How to be an awesome second shooter!

Last month I was able to do something I haven't done in years... second shoot! With my schedule this year I had some availability in June and an opportunity to second shoot arose and I took it! I was a little nervous I would be rusty, but actually walked away with open eyes on how much a second shooter is really able to do and how creative you can be! I thought I would compile some tips for anyone looking to get into wedding photography; starting as a helpful second shooter is a great way to start and here is how you can be of best service to your main shooter! 
DETAILS! As a second shooter you have more time on your hands to get creative with details. Hold on to the invitation and if the opportunity presents itself, take two minutes by grabbing a bridesmaids bouquet and set up a cool invitation shot.  Or angle yourself during portraits to get the bouquet, or bracelet on the bride. As a first I can never take enough detail shots and especially incorporate pieces throughout the day so please do it for me! I will love you for it! 

Here is an invitation I grabbed along with the bridesmaids bouquet and I took the baby's breath out of a jar on the table (and put it back when I was done : ) 
Take photos that help tell the story. It may just be some quick group photos at the cocktail hour  or candids of guests arriving to the wedding. They are all pieces of the couples' story and the more of these you can provide to help tell a better story of who was there and what was happening the better! Take initiative and get great shots while there is 'downtime' like before the wedding starts. 
Bridesmaids!! You guys, there is always that time of the day where there are a few bridesmaids just standing around looking cute while we take the bride portraits or family shots or whatever. Take the initiative to set up a 3 minute 'mini shoot' with the bridesmaids right where you are. Trust me they love it too! Shoot them with their flowers, them as a group or even individually. The first shooter rarely has time to do this and it really adds to the overall detail shots of the day! DO IT! 

Capture the people and moments that are candid and of 'secondary people in the wedding"! The first shooter is usually focused on the bride, groom, bridal party and family throughout the day... but there are so many other people and things happening. Take the opportunity to shoot "behind the scenes' of the people doing things around what is happening. People signing guest books, or flowers girls being cute. Take the shot! 

For Portraits of the bride and groom, chances are the first is focused on faces and the direct shot of the couple. Step to the side and get a different angle, or focus on the details up close. Your first photog will thank you for the originals! 
Get the main shooter water- often! Man, you get so thirsty shooting and TALKING all day! Directing family photos, asking for people to stand places, you really work up a thirst! I don't think I've ever turned down water when my second shooter offers so be cognizant and on a secondary note, let them eat first if there isn't much time to eat, as tired and hungry as you are, the first is always more wore down so offer to get the a plate or offer to keep shooting table shots while they eat and then you can switch off! 

Take reception shots while the light is good indoors! If the schedule allows, take some time during the family photos to go to the reception site ahead of time and take photos of the details during the day time. This makes for better light and will not make your first shooter stressed when they are trying to get every detail before they seat guests for the reception! Here are some details shots I took while the first was doing family photos and I wasn't needed. The room was empty and I could fire away in great light without being rushed by guests who want to grab their seat!

 Again! details details! These two cute Kate Spade glasses below weren't together in front of cute flowers, I grabbed them, arranged them and then took the shot. Take the extra minute to really set up your detail shots and get better results! 

Really think outside the box to get creative angles that your first isn't! The nice thing about not having to get the direct shot, is that you can really take a step back and get a cool angle and take a chance on shooting some original stuff. When you are first shooting you are really focusing on nailing a good shot, so you can't always take the liberty to venture around too much. But the second can! Give your first shooter something original when they are culling your photos! In the first shot I got " the shot" of what was happening, however in this second shot, I just took a minute to step behind all the guests toasting and it layered the photo beautifully. 

Then I stepped behind and got this below. 

Hoped that helped!!

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