There is no doubt about it. Second shooting has made me a better photographer. Getting technical experience is always great but being a second shooter in a wedding is a very unique experience. Here’s two things that have impacted me more than anything during my time as a second shooter.
The number one thing I have learned is how to handle the pressure. The lead photographer at a wedding will experience pressure that most people were never designed to handle. These two people have entrusted someone, with whom they most likely found on the internet, with one of the greatest responsibilities. Ever. These pictures will (hopefully) be cherished for the rest of their lives. Their kids will see them. Their grandkids will see them. That’s a lot of pressure. Back to my point. A second shooter experiences probably 5-10% of the pressure the lead photog does. I have learned to capitalize on this. The decreased amount of pressure allows me to soak everything in. Hone in my skills. Learn how to interact with guests while holding a camera (much harder than it sounds). This all translates when being the lead photographer. When I feel the pressure coming, I am able to heavily rely on the things I’ve programmed my subconscious to naturally do.
The second thing I’ve learned is how to have fun. Plain and simple. Which, I might add, is something most photographers forget to do. There is no doubt in my mind, I would not have learned this second shooting with anyone other than Joseph West. I remember the first wedding I shot with him. I was amazed at how much he was laughing and having a great time. In my mind I thought, but aren’t you supposed to be super stressed and like serious the whole time? It took a couple more weddings for me to realize that there is no other way to be at a wedding. Weddings are supposed to be FUN. Why can’t they be fun for everyone? Having a great time at a wedding while simultaneously fulfilling my greatest passion. Sounds like a win win to me. So when you hire me to shoot your wedding, get ready for me to be a fun inducing joy to have around
My role as a second shooter shooting for Joseph West has been to hang out with the groom up until the ceremony and then along side him the rest of the wedding. He is and forever will be one of my greatest friends and mentors.
Take a look at a few of the most recent weddings I second shot for him: