Roles of a Second Shooter: Creative Live Notes with Jasmine Star

Do you see the difference in this photo:

and this one?

The same moment, but different angle. The first set of images of "the first look" is done by the head photographer of My Creative Vision, and the second photo is captured by the second shooter.

Before we go into details, let's cover the 10 basic roles/rules of a second shooter according to Jasmine Star during the Creative Live workshop. Oh! In case you hadn't read part I, I'm sharing my Creative Live workshop notes and this is part II :)

10-Dress Appropriately: Work-style uniform. "I wear dresses when I shoot. I prefer black."
9-During same day slide show, do table-round shots!
8-Gather the family during formals. Help propel the first shooter. Main photographer is getting head-on, classic photo. Second shooter takes in-between moments (flower girl picking nose, couple looking at each other, etc.).
7-Take care of vendors. Say hello to DJ, band, florist, etc. Spark conversation. Make sure everyone has water.
6-Offer to carry bags.
5-Get water.
3-Find NEW angles. Think like the first photographer, shooting from a different angle.
2-NEVER pass out your business cards. Ever.
1.-Leave your ego at the door.

-Clarification BEFORE ceremony. “What is it that you want to get out of the day?” Do they pay? If they don't, can you use the images (you took) for your portfolio or just online studio? Can you reproduce/edit images? CLARIFY TERMS with main photographer!
-Become involved with online forums. Involvement with the community. "When my name came up, I was part of the community."

So back to the angles. The best photos you can provide a photographer as a second shooter is an angle THEY cannot be at.

Here is another example from Sarah Postma:

This is literally giving the bride the opportunity to see what HER MOM is seeing and how she's reacting. You see these often with the father giving the bride away. The action and reaction. I refer to this as the "money" shot. Ok, not really, but if I had captured that I would've sang "moooneeeyy" in my head.

And what was my first second-shooting experience like last year? Besides being a slightly nervous mess -- I was... a slightly nervous mess. I remember that the bridal party shots were pretty challenging to get creative. I kept telling myself "don't get in HIS shot! New angles... new angles..." I didn't want to distract the bridal party, but I also didn't want all of them to be at this angle:

However, sometimes it worked out nicely...

And in the end, though the open field during the bridal portrait shots was challenging in finding "new angles"... I walked away with some very valuable photos. As the main photographer positioned himself near the groom at the end of the isle before the bride arrived with her father, I captured this...

It might not seem like such a special photo, but to my photographer it was. I don't remember the reasons he was so relieved to see this photo -- but the point is that I provided him with a moment he wasn't situated for and I was. Thank you LORD it was exposed correctly! I mean, this was my FIRST wedding and I'm probably taking 30 million photos. The grass, the chair, the splinter in the chair, the ants having a rally.

There's so much I have yet to learn when second shooting-- especially during formal portraits, both as a second and main shooter. Those are probably the most challenging to be really creative on since they are what they are -- formal. Blegh.

But then, if you are able to push your creativity through those stiff moments, could you imagine what you would get during the moments outside of that? And that is what Jasmine Star inspires us to do. Prepare yourself for those "in between" moments that your clients really want to see. Anticipate them. Because in the end, you are the one who is telling their story and the moment doesn't wait for better exposure.

We'll cover Posing & Lighting notes next!