Have you ever thought about being a second shooter for another photographer? Do you even know what a second shooter is?
It is fairly self-evident, but I didn’t really think about it before I read Trent Chau’s blog post titled: So you want to be a second shooter, assistant, etc… for a photographer.
What is a Second Shooter?
Basically you perform whatever duties required as a representative of that photographer’s business on a shoot to get the clients. It might be getting some different angles of the same situation to compliment the main photographer’s photos, or it might mean helping set up/tear down lighting equipment etc.
What’s in it for you?
That will depend on your agreement with the main photographer and your own personality. It could potentially mean some extra money. More importantly, it allows you to see how another professional works both photographically and on a business level. Through sheer observation you can able to glean some nuggets of what you’d like to incorporate and what you’re positive you won’t do. If you ask questions, you’re golden.
I strongly suggest you read his whole post as it is chock-full of sweet details. He also has lots of experience as a second shooter while I do not. I do have some key points that I took from it though.
The Key Points from Trent’s Post
1. You are representing the other photographer in front of the clients – they’re the boss (extra points if their name is Tony Danza).
- question their decisions
- harp on a suggestion they dismiss
- show-up their technical knowledge
- state you could have done better
- talk about you or your business
- bring your own business cards (only carry those of the photographer you are working for)
- steal clients
- forget to credit them on any image you post yourself
- forget the reasons why you decided to take that job (to learn perhaps?)
- (as Trent so eloquently puts it) “be a douche”
Unless you are a douche, you’d be unlikely to do all the things listed above but I think it is great that Trent has made them explicit. Doesn’t hurt to know exactly what “not being a douche” as a second shooter looks like.
2. Compensation is important, but so is your attitude. It is important that you feel like you’re getting something out of the experience. Just remember, your attitude is what either opens you up or closes you down to learning new things. Don’t be so quick to blame others if you’re not getting what you want.
3. “Be willing to do the small things.” Those words were so apt that I had to quote them directly from the article. This is a good thing to keep in mind for any shoot whether you are the primary or secondary photographer. If you sweat the small things to make things easier and more enjoyable for everyone, people will want to work with you again and again.
4. How to go about getting yourself some second shooter work – put it out there. Trent has a number of great suggestions at the end of his post on how to take action on this. Make sure you read his tips.
If the stuff above sounded like something you might be interested in, I strongly suggest you start marketing yourself and connecting with other photographers to offer your services. Trent has a great page on his website that does just that. I think he’s done a great job of writing something professional while selling what he offers at the same time.
I’d love to work with him as a second shooter someday!
Trent Chau Photographer – Serving North Atlanta Weddings | Commercial | Portraits | Events | All your photography needs Cell : 770.361.6080 firstname.lastname@example.org | http://www.trentchau.com A member of the Professional Photographers of America