Weddings

5 Daily Practices for Learning to See Light Better

In the midst of growing our businesses, upgrading our gear, keeping up with Instagram, trying to find new clients, and be everything to everyone we sometimes forget to work on our actual photography skills. Those photography skills are something we have to nurture.

Here are a couple of things I’ve noticed about the photography industry. We all get into this business because we’re artistic, creatives and we love using those skills. Many of us have got the photography side down, or it at least comes naturally. However, a lot of photographers feel like the business side is not their strong point. Maybe it is probably just me, but I always felt like the business side was the stronger one for me, where the photography itself lacked. Sure, I can draw well. I’m even more awesome at sculpture (in fact that seems to be something I have a knack for). Photography is okay for me. I like it because I’m impatient and I can enjoy the results of my creativity almost immediately.

That said, the photography part has never felt like where my talent truly lies. I love people, and I LOVE the business side of being a wedding photographer. The thrill of figuring out the latest marketing trend or reading through tax documents is what brings me the most joy. I know, I’m the minority. However, I figure maybe you’re a little bit like me. Maybe you feel behind on the actual photography skills sometimes. Raise your hand if you’ve ever looked at another photographer’s image and said, “WHERE THE HECK DID THEY GET THAT GOOD LIGHT?”

Let me tell you a little story about early photographs by yours truly. I had noticed this awesome trend in other photographer’s images. Where the background was all blurry, and the subject was in focus, and I wanted that. So I dove into Google and figured out how to make it happen with fancier lenses that had lower apertures. I continued to take photos, and I felt like I was improving my photography skills, but what happened is that I was less limited by my camera gear and had properly learned how to use a camera. Was I showing off my artistic prowess? No. When I look back at the photographs of that person, I see someone who largely understood how the camera worked, rocked the business side of things, but the lighting circumstances were inconsistent in the photographs.

Here’s the thing I know now. Photography is ultimately all about light. Sure, you will find all kinds of principles and elements of art and design in photography, and it’s good to chase after those things too, but understanding light is like learning how to see the world through a camera. Understanding light will help you use it to your advantage in combination with other elements of art to create beautiful and meaningful images. I am still working on this by the way.

I believe not all of us are great at seeing light. That even though we’re creative and we’re artists, our brains are tuning into one or a few other elements or principles of art. Some people notice color, some notice value, some notice texture. Some photographers shoot for the emotion. These are all incredibly important, but a little light knowledge can help enhance all these things. There are so many images I’ve looked back on and thought, dang the composition was good, the posing needs some work, the color is spot on, white balance is great, but man if the light were just different it would enhance the mood of the image. Since space, tone, color, and texture tend to be the things I see more in art I needed to work on that light stuff.

I wrote this post to help those of you who are like me. If you have ever wanted to create a more impactful image, maybe these tips will help you better take the camera skills, business skills, and other artistic talents you’ve got and take them to the next level. Maybe you’re like me, and this just was difficult for you. Here are a few things I’ve done as daily practice over the years that have helped me focus my photography and overall taken my skills to the next level.

1. Look where the light source is wherever you go. One of my favorite games (that I can’t take credit for), is to watch TV, movies, or just notice in daily life wherever the light source is. It’s the most fun with TV and movies though. If you can guess what direction the light source is from you can start figuring out how to re-create that type of light in your work. You can also start to get a handle on how larger or smaller light sources make your subjects look different. If this is extra hard for you, watch for catchlights in actors/actresses eyes and sometimes you can see what type of light source they’re using off screen, like a huge beauty dish or octobox. The more you do this, the more you’ll be able to naturally identify what types of light create what types of moods and take that to your business.

2. Notice how different types of light around you affect the color and contrast of what you see on a daily basis. Oh man. I was so bad at white balance when I started photography. I didn’t even know what it was. That was not a button on my old film camera, so I didn’t get what the point was. Now, I GET IT. Watching how any light source can affect the color of the object, it falls on will help you if white balance is a struggle. Different types of light sources emit different colors. Your lamp by your couch may give a very orange or warm glow, which affects the objects lit by it. When you start marathons on Netflix start looking at the color of the light too. You’ll begin to notice how cooler or warmer tones change the vibe of a tv show or movie. Then you’ll realize you can have that too. You can use a light source’s color to your advantage, or you can alter it if you don’t like it.

3. Look through your portfolio and see what types of lighting scenarios you can see. Are they consistent? Cull your portfolio to show your most ideal lighting situations. Culling was a fun activity for me. When I went through my highlight or favorite images I had posted to my Facebook business page over the years the light was all over the place. There were images in harsh light, some in twilight, some indoors, some in very flat light, some extremely backlit photos. It wasn’t consistent at all. It was good to look through my images and see where my light sources were coming from and how they could have improved. I took the time to learn my favorite lighting scenario. As much as everyone tells you, it doesn’t have to be golden hour. Some love using off camera flash, some love twilight. Want to shoot more photos in your favorite type of light? Show more of your photography with that type of light in your portfolio. Cull out the images that may have been meaningful, but weren’t your best work or your favorite type of light. Your website and marketing will gain from a very consistent look and feel to your images. They’ll become recognizable to those who follow you. The hardest part of this is the next tip!

4. Start creating the type of light you like in every session or wedding so that you can have that handful of signature shots from every client. Once you have a favorite type of light, you love photographing in, and you cull down your portfolio to show more of that and less of other types you’ll want to strive to get a few signature shots from every session or wedding in that type of light. It means putting all these things you are practicing to good use. If you don’t like harsh light at weddings, but you have no control over the timeline you’ll have to figure out how to build in time to get your signature light even if it’s just for a few shots. For me, overcast is one of my favorite types of light so at every wedding I look for shady areas that can create that same look. If I know the timeline is a bit out of my hands, I started asking my clients if they’d mind taking 5-10 minutes outside once the reception starts to get some of that end of the sunset/twilight type light that I love. Now that’s something I strive to build in regularly in my timelines, and I seek out my ideal lighting scenarios wherever I go to help create consistency not just in my portfolio as a whole, but also in the entire set of wedding images as a whole story.

5. Practice at home as much as possible with your kids, spouse, friends, pets or just plain objects. It goes without saying that the best way to better understand light is to practice it yourself at home as much as possible. Flash used to make me nervous. I remember when off camera flash seemed impossible. Instead of practicing on my clients I’d practice on my dogs at home until I got my settings right or I had a good feel for it. I remember learning how to do off camera flash with four flashes and pretending my family room was a giant wedding reception and figuring out how I wanted to light the couple’s first dance by using my dogs as models. I’m a giant dork, but it gave me the confidence I needed to start creating better images with a much better understanding of light. It’s one thing to read about better lighting methods or instructions online, but for hands-on learners (like a lot of creatives), we need to practice it to get it and remember it!

I appreciate you reading all the way down this far about what a terrible photographer I was at the start. I know you can probably relate. I’m hoping these basic tips will help some other newer photographer build that awareness of light sooner than I did so that you can skip all the fluff I went through and get better images sooner.

How about more awesomesauce?

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Two Reasons to Add a Photobooth to Your Wedding Photography Business

This month I traveled four weeks out of the last 5.5. It wasn’t my intention. A lot of it ended up being last minute. Let me tell you what I learned from it. One, it’s expensive. Two, it’s exhausting.

During that time I did have the pleasure to attend both WPPI (Wedding and Portrait Photographers International) and Mystic Seminars. I had very different experiences at both, which I won’t get into, but first I have to start my story with what I thought was going to happen. Last year on Black Friday I sold all my Canon gear and switched to Nikon. So I had spent big money. Then I had major computer issues in January, so I ended up spending thousands upgrading both a laptop and desktop. The very last thing I needed regarding expenses was to buy a freakin’ photobooth. I went to Mystic in January sure I wouldn’t’ spend a dime outside of yummy food in Portland and time with my friends. But they had a small trade show. And I walked by the Gifyyy booth.

I have this thing where I like to walk by tired looking expo people and ask them to tell me what they do. It’s fun to try and hear people explain what their businesses do in a few short sentences. Some people are excellent at it, and others are terrible. So I asked them to tell me about Gifyyy and damn those guys for selling me a freaking photo booth. If you decide to buy one, you can get $100 off by using my exclusive code: AWESOMESAUCE2017. It also sends me a little kickback too, which I appreciate. If something here helps you, these things help keep the lights on around here!

Here are the two reasons I bought one.

One, I like money. You can book your photobooth as an entirely separate entity outside of your wedding photography bookings. It’s an easy way to make some extra cash.

Lots of photo booths will sell you on that aspect, though. They can all make you extra money. But Gifyyy is extra awesome for the simplicity and easy of use, so I encourage you to watch the promo video below. When you buy the booth, you can upgrade, and they’ll send you some awesome promo videos, tools, photos, and contracts to make booking super easy right away.

The second reason you’re going to want this in your business though is the data collection. Data collection is everything. I wrote a blog post over on Rock Your Weird today about how data you own is more important than social media likes. That’s why Gifyyy is extra awesome. You can use it to collect phone numbers and emails and then you can use it to market to all those people, sell them a booth for their own event, book them for wedding photography, upsell them on prints…whatever you want. You have the data so you can follow up afterward and sell, sell, sell!

When Ben and David, the owners of it told me about the data collection features, I was sold. I wasn’t planning on spending thousands more on a photo booth. In fact, that was the last thing on my mind. It was something I never foresaw myself doing, but I did it, and I am not sorry at all. Clients are already booking it.

Here are a few of the other awesome things I think people will love about it.

– It’s way more affordable than similar photo booth selling companies.
– It works off an iPad. Easy and straightforward.
– It’s small and compact so that you can travel with it. If you’re a destination wedding photographer, you can bring it with you to any wedding across the US.
– It does gif files AND regular photos.
– You can customize the finished gifs or photos with a watermark. That could be something the event organizer provides for you, a client’s hashtag, or your logo.
– The owners are always making updates. The product is new, and these two dudes want to make it the best option out there. So I feel I invested well in the long term.
– You could bring it to a wedding or bridal expos…and use it as a way to collect all the data from people visiting your booth!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’re interested in buying one the but the price tag is killing you, you can do their payment plan instead (easy peasy, right?) Just email and tell the guys you saw my blog post and that you want to buy one! Update: Since this post they opened up a store so you can just drop in and buy one. If you use the code: AWESOMESAUCE2017 you can get a $100 off.

I can’t wait to report back on how it will change my business by the end of 2017.

How about more awesomesauce?

Subscribe to get awesome free stuff and emails full of useful business information that you’ll probably ignore. Watch me fail miserably at Twitter. Repin stuff I pin on Pinterest because I said so. Love me on Facebook even though numbers don’t matter, and Facebook is dying. Join the Facebook group to see my shenanigans up close and personal.

20 Things That Will Change Your Wedding Photography Business in 2017

Let’s talk 2017. It’s the third day of January and everyone is all, “OMG let’s be thinner” or “I vow to drink more water.” My social media news feeds are full of weight loss goals, detoxing and people are complaining about crowded gyms. Let’s get real, though. My resolution is to eat as much guacamole as I can because you never know where life will take you.

If avocados go extinct, I want to know that guacamole and I lived as loud as we possibly could. I also promised myself I would stop wearing all my old leggings with holes where my thigh gap could be. I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, let’s talk about some actions you can start doing right this very second to give your wedding photography a damn good business makeover this year.

Here’s why you need to stop what you’re doing right now and start thinking about changing your business. The truth is, photographers (like all creatives) don’t have a background in business stuff. Sure, there’s the odd photographer here or there with a business-related degree or other experience. But most of us are just flailing around trying to fake it until we make it and figuring shit out along the way. I’m pretty sure as a collective group, most of us are in this because we like the photography part and the business stuff we should just chuck in the nearest dumpster and light a fire in it. It’s easy to give up when that stuff is so foreign and, truth be told, as boring as watching water boil.

My biggest challenge for you this year is to challenge yourself. If you want your wedding photography business to be bigger, shine brighter and pay the bills you have to hustle. You can’t just sit around doing the same thing you always do. I’ve met a lot of photographers who see things in their business that aren’t working, but they put them all inside their safety net, tuck that away in their pocket and let it weigh them down by carrying it day in and day out. Owning a business is a constant risk, friends. I get it. I really do. It might not seem like it in the words of this blog post, but I’m a ridiculously cautious person. So careful my mom frequently mentions how surprised she is that I’m even stepping out and owning not just one business, but four. I can’t say for sure, but if I had grown up, put a gigantic bubble around my house and never came out it probably wouldn’t have surprised her at all. I guess I’m just one of those people that thrives on the hustle at the end of the day. I can put my concerns aside because the challenge of hustling every day ultimately brings out the best in me. Right now, if you’re in your safety bubble all you have to do is pop it, and you’re out and exposed. Once you’re exposed, that’s where you can start challenging yourself to be the best business owner you can be.

Make it your motto to try new things this year. Try new marketing. Think about your business from a different perspective. Throw out the crap that’s not working and problem solve to replace it with a system that does work. One thing creatives are good at is problem-solving. Today I’m giving you 20 solutions for various business problems in our industry. If you’re brave enough to try something new this year, one of these things might just be the awesomesauce that turns your business around.

Let’s do this.

Disclaimer: I’ve thrown in some affiliate links in here. That means if you click something to purchase or sign up I may get a kickback. Since this blog is full of free awesome advice, it’s always super appreciated to get these little kickbacks if this helped you in any way.

  1. Let go of perfection. Life is not perfect. Your business is never going to be perfect. You are never going to be perfect. And that’s ok. The world needs less perfection. Messy is what makes us stronger and turns us into the best version of ourselves.
  2. Automate your client emails. It is impossible to keep up consistently with all your wedding clients sometimes. Before doing automated emails, I’m pretty sure not all my clients received the same customer service experience. Now my automated email system is filled with reminders, tips, and helpful info for all my clients as they go through the planning process. I use Pixifi to automate my emails. I highly recommend Pixifi. Their customer service is just so good. I also teach a class on automation (for my other business Rock Your Weird) that includes my email templates and a lot of other fun, excellent automation stuff.
  3. Create an annual marketing plan. Marketing works best well thought out and planned in advance. Sometimes we run late when it comes to planning a marketing opportunity, and we lose out on revenue by not being organized. Make a 2017 marketing plan with all the holidays, sales, and significant events you’re at to help point potential clients in your direction.
  4. Write goals for your business and give each goal 3 action steps you can do to make sure each of those things happens. Writing down clear goals is great, but you will get nowhere achieving them if you don’t have ideas for how to reach these goals also written down.
  5. Update your website portfolio. It’s easy to create a website and then forget about it. You should be updating it frequently with your new portfolio images.  Updating your site regularly helps keep it on Google’s search engine radar too!
  6. Rebrand! Don’t just create a new logo, though. Spend time building a brand people connect with on an emotional level, a brand with lots of personality! Rock Your Weird has blog posts on doing just that.
  7. Remember you don’t need to do business the way everyone else does. There are hundreds of ways to accomplish the same results when you’re a business owner. It’s up to you to create a business model that works for you.
  8. Be willing to break the rules. You’ve probably heard rules about adjusting your aperture based on how many people are in a photo. Or maybe you know rules about how many images you’re allowed to have on your website portfolio. Maybe there’s a rule about editing photos you follow. Break the rules and do what inspires you instead.
  9. Re-evaluate business expenses from last year and adjust your pricing to reflect your current finances accurately.
  10. Add your location to your website. It’s easy to forget to put where you’re at on your site. If you forgot, now is the time to take 5 minutes and add it so you can automatically increase your chances of booking.
  11. Start using Pinterest for marketing. Pinterest is where clients are at finding inspiration for their weddings. It’s the ideal place to find new wedding clients. If you’re not using it, you’re missing out. My friend, Fuse, has a business called Get Found with Fuse where she teaches SEO (search engine optimization) for creatives. She offers an excellent Pinterest SEO class to help you get found on Pinterest!
  12. Blog about tips that help your potential clients. Knowing what to blog about is hard, but the more resourceful you are for customers, the better your chances are of booking clients this way. Don’t know where to get started? You can download my 101 blog post ideas for wedding photographers for free! That’s enough blog post ideas to last you a couple of years if you post once a week!
  13. Automate your social media to create a consistent presence. Nothing is more freeing than knowing you’ve got your social media posting for you while you sit back and drink more wine and watch more Netflix. Plus all that free time means you can spend it accomplishing other marketing ideas.
  14. Reuse sneak peek images on social media. I spent years posting each photo I took of a client as a sneak peek and then never touching them again. I felt dumb when I realized I could keep posting them each year and gain new customers.
  15. Set business hours and keep them. Just do it this year. I need to do better at this.
  16. Create an editing workflow that helps you edit faster and get things done.
  17. If you’re one of those people who has a hard time being themselves in business, it’s time to take that wall down and practice being a little more vulnerable with your clients. Customers love honesty, authenticity, and vulnerability. However, it’s natural to act super formal in your business and forget to be yourself. The one truly unique thing you have going for you compared to other wedding photographers is your personality.
  18. Read Zombie Loyalists by Peter Shankman. Best business marketing book ever. If you want to know how to make your clients turn into walking talking billboards for you, this book will teach you just that.
  19. Find one editing style you like and stick with it. Consistency creates trust. Trust is everything in marketing.
  20. Only you get to define what success looks like for yourself. Figure out what success looks like for you and life your life according to your rules.

If just one of these 20 things stands out to you, do it. Remember to challenge yourself in business.

How about more awesomesauce?

Subscribe to get awesome free stuff and emails full of useful business information that you’ll probably ignore. Watch me fail miserably at Twitter. Repin stuff I pin on Pinterest because I said so. Love me on Facebook even though numbers don’t matter, and Facebook is dying. Join the Facebook group to see my shenanigans up close and personal.

 

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31 Days to Better Wedding Photography

As photographers I’m sure most of you reading this have gone through a time when you’ve rebranded your business, relaunched and challenged yourself to take it to the next level. If you’ve been with me since the beginning of Photography Awesomesauce then you know all the different things I’ve tried, challenges I’ve given myself and you’ve seen my successes and failures first hand. I’m proud of all of them (the good parts and the bad parts) because they’ve helped shape where I am today and where I’m going in the future.

That said you can probably anticipate that it’s about time we give Photography Awesomesauce a new facelift, and a bigger, better purpose. So with that in mind we’ll be shutting down blogging completely during December to make some time to really revamp the website and prepare some awesome new things for you guys. December is also notoriously slow for blogging anyway if I’m completely honest with you. Traffic deters and people pay attention to their families. What time they do spend on their business tends to be in the mindset of goals for the new year and big changes they are making in their own business. So it leaves little time for new ideas when you’re taking all the new ideas you’ve had all year and are finally implementing them.

So that brings me to our own little revamp. While blogging may cease as we revamp the website we still have some important work to do. I’m going to be doing a 31 Days to Better Wedding Photography online event. Starting December 1st you can log into the Periscope app and learn a little bit about wedding photography every single day in December. Some days we might discuss lighting, other days we might discuss contracts. We’ll talk about marketing, posing and everything in between. I know so many of you are getting ready to dive in and start your first wedding season or are eager to learn more and up your game. I don’t think I have all the answers, or that how I run my own wedding photography business is perfect for everyone, but I’m happy to share the things I do know and let you decide if they’ll help you or not. There are a few things you need to do to participate so I’ll outline them below. Don’t forget a step or you might miss out!

  1. Download Periscope on your phone and follow me! Periscope is essentially a live video app that really helps other entrepreneurs learn from each other. While you can watch live broadcasts from your internet browser, you are limited to only watching and can’t ask questions or participate. That’s why you need to download the app. It’s free. Don’t worry about being live yourself, you’re just watching me live and can sit at home in the comfort of yesterday’s makeup, bedhead and no pants while you learn. Periscope saves live broadcasts for a limited time, so if you don’t catch a certain day’s as long as you log in soon after you won’t miss a beat!
  2. Follow me on Periscope. When you first download the app there will be lots of buttons to play with. Just head to the magnifying glass on the top left for the search function. Select ‘people’ and type in “carrieswails.” Once you find me select “follow.” From there the app will ask you to enable notifications. Feel free to not get the notifications, but if you want a little reminder sent to your phone everyday to remind you to log in and watch the free broadcast, then make sure you have notifications enabled. For a quick reference on how to download Periscope and just so you know what my profile looks like, below is a link to my profile as accessed from a desktop, just remember you can’t participate in a broadcast, just watch it (and PS I love answering questions live). >Carrie Swails Periscope<
  3. Follow Photography Awesomesauce on Instagram. I’ll be posting reminders and clips there as well to make sure you go log in!
  4. Sign up for the 31 Days to Better Wedding Photography emails. These emails will have links, resources and reminders all related to our daily content. The email list is the basis of everything, so if you don’t want to follow along in other places, at the very least make sure you’re getting the emails! There may also be some fun giveaways and interesting things from our sponsors via email!

Even if you’re not a wedding photographer there are probably lots of behind the scenes business tips and photography or lighting tips you can learn by tuning in! So share with your friends and lets spend December getting our knowledge on! I can’t wait to see everyone there!

WANT MORE?

If you want to learn more awesome behind the business stuff like this make sure you subscribe to our Facebook group, follow us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram, and even follow me on Pinterest where I love to pin social media, blogging, business, and photography tips from all over the web!

10 Things Photographers Look for in Second Shooters

I’d like to say I have some experience with second shooters. Unfortunately not all of it is good. I can’t point the finger at my seconds though, a lot of that blame lies with me for not knowing better. They say you can get knowledge from reading a book, but wisdom only comes with time. I’m about to pass on some serious wisdom to you. This is the stuff I’ve learned from the successes and failures I’ve had as a main photographer, a second shooter myself, and essentially as a boss.

  1. Gear – A main photographer may want to know exactly what gear you’re shooting with. It’s not a slight on you if you don’t have the best camera body in the world, but a lot of us are curious about lenses so we know your lens choices might compliment the ones we’ve got. Some photographers, but not all, also want to know the brand of your camera and feel it may mesh better with their brand if everything is the same. Be prepared to share a detailed list of your camera bodies and lenses before getting hired. It’s also important that you take care of your gear. It should all be in working condition. If it needs to be repaired or cleaned, that’s on you as the independent contractor to take care of. Don’t come to work at a wedding (a once in a lifetime event) with gear that is limited by its malfunctions.
  2. Experience – There’s this ironic thing in the wedding industry. Main photographers want second shooters who are experienced to work with them, that way they can trust them to split up and take photos as needed without intervention. At the same time as an industry we tell people they shouldn’t shoot weddings until they’ve gained a lot of experience as a second shooter. It’s kind of an awkward thing. The truth is, most of us want an experienced photographer by our side. We can trust them to shoot parts of the day we can’t supervise and we know it’ll mesh with our style effortlessly. The more experienced a second shooter is, the easier the day can be. Experience does matter. If you’re looking to gain wedding experience and you feel like you’re getting rejected a lot, it might be because the photographer is looking for someone with even more experience. Then it’s good to offer to assist for free, or ask if maybe they’re looking for a third shooter. When you start looking for your own second shooters you’ll want to find someone whose experience mirrors your own. If you fell down and broke your leg at a wedding (knock on wood), you shouldn’t have to worry when your second takes over and runs the day.
  3. Style – A great second shooter has a style that matches your own so your images blend together well in the final gallery for the client. Working with a second shooter who shoots with similar lenses and similar settings is a start to finding a style match. Make sure you check out the work of the second shooters you’re considering before hiring and see if your style is a match. If you’re looking for second shooting gigs, it’s good to check out the photographer’s style before you work for them and make sure you understand what they may be looking for and what you’re capable of creating for them. It can be a mistake to go in blind and really have no idea what the photographer’s work is like when you work for them.
  4. Professionalism – This one is a big one, or as some say…”it’s bigly.” How you dress and present yourselves to your main photographer’s clients is a really big deal. Friending their clients on Facebook, texting all day, and handing out your own business cards must be avoided. Remember these aren’t your clients, they’re the main photographer’s clients. When you’re shooting a wedding as a second shooter you are a direct representation of their business in all your interactions.
  5. Contracts – Different photographers might require different things in a second shooter agreement. Some may let you use the photos, some may not. Every photographer is different.
  6. No Second Guessing – It can be easy to go into a situation and expect one thing and end up with something else. If you haven’t really chatted to your main photographer or researched their style you may not really know what your in for. Some photographers work with a specific niche of clients or do things a certain way. Remember that the main photographer knows their business best. The clients booked them for their work. So don’t second guess their every move during the day and ask why all the time. Those questions are better saved for later. In the midst of a wedding there isn’t really time to get in detail about why someone has a specific workflow.
  7. Different Angles – A lot of wedding clients will say they want different angles of their day. I can’t speak for all photographers, but I know that having a second get a different angle is important, but not as important as capturing the other things around us that are happening. If the main photographer is photographing the groomsmen getting ready, then the second photographer is photographing the bridesmaids. Sometimes it’s better to be in a different place instead of offering the same angle of something the main photographer is shooting. If you’re not sure what the main photographer wants, just ask!
  8. Initiative – Second shooters that take initiative by asking questions and getting things done is awesome. I think this is a skill anyone would want in an employee or contractor. Weddings are busy and often times you don’t get the time to explain what would be best and where to go during the day, so having a second shooter that can anticipate where the best place to be is, or what they could be doing to make things even more awesome is great. Don’t sit back and wait for instruction, take initiative and get things done. If there’s one skill that will really impress me (and maybe others), this is it.
  9. Positive Attitude – Being a wedding photographer is an intriguing mix of being both an artist and a business owner. There are lots of times we put the needs of our business first and our art second. For me, personally, it’s important to have a second shooter with a positive attitude. Weddings are stressful and nothing gets me in a bad mood more than a second shooter who is complaining about my clients all day long. Sometimes clients drive us nuts or things get stressful, but it’s better to vent about that stress after the wedding. Venting about it throughout the day puts me in a negative mood and I try to keep those negative things at bay so I can create the best art possible.
  10. Memory Card Options – This is a little detail, but every photographer wants to get their second shooter’s files differently. Some have you shoot on their cards, with no access to your files later. Some have you shoot dual card slots with one of their cards and one of your own. Some have you shoot with your own cards and transfer the files later via Dropbox or another file sharing service. They might transfer the files over at the end of the night before you leave too. Be prepared for a variety of options since each photographer may have a vastly different workflow.

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