Lots of people are getting into photography, and many jump into wedding photography hoping to make some “quick money.” Its easy to get discouraged early on if you are trying to find work and you don’t seem to have brides lining up to have you photograph their wedding. I like to tell my brides that you get what you pay for. If you want to invest into one of the most important decisions of your life do you want to have an inexperienced person holding the camera or someone who has shown time and time again that they can capture great images? Surprisingly you’ll get a 50/50 split on this. People want to have the Hollywood wedding but have a pauper’s budget. There is nothing wrong with saving money, and cutting costs, but when it comes to expenses a great photographer will be able to take consistently great images that can capture the moments you want to be cherished from your day.
Lot’s of people take pictures these days. But just because someone takes 50 images and gets one good one doesn’t make them a great photographer. Some photographers can set up a scene and create a moment for you where other amateur photographers may just keep snapping away hoping they got their shot. I’m a strong advocate for the bride and groom to not just think about the cost (though this is important in choosing at times), but looking for quality, and finding who fits you best. People go for an easy option when they could get something a bit more if they put more effort into their search. Stress will as times cause a bride and a groom to make rash decisions when they could have made better choices that would reduce their stress up to and after their special day! That’s where a great photographer comes in! How do you find great photographers though? Well usually people look for their portfolio.
Having a strong and full portfolio really helps put customers at ease. People want to see consistency, quality, and creativity, just to name a few. These portfolios should showcase your work you are most proud of, as well as be able to show a bride what they can be expecting from your images. Building a portfolio takes time. There are a handful of ways to do that: You can shadow a professional wedding photographer and learn from them, bring your camera to your friends wedding and practice getting “Key Moment” shots, shoot trash the dress sessions with past brides, and one of my favorite you can become a second shooter for a photographer at a wedding.
Being a second shooter has some tasks that you will have to implement that the main photographer will usually ask of you. But the great thing about the second shooter for a wedding is your freedom (for the most part)! The duty of the whole wedding is on the main photographer, you as the second shooter get a lot more leeway (usually) and will usually be compensated for your time as well as it gives you the opportunity to fail getting shots at a wedding (but not always) but be limited in stress because most people will be counting on the main photographer to get the great images. Second shooting can be really fun and be rewarding and if you do get great images you have some more images you can add to your portfolio. It’s great for also experienced photographers that had a slower wedding season. They can assist other great photographers and capture great images sometimes in amazing locations just being the second shooter. I have a friend that makes a great amount of money just being second shooter for weddings. My suggestion would be to get a portfolio that you do have made of your favorite images and then send them to photographers in your area asking if they need second shooters. Sometimes many photographers already have a list of second shooters they pull from, but if your work is solid most photographers will jump on the idea of having more great help there!
Here are just a handful of images that I took as a second shooter for a wedding!