Second Shooter Training | Attire & Work Ethic
In previous articles, we’ve covered the following:
In this article, we wanted to outline the basics of our work ethic, attire and other miscellaneous non-shooting topics.
Wedding Photography Attire
One of our other writers, Hanssie, wrote a great article on Wedding Photography Attire, so please be sure to read that article. Remember, every studio operates differently, so be sure to check with your lead shooter for the details. We know some studios who require the full suit and tie, while others are much more casual. We try to stay somewhere in between. Here are more guidelines specific to our studio:
General note for both Men and Women: wear modest clothing (even on hot days) as many of our clients are conservative.
- No T Shirts.
- Men: Wear black or dark grey collared shirt (either polo shirt or button-up).
- Women: Wear black or dark shirt or Blouse.
- No shorts or jeans
- Men: Wear black or dark grey slacks.
- Women: Wear black or dark pants. Note: Our style of photography requires a lot of movement. You may find yourself on the ground or climbing over handrails. For that reason, we recommend that you avoid skirts.
Shoes & Socks:
- Wear comfortable shoes that you can move quickly in.
- Black or dark tennis shoes are okay. Try to avoid white soles.
- Dress shoes okay
- No White Socks or Socks with Holes (We do many cultural weddings during which you will have to take off your shoes)
Optional but not required: Ties, Suit Jackets or Blazers. Do not bring or wear sunglasses. The general rule of thumb here is to look good and avoid standing out. You should be memorable because of your amazing personality and not because of your cool hat.
Attitude and Work Ethic for Wedding Photography
Lin and Jirsa Photographers are expected to be the hardest working vendors at the wedding. What does this mean? Here are some basic rules to follow:
- There is always something to capture – I’ve heard other studios say that “during dinner, guests don’t want pictures of them stuffing their mouths,” so they decide to take a long break during this time. While we agree that you shouldn’t get pictures of guests with their mouths full, we believe that there is always something to capture. During dinner, for example, there are probably guests approaching the couple’s table and offering their congratulations. This is a great opportunity for an image of a hug or a laugh. Additionally, children get their second wind during the reception and start running around the dance floor. This “down time” is also a great way to think of other creative opportunities like ring shots involving the unique lighting of the reception or unique angles or compositions of the wedding cake. Long story short, there’s always something to capture.
- Do not take breaks for more than 15 minutes at a time – Unless there is literally nothing in the itinerary, no guests around, and the bride and groom have decided to rest somewhere private, you should always be looking for something to shoot. Your breaks generally should not be longer than 15 minutes.
- Always take shifts to eat – There should always be a photographer in the room in case something unexpected happens. Impromptu speeches, miscommunication between the DJ and the planner, random changes in the itinerary and other unexpected events are all reasons that we should take breaks in shifts.
- Do not chat or joke with the team – Unless there are literally no wedding guests or clients around, do not chat with the team (or other vendors) on topics unrelated to the wedding. This can come off very unprofessional. Like many of the other rules mentioned, this seems obvious but it’s so easy to get sucked into a conversation with a chatty lighting assistant or other shooter.
- Never say negative comments about the clients, guests, or vendors – This also seems obvious but it happens more often then you think. Even if you’re dealing with the craziest, most unreasonable couple, remain positive. Even if the planner is unorganized and inexperienced, remain positive. Even if the guests are pushy and rude, remain positive. There is never a reason to be negative on the wedding day. Beware of other vendors chatting negatively about clients and be sure to not get sucked into their conversation.
- Do not have extended conversations with guests – Guests are interested in what we do, what we’re shooting on, Canon vs. Nikon, Raw vs. JPEG and a bunch of other things. Be sure to remain nice, but never engage in a long conversation. If it’s more than a couple minutes, let them know that you have to get back to work.
- No personal networking – Do not pass out your personal business cards or give other information to the guests or the other vendors. If you’re our second or third shooter for that day, then there should be no mention of your other business.
- Play Nice with the Video Team – Understand that the video team has a job to do with just as much pressure as you to deliver a high-quality product. That means that you need to offer them some of your couples session time, even if you’re running late and only have 30 minutes. That might even mean that you offer to go on “silent shutter” mode if the bride is reading a letter out loud. You might even consider minimizing your flash if it’s not absolutely necessary. Obviously, do what you need to do in order to maintain your standards and get the shots you need to get, but compromise as well. Communication is key, especially for key moments throughout the day. This is a loaded topic so we’ll likely write another article on this with more detail.
- Always arrive at the venue at least 15 to 30 minutes early – The start time on the itinerary is the time when you actually need to start taking photos. In these large resorts, it may take you some time to get from the valet to the room. If it’s a new venue, show up even earlier to plan your shots.
- Always check with the clients prior to departure – Before leaving, you should always say your farewells and congratulations. You should always also check to make sure they do not want to extend your coverage. While this should be the responsibility of the lead shooter, this may fall on you if you’re the lead shooter at an Indian prewedding event or if your coverage was somehow extended later than the lead shooter’s time.
I know we’ve touched on a wide range of topics in this article, but hopefully this gives you insight into how we approach a wedding day in terms of attire and attitude. If you have any questions, please be sure to check with your lead photographer. If you’re not an LJP Photographer in training and you do things differently, we’d love to hear your thoughts as well in the comments of this article.