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25 Tips for 2nd Shooters :: New Jersey Wedding Photographer :: Popography

I am a lucky gal because I have one heck of a 2nd shooter- my hubby! He has really mastered most of these tips and I can’t thank him enough! I did not write the blog post for him though. I actually wrote it for me! After moving to New Jersey as a wedding photographer, I find myself 2nd shooting more than ever! I know it is backwards, but I am a 1st shooter that is now learning to shoot as a 2nd shooter. We all have room to learn and grow and it starts with ME! Let me know if you have more tips you can add! The more the merrier!

Happy Shooting!

All images shown were shot by me as a 2nd shooter with the amazing Steve Kang with Liquid Fusion Photography

1. Communicate– Ask tons of questions to get a better idea of what the expectation is.

2. Save Info– Save the schedule as your phone background! This is a lifesaver. The address, phone number and schedule of the day should all be easily accessible!

3. Tell a story- Often times the 2nd shooter is with the gentleman for the first portion of the day. Remember to tell a story that will balance out what the 1st shooter is shooting with the women. Get the details, candids, getting dressed and anything else that helps complete the story. When you first arrive, put down the camera and get to know the people you are about to start shooting with. Getting them comfortable with you will really help get the best photos!

4. 2nd Shooter Assistant– It is really important to remember you are there to support your 1st shooter. Sometimes you will find yourself handing lenses, running to get a bag or organizing things for your 1st shooter. Is is your job to have your 1st shooter have a more successful day.

5. Convenient Store Clerk– Sometimes I feel like I have a convenient store in my bag! Bandaids, water, granola bars, safety pins…It is always important to be prepared! Not for yourself, but for others around you. Often times a bride will get a blister or possibly your 1st photographer gets faint from exhaustion. Having a snack or that well needed bandaid will help the day go smoothly and really make a good impression!

6. Facebook-Make sure you check with your 1st shooter about posting to Facebook. It is probably best to NOT add anyone from the wedding party to your Facebook. People could start tagging themselves and others might confuse you as the 1st shooter. ALWAYS credit your 1st photographer by tagging their fan page or their website on all photos shared. Typically 2nd shooters will post their images after the photos have been delivered to the clients by the 1st shooter.

7. Say NO to Business Cards– Just leave them at home. :)

8. Drop it like its HOT– Be prepared to drop your cards with the 1st shooter at the end of the night so they can dump them on to their external hard drive! Don’t be afraid of your ‘bad’ photos. Just hand the cards over to the 1st photographer and let them decide on which photos will best support the wedding day story.

9. Stay out of the Shot– You may look like your dodging an invisible dodge ball at some points during the day! Yes, you look crazy, but it is important to get out of the  1st photographers shot.

10. Reactions– Often times the 1st photog is getting the main idea. The big shot. Look around and see who is watching this moment. Shooting reactions of parents and friends can really make the story have more depth. Take a look around and see what emotions you can find.

11. Angles– If you’re shooting portraits with the 1st shooter it is important to get different angles. Sometimes the 1st photog might even have the couple or wedding party look at you for that different angle.

12. Opposite Lenses– If you’re 1st photog grabs a wide angle, you should grab a longer lens.  Try to always tell a different story than your 1st. Sometimes I will use a longer lens on the dance floor so that I am out of the way and let the 1st photographer be closer to the couple.

13. Let me SYNC about it– As soon as you arrive to the wedding sync your camera timing with the 1st photographer. This will make culling and editing much easier!

14. SHOOT RAW- this is an absolute must. This will allow for a better editing experience for the 1st photographer. If you over or under expose the photo, they will be able to make the proper adjustments without compromising the quality.

15. Over Pack– Bring extras of everything. Batteries, cards, flashes… You just never know!

16. Keep it to yourself– Don’t share images off the back of your camera. Simply shoot and smile :D

17. Work your BUTT off– It is a multi-tasking job! It is hard, sweaty and long hours! BUT, it is what you signed up for. Try not to find yourself sitting around, checking your phone or resting in front of others. Keep reminding yourself that you are there to support your 1st shooter.

18. Do NOT have an alcoholic drink– It just isn’t an option.

19. Food & Drink– Be prepared to keep yourself hydrated and fed. It is not always certain that the wedding will feed you. If you do indeed get fed by the wedding, then you should not eat in public. Your 1st photographer should give you a time and place to eat.

20. Shoot the Shooter– Take photos of your 1st shooter in action. It is always a bonus to find great images in the cards of yourself working and looking good!

21. Dress to Impress– We personally wear all black on our team. Every shooter is different. It is important to know the time of year and location ahead of time so you can be prepared. We wear black because it is neutral and it also hides dirt and sweat. Some photographers want you to blend in with the guests by wearing the appropriate attire.

22. Keep time– Help the 1st shooter out by keeping the schedule available! Small whispers to update on time will help keep things moving and it is one less thing for them to have to think about!

23. The Photog Dance– Ask your 1st shooter where they want you to be during the ceremony. Every photog is different! It is much like a dance and should be discussed before you go in front of the guests.

24. Smile– It is AMAZING how much better you work and how much better you look when you smile.

23. Live & Learn– We all make mistakes and slip ups. Just keep serving, keep improving, keep trying, keep communicating and keep shooting! As I write all of these tips I think back on some of the times that I have either experienced these or have done them myself! All we can do is TRY!

24. Feedback– Ask for feedback from your 1st photographer. Getting good feedback can really help you hone in on your skills and be a better photographer.

25. Check the Ego at the Door– Have a humble heart and a servant like attitude. This is a very important day for the couple and what an honor you have in sharing that day with them and all of their guests! Know your place and be happy with that :)


Let us know if you have more to add! Here are a few 2nd shooter shots we loved!


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Alexis Desselles -

I love this post. It is full of very good information. I am an amateur photographer. I have done a few family shoots but I tend to get very nervous because I am so new to it. I think being a second shooter is a very good option for me until I get more comfortable. I didn’t even know this was an option until I read this.

Phillip Van Nostrand -

these are all PERFECT! I can’t possibly think of anything more to add to this list!

Henry O. Ventura -

Great blog!

Gustav Woloszyn -

I am a photographer too from NJ and owner of I give my two thumbs up for your post with my sincerity. :)