Tips for Brides – Having a 2nd Shooter

Today is my last post in my mini-series on 2nd shooting. In case you missed the earlier posts, you can read about how I got started, why it was important to me, and tips for photographers on being a great 2nd shooter! Today’s post is for the brides! I wanted to give a little insight into why I believe having a 2nd shooter is such an important part of the day! (And this is just my personal preference…I know there are many opinions out there, and none of them are wrong).:-)

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What is a 2nd shooter?

First off, if you’re a bride, you may be wondering what exactly a 2nd shooter is and what the 2nd shooter does during the wedding day. Again, this will probably differ from photographer to photographer, but I’ll explain from my experience, and how I personally use 2nd shooters throughout the wedding day!

Basically, a 2nd shooter is exactly what the name suggests: a 2nd shooter for the day of your wedding (pretty creative name, right?). This 2nd shooter also often acts as an assistant to the main photographer, allowing the main photographer (the one you booked) to focus on you and your wedding day, rather than being pulled in many different directions.

What are the advantages of having a 2nd shooter?

Personally, I include a 2nd shooter in each of my packages because I feel they are so important! A 2nd shooter helps to provide a 360 degree view of your wedding day. As one person, I can’t be in 2 places at one time, but with a 2nd shooter, it’s much easier to spread out and capture events happening at the same time, in different rooms (such as the boys getting ready and the girls getting ready).

I talked about this back in this post, but I looooove 2nd shooters when it comes time for big events like a First Look! First looks are intimate, special, unique, and once in a lifetime moments. Having a 2nd photographer can ensure that the faces of BOTH the bride and groom are captured during this time! And likewise goes for bridal party portraits or couples portraits…2nd shooters can capture the close-ups of fun laughs or faces by the bridal party while the main photographer captures the entire scene…2nd shooters can capture different angles of portraits and provide you with even more portraits from your wedding day!

After the wedding ceremony is done, I generally have my 2nd shooter follow the brand new couple to capture those first few moments of WE’RE MARRIED excitement, especially as each member of the bridal party and family greet them. These don’t always work out (sometimes the couple is ushered into a crazy dark room, or are put alone), but when they do? I LOVE the images! As the main photographer, I stay and capture the bridal party and families walking back up the aisle (that’s the only time you get the mother and father of the bride walking together, since dad walked his daughter down the aisle), but I love knowing that the other fun moments are being documented as well.

Overall, 2nd shooters capture the events of the day from a different angle and a different perspective and gives your images from the day such a well-rounded feel!

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2nd shooters can hold umbrellas for your main photographer if need be.:-)(Thanks Ashley!!). At Caitlin & Evan’s wedding, it was raining during family formals and most of the bridal party shots. There was a perfect covered porch with fantastic lighting to do all of the group shots, but that also meant that I had to stand out in the rain. Without a 2nd shooter, this would have been really hard!! Ashley held an umbrella over me the entire time, and it helped things go faster (I wasn’t constantly having to wipe off my lens), and so much smoother.

Having a 2nd shooter can also really help with the flow and timeline of the day! During bridal party shots, if we have not done the boys and girls separately, then while I am shooting the group shots (say of the groomsmen), my 2nd shooter is shooting individual shots of the bride with each of her bridesmaids…then we switch and I shoot the group shots of the girls, and my 2nd shooter shoots individuals of the groom with each of his men. Sometimes timelines end up crunched for various reasons, and there is not time for me to capture the guys getting ready and the girls getting ready…this is a perfect chance for the 2nd shooter to capture the guys (assuming they are getting ready at the same venue).

2nd shooters are also great insurance (for lack of a better term), should a disaster strike and the main photographer falls down a flight of stairs and breaks her arm (or something like that…which let’s all hope and pray this just never happens!). The 2nd shooters I use on wedding days, I trust completely to be able to take over for me, should a nightmare happen. Which leads me to the next question…

How do you pick your 2nd shooters? Do you use the same one for every wedding?

This one definitely differs among photographers. For some, spouses are their 2nd shooters, for others, they have an intern or associate photographer who shoots with them at every wedding, and for others, it is another photographer. I fall into the last category. Early on I thought maaaaaybe, just maybe, I could rope Ben into shooting with me, but we both learned early on that this just wasn’t in the books for us, and that’s ok!! (Now if I bought a fish-eye lens, he would probably come and just shoot fish-eye the entire time, but I doubt that’s what brides and grooms are looking for, for their entire wedding).:-)My 2nd shooters are photographer friends of mine who I have met through various get-togethers, other photographers, or even when I’ve shot their wedding! I have a handful of photographers that I love shooting with, and they are my go-to’s when I am planning out my weddings for the year. Each of these photographers has her own, legitimate wedding photography business, and I trust each one implicitly! I also have a blast with them, which is a huge plus!! (You spend a lot of time with your 2nd shooter on a wedding day, so it’s great when you can have fun with them).

I personally do not use the same 2nd shooter for every wedding, for a variety of reasons. For one, as each 2nd shooter that I use has her own business, she often has her own weddings on the same day I have mine! Location also plays into it…the 2nd shooters I enjoy shooting with are scattered all over Virginia, so a lot of times, it depends on the location of the wedding and the amount of driving involved. And then just personal commitments. Everyone has families and friends and outside commitments, and some weekends they just aren’t available.

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So you’re saying I should have a 2nd shooter at my wedding?

:-)Personally, yes!! That was one of the main things Ben and I looked for when we were booking our wedding photographer (nearly 5 years ago, holy jamoly!), and I can’t recommend it enough to all future brides and grooms!

Happy wedding planning!

2nd Shooting || Tips and Advice Part 2

When I started writing out all the tips and advice I could think of when it comes to 2nd shooting, I was floored with how my post just kept going and going and going. So, if you missed the first part, you can catch that here!

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And off we go on more tips and advice for 2nd shooting weddings:

Assist, assist, assist, and offer to assist more
Even though you may be 2nd shooting, you are also the main photographer’s assistant. Be willing to do ANYTHING the main photographer asks you to do, and make sure the main photographer knows you are willing! I have done everything from running back to a previous location to grab a forgotten item, running to the store to buy something that was immediately needed, grabbing a drink for the photographer, finding our meals at dinner time, and the list goes on and on and on.

When I shot with Lauryn last year, she was pregnant for a good chunk of the weddings we shot together, and I saw it as my job to help take care of her.:-)Making sure she was drinking enough water, that she had food when she needed it, that she wasn’t picking up her heavy camera bag, etc. She was my friend, so I wanted to help, but I was also her assistant, and I needed to help.

Sometimes you’ll be asked to do something during portrait time or another crucial picture taking time. Even though you might be bummed to miss out on shooting, remember the main point…you are not there for your own portfolio! If the main photographer needs something, don’t hesitate to help out.

Look for things the main photographer doesn’t have time to
Often times (especially on days with crunched timelines), the main photographer is going for specific shots, and may not have time to capture the bridesmaid holding her bouquet, the pretty doorknobs or decor of the building, or the flower girls mesmerized by the fountain. Watch for these things, and capture them!

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Cocktail Hour & Family Formals
I’m going to be honest here, shooting cocktail hour is my least favorite time of the wedding day. I have a knack for capturing people with strange face contortions as they’re talking, or just as they’re taking a bite of their food, or just capturing their backs. I don’t like to interrupt conversations, so I try to stay inconspicuous, but often as a 2nd shooter, you’ll be asked to photograph cocktail hour! I remember Lauryn told me once that she saw cocktail hour as a challenge to learn and once I adopted that attitude, it made it easier. I still don’t love it, but it’s easier.

And then there is family formals! Often times, the 2nd shooter will be given the list of family shots, and will be responsible for corralling the right groups of people, while the main shooter sets them up and photographs them. I rarely photograph during family formal time when I’m 2nd shooting! I’m mainly there to help the process run as quickly and smoothly as possible.

Honor and respect the main photographer as the main photographer
Every photographer will have different expectations of their 2nd shooters, and every photographer will pay differently. Some will pay a higher rate, but have you shoot on their cards and you won’t be allowed to use them on your blog or in your portfolio. Some will pay you and allow you to shoot on your cards and use them on your blog, but not in your portfolio. Others will pay you and allow you to use the images on your blog in your portfolio. Always know where and how you can use the images before you do anything with them!! One thing that has been consistent with all 2nd shooting opportunities is that you cannot use the images on FB, which is totally understandable! But if you blog the images, ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS link to, mention, and love on the main photographer!! Don’t try to put a wedding off as your own. Let it be known you 2nd shot with so-and-so, and ALWAYS link to their blog post. My general rule of thumb when I was blogging weddings I 2nd shot, was to blog at least 2 weeks after the main photographer blogged. It was never requested, but to me, it just made sense. This was just a personal decision, but I felt like it was the courteous thing to do.

For my 2nd shooters, I allow them to use the images on their blog and in their portfolio, as long as they link their blog post to mine. I was very blessed to be able to use so many of the images I 2nd shot in my portfolio and on my blog early on, and I love to be able to pass that along to my 2nd shooters!

Wear a watch!
Timelines on wedding days are always fast paced and crunched, and it’s easy to get caught up in shooting that you lose track of the time. I love to wear a watch as a main photographer (so much easier and more professional than glancing down at your wrist than hunting through your bag for your phone!), but sometimes I forget to grab it, and it’s always such a blessing when my 2nd has one! So, on top of wearing a watch, this really boils down to helping the photographer keep track of the time and timeline for the day.

Shooting the men
Some timelines just don’t allow for separate shooting time for the guys and the girls getting ready, and as a 2nd shooter, you will often be asked to photograph the guys getting ready. The first few times I did this, I was so intimidated! But you know what? Guys can be fun.:-)And the images you need (the groom putting on his tie, his shoes, his jacket) are really quick and easy to grab. Always try to grab some of the guys just hanging out, whether they’re sitting around chatting, drinking, or playing beer-pong.:-)

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Ask questions!
Obviously there is a time and a place for this one (asking questions in the middle of the photographer explaining a pose is not an ideal time), but truly, if you have questions, ask them! The vast majority of photographers will be more than willing to answer them. There is almost always a little downtime with just the 2 of you (whether before the ceremony, during dinner, during a lull in dancing, etc.), and ask! If there’s something that they did during posing that intrigued you, ask! If you want to know why they chose a certain lens, ask! If you are completely baffled by OCF, and they seem knowledgeable, ask! But gauge their level of interest and response before continuing rattling off questions.:-)Don’t annoy them, but don’t hesitate to ask about something when the time is appropriate.

Don’t copy or imitate the photographer
One of the reasons that I love shooting with a variety of photographers is observing their different styles and their approaches to the wedding day! I saw certain things that I loved, and certain things that worked for them but that wouldn’t work for me. I was able to take some of the things that I loved, mold them and massage them, and apply them to my business or my shooting style…but I made them work for me and my business. Don’t do something just because someone else is doing it…figure out why you love it and why you want to do it, and how you can make it reflect you and your business.

Keep an arsenal of poses in your head
The first few times I 2nd shot, I was terrified that the photographer would turn to me in the middle of portrait time and have me pose the couple (ha, silly me!). I would have been completely baffled, so I started to try to keep a pose idea or 2 in my head, just in case. It’s only happened a couple of times (either when a photographer is switching a lens or card, or just needs another idea), but be ready if the photographer asks you to keep shooting/posing while they grab something! (Ashley grabbed this one while I was getting the white umbrella for the bride and groom, and I love it!)

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Be friendly, but remember you are there to assist
Your job as a 2nd shooter is to be friendly with the bridal party, the bride, the groom, and the guests…but remember whose business you are there with! If someone happens to ask for your card, NEVER, EVER, EVER give your card out as a 2nd shooter. If someone asks, tell them you will grab one from the main photographer for them, and do it. You are NOT there to promote your business, but rather to support the business of the main photographer.

Do your absolute best
I know this one seems like a given, but it’s true! Sometimes 2nd shooting can get arduous, long, and yes, even boring. Be positive! If you are in hour 4 of a 6 hour long dance party, your feet are killing you, you haven’t eaten all day, and you’re exhausted, know that the main photographer probably feels the same way…but don’t gripe about it! Do your best with your shooting, honor the photographer’s wishes, respect the photographer’s business, and keep a positive attitude!! One of the things I noticed in my early times of 2nd shooting, was that my name got passed around a network of photographers. People I had shot with recommended me to their friends who were looking for a 2nd shooter, and I was honored! I know that my shots were not right on technically, I knew that I didn’t have the best equipment, but I knew that I worked incredibly hard, was willing to do anything the main photographer needed, and tried my hardest to keep a positive attitude at all times throughout the day…and it was extremely beneficial!!

Want a piece of cake? Follow the main photographer’s lead.:-)
This one is just for fun, because I love the dessert table at weddings (and I’m sure with Spark along this year, I will love it even more). Haha. If a wedding has a candy bar with sour patch kids? Yah, I can’t avoid that one. Cupcakes? You better believe I can’t take my eyes off of those all during the reception.:-)When you’re the photographer, you can’t just go up and help yourself to dessert along with guests. Most of my couples have, at some point, told me to grab a piece of cake or a thing of ice cream (Will & Jenny’s ice cream favors are one of my absolute favorites, and when they insisted I have one? Well, I just loved them even more. :-). However, as the 2nd shooter, follow the main photographer’s lead in this. If the photographer skips the candy bar, you should too. If the photographer skips the cake, you should too. If the photographer grabs a piece? By all means, eat one too.:-)

*Disclaimer: It is the appropriate thing to do to ask the wedding planner, bride’s parents, or other responsible parties before grabbing a piece. Although 99.9999% of the time your request will be met with an “Absolutely!!”, you should always ask before assuming.*

Whew, that’s a lot huh? If you have ANY questions or other tips or advice I missed, feel free to leave a comment below or shoot me an email at karen@karenallenphoto.com!

Married! Caitlin & Evan | Celebrations at the Reservoir

The skies were gray, the rain was falling, and the questions were being asked. “Do you still want to do the ceremony outside? Should we move it into the tent?” Caitlin had had her heart set on an outdoor ceremony at the gorgeous Celebrations at the Reservoir, and the idea of having to move it into the tent was not a fun one to think about. We pulled up the radar on our phones, and lo-and-behold, at 5:00, the radar was clear. No storms. So, despite the raging rain 2 hours before, Caitlin made the decision to have the wedding she had dreamed of, outside. And I just LOVED her that much more for this decision!!

Yes, the skies may have opened up half-way through the ceremony, but Caitlin & Evan and all their guests were fantastic! Cait and Evan laughed it off (I mean seriously, how romantic is your having your FIRST kiss as husband and wife, in the rain?). Evan’s dad walked up and stood holding an umbrella over them as they said their vows and exchanged rings. Guests flipped open their umbrellas and smiled through the rain as Cait and Evan promised forever.

Afterwards, they could not wipe the grins from their faces, and their joy just brightened the gray day immensely. Cait & Evan, thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for allowing me to be a part of your day! Thank you for following your hearts, and going for the outdoor ceremony on a rainy day.:)I LOVE this about you, and your day was so incredibly special!

Enjoy many of my favorites!

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loved that these two exchanged letters. This was one of my favorite parts of the day!

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Oh Caitlin, stop it. You are a STUNNING bride!

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The walk down the aisle was gorgeous and dry.:-)

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And then it poured.

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LOVED  these ones! The umbrellas matched the wedding colors perfectly, and the rain boots are so fun! These girls just embraced the rain and I loved it!

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Oh you two!!

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Hands down favorite!

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Congratulations Mr. & Mrs. Dobrowolski!! I hope Jamaica was amazing!

A HUGE thank-you to my fabulous 2nd shooter (and umbrella holder) Ashley!!

And to all the vendors that made this lovely day possible:

Photographer: Karen Allen Photography
Venue: Celebrations at the Reservoir
Florist: Lasting Florals
Baker: Hinkle House Bake Shop
Hair Stylist: Rebekah at Serendipity Hair Studio
Make-up Artist: A Head of Hair
DJ: Mark Abernathy, Party Time DJ Entertainment
Invitations: By Invitation Only
Photobooth: Main Street Mojo
Bridal Gown: Purchased from Bella Rosa
Bridesmaid Dresses: Alfred Angelo
Tuxes: Jos. A Banks

 

 

 

 

April 16, 2014 - 7:16 am

Tips for Brides - Having a 2nd Shooter | Karen Allen Blog - […] shooters can hold umbrellas for your main photographer if need be.(Thanks Ashley!!). At Caitlin & Evan’s wedding, it was raining during family formals and most of the bridal party shots. There was a perfect […]

April 9, 2014 - 11:24 pm

adele montgomery - The creativity in these pictures is amazing~!!!! I am truly blown away by this photo shoot!!! God has given you are precious gift…Congratulations!!!!

April 9, 2014 - 8:20 am

ashley Link - that ring shot is killer and i love those earrings on the chair! such a good shot!

these two were so sweet! you did a great job with their photos and they will treasure them forever! thanks for bringing me along! i had so much fun! <3

April 9, 2014 - 8:04 am

caitlin and evan | celebrations at the reservoir | wedding photography » - […] second shoot with karen that day! i always have so much fun shooting with her (see her wedding post HERE!). this wedding was no exception. she’s such a great friend to have and i always learn so […]

April 8, 2014 - 5:00 pm

barb82678 - So Beautiful! The rain made it extra special & unique. Best wishes the the bride & groom.

KAPtivations, Goals, and a Bump-date! – March

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of my KAPtivations posts! But I do plan on bringing them back, and changing them up a little bit, adding some of my monthly goals to the list as well as a baby update!

So, onto March KAPtivations!

March KAPs_0005 copy

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(1) Spring! (And snow). Can we all just breathe a big sigh of relief that it at least appears that Spring is here to stay in Virginia! I LOVE the snow (and we got some decent ones this year), and am always up for a freak snow storm (I know, I know), but when you have crazy low temps with no snow? Not cool. I’m tired of scraping ice off my car every morning, and I am loving all the blossoming trees and plants! (The pups sure enjoyed the snow too though!)

(2) Babymoon! I blogged a bit about it here, but it was a blast. I wish we could go back to both places and stay a little longer. I thoroughly enjoyed my first taste of Charleston (charming little city!), and I can’t wait to go back someday and stay a bit longer. And it was fun to stay in a swanky hotel for a couple of nights.:-)

(3) Wedding season kicked off this past weekend, and although the rain didn’t hold off, it was one of my favorite weddings to date! More coming next week!! It got me so pumped for wedding season to start!

Entertainment

Ben and I don’t have cable, satellite, or even antenna TV, so we watch a ton of Netflix. We recently finished up the TV series “Flashpoint” on Netflix, and highly, highly recommend it!! It stayed clean throughout the entire series (which is so rare these days), and was entertaining, intriguing, and really made you think about the not so glamorous side of jobs like police and firefighters…and makes you appreciate them even more!

I love to watch shows while I edit or do other work around the house. I think I’ve mentioned it before, but I’ve found that the shows have to be light-hearted, because if they are all suspenseful or stressful, it really stresses me out in my work. I love those kind of shows when I’m not working, but I need something cheery (and that I don’t have to pay careful attention to), while I’m working. I heard a lot about Psych, and have whipped through the series. I’m on season 6 and really loving it!

Frozen. We finally saw it. Need I say more?! This movie totally lived up to its hype, and we loved it! Oh! And the way Christoph has conversations “with” Sven? We totally do that with our pups.

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(Images found here, here, and here.)

Bump-date

You like what I did there?:-)Although Spark is currently 25 weeks, since this is a recap of March, we ended the month at 24+ weeks! Spark’s absolute favorite food is pizza, specifically my mom’s homemade recipe. We made it twice in March, and both times after eating it, Spark started doing a jig and kept it up for quite some time! He definitely inherited his love of pizza from the Field family side.:-)

We still don’t have a name picked out, but Ben did suggest Kardashian the other day. True story. The funny (sweet?) thing was that he had NO idea why I immediately, absolutely vetoed that one. He has never heard of the Kardashians, bless his heart! I filled him in, and then was a bit embarrassed that I knew as much as I did. Ha.

I think we’ve decided on a nursery color!! This has seriously taken me forever, and my Pinterest board is a full gamut of colors and hues. I finally found one that I loved, but the only problem is there is no way to find out what the actual paint color is (believe me, I tried…even found the original source of the photo, and nothing). But it at least points us in the right direction! We haven’t made much progress on our List yet, but I have a feeling April will be a big month for that.:-)

March KAPs_0006

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April Goals

Business Goals
- Finalize our taxes with our CPA
- Shoot 2 weddings and shoot them well! (And have fun!)
- Finish organizing files on computer and get them allll backed up online (this is taking FOREVER)
- Complete one more section of my Client Wedding Lounge
- Design and order a sample wedding album
- Order a new stamp with my new logo
- Submit 2 weddings

Personal Goals
- Demo master bathroom (ok, so this is technically my personal goal for Ben)
- Pick final paint colors for nursery, master bedroom, new office
- Paint nursery, master bedroom, and new office
- Move office furniture downstairs and organize new office
- Decide on a new carpet color
- Finish baby registry (this is so overwhelming y’all!)
- Register for labor and delivery classes
- Celebrate Ben’s birthday!
- Work out 3-4 times a week, and walk outside every day it’s sunny! Ok, perhaps not every day, but close to it.
- Keep Spark healthy as I finish out the 2nd trimester
- Pass my glucose test
- Get my state inspection for my car (boring)

I think that’s plenty to keep us rip-roaring busy through the month of April! Wish us luck!