Guest Post by Topher Kelly
All Photos Courtesy of JD Delatorre & Jasmine Star
Becoming a profitable professional photographer is a long uphill climb. Those who are serious about bringing their dream job to life will do most anything they can to get started in a world that is already saturated with quality professionals. For most people, this often means starting as a second shooter for established photographers at weddings and other events.
A second shooter can be more than an opportunity to learn and gain experience. It can be profitable, too. However, there isn’t a ton of advice out there for people looking to perfect the art of the second shooter. That’s why I sat down with one of the most prosperous second shooters in America, JD Delatorre, to ask him for some of the tips he wish he knew when he first started. JD is Jasmine Star’s husband, and the quieter half of the successful wedding photography duo that has taken wedding photography by storm over the last several years. Once we got past the basics such as appropriate attire, offering to carry the main shooter’s bag, and checking your ego at the door, 3 really helpful tips that stood out:
1. Take Care of Vendors
During a wedding day, I usually don’t have time to cultivate friendships, but I always make sure to include every vendor throughout the day. If they need anything, I offer assistance. If the vendor dinner is served, I try to make sure everyone knows. It’s small things that ensure everyone feels like we’re on the same team… and there’s a high probability we’ll work together again in the future, so make sure to have everyone’s back.
2. NEVER PASS OUT YOUR BUSINESS CARD
One of the first weddings Jasmine and I photographed together we had another photographer tag along with us. The night was flowing nicely until I overheard the third shooter pass his/her business card to a wedding guest… and passed his/her studio name along. I can’t explain how rude this is. On a wedding day, a second and third photographer is just that… an accompanying photographer to the main photographer’s studio. If a guest asks for a business card from a second shooter (which happens often!), the second shooter should always pass along the main photographer’s business card. Period. The end. If you want to gain respect from the main photographer, you can’t act like that at a wedding. Play your part in the event and if someone really took notice of your work, they’ll get a hold of you through the main photographer.
3. Find New Angles
Don’t shoot over the main photographer’s shoulder! When I first started shooting with Jasmine, I shot behind her and captured basically the same photo as she did. Okay, just not as cool. She finally explained that she didn’t need another version of her photo…she needs an entirely different photo of the same moment. I’ll admit this is harder than it seems, but I know she appreciates creativity and a different photo from the exact same moment.
If you are a second shooter looking to hone the art, take JD’s words seriously. For someone who rarely acts as a main shooter, his success has brought him to the front pages of magazines throughout the world that most main shooter’s could only dream of touching. He’s even teaching a free workshop on creativeLIVE August 6-7 with Jasmine. Who said a second shooter just stands in the shadows?