one can always be walking around shooting?

 James D. DeCamp I think its been talked about here, but this would be for a wider audience: Contracts for seconds – whats included, can seconds use images for own promotion and if so what is the embargo period and stipulations, pay scale, do you loan equipment to seconds on the day of, insurance for seconds, liability issues for seconds. Good luck – let us know when it airs 🙂


About the Author

Jesse Park

Personal Assistant to Jim Harmer. For your own support in your business, please e-mail me at [email protected]

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