Wednesday, September 30, 2009

second shooter - report from the front lines

"plans are useless but planning is indispensable."
Dwight D. Eisenhower

2009-09-26 at 16-04-25

My husband says this quote all the time. I found it really annoying for a long time, but after my experience as a second shooter this weekend, I finally get it.

I had the opportunity to second shoot Courtney + Rob's wedding with Courtney Wilson, a fantastic photographer located in Lake Tahoe, California. After I photographed Meghan + Tristan's wedding (my first), the advice I got from many seasoned photographers was to second shoot weddings in order to learn all that you can. This was very good advice indeed!

Working was Courtney was very easy and comfortable - she was clear and direct about what kind of shots she wanted from me. I had the chance to stand back and watch as she directed traffic, posed shots, and generally kept things moving even when the clock was working against us (hence the need for "planning" even if the "plan" turns up worthless). She scoped out the location ahead of time and had clearly thought out the shots she wanted to get. Everything was very smooth and efficient, and the end result will be beautiful, I have no doubt (check out Courtney's blog for a sneek peek). And she was very gracious, answering every question I had and was very encouraging.

As for how I approached being a first-time second shooter, I read this post over at Jasmine Star's blog. (I love no. 2 - don't pass out your business card while you are working for the main wedding photographer. I would have thought this was a no-brainer, but I guess not. Classy...) My main concerns were: (1) being helpful to Courtney throughout the wedding, (2) to stay out of the way of her shots, and (3) to get shots that were different than hers. Of the 1100 or so shots I came home with, I would say in only about 15 or 20 shots did I have anyone looking directly at my camera. I tried really hard to concentrate on any shots Courtney wouldn't be able to get because she was responsible for so much more than I was. I focused on the details: the gorgeous location, the centerpieces, the flowers, the placecards, the dress and headpiece details, the shoes, the bouquets, candid moments, etc. All in all? A fantastic experience - I LOVED it! I would gladly second shoot for Courtney anytime.


Melissa September 30, 2009 at 2:51 PM  

That J* article came out right before I second shot my first wedding and I was so glad to read it. Some of it is total common sense...that is if you have a little class and tact! Glad you had such a great experience!

Courtney Wilson September 30, 2009 at 8:50 PM  


Wow, that quote is so right on! This is wonderfully written and thank you for all the kind words! I would work with you again in a heartbeat and appreciate greatly all that you had to offer that day. It's so wonderful to see the same subject from another photographer's lens and I have no doubt that your results will be phenomenal! You were a pleasure to have along- so polite and unobtrusive, yet very attentive and detail oriented! Thank you for all of your help and I can't wait to give you a big shout when I post their full length blog post.

Your portfolio speaks for itself- my best to you and your bright future in photography!