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Breaking in to Wedding Photography by being a Second Shooter

14 October 2011

This weekend, I have the privilege of second shooting a wedding with another local photographer.  I’ll share some of those photos some other day on the blog.  Today, I thought I’d share some tips on second shooting for anybody that is interested in doing this. 
How do you find second shooter opportunities?  What if you don’t have any experience and have never been anything other than a guest at a wedding?  Will anybody be willing to give you a shot?  These were all questions I had less than 6 months ago when I decided I wanted to capture a couples’ love on their wedding day.  Getting experience in how the wedding day works as a photographer was something I felt was extremely important.  It’s scary having the responsibility of photographing the wedding day.  Being a second shooter gives you the ability to be a part of the photography on the wedding day without all the pressure. 

I found my first second shooter opportunity on OSP.  OSP (Open Source Photo) is a free forum for photographers and people can post second shooter opportunities that they have.  The great thing about OSP is that it’s a community of photographers that encourage each other, share information, and are willing to help another photographer out. 

One of the questions I wondered before joining this community was, “will other photographers even give you a shot when you’ll end up being their competition?”  Well, somebody did give me a shot and I am so grateful.  There’s a change happening in the photography community.  Photographers are more willing to share information than they were 10 years ago.  They are also beginning to realize that each client needs to find the right photographer for their day.  I might not be the right fit for a couple and that’s okay.  Each couple deserves to find their “perfect match” photographer. 

So, where else can you find second shooter opportunities?  I’ve actually found my last two on Craigslist.  You can also network with other photographers or call a photographer in your area and ask if you can take them for coffee to chat with them.

To those of you trying to break in to the wedding photography world but don’t know where to start; Good luck.  Being a second shooter is a great place to start and I hope you succeed.  Next week I’ll share some second shooter etiquette.

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