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Always Be Different // Secrets to Second Shooting Series

With my first wedding season (sort of) under my belt and starting fresh with a new season, I thought there couldn’t be a more perfect time to begin a series about all us second shooters out there!

I’d like to start off by saying that I absolutely love my job as a second shooter. Not only do I get to work with a dear friend who let’s me take a lot of responsibility on the wedding day, but I also have the joy of experimenting with my creativity to get the shots that compliment Kira’s.

Having experienced recently primarily shooting a wedding, I can now honestly say that second shooters are VALUABLE. They’re not just along for the fun ride, but primary shooters depend on them. Like a loving friend, second shooters should have your back in stressful situations and aim to support whatever you’re doing. After my first experience of primary shooting, it helped me take my responsibilities as a second shooter much more seriously. 

And with that, here’s my first (and most basic) secret of second shooting…


Always Be Different

This is something I now tell myself whenever I’m shooting with Kira. My goal is to compliment Kira and not compete with her. If she’s getting a certain angle at a certain distance, I am going to change one or both of these elements for my own shot.

Kira was a saint and let me sort of find my way as a second shooter with some guidance, but without telling me everything little thing she would rather me do. After much time working with each other, we’ve sort of found our niche and how we work best together.

When I first started out with Kira, learning the tricks of the trade, I would see Kira take a cool shot and think “Wow! I want to try that!” Honestly, there is a little wiggle room with this if you are attempting to learn different lighting techniques or experiment with your depth of field (not gonna lie there are times I still do this), but when you are on as a second shooter it’s not time to mess around!

Always be different. If Kira is shooting with her 35mm I typically shoot with the 85mm (and not just because it’s my new favorite). Shooting with the 85mm enables me to always have a different shot. I can stand right next to Kira and still get a vastly different image. If you look at Kira’s recent bride and groom portraits compared to mine, they are almost always different angles and distances.

So here are the three things I consider when getting that secondary shot:

  1. Angle
  2. Distance
  3. Focus

Let’s take a look at the images below from Diana & Mike’s wedding to help walk you through my process. Kira’s shot is on the left, and mine is on the right.

Different, right?! Kira’s shot captures an emotion and special moment between Diana & Mike whereas mine focuses more on the details of the bouquet and hands of the loving couple. You might wonder how the heck did I not get in Kira’s way when taking this?! Well shockingly this image was actually taken at the exact same time (which will lead me to another tip in another secret). To get this shot, I used the 85mm and grounded myself a bit to get that lower perspective. 

Once again, different angle, different distance, and different focus. Each image has a different feel, but still compliments one another. Kira’s image wonderfully captures Mike’s expression while mine focuses more on Diana’s excitement sneaking up from behind. I stood slightly behind the couple while once again using the 85mm and focused on Diana’s face.

For this image, guess what? I used the 85mm! Not that I always choose a different lens from Kira, but when I do I’m almost always happy with the results. It’s different from Kira’s shot and is so successful in complimenting the shot she’s taking. For this image, I stood more behind Diana and got nice and close with that 85mm. My focus was on the beautiful bride’s lovely lashes to convey her classic beauty (can we say MODEL?!).

That’s all I got for today! I hope this was a helpful post, my second shooter friends! If you have any questions you’d like me to tackle please comment below!


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Dan & Laura

Sagamore Pendry Baltimore