Training Your Second Shooter: How to Make Them an Essential Member of Your Team

Have you ever had a negative experience with a second shooter? Maybe you differed in style, used conflicting techniques, or had opposite personalities. Either way, creating a seamless working relationship with your second shooter is a key element for success.

A second shooter is more than just someone to help you capture standard images. They can help you capture creative photos you may not have the angle for, and they can help you work with the couple and their family during family formals and other portraits taken throughout the day. If trained correctly, your second shooter can be an asset to you. In our Ultimate Guide to Second Shooters, we share how to find, train, and empower your second shooter. Here are a few tips to get you started to make your second shooter an essential member of your team.

Show Past Examples

the bride and the bridesmaids dresses hanging from a barn doorImage Credit: ShootDotEdit Customer @taylorkempphotography

When you explain your style, it can be difficult for your second shooter to fully grasp what you describe (not because they are amateurs, but because you are unique from other photographers in the industry). You can set clear expectations for your images when you showcase past examples of your work, as well as the images from other second shooters you have worked with.

 A simple way to do this is to curate a board on Pinterest of these images for them to review. To clarify what you liked about the images, such as the angles, poses, or lighting, leave notes on each image for the second shooter to review. This gives them a way to learn what you expect from them when it comes to the types of images they produce.

Tip: Make sure you share consistent images with your second shooter, so they understand your style and how you deliver images to your clients. Outsource wedding photo editing to a specialist who ensures your photos are consistent and in your style, and then share those with your second shooter.

Related: What are the steps to take to define your unique photography style?

Create a Gear Checklist

a wedding couple sharing a fun moment under the bridal veil Image Credit: ShootDotEdit Customer @loversoflove

Because you have a unique style, you likely use specific gear to help you achieve certain techniques in your images. If your second shooter is unaware of your preferences and brings different equipment to the shoot, your images may not have the same look you desire.

For example, if you shoot with all prime lenses, are you okay with your second shooter using zoom lenses? Also, have you outlined the types of lenses and additional gear that you expect them to have during the shoot? Provide your second shooter with a gear checklist, and clarify why you need them to use the gear to work with you. Make sure you give them the checklist in enough time so they can borrow or rent certain gear if they do not already own it. Also, give them the opportunity to ask questions about the specific gear, and be willing to train them on how to master certain pieces of equipment so they feel more comfortable during the shoot.

Related: Are you thinking about upgrading your camera, but aren’t sure what model is perfect for you and your business?

Share Specific Techniques

a couple in their wedding attire standing in front of a forest with giant treesImage Credit: ShootDotEdit Customer @looyengaphoto

As you spend the time to train your second shooter, share specific techniques with them so they can master your style. If you require them to use a specific lens or flash, review with them how you use it to capture images that represent your style. If you have a preference for how the ceremony is shot, share that with them as well. Perhaps you like to stand at the front of the aisle and you want your second shooter to capture images from the back or the side. These are techniques your second shooter should know so that they can do their best to create stunning photos from the day.

Practice Together

a newlywed couple sharing a close moment under the wedding veilImage Credit: ShootDotEdit Customer @jperrymanphotography

Once you share the techniques you prefer with the second shooter, try to schedule a time to practice with them before the wedding day shoot. Not only will this allow your second shooter to master any skills that they might need assistance on, but it is also a great opportunity for the two of you to develop a good rhythm in working together! If you typically scout a location before the shoot, bring your second shooter along with you. You can both discover the best areas to shoot certain moments and then can practice a few of your techniques.

This is also a great time to help build your second shooter’s confidence. Empower them to continuously look for the important shots to capture, as well as to keep an eye on the images that you are taking. This way, you can both maximize the shots you are taking throughout the day.

A second shooter is a great addition to help you capture images from the wedding day, and when you take the time to make them part of your team, you can continue to deliver stunning images to your clients. Discover additional tips and tricks for how to train your second shooter when you download The Ultimate Guide to Second Shooters!

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