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Recognize Your Many Hats // Secrets to Second Shooting Series

I like hats. I don’t own many of them, but there are hats out there for lots of occasions and they’re fun!

Obviously these aren’t the hats I’m talking about, but I also enjoy the many hats I wear as a second shooter and have learned to recognize them.

The hats sure do vary greatly: photographer, reflector, deflector, detail gatherer, groomsmen tamer, veil-whisperer, family-herder, water girl, nurse… the options are endless! Which leads to my second secret to second shooting…


Recognize Your Many Hats

As wedding photographers, our goal is to capture a couple’s special day. OBVIOUSLY we want these images to be as beautiful as possible. And guess what? That means doing some weird things to get those shots.

Kira and I always joke that we would do anything to get a good picture. Well, it’s not entirely true, we wouldn’t do ANYTHING, but we sure would do a lot for that perfect lighting, angle, backdrop, whatever!

Going back to my first blog post when I talked about my role in complimenting Kira’s images, my job is also to help Kira get the best images possible. She’s the primary shooter not me, which means if she needs some assistance I drop what I’m doing to help her get the shot she needs.

Sometimes this means holding a reflector or awkwardly hovering over a couple to get the perfect light, and sometimes it could mean something seemingly unrelated to photography like holding a dog’s leash or bandaging Kira’s wounds (one of our recent weddings Kira practically chopped her heal off after catching it on a door).

Even the unrelated things in the end make a difference for the image: keeping a couple’s dog out of their intimate shot or keeping Kira in tip top shape to shoot 🙂

Not all of these hats are worn for every wedding, but here are a few of the most common ones worn for the day:

  1. Detail gatherer – There are a lot of details for the special day. A lot of times when Kira is setting up a shot I’ll help her gather the details for the set up. This especially goes for ring shots and all the tiny little details that tie everything in together. Being a detail gatherer can also mean gathering all the detail shots while Kira is focused on shooting other things such as the bride/bridesmaids. If Kira’s hands are tied I’ll try to find details to shoot like reception details before they’re touched.
  2. Groomsmen tamer – Ok, so I know tamer might be a weird word, but let’s face it, you may have to direct these good time guys a couple times to get them set up the way you want for a shot. And there’s a second shooter for that! As Kira shoots the gals I normally shoot the guys. A lot of times it’s a hoot!
  3. Veil whisperer – Sometimes I get the honor of actually touching the bride’s veil! In some shots Kira has me toss up the veil to get that oh so dreamy, floating veil shot. It’s well worth it! But keep in mind to BE CAREFUL! Those things are fragile.
  4. Family herder – Probably the most helpful thing you can do on the day is help in anyway possible during family portraits. Sometimes you’re not given a lot of time as photographers to get these done and it can be a stressful mess trying to gather all of the family members and organize them for each shot. Often I will grab the family shot list from Kira and shout out the family members for the next shot so that they’re ready to go!
  5. Reflector/Deflector – Like I talked about above, sometimes the set up just needs a little push to get perfect lighting. That’s where a second shooter comes in! If the lighting is boring I’ll whip out our handy dandy reflector and flail that thing around until our brides glow! And other times when the lighting is harsh in some places (EW!) I will stand above or somewhere around the couple to block light.

You can also wear more than one hat and shoot at the same time as your performing another second shooter task. Makes for a pretty cool shot if you shoot and hold the veil at the same time!

Hope you second shooters out there found this post helpful. And happy shooting!

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Dan & Laura

Sagamore Pendry Baltimore