This page depicts guidelines, tips and general information for 2nd shooters.
When in doubt, stay to yourself!
It's hard for those of us who have big, charismatic personalities to not slide into conversation. Often times, wedding party members will suggest an invitation to be a "part" of the fun with body language or even asking questions of you. It's important to be fun, genuine and outgoing, but it's equally important to remain professional. EX: You are shooting the groomsmen getting ready and one of them brings up a movie you just saw in theaters. Although you feel the urge to make conversation regarding the film, it's best to remain to yourself and keep shooting. At most, a simple, "That was a great movie!" is all you need. Dig in too deep, and the focus is too much on you - the focus is on the groomsmen and the groom getting ready.
Filter, filter, filter.
On a sacred day like a wedding, there are ten times the normal amount of offensive things that can be said. Being thrown into rooms with people we don't know increases the likelihood of something offensive being said even more. It is important to spend a few seconds before you say something to ensure there is 0% chance that what you are saying could be interpreted incorrectly. EX (and true story): A bridesmaid has a small light spot on her front tooth. You can't tell what it is, but everyone is about to be heading outdoors to take a bunch of photos and you don't want her to have that on her tooth for the photos. So you mention to her, "Hey, you have a little something on your tooth!" and she replies, "Oh... that's a permanent stain." In reality, editing out a spot on a tooth, is not very hard to do. So the thought process should have been weighing the potential damage mentioning something like that could have against the potential work it would have been to fix in post. The goal is to not offend and only mention something about someone's appearance if you are positive it's "safe" to mention or remove. I.e. a piece of fuzz on a shirt.
Absolutely no alcohol consumption. The wedding party will likely offer you a drink - so please practice your polite refusal! We like to use the, "I don't want my shots to come out blurry!"
It is likely that people will be texting you on a Friday or Saturday during a wedding. If you are to check your phone, you must be completely out of sight from any guest or member of the wedding party. This doesn't just mean around a corner, for if someone were to walk around the corner and see you on your phone, it looks even worse than pulling it out in front of everyone. If a text needs to be checked or sent, you are to do so in the "back room" of the venue or quickly in a bathroom stall. The back room refers to the area that no guests can go and is often where we eat our dinner. This is also often near the kitchen, but can differ depending on the venue. Taking a quick photo on your phone is fine - as long as the phone is out and back in as fast as possible.
It is very common for multiple shooters to be focusing on the same subject. It is very important to always be aware of where the other shooters are pointing their lens. It may be extremely tempting to jump in and get that detail shot of the lace on the dress, but first do a quick check to make sure you're not in the No-Fly Zone (the no-go zone where one would enter the frame of another shooter). The image near this text helps exemplify how it is always best to be right next to a fellow shooter, if possible.
Technical Bullet Points
Be sure your camera is shooting high quality JPEGs and not RAW. For videographers, be sure you shoot in 1080p 24 fps (of course 60fps is totally fine too given the circumstance).
Be sure you check the date and time of your camera when you first turn it on at the beginning of the day. If your timing is incorrect, it costs the company resources to correct that and would unfortunately need to come from your pay.
- When in doubt, be trigger happy. Clients rather too much than too little.